If you are looking into different car wash business models, a gas station car wash is an attractive prospect. People need gas to keep their cars on the road. This results in a steady flow of customers through a gas station. If a car wash is visible on the same site, it has the potential to capitalize on all this passing trade. You only have to visit a busy gas station car wash business to see that selling gas and washing cars is a good combination. But is it a profitable one or the right one for you? The advantages and disadvantages are as follows:
What Is a Gas Station Car Wash Business?
This type of business revolves around selling gas and car wash services on the same site. It targets customers who want to refuel their vehicles and take the opportunity to clean their cars in one go. You often find a convenience store, takeaway coffee or restaurant introduced into the available services. If you are thinking about investing in such a business, there are different types of car wash models to consider, from an express car wash to a full-service car wash.
Advantages of a Gas Station Car Wash Business
Regular Customers at a Good Location
To maximize profits, you need to attract passing trade and encourage regular customers. Therefore, location is always a major consideration when setting up a car wash business. Ideally, it will be near a high-traffic area, such as a superstore, the interstate or on the same site as a gas station.
Cross-Sell to Your Target Market
You can cross-sell and promote your car wash to customers at the pump or inside the gas station store. Make it easy for them to purchase a car wash service when paying for gas. Will you offer discount promotions at the pump to attract more sales? A gas station car wash business presents the perfect opportunity to cross-sell your car wash services to people who regularly pass through to refuel their vehicles.
Convenience of Using Multiple Facilities at a Gas Station
People like the convenience of one-stop shopping. This includes filling up with gas and using the car wash in one trip to the gas station. Customers can also shop for food and drink if there is a convenience store on site. They may also take the opportunity to check tire pressure and make use of oil change services if these facilities are available.
A Gas Station Car Wash Business Service Is Time-Saving for the Customer
A car wash business within a gas station has the potential to save the customer time. Busier lifestyles have created a big demand for time-saving services. For example, if your gas station can offer a flex car wash it will appeal to those who want to save time with an express wash while also targeting customers who want additional services like a full serve and detail.
Gas Station Car Wash Business Startup Costs and Expenses
You need to make a considerable investment in this type of business to get it up and running, whether you are going it alone or considering gas station franchise options. For example, the Tommy Car Wash Systems franchise options include the gas station business model. The initial investment is $3 to $7 million. In contrast, you could start a mobile detailing business at around $15,000.
Lower Customer Satisfaction
A gas station car wash doesn’t always rate highly in customer satisfaction. An express wash might be quick but 3 or 4 minutes are simply not long enough to give pristine results. Customers might like the idea of a time-saving car wash but only if it guarantees a reasonably good clean. There is also a risk of exterior damage from automated car washes. Hard brushes and bristles may potentially scratch or damage exterior paintwork.
Nervous First-Time Customers
The thought of using an in bay automated car wash for the first time can put some people off. You must remain in your vehicle throughout the washing process and it can feel like a claustrophobic space. It is also a noisy experience when the brushes and water jets are in action.
Car Wash Discount Expectations
Buy a car wash and get a discount at the pump? It might sound like a good deal to the customer but it impacts the profits of a gas station car wash business in the long term. People look for a cross-sell discount. If there is an expectation that gas or car wash services will be cheaper at your gas station, you may need to run regular promotions to keep customers happy.
Minimal Profit Margin on Gas
Fluctuating gas prices don’t make it easy to make money at the pumps. In unsettled times, individual station owners have said that the only people making money are the credit card and oil companies. Instead, they look to their car wash services to bring in the cash. This highlights the importance of choosing the right type of car wash – one that meets customer expectations and maximizes your profits.
Is a Gas Station Car Wash Business Right For You?
It is important to weigh up the pros and cons. Let’s consider the cost to build a car wash. Starting from scratch takes considerable investment. You need to find the right location and a large enough site to accommodate both gas station and car wash. Can’t find the right site? There is the option of buying an existing car wash if you can afford it.
Running a gas station business that offers car wash services on the spot is an exciting venture. It can also be challenging and expensive. If you don’t have the capital or confidence to take on a gas station and a car wash at the same time, there are other options available. Check out the DetailXPerts car wash franchise opportunities. Also, be sure to follow DetailXPerts’ LinkedIn page for more business and franchise news, updates, and conversations.