No-Touch Car Wash: The Rise of Touchless Car Washes
As a business owner, you understand that the car wash industry is constantly evolving and introducing new, innovative systems. In recent years, there has been a shift toward the use of touchless car washes thanks to a few key influences.
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When introducing one of these systems to your business, there are many different factors and advantages to consider. We’re exploring the rise and benefits of touchless car washes so you can feel confident offering your customers no-touch services in the near future.
What Is a Touchless Car Wash?
People rely on traditional car washes to scrub the dirt and debris off their vehicles and make them shine like new. However, times are changing, and today’s customers are looking for different car wash options — especially ones that minimize physical contact with the car’s surface.
A touchless car wash system is a type of automatic car wash that does not utilize any kind of scrubbers or brushes. Instead, it uses the power of high-pressure water and highly concentrated products to clean the vehicle’s surface. In a touchless car wash, no equipment ever physically touches the car. Instead, these systems use sensors to guide the equipment around the vehicle and ensure the water and detergents sufficiently soak it.
How Does a Touchless Car Wash Work?
The process for touchless car washes begins with spraying the car with water, then coating it in a pre-soak solution. Specialized touchless car wash detergents and cleaning agents for these options deliver a deeper clean and leave behind a gorgeous shine. The system then uses high-pressure water jets to lift and wash away any dirt or grime on the vehicle’s surface. After rinsing, high-pressure air blows over the car’s surface to assist in a spotless drying process.
Are No-Touch Car Washes the Future?
The U.S. currently has over 62,000 car wash businesses, and the industry is evolving every single year. Today, touchless car washes are gaining popularity among customers for several reasons.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, customers have begun to expect more accommodating and sanitary services from the businesses they frequent. Customers who do not want to handle the same equipment as other customers will opt for a drive-through wash. Touchless options are often a go-to because they require no physical contact or personal interactions.
No-touch car washes are also gaining popularity because of their shift toward advancing technology and automation. Labor shortages have been plaguing American businesses for the last few years. As of March 2022, there were a record 11.5 million job openings and not nearly enough applicants. Whether your car wash business is fully staffed or has openings to fill, automated options allow you to operate at all times.
Factors That Led to the Rise of the No-Touch Car Wash
Check out these factors for why adding a touchless car wash system is advantageous for your car wash business:
- Less water consumption: One of the key factors attributed to the rise of touchless systems is their lower water consumption. Washing a car using a hose can require many more gallons of water, and there is no sensor to monitor water usage like in no-touch washes.
- 24/7 operation: Your customers can utilize touchless systems any day of the week at any time of day. A fully automated system means you can extend your hours of operation and increase your revenue. If your business wants to offer 24-hour service, automated no-touch options can make this possible.
- Requires minimal labor: Touchless systems allow for greater automation at your car wash. Customers can enjoy an easy drive-through experience, and you will not need any staff members handling the wash. Your business can save on training and labor costs, in addition to offering services when no one is working.
- Protects vehicle paint: Touchless systems are safer for car paint since no rags or brushes come in contact with the vehicle’s surface. Scrubbing can lead to scratches and ultimately degrade the car’s finish. Touchless options require no harsh rubbing, and the high-pressure water that jets dirt and grime away is gentler.
- Lower cost of ownership: Touchless car wash systems utilize less water and energy than alternative options. They also require less product per wash and can ultimately increase your business’s profitability with less waste.
- Convenience: Because touchless car wash systems can be completely automated, they make for a convenient and hassle-free service for your business’s customers. Your visitors will appreciate the ease of operation and the speed advantage of not having to wait for an attendant. These systems also allow your business to offer car wash services that accommodate more schedules and welcome more customers.
- Fewer components: One of the most significant benefits of these no-touch systems is their design. This type of car wash utilizes fewer components and features a sleek, cleaner look. Since these systems are simple in design, they require less maintenance and labor.
- More economic opportunities: A no-touch car wash system can give your business more opportunities to increase your cash flow while keeping your costs low. These opportunities make it a cost-effective choice that could offer your business’s staff and customers more convenience and less maintenance.
- Customer preferences: Adding a touchless system to your car wash operation allows your customers to choose an option that suits their needs and preferences. No-touch washes give your car wash visitors a wash option with features they’ll appreciate, like social distancing and avoiding physical contact with their car’s surface.
- Saves time: Touchless car wash systems are more time-efficient. No-touch systems take less time to complete a wash than traditional car washes. Thanks to their design, they’ll also save you time on the business end. This type of wash is low maintenance and simple, requiring little attention and time to keep them up and running.
- Gentle on car parts: Compared to friction car washes, touchless options create less wear and tear on car parts like antennas and mirrors. Because no brushes or rags are involved, the car only comes in contact with high-pressure water and cleaning agents.
- Sensors: The sensors on a no-touch system monitor where the vehicle is in the car wash. They help ensure that the vehicle is a safe distance away from the equipment and that the water jets are in the best position to wash away dirt and grime on the car’s surface.
- Energy efficiency: Touchless car washes are energy efficient and better for the environment than other types of systems. The sensors are precise and allow for control over water and product output, conserving energy and limiting waste.
Myths About Touchless Car Washes
Now that we understand some of the benefits let’s get into the rumors you may have heard about no-touch car washes. The following are common misconceptions about touchless systems and some reasons why these ideas are untrue:
1. Touch Washing Cleans Cars Better
One of the greatest misunderstandings about touchless car wash systems is that they do not clean as well as washes that use scrubbers and physical contact.
No-touch options utilize powerful cleaning agents and chemicals that deep clean the car and dissolve road film without scratching the paint. The high-pressure water and air used in these systems lift dirt and grime off the vehicle’s surface, leaving behind a clean, shining finish.
2. Touchless Car Washes Waste Water
Another commonly held misconception about touchless car washes is that they waste water. Because these systems utilize pressurized water instead of brushes and scrubbers, they can seem to use more water than a traditional wash. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Touchless washes use a fraction of the water of a manual car wash and are a great choice for businesses that want to boost their water conservation efforts.
3. You Have to Hand-Dry After a Touchless Wash
Although some people believe they need to use a towel or rag to dry their vehicle after a no-touch wash, that is not true. Most touchless systems utilize high-pressure air to blow the water off the car’s surface after it’s done cleaning, leaving behind a dry, shiny finish that your customers will love. Using a towel after a touchless wash can risk scratching the car’s paint.
4. Adding a Touchless System Will Cost Too Much
Another popular myth is that adding a no-touch system to your car wash will be too expensive. The truth is, these systems can be incredibly profitable and offer a quick return on your investment.
Compared to other types of car washes, touchless options have lower ownership and maintenance costs. They also allow your business to offer services around the clock, with or without an on-site attendant.
7 Factors to Consider When Adding a No-Touch Wash to Your Car Washing Operation
Are you considering investing in a no-touch system for your car wash business? The following factors are important to think about beforehand:
You should first consider your market when deciding to get a no-touch system for your car wash. Are your customers going to be interested in utilizing a touchless option, or do they prefer friction washes?
Think about your customer base’s wants and needs when it comes to cleaning their vehicles. If your customers want convenience, adding a no-touch option is a great idea. However, if your customers frequently bring their vehicles in caked with thick mud or other stubborn materials, they may lean towards friction washes instead.
Another consideration is how much space your car wash has to accommodate a touchless system.
Luckily, these car wash systems are fairly slim and do not incorporate a lot of different components. However, while they have a relatively small footprint, you’ll still need to ensure you have the available room and hook-ups for the tunnel. You may need to convert an existing system if you have a limited area.
As a business owner, you’ll also need to consider the costs associated with adding a new system to your car wash. These expenses may include:
- Equipment: You’ll need to factor in the cost of the touchless system itself.
- Preparation: Any preparations you need to make before installation will contribute to costs.
- Installation: If you pay for professionals to install the equipment, you’ll need to factor in these expenses as well.
- Maintenance: You’ll also need to add in ongoing maintenance and cleaning costs.
4. Current Equipment
When adding a no-touch system to your business, taking note of your current setup and equipment is helpful. Consider what options you already offer and where a touchless wash will fit best in your car wash’s design.
If you already have a wastewater system in place, consider if you want to add a new system or replace an existing one.
5. Bay Curtains
You will also need to consider how to keep water from your touchless car wash system contained. Bay curtains are an effective way to maintain your individual systems. They also help your business deal with weather considerations, especially if your business is in an area with a colder climate. You can find curtains made from different materials — take your time and find the options that best suit your setup.
6. Blowers and Dryers
Another important factor to take into consideration when adding a no-touch wash to your business is drying systems. To deliver the best results for your customers, you’ll need to incorporate dryers to blow water off the surface of vehicles after they’ve gone through the wash.
Touchless car washes use different cleaning products than other systems. If you add this type of wash to your business, you’ll need to develop an ordering plan for the products you’ll use.
These chemical detergents need to be very powerful to deliver the same cleaning action as friction washes. Be sure you are prepared with the right products for your new touchless system.
Explore Touchless Car Wash Products From JBS Industries Today
At JBS Industries, we are a leading car wash supplies manufacturer with more than four decades of experience. We have more than a dozen highly concentrated products to transform your car wash business.
If you want to introduce a touchless washing system to your car wash, we have the products you need to deliver awesome results and really impress your customers. We understand the ins and outs of the car wash industry and create products that will set your business apart from the competition.
Are you interested in learning more? Explore our selection of touchless car wash products today!