Making Buying Decisions - When should I buy?

Every year business owners are put into a position where they need to decide whether or not to buy a new product or service for their business. There are new products and services that come out every single year and in many instances products within the wash industry are just evolutionary and rarely revolutionary. So when considering a purchase that you had not been planning on consider the following;

  1. Business Basics: Ask yourself, “Does this bring my business value?” Is there something about the purchase you are about to make that you are not currently capitalizing on? Examples range from finally adding that RainX super-sealant arch to your automatic so you can start up selling your menu items or finally adding credit card acceptance to your entry stations, bays, and vacuums to your cash-only business. These would be examples of “new changes” whereas changing the color of your soap and replacing wash equipment may be necessary, but not necessarily adding additional value.The key thing about bringing additional value to your wash services is that it’s not just improving on something you already do. There are a lot of wash owners that end up spending money just to have the latest and greatest - if you have the money to do that, by all means. But most wash owners need to consider that new equipment purchases (outside of necessary repairs and replacing old failing equipment) need to answer the question, “Will this product/service provide a feature or service that that my customers want or are willing to pay for?”

  1. Research Basics: Ask for referrals, do your homework online, and ask for the names of competitors. If a supplier or manufacturer is unwilling to provide you with customer referrals or hesitant to give you the names of their competitors that should send you a signal to be cautious. Nothing quite beats talking to an actual operator that uses a manufacturers product to learn whether it will be a good fit for you. The reason to look at competitors is because many times it will reduce any ‘buyers remorse’ that you may have when making big purchases, even if you made the right decision for your business. Anytime you are spending thousands of dollars with a supplier or manufacturer you need toknow that you didn’t make the wrong decision. Before speaking with a manufacturer or supplier be sure you’ve reviewed the information available online so you can ask intelligent and well-informed questions.

  1. Common Sense Basics: The wisdom of generations before us still holds true especially in making unplanned buying decisions.

  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” - Business owners are just as susceptible to the “rush” of buying something new as every other consumer on the planet. Most wash operations will always check to see if the equipment they have can be upgraded, retrofitted, or repaired before resorting to buying new.

  • “You get what you pay for” - There is a reason why you charge more for your top wash package than your basic wash package right? When evaluating suppliers and manufacturers solely based on price consider that (in general) the more you pay the more money the supplier or manufacturer has for supporting their customers, research & development, and providing additional services the low-cost alternatives can’t afford to provide. So consider when a claim is made about up-time, product features, and customer support that the price tag doesn’t seem too good to be true (it rarely is).

Posted on January 26, 2009 and filed under Car Wash Associations, Editorial, Industry Talk, Marketing.