Top Car Wash Tips To Get Customers’ Engines Revving

By Margaret Link

Making mobile marketing work at a car wash is now within reach. Here are the top marketing car wash tips to improve customer relations and drive sales results.

For any car wash business operator, one of the biggest frustrations is how building personal relationships with a handful of customers seems imminently possible, but buildilng similar connections with all customers seems near impossible.

The reality is that customer relationships are complicated. It’s not like the old days, when heading to the car wash was somewhat of a fun outing with the kids or a laugh with friends. Nowadays, car wash owners are vying for the attention of their customers in a much different world — a mobile world. And though it might seem like an intimidating world of technology out there, with customers spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on their phones, a better strategy is to embrance new tech for the amazing opportunity it can be. Let’s look at how to make the car wash experience fun and engaging again, but through the medium that has everyone glued — mobile!

#1 Car wash tip: Personalize every visit

Custom visits were once something the car wash industry prized itself on. Then came automation and efficiency, and that one-on-one treatment was lost to high-pressured machines.

Today, however, personalization is making a comeback, as customers expect a unique experience with every purchase they make — thanks to those smartphones! And though personalizing all those customer experiences used to be an unfathomable task, those same smartphones make it doable – even easy!

“Eventually companies get too big for owners to manage the marketing themselves and sooner or later successful owners will need to delegate their marketing duties, so they can spend their energy more wisely” – Charity Burns, The Car Wash Magazine

Charity has hit the nail on the head here, and it’s mobile technology that will pick up the slack. When done right, mobile marketing works for you, and on your behalf — instantly engaging customers in a personalized fashion. What an age we live in! Some examples:

  • Send offers to customers who were once loyal but have not visited in a long time
  • Have your top customers and big spenders get exclusive offers just for them!
  • Drive customers to quieter times of the week with a simple offer sent straight to their phone

Businesses that are using mobile see a huge increase in sales, ranging from 30%-50%. Using mobile marketing will not only enhance your customers relationships, but also help cultivate new ones.

#2 Car wash tip: Real-time feedback is essential

How do you allow customers to leave feedback now? A suggestion box on the front desk? A comment page through your website? Oops, too late, by the time you’ve opened up your suggestion box, read “Mary’s” bad experience, and picked up the phone to call — she’s already told all her friends and took to Yelp to write a bad review for the whole world to see.

But wait? You never even had a chance to interject!

This all too familiar scenario should be a thing of the past! Smartphones allow for instant feedback from customer to merchant. Car wash operators must have a means for customers to leave feedback — it may seem obvious that having a way for people to tell you about their experience is good for business, but harping back to the age we live in, this must be done in REAL-TIME!

  • Replying directly to customer feedback increases sales by 22%. Directly conversing with them can boost revenue dramatically with minimal effort.
  • Using mobile increases customer engagement dramatically compared to traditional channels such as email or text — 47% of customers who see a push notification in-app completed a survey, versus a typical email survey response rate of 10-20%.
 “With a mobile-based communication system, we can finally know who our most loyal customers are!  More importantly, we now have tools to engage with them directly and make sure they are happy and keep coming back. The data we are beginning to collect is fantastic. Every time we learn something new, we just want more and more!” – Jimmy Starnes, Wash me Fast

#3 Car wash tip: Reward your loyal users

“Branch out into the digital realm. Coupon books and gift cards are your bread and butter (and probably will be for the next two to three years), but the future is in pixel form.” – Wolfestheone, The car wash blog.

Not to be controversial, but I have to disagree with the above quote. Coupons and gift cards are already a thing of the past. When a business owner sends out a coupon campaign, the most likely customers to come in and use the discount will be someone who already knows and loves your wash! Thus, the campaign is actually losing you money by giving top customers a discount that was meant to acquire new ones.

While acquiring new clients is important for any business, customer loyalty matters more, particularly for car washes when a small amount of blocks can separate competitors! True loyalty increases customer lifetime value and creates a brand around your company.

And the best way to create loyal patrons? Reward them for their continued use. Ensure your top customers are being treated as such. If Mary visits ten times more frequently than Amanda, then I think we’d agree Mary deserves some benefits?

Well, we’d be right. Marketing to your VIP’s can increase sales by 40%. In the past, marketing according to customer frequency and spend may have seemed like an arduous, impossible task. But mobile marketing has made it as easy as a click of a button!


Be unique. Be timely. Be focused. Those are the words of advice here.

Above all, be sure to adopt mobile marketing. With just a few small changes, you can take your business soaring ahead of the rest. Car wash owners are regularly acclaimed for their ability to adapt to new technology – so you’re pretty much all set. Time to take action.