As the scorching days of summer roll in, car wash operators often grapple with a seasonal slowdown. After the bustling pollen season and before the grime-inducing winter weather arrives, summer tends to be the quietest period for the car wash industry. Many people are off on vacations, spending mone elsewhere, or enjoying outdoor activities, leading to a notable dip in car wash traffic. However, this seemingly slow season can be turned into an opportunity to boost your business. Here’s how to make the most out of the dead of summer and prepare for a busy year ahead.

Capitalize on Maintenance and Upgrades

The summer lull provides the perfect opportunity to focus on car wash maintenance. With decreased volumes, you can afford to shut down equipment without impacting too many customers. This is the time to perform thorough inspections, make necessary repairs, and upgrade any outdated equipment. Regular maintenance not only prevents unexpected breakdowns during peak seasons but also ensures your wash is operating at its best efficiency. Clean and well-maintained equipment delivers better results, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Key Actions:

  • Schedule regular maintenance checks and servicing
  • Invest in upgrades that improve efficiency and wash quality
  • Clean and replace worn-out parts to ensure longevity

Host a Free Car Wash Day

One of the best ways to drive traffic during a slow period is to host a Free Car Wash Day. This strategy not only attracts new customers but also provides an excellent opportunity to showcase your services and convert one-time visitors into loyal members. Make it a community event with promotions, giveaways, and perhaps even a local charity partnership. This will not only boost your brand visibility but also enhance your reputation within the community.

The proof is the numbers! Here's an interview with Joey Besio from Pelican Car Wash, speaking to the effectiveness of a Free Wash Day:

Key Actions:

  • Promote the event through social media, local news, and community forums
  • Offer discounts on memberships and other services during the event
  • Collect customer information for future marketing efforts

Launch Multi-Month Winback Campaigns

Summer is an ideal time to win back former members. Create attractive multi-month winback campaigns offering discounted memberships for a limited time. For instance, offer two months of membership at a reduced rate to entice former members to not only return but stay on board long-term. Emphasize the benefits of membership, such as convenience, savings, and exclusive perks. Use this campaign to remind them of the superior value and service they experienced at your wash.

Key Actions:

  • Send personalized emails and messages targeting former members
  • Highlight the benefits and cost savings of membership
  • Offer limited-time discounts to create urgency

Boost Membership Sales

Given that summer is historically slow, it’s crucial to focus on selling memberships early in the season. Memberships provide a steady revenue stream and help cushion the impact of seasonal fluctuations. Promote the benefits of unlimited washes, such as convenience, savings, and maintaining a clean vehicle year-round. Offer special summer promotions to encourage sign-ups, such as discounted first-month rates or referral bonuses for current members.

Key Actions:

  • Train your staff to effectively sell memberships and highlight their benefits
  • Use targeted marketing campaigns to reach potential customers
  • Offer special incentives for new sign-ups and referrals


While the dead of summer may seem like a challenging time for car wash operators, it’s actually a golden opportunity to refine your operations, attract new customers, and boost membership sales. By focusing on maintenance, hosting promotional events, launching winback campaigns, and leveraging smart analytics, you can turn the summer slowdown into a season of growth and preparation for the busier times ahead. Embrace these strategies to ensure your car wash business not only survives but thrives during the summer months.

For more insights and support on boosting your car wash business, visit our website. We’re committed to helping wash operators increase their revenue-generating potential by helping them Excel at Membership.