In the United States, more than 40 percent of all car wash locations are In-Bay Automatic. That's a lot of car washes - meaning a lot of cars to wash and a lot of revenue to be made. As with any business, running an IBA isn't as automatic as the car wash itself. Getting the job done right requires some knowledge.
After working with hundreds of IBAs, we've spoken with hundreds of operators to better understand how to run a successful IBA location. From signage to staffing, membership to mobile apps, here's a look at Five Tips for IBA Success.
You need to rely heavily on signage when you do not have employees on-site. Let me be clear — you should absolutely be staffing your car wash if you want to generate $10,000 or more every month with membership. Having said that, we understand this isn’t always easy, but more on that later.
Remember Febreeze's "Nose Blind" commercial that described how desensitized people could get to strong odors they've grown used to over time? Car wash customers will feel the same way about your on-site marketing if they see the same signs week after week, month after month. They'll tune it out.
While your primary menu will likely remain the same year-round, utilize wind signs and inexpensive A-frames to get fresh, rotating, seasonal signage on-site. Highlight annual promotions, specials, packages, and chemicals that may pique your customers' interest throughout the entire year. That's key if you're going to have to use signage for most of your selling.
You need signage to sell your brand when you don't have someone at your wash at all hours. Similarly, when there is no one at your location to greet customers, the appearance of your location will determine their first impression.
Is your lot clean and inviting, well-lit, and maintained to a high standard? Or is the paint flaking, trash piling up around your vacuums, and the lighting eerie? Are you able to create a welcoming, safe, and delightful environment at your location?
Think about it: You're providing consumers with a cleaning service... how can a dilapidated or messy presentation inspire their confidence in your car wash? Would you feel confident in a cleaning service that arrived at your home covered in mud?
It wasn't long ago that the overwhelming industry belief was that the membership model didn't work for IBA locations. Those perceptions have since been debunked and dispelled. It has been proven by EverWash and countless other IBA owners that membership not only works at these locations, but it can actually help them thrive!
Approximately 80 days of revenue are lost by car washes every year due to adverse weather conditions. We have hundreds of wash partners that don't have this problem since membership has provided them with recurring revenue and added stability.
I still hear concerns about long lines on weekends alienating consumers. One of the most interesting learnings we've had in proving that membership works at IBAs is that members self-regulate. They don't have to wait until the weekend to wash since they can do it whenever they want. In this case, they drive by on Tuesday at 3 pm, see there is no line, and swing on in for a freshly cleaned car.
Due to the app-based nature of EverWash, we can provide members with 100 percent contactless service. As a result, many of our car wash partners could stay open during the peak of COVID-19 while their competition had to close down.
Since then, the demand for contactless has not dwindled. Many of our partners offer the same experience for single-wash customers with Tap and Pay solutions, such as CryptoPay's CryptoTap.
Through Tap and Pay technologies, modern credit and debit cards and cell phones equipped with Apple Pay and Google Pay can make single-wash transactions without engaging with a pay station. This speeds up wash time and increases potential daily counts.
Last and certainly not least is the importance of having warm bodies on-site as often as possible. While we are aware that IBAs are fully capable of being unmanned at all times, the most successful locations are staffed at least during peak hours. Having dedicated sales associates on-site during your busy days is a surefire way of growing your membership program, and in-turn, your recurring revenues.
EverWash is excited to work with wash operators with a growth mindset, and happy to share our playbook for success with you and your team when you partner with us. Visit our website to learn more about EverWash and to connect with a sales representative today.