Home / 5 Concerns Most Car Owners Have When Visiting a Car Wash (And How to End the Stigma)
Potential customers may have some common concerns about visiting the car wash. These are important to be aware of so you can address the concerns and end the stigma. In this guide, we’ve rounded up the top five customer concerns you might hear as a car wash owner, as well as some creative car care business ideas to help you overcome these common issues. Check out these tips to explore ways to maximize the success of your car wash business.
The car wash industry is incredibly competitive, so pricing for services is crucial. While you want to price your services in a way that makes profit, you also need to remain competitive and reasonable enough to attract customers. Today’s consumers are budget conscious and savvy enough to shop around for the best prices, so pricing can be a deciding factor for your business.
Determining your pricing structure will depend on a few key variables. You’ll need to consider the following factors that can affect your pricing:
Your location and market conditions
Your cost per car, including all your expenses
What services you offer, and the level of quality of each
These factors and more will determine what is a fair price for your car wash services. Your customers will want to feel like they are getting a good value for the price they pay at your business. They may have some concerns if the prices are set too high or the value behind the price is not communicated clearly. Finding the right prices is a delicate balance, though. If you undercut yourself too much, you’ll lose out on profits, not making enough money to make the business worthwhile.
How to Address Customer Concerns About Pricing
Your customers should leave your car wash feeling like they got their money’s worth for the price. A common customer price concern centers around high prices and quality that doesn’t live up to expectations. Consumers may worry they will still find dirty spots after an expensive premium wash package. To successfully navigate these concerns, first make sure you have fair and accurate pricing. The next step is to reassure your customers that you will make things right if they have an experience where they are not fully satisfied.
Great customer service can be the antidote to all sorts of customer concerns, so make sure you have friendly, helpful staff members available to fix any issues. Ensure your customers know if they exit the car wash and find missed spots, your staff will gladly hand-wash those spots at no extra charge. This can go a long way to ease customer concerns about splurging for a more expensive wash package.
Another way to address customer concerns about pricing is with memberships and rewards programs. Both of these types of programs increase brand loyalty among your customers and make them feel like they are getting more value for the price. Memberships keep your customers coming back and ensure you have monthly revenue you can plan on. Membership perks, rewards and other incentives provide the extra touches that are more likely to result in fully satisfied customers.
Along with good customer service and offering perks like memberships and rewards, communication with customers is key. You’ll want to make sure you have a quality website for your business and supporting marketing materials that clearly communicate your offerings. Having a website full of valuable information and marketing tools increases the likelihood that your customers will buy more premium products and add-ons when using your car wash services. You’re sure to see a great return on your investment in your website and marketing when customers understand the value you provide in premium products.
Some customers worry about the automatic dryers at a car wash. Perhaps they’ve had a previous bad experience with a car wash dryer, or they feel the drying part of the process doesn’t do a good enough job. Customers expect a clean and dry car coming out of the car wash, and the dryer is generally the last step of the process. You want this equipment to deliver and impress.
As the final touch in most car wash systems, the dryers play an important role. When they are working properly, the dryers should get rid of any remaining moisture from the wash to avoid spots or streaks on the car. If the dryer isn’t doing its job, your customers may not be satisfied with their experience. Some car washes use hand-drying in place of or in addition to a machine dryer. But this method can also cause some customer concerns if it’s not done properly.
How to Address Dryer Concerns
Taking care of customer concerns regarding the car wash dryer comes down to three basic issues:
Maintenance: Proper car wash dryer maintenance is essential to keep the equipment working the way it should and maintain customer satisfaction. Mechanical drying systems use air producers to aim the dry, warm air at the freshly washed cars. While the air producers are likely the most important component of a drying system, there are many other moving parts that can break down and need regular maintenance checks. Drying systems also may have electronic components that should have regular maintenance checks. Make sure your equipment is maintained on a schedule and regularly cleaned. You should also ensure your staff is well trained to alert you to any potential issues.
Customer service: Assuming everything mechanical is working well, the other way to address dryer concerns is with excellent customer service. Inform your customers that you want them to leave your car wash completely satisfied, and if they have any concerns or questions, they should let your staff know. If a customer isn’t satisfied with the mechanical drying system and they let you know right away, your staff can hand dry any remaining spots. Plus, you’ll know if something may need repairs soon. Be sure your staff knows how to properly hand dry and that you have an ample supply of quality towels on hand.
Using a great drying agent: When your car wash uses a high-quality drying agent, it helps boost your dryer’s ability to perform well and may lead to more satisfied customers. A good drying agent repels water so it doesn’t bead on the car’s surface and leave behind water marks and streaks.
3. Automatic Wash Anxiety
For some people, the automatic car wash can provide unique worries that may prevent them from using these services or having a positive experience when they do. You want your customers to feel satisfied and enjoy your car wash services, but there are some parts of the process that commonly cause anxiety for many people.
Many car wash systems utilize tracks that automatically pull the car through the wash at just the right pace. These tracks can cause anxiety for some patrons who worry:
The track system could damage their car.
They won’t be able to get their car on the tracks properly.
They won’t be able to shift their car into neutral at the correct moment.
Employees or other drivers may yell at them if they cannot get into the tracks or next step of the wash process quickly enough.
Others may worry about payment kiosks or having the exact cash for payments or tipping for hand-wash or hand dry services, when applicable. Many people do not carry much cash anymore, and these anxieties can be a deterrent to using a car wash altogether.
How to Ease Automatic Car Wash Anxieties
While these concerns are common and normal, there are several things you can do as a car wash owner or manager to ease your customers’ minds. The first area to start with is staff training. Make sure you hire quality staff members who understand the value of good customer service and uphold these values on the job. It is never recommended for an employee to yell at a customer for not getting on the tracks correctly, or for any other reason. Train your staff to be helpful and encouraging to your patrons at all times.
If a customer is struggling with getting on the tracks, while using a payment kiosk or during any other step of the process, encourage your staff members to step in and offer help. They should be able to guide customers through any struggles or anxious moments, ensuring a better customer experience overall.
You can also make sure all your advertising and signage helps put customers’ minds at ease. Be sure your customers know that if they have any concerns or questions, your staff is ready to help. Communicate that if customers want assistance getting their car onto the tracks, a staff member can help. Also, let your customers know that tips in the car wash industry are not generally required, and customers should not panic if they don’t have cash on hand. Make your payment methods and kiosks for the car wash easy to use, with signage that tips are not required.
4. Preferring to Do It on Their Own
Some people prefer to wash their own cars at home, believing it is less expensive and that they can do a better job themselves. They may have a special method for washing their car or a more expensive car that they don’t trust someone else handling. This is an incredibly common concern among potential customers, but one that you can easily address so you can tap into a larger pool of customers for your business.
How to Target Customers Who Prefer to Wash Their Own Cars
It may seem difficult to convince certain customers to come to the car wash, especially when they prefer to do it themselves at home. With a few tips, you can ease the minds of the DIY car wash crowd and entice them to give your business a try. First, ensure you have top-quality equipment and cleaning chemicals at your car wash and staff members that are friendly, helpful and well-trained.
The most effective way to attract the DIY customers is with specific, targeted marketing. Create advertisements, brochures and blog posts that explain the benefits of going to the car wash over doing it yourself at home. Today’s car washes are far more technologically advanced and are designed to clean cars efficiently and effectively — often better than what you could do at home with a garden hose. At home, the water pressure isn’t the same and can end up doing damage to the car if the cleaning solutions aren’t properly rinsed. Washing a car at home also tends to use more water than at the car wash.
Reassure your customers that your car wash gives a professional-grade cleaning that can help protect their cars like other important maintenance tasks. Unless you constantly have long lines, an automatic car wash can generally wash a car much faster than doing it at home. Let your customers know that their time is valuable and it’s worth it to let the professionals handle the job.
5. Long Lines
One of the most common complaints we hear about car washes is the long lines. If you have a popular business, customers may be lined up waiting for their turn at the car wash on busy days. From a business owner’s perspective, this is a good problem to have as it means plenty of regular revenue. However, if you consistently have long lines, your customers can become frustrated and take their business elsewhere. Long lines keep customers waiting, eating up their time.
How to Address Long Lines at the Car Wash
One of the best ways to deal with long lines at your car wash is planning ahead. Look at the calendar and keep in mind weekends, upcoming holidays and weather patterns. Also consider any promotions or coupons that might result in busier days. If you expect more business traffic, be sure to staff accordingly, have plenty of supplies on hand and ensure your equipment is in good working order.
Another important aspect of addressing long lines is your processing. Examine every step of your car wash process, ensuring everything is as efficient as possible. Pay stations should be easy to use. Steps like prepping and drying should be done in a way that doesn’t clog up the line and keeps the cars moving through the process.
If you consistently deal with long lines after process optimization, you may want to consider if adding an additional car wash line or extra staff members would help. Or consider offering coupon incentives for customers who come at off-peak days and times. This could help distribute some of the business and ease the pressure of long lines on busy days.
Choose Quality Car Wash Supplies From JBS Industries
We’ve covered many of the most common problems of car wash businesses to help you be prepared and address your customer concerns effectively. Exceptional customer service in the car wash industry is an absolute must. It can go a long way towards easing any customer worries, as well as keeping the customers coming back.
One of the other most important aspects of running a successful business is having top-quality equipment and cleaning supplies. Browse the selection of car wash cleaning supplies from JBS Industries and contact us today with any questions or to set up a product trial.