Why “Little Things” Go A Long Way To Keeping Your Customers Happy and Coming Back In Your Car Wash Business

I went on my annual family vacation last week to Bethany Beach in Delaware last week. We stayed at the Sea Colony resort. Anyone who has ever visited this area will know the Sea Colony buildings because they are a big monstrosity of buildings that overtake the beach area. I’m guessing that they have 6 or 7 buildings and possibly 500+ units. This is the second time I stayed at this resort and I had to take notice of how the owners of the condo we rented really must not of cared about their accommodations. I of course, related it back to how I run my car wash business and how I might do a better job and tie care of some of the “little things” that could make a big difference.

Ok, let me explain. This condo unit had everything you would imagine that a beachfront condo unit would have in it. Wicker furniture with “beachy” upholstery. Sea shell artwork on the wall. A clear glass dining room table, with wicker dining room chairs. You know the typical furnishings and decorations that a beachfront condo normally has. This was not the problem however. I started to take notice of the “little things” that the owner did or did not do. First, the television was dated. I realize TV should not be a top priority when on vacation, but when you have three young kids the reality is that the TV is on a good part of the time, even while on vacation. This TV was from the 80’s possibly, no Hi Def, very bland, lousy picture. In my mind the cost to upgrade was around $300. Ok, then there was the internet access, or lack there of. While I saw a wireless modem sitting on the dated TV set, it was missing the power cord, as though the owners purposely did not want to allow their guests to use it. Whatever their intentions were, in this day and age internet access is a requirement. Why not make it available to your guests? If you want to secure it just give your guests a password they can enter. Cost to upgrade $40

OK, now there was the small bathroom in the master bedroom. It had a sink that looked like it might have been there since the buildings inception. It was not level and water puddled on the one side against the drywall that was bubbling from the dampness. Anything set on the bathroom sink top would be sitting in the puddled water. The bathroom also had a dropped acoustical ceiling. A dated look in itself that might have been OK if the metal structure that held the tiles in place were not rusted or if the stained ceiling panels were replaced. Then there was the washer and dryer that was not properly vented to the outside. With each use of the dryer located in the kitchen (stupid idea alone) the room would fill up with a stuffy dryer like steam and it would smell as though you were in a laundromat. Cost to fix in my estimation $200 max. There were countless other things, too long to mention here that made the condo a bad deal but were not overwhelmingly troublesome. All in, I think if the owners spent no more than $1500 they could’ve had all these “little things” go away.  A small amount when we spent over $3,000 for the week. (Multiply that times approximately 15 high rate weekly summer rentals!)

Ok, what does all this have to do with owning car washes? I started thinking about all the “little things” I could do to make my washes better. The bays that only have two mat holders should have four, some of the mat holders are missing the rubber part that holds the mats in better. The car wash credit card system that has been out-of-order for years has a sign on it that says it was replaced by card readers in the bays should be removed and replaced with another vending machine. Some of the ground cover that is creeping over the curbs near the vacuums needs trimmed back and the parking lot needs seal coated. I can think of a lot more little things to make my car wash business a better experience.

As you go through your day and you are quick to criticize their practices, always reflect back on what you can be doing better in your car wash business. After all it’s the “little things” that make a difference in your car wash business.

Main add value’s from this blog:

When you evaluate retailers on why you like or don’t like their services. Reflect back on your own business and see where you can make it better.

Buzz Glover is the author of Car Wash Business 101, a book written for people who are interested in getting into the car wash business. He has also built two self serve car washes with in-bay automatics, and bought a third wash.

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