When your customer drops off their damaged vehicle, they’re annoyed, irritated, and inconvenienced by the entire ordeal. So, when they pick up their repaired vehicle, you have a chance to make their day a little better!
Leave them a gift card, coupon, or a couple of tokens to a local car wash.
Now your customers will love this! This is a fantastic little extra touch that makes your shop stand out from the rest. Your customer walks out to the lot to get in their car, and they’re already happy to be getting their car back, but when they get in, they see your card that reads “Your next wash is on us” and they see this gift card.
You’ve made their day, and they're going to tell their friends and family about it - and they will probably mention it in the online review you’re going to ask for.
How to Pick a Car Wash Partner
Before you commit to a specific car wash there are some factors you may want to consider. For example, do you want to partner with a locally-owned car wash, or will you go with a larger chain?
I like to do business locally when I can and I recommend that option if it makes sense. It’s good to support local businesses, and unless your shop has been acquired, you are one of those local businesses.
On the other hand, if you’re in an area with no decent local facilities, you may be better off partnering with a chain. In Decatur, IL for example, we have a Club Car Wash on the north side, and Rainstorm Car Wash on the east side and on the far north side. Then there are some gas station / convenience store / car wash locations as well, so we have several options to choose from.
So an obvious factor to consider is location. You may want a facility close to your shop, but that’s not as important as facilities with a good central location, or even multiple locations.
The most important factor in choosing a partner car wash is whether you can make it work financially. Check around and see if you can get discounted gift cards or coupons if you buy in bulk. Maybe they need you to buy 10, 25, or even 50 cards per month to make it worth their while. Of course this depends on how many repairs you do in a month, and how significant the discount is.
If a typical wash is $8 or $10 at the facility you’ve chosen, is that worth it to you to go the extra mile for your customers? Do you need to factor it into your pricing to make it work?
An Example Scenario
I spoke with Rainstorm, which has dozens of locations in Illinois, and a few in Indiana, and they love those types of partnerships. Their process is to print a few thousand cards with the partner’s logo and a code which the user can scan. Then a shop might order 100 at a time, where they pay up front at a discount for that batch.
Rainstorm mentioned they could offer them to a shop owner for up to 50% off depending on the quantity. They offer 4 different washes, and customers can either pay per wash, or buy a monthly membership for unlimited washes. Their retail rates are $10, $16, $20, and $25 for individual washes.
For example, let’s say a shop owner chooses the $10 wash to give to his customers. He’d pay $5 for each one in bulk, so for 100 gift cards, he’d pay $500 (100 x $5).
Is it worth it? Well that’s for you to decide!
For this idea to really work, it has to be a win for both your shop and the car wash. This is an obvious win for your customers, they’re going to love it. The car wash wins because you’ll be sending them a steady stream of new customers. And assuming you run the numbers before jumping in, your shop wins, by standing out, and exceeding your customers’ expectations. They tell others, and they mention it in reviews, and this makes you look great!
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