Upgrading: You can't do it right by paying with quarters.

I just got back from the Western Carwash Association's annual tradeshow in Vegas where I gave a presentation on the benefits of adding cashless payment acceptance to a self service wash operation. It was (as always) full of eager wash operators that know they need to do SOMETHING to increase their business revenues in an ever competitive market. I was glad to see so many wash operators hit the exhibit hall eager to find a cashless solution that will best match their business and their promotional goals. It is this kind of eager attitude that leads to wash owners tracking me down at the next show to tell me "You were RIGHT!! We are making SO much more money now every month because we took your advice!".

The sad truth is that there are those that do it right the first time and those wash owners that don't. I'm asked if it's "ok" to just add credit card to one or two bays and maybe a single vacuum. This is followed up with, "maybe if things take off I will add it to the rest of the wash." The problem with this is that adding cashless acceptance to a single bay it will not have the big impact on profits as expected. Making an increased 20-40% in profits from a single bay is not nearly as impressive as 20-40% for the entire wash! Far too many car wash owners are waiting to upgrade until they can PAY for the upgrade on the profits of their cash-only business. This is a Catch-22 situation. Owners that need to make more money will upgrade their wash (to make more money) with profits that will never come (because they need to upgrade their wash).

My Advice: Treat this upgrade as a business decision. Go to the bank, get a loan for the 20-40 thousand dollars to do it right the first time. We all KNOW you cannot lose money by adding credit card and loyalty card acceptance to your wash. You make more money for EVERY service it is added to. Get the loan and have it paid off in less than a year with the added profits from the wash. You know what? You get to keep ALL the money after the small business loan is paid off every month.

Just remember. It takes money to make money in this industry. The good news is that a cashless acceptance system will ALWAYS make you more money by changing the buying habits and spending trends of customers using your wash.
Posted on October 11, 2007 and filed under Cashless.