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Unlimited Car Wash Programs: 5 Areas To Evaluate

unlimited washing

Unlimited Car Wash Programs: 5 Areas To Evaluate

unlimited washing
Over the last 10 years the car wash industry has increasingly shifted to an emphasis on unlimited washing programs, which also presents challenges. An increased reliance on unlimited car washing means more demands on your facilities, your staff, and your equipment. Here are 5 areas to evaluate as you look to scale your unlimited membership.

1.) Pricing Your Product

Many operators will turn to discounting their Unlimited programs to attract new customers with a promotions that look something like ‘Buy a single wash today, you’ll be enrolled in the unlimited program for three months for free.’ There’s nothing inherently wrong with discounting the program, as your main goal is to build a habit within a customer. However, your pricing doesn’t ultimately determine who will enroll, or stay enrolled, in your program.
How you price your product is marketing…What are you doing by discounting? You’re driving traffic, but in a way are you de-valuing your product? If price was all that was important to people then no one would drive BMWs or Lexus. The most important thing is the value that you provide your customer. If you can actually provide a quality service and prove to your customers you’re worth $29 per month or whatever you’re charging, then the price isn’t even a consideration.
 
-Kevin Zalaznik / Director of Marketing, Hoffman Car Wash

2.) Sizing Your Sites

As you add additional locations or grow your Unlimited program at your existing stores, it’s imperative that you consider the physical layout of your locations from the property size to the equipment room. 
With our unlimited program we’re washing so many more cars now. We need bigger pieces of property. We need bigger tunnels so we can wash more cars per hour and so we can accommodate more equipment. Then because we need more equipment, we need more space in our equipment room. In the end, more space makes it easier to work in those locations from a maintenance standpoint, while also helping provide our customers with a better wash experience.
 
-Tom Hoffman Jr. / CEO, Hoffman Car Wash

3.) Labor & Automation

There’s only two real solutions to continue processing cars consistently and efficiently as volume increases: add additional labor or add more equipment and rely on automating more of the wash process. 
With minimum wage rising and the labor market in its current state, we know we’re going to need to wash cars more efficiently with less labor. That means we have to automate the tunnel and install more equipment. We need to be able clean the car as well as we used to with far fewer employees than we used to have.
 
-Tom Hoffman Jr. / CEO, Hoffman Car Wash

4.) IT Systems

More members means storing more data. Car washes have evolved into information technology companies and data warehouses. An IT department has become essential not only because of the increasingly sophisticated equipment and reliance on automation, but also because of the amount of data that operators need to keep secure.
If you’re just hoping and praying that your point-of- sale company is going to ensure your network is secure that’s a recipe for disaster. That’s out of the POS’s scope. It’s about taking ownership of what’s yours. The system is yours. The network is yours. You’re storing a ton of of sensitive information including payment information, customer records, as well as employee information. It’s the operator’s responsibility to ensure they have the systems in place to secure those items.
 
AJ Davison / Director of IT, Hoffman Car Wash

5.) Evaluating Your Equipment

An increase in unlimited membership coincides with an increase in volume, which means you must evaluate the durability of your equipment.
Today, the wash volume of the average operator would’ve been considered high volume 10 years ago. Now with the increase of unlimited washing, high-volume stores can be washing 4-600,000 cars a year. If you wash 600,000 cars in one year or a hundred thousand cars over six years, the demand on your equipment is not the same. As volume increases you have to evaluate the durability of your equipment. Can you provide consistent, repeatable quality? Can your equipment withstand the increased volume? You don’t want to be retooling your wash bay every year, so you need to be outfitting your tunnel with equipment that can handle the demand. 
 
Shane Groff / Director of National Sales & Innovation, innovateIT

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Are You Maintaining Your Equipment Enough?

waxIT Arch

Are You Maintaining Your Equipment Enough?

You are busy. We get it. The Unlimited Wash Club model has only taken hours and minutes away from your day.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but at times it’s easy to only see an hour or a day in the future…

“What’s our car count this hour?”

“What are we pacing for today?”

“Is our labor in check?”

Remember, running a car wash is a marathon and not a 40-yard dash. Your tunnel is an investment, and it’s essential to treat it as such.

Please. Please. Don’t forget to maintain your equipment. It’s easy to keep kicking that can down the road because you can’t find the time.

“Operators need to adjust their maintenance schedule based on their car counts,” said innovateIT’s Director of Product Development, Shane Groff. “They already evaluate everything in terms of car count: dollars per car, cost per car, etc. They need to think of the maintenance of equipment the same way.”

Groff points out that sticking to the same 10-year old check chart won’t cut it nowadays.

“Maybe an operator greased this tunnel twice a week 10 years ago, but now he’s washing twice as many cars. So now he should have to grease those bearings twice as much.”

Ensuring your equipment can endure the Unlimited Wash Club model’s demand will help you save money long term. As Groff points out, washing 600,000 cars in one year is not the same as washing 100,000 vehicles over six years.

The operator washing 600,000 cars in one year is getting the most out of his tunnel and needs to routinely and smartly maintain the equipment to avoid any downtime.

Idea Starter

Try this exercise to organize your maintenance schedule and determine your frequency in servicing each item. 

X&Y
  1. Take an audit of all of the routine maintenance your location requires
  2. Write each item on a post-it note
  3. Create a four-quadrant chart with an X & Y access
  4. Place the post-it notes on the Y access. The most critical items at the top and the least important at the bottom
  5. Move the post-it notes along the X access to determine your frequency. Most often being to the left side and least often being to the right side.

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