In the car wash world, they say you do 80% of your business on 20% of the days you’re open. That means preventive maintenance, along with equipment knowledge and the right service coverage, can go a long way in ensuring your equipment works reliably when you need it most.
At The Convenience U CARWACS Show in Toronto, a panel of experts, including Sean McBride from Belanger, John Sorensen from Mark VII Canada, and Jeff Beam from Transchem, presented their advice for keeping your wash operating during those peak periods.
Here are their top eight tips for maximizing your wash performance:
1. Make the big decision.
First, you need to determine whether you’re going to be a hands-on or hands-off operator. If you’re going to be hands-off, major companies may be your best bet when it comes to equipment and service coverage.
You’ll need to be more hands-on for service and upkeep with locations off the beaten path for service providers, so make sure that factors into your decision when you get started.
2. Find the right service provider.
Working with a national company with broad service coverage across the country is one way to ensure you have access to service and repairs, as is working with a company that’s known for great service in your particular area. Many manufacturers work with proprietary parts (although universal parts are becoming more common), and it can be difficult and expensive to find someone who can make the necessary repairs.
3. Make the right adjustments.
If your wash is in a more remote location, you may need to rely more on phone calls with manufacturers to determine the cause of your equipment troubles. If they can help pinpoint the problem, you can pass this information on to your repair person, or even order the necessary parts before they show up for the service call.
If you’re out of the main coverage zone, you should also stick with the most reputable equipment and brands.
4. Take advantage of resources.
Take ownership of your wash equipment, learning as much as you possibly can so you can save time and money by undertaking service and repair projects on your own. The next time someone visits your site on a service call, pay close attention and ask questions so you’ll be prepared to make the necessary adjustments, or at least diagnose the problem.
Many suppliers also provide access to informational sessions at their factories, so you can learn the equipment ropes and put that knowledge to use on site. The time spent away from your site may not seem ideal, but it’ll be well worth it when you’re an equipment expert who can take charge of your own operation.
5. Be prepared.
You know your equipment, and you also know the problems you tend to have with that equipment. Stock extra parts on site so you or your service provider can promptly make the right repairs.
Regularly check equipment so you know in advance whether changes need to be made; if you wait for the equipment to break, you’ll have to shut down, and your customers will go somewhere else. You can also order in the right parts and have them at the ready.
6. Don’t forget the little things.
Keeping your site up and running isn’t just about major equipment repairs and maintenance. Simple tasks like washing down the bays every day, tightening belts, and checking gear motors can go a long way in ensuring your site is clean and efficient.
7. Focus on the customer experience.
As more and more car wash sites open up across the country, there’s increased competition for customers. You need to set your site apart by giving customers an experience they can’t find at another wash location, and things like bubblizers, total body protectants, tire dressings, and LED lighting can give you that competitive edge. It’s essential to learn more about your customers so you can give them the experience they want.
Wheel cleaning technology, new brushes, chemical hyper-concentrates, and Interac payment options are set to play a bigger role in the industry, too.
8. Talk to other operators.
Spend time with other operators with equipment similar to yours and ask them about their service coverage. They can offer you feedback about what’s working for them, and what isn’t, along with honest advice to help you make the right decisions.