With recent trends in the economy, many Car Wash Long island equipment owners are focusing their efforts on cost effective ways to bring in new customers and keep existing ones. There are several different strategies that can be used when marketing or promoting a car wash business. Most owners are familiar with banners, signs, and advertising in the newspaper. But community involvement, customer appreciation, and face-to-face product education are also great ways to market.
PROMOTE YOUR CAR WASH WITH SIGNS AND BANNERS
Banners are a cost effective way to get a new message across. For example, as an owner it is your responsibility to promote the addition of a high-end wax to an in-bay automatic or triple-foam polish to the self-service bays. A 3′ x 8′ vinyl banner can cost as little as $150. Depending on the complexity of the company logo and additional graphics this cost can escalate. Sticking with something simple – for example, “Try Our New Triple-Foam Polish” – and using a three or four color scheme will cost approximately $200 per banner.
How is a banner going to increase business? A banner’s message draws attention and generates consumer interest, particularly when potential new customers pass by. If the current location they support does not have the function highlighted on the banner they will be intrigued to try it out. Positioning the banner properly is critical. Having as many potential customers that pass by view the new banner as possible is the goal.
SELF-SERVICE CAR WASH EQUIPMENT
Existing customers like to have the proper bay signage to both instruct and market the service selections. Self-service car washes should have the following signs posted in each bay.
1. The primary signage should be the instruction menus. The menu should have short descriptions of products available and how the products should be applied.
2. Secondary signs should highlight any new equipment that have been added, such as an in-bay dryer, triple-foam polish, and tire dressing. Based on the number of functions, instruction menus will range in cost from $50 to $125 per bay. Secondary signs such as triple-foam polish and tire dressing will range from $20 to $35 per sign. Keep in mind that overuse of signage in your bays can be confusing to customers.
It can be overwhelming to a customer when pulling into a bay to see the whole wall covered with different signs. Additionally, customers may not be able to recognize any changes or new products. When installing new marketing or instruction signs, evaluate the existing signs; determine the importance of each, and whether any of them could be removed. Remember, the goal is to market and promote the new functions and/or changes.
IN-BAY AUTOMATIC CAR WASH SYSTEM
In-bay automatics have a few areas of opportunity. The appropriate use of banners, menu boards, and windmaster signs can help increase a wash’s volume and average ticket price. As in the case with self-service washes, anytime you add a feature such as an all-season protect-ant, wheel cleaner, or triple-foam polish make sure to create and hang banners to make customers aware of the change. Again, make sure to place the banners in a location visible to customers passing-by.
Defining your car wash packages presents another opportunity. A menu board will help customers understand the differences between each package. If the customer does not know what the benefit of the higher-end package is, he or she will not be willing to pay for it. When the customer pulls up to an auto cashier and views this menu (below left), what information is available to make the proper choice? Looking at the next menu (below right), one can see that each wash package is clearly defined.
Customers can see what the top package has to offer enabling them to make a more informed choice. This not only promotes a higher average ticket but also repeat business. Customers get what they expect and don’t leave the wash feeling mislead.
Ideally, this menu should be attached to or printed as a decal for your auto cashier. Other options include printing out the menu as an insert for a driveway windmaster sign holder or wall-mount unit. Select the option that keeps the menu in the closest visual range to the auto cashier and customer.