I don’t know about you, but I love a good car wash. Nothing beats taking a dusty, dirty car and turning it into a clean and shiny car.
But, car washes are pretty boring fare. Just basic. Wash and dry. Maybe a little wax. And we can do this ourselves (if lucky enough to have a house and yard), or we can go to a car wash for different levels of service from self-serve to full-detailing.
One of the problems with car washes is their total lack of appeal for customers while waiting for the car to be cleaned. Bored patrons. Utilitarian building. No appeal. No community. Wouldn’t it be nice if car washes were, well, attractive and welcoming?
Some car washes have seriously upped their game, adding coffee shops, bars, food, hookah bars, and more. The result is to make it more like a club – and keep customers there to spend more money and time.
One car wash in Sioux Falls, S. D., offers locally roasted coffee along with sandwiches and pastries. Another business offers pet-washing stations plus doggy snacks. A car wash in Zurich, Switzerland, has a dance club on the second floor so that customers can dance while they wait. And, a car wash in Plano, Texas, uses advanced technology in its $5 million facility with a luxury lobby complete with televisions and café
Lest you think car washes are small potatoes, a research report shows it growing to a $38 billion market by 2030. However, start-up costs for an express exterior car wash can be several million dollars. Businesses need a little competitive edge and better services could help differentiate car washes.
Care for a latte while you wait?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Start with a poll. What do students dislike about car washes? What amenities would they like to see in an upscale car wash?
- Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this service? What are the points of difference?
- Discuss the four I’s of services: Intangibility, inconsistency, inseparability, inventory.
- Where on the service continuum is a car wash?
- Service encounters: Develop a customer contact audit for a luxury car wash.
- Divide students into teams and have each team develop their own car wash service.
- Who is the target market? How will they promote it?
Sources: Jordan, M. (26 April 2022). The luxury car wash: Dog spa, hookah and even lamb chops while you wait. Wall Street Journal.