Are you running a car wash that relies on an endless conveyor belt of new customers to keep the lights on and the water flowing? Dreaming of a steady stream of vehicles lined up to visit on a regimented weekly or fortnightly cycle?
Let’s face it, running a car wash can be hard work. On wet and rainy days, revenue can be a complete write off. If you’re operating in an area that experiences long, cold winters or extended wet seasons, then your livelihood can often be at the mercy of mother nature.
So, how do you make the most of the good times and ensure that those sunny days are an endless stream of shiny, sudsy vehicles rolling out through your doors?
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best ways to attract repeat business to your car wash to ensure steady, reliable revenue throughout the year.
1. Focus on Customer Service
Creating memorable customer experiences and delivering exceptional, consistent customer service is an integral part in any successful business, and car washes are no exception. To win more repeat customers, your car wash needs to focus on creating a high quality and reliable level of customer service.
As a car wash, this means going above and beyond to ensure that your customers are satisfied with the result and ensuring that they don’t drive off before they are.
Small touches like a complimentary beverage while they wait or a free (branded) air freshener are a very small (tax deductible) expense that can go a long way to building loyal customers.
And don’t forget the quality of managers and key customer-facing staff are essential to customer satisfaction and retention - so it really does pay off to employ the right people who’ll be ambassadors for your car wash.
2. Create a Car Wash Loyalty Program
Acquiring a new customer costs around five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by as little as 5% can increase business profitability by as much as 90% according to Bain & Co. So, when it comes to keeping your customers engaged and ensuring that your car wash is front-of-mind when things are starting to look a little dirty, a customer loyalty program can go a long way.
With a car wash loyalty program from Stamp Me, car wash businesses can offer special perks, discounts, or any reward idea that you can think of to incentivize and show appreciation to your loyal customers. From a customer perspective, why would they go to a competitor car wash when they can get rewarded by sticking with you?
Stamp Me is a straightforward and intuitive loyalty platform that's trusted by car washes around the world, including the Melbourne-based Carrera Car Wash. The features of their program include:
Connecting through social media is essential for any business – especially for car wash businesses. Think about it, what other business has more access to drool-inducing cars that can make for a vibrant and interesting social media stream?
TikTok is especially an area where car washes can see social media success. Simply showing off satisfying cleaning or before and after videos of filthy, mud-caked cars now gleaming is the content people didn’t think they’d needed, but do!
By establishing your presence on Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, car wash businesses can directly interact with customers and provide updates and send subtle reminders that they may be due for a wash and wax. Social media is also a powerful way for customers to connect directly with business, without needing to send an email or pick up the phone.
In addition to providing subtle car wash reminders and more accessibility to staff, social media also provides a unique opportunity for car washes to build a sense of community which can help to foster a loyal, repeat customer base.
4. Keep Your Operating Hours Up-to-Date
There is nothing more frustrating than showing up to a venue, establishment, or business only to find that their operating hours do not match up with their website or Google business listing. If your car wash is serious about building a repeat, loyal customer base, then you need to be consistent with your trading hours and ensure that any changes are well documented ahead of time on your website and on your Google business listing.
The latest data indicates that more than 76% of customers will check online before visiting a physical location, so it’s essential to keep your businesses contact details up to date.
5. Provide Flexible Scheduling Options
Let's face it, life can be hectic. Between work, family, and all of our other responsibilities, finding time to get the car washed can be a challenge. That's why it's so important for car wash businesses to offer flexible scheduling options.
By allowing customers to choose a time that works best for them, you make it easier for them to fit car washing into a trip to the shops or a morning of sport with the kids.
What’s more, when it's easy for customers to get their car washed, they're more likely to become regular AND loyal customers. Plus, offering flexible scheduling options helps to show that you value your customers' time and convenience.
So, if you want to win more repeat customers, make sure to offer a variety of scheduling options to accommodate their busy lives with a mixture of allowing pre-booked appointments and drive-ins.
6. Partner with Local Businesses
It's a no-brainer: partnering with local businesses is a win-win for car wash businesses! Not only does it help to support the community and foster a sense of camaraderie, but it also has the potential to bring in a whole new pool of customers.
Imagine partnering with a local cafe and offering a discount on a cup of coffee to customers who get their car washed. Or teaming up with a gym and offering a discount to members who get their car washed after a sweaty workout (or can sneak off for a quick one during the service).
The possibilities are endless, and the benefits are clear: more repeat customers and a stronger connection to the community. So don't be afraid to reach out to those local businesses and see what kind of partnerships they are open to - it's sure to be awash (pun intended) with success!
7. Use Customer Feedback to Your Advantage
When it comes to getting feedback in the form of online reviews or even face-to-face, things can go one of two ways: business owners can get offended and annoyed, or they can take the time to understand the root of the feedback to make changes and improvements to strengthen business in the long term.
Ensure that firstly you have feedback mechanisms in place, and secondly, that you’re reading the feedback and taking action on it.
8. Expand Your Car Wash Service Offering
Who doesn’t love the feeling of getting into a fresh, clean car? Whether your car is your pride and joy, or whether it’s just your A to B, a clean car can make all the difference to your customers.
As a car wash, if you really want to stand out from the competition and win more repeat customers, it's important to offer services beyond just wash and wax. For example, adding detailing packages, ceramic coating, or PPF options can take your car wash to a whole new level of revenue opportunity. If your car wash is a ‘one stop shop’ then you capture more of your customers business - and loyalty.
In addition to broadening your services, it shows your customers that you care about the little details and are willing to go the extra mile to make their car look its best.
With a wider range of services, and introducing a car wash loyalty program, your car wash can appeal to a wider range of customers and radically increase your bottom line. Which, for a seasonal business such as car washes, is essential.
Stamp Me Loyalty Platform
Create memorable moments of joy with Stamp Me.
Stamp Me is a straightforward and intuitive loyalty platform trusted by merchants globally. We've blended the classic "Buy X, Get Y" loyalty cards with a modern mobile app to elevate customer loyalty experiences.