Integrating Your Carwash and Fast Lube

Convenience is becoming increasingly important in our busy society. Time is valuable, and more and more consumers are turning to one-stop shopping. Carwash/fast-lube combinations are a result of this trend.

There are unique challenges to running a site that has both a fast lube and a carwash. Up-to-date information and accurate statistics form the basis for major operating decisions. Customer data, inventory levels and service histories become more numerous and require efficient organization. As the management demands increase, owners must be willing to invest to ensure smooth and profitable operations.

There is a growing need for operators to cross-market. However, you don’t have to break the bank to increase business. Many of the most effective strategies for cross-marketing are inexpensive or available to you at no cost.

Displays

You have a great opportunity to inform/educate about additional services while customers are waiting. Post signs throughout your waiting areas to let patrons know of your other operation(s). Depending on your budget, signage can range from simple countertop displays to full-color posters or large outdoor banners.

Packages

Everyone loves a deal. Combine several services together and offer them as a car care package. Bundle products and services that complement each other. Set a price that gives customers a sizable discount over purchasing each service individually. Then, promote the great value and savings. By offering several packages, customers will feel they have more choices. Car care packages have a high perceived value and are good for selling slow moving products and services.

Autocashier

Employ your autocashier in your effort to cross-market. Most entry units allow the user to customize screen images and audio. Use the opportunity to inform customers about your lube and other services offered.

Coupons

Nearly every carwash and fast lube uses coupons. But, you can offer something many of your competitors cannot — an extra service. While other lube shops will get into price wars and try to out-coupon each other, you can stand out by offering a discount toward a carwash.

Just add a “$3 off any carwash with the purchase of a basic oil change” coupon to whatever newspaper ads or mailers you normally use. Run the new coupon side-by-side your typical coupons. It will give consumers more choices, advertise your new service and let you test the effectiveness of your offers.

Your Database

What do you do if your carwash/fast lube has been open for a while, but you still have customers that just use one service? The answer lies in your computer — the database. Run a list of customers that have had specific services before but haven’t been in for that service for six months. Send them a postcard inviting them to come in for that service at a discounted rate. Or, mail them a certificate for a free basic carwash (with the opportunity to purchase an upgrade) to introduce them to your other location.

Personalized service doesn’t end when the customer leaves your site. A computer allows you to send customized thank-you cards or coupons: “Thank you for coming in Mrs. Bentley – Receive $2 off your next full-service oil change.” Your database dramatically reduces the time it takes to gather this type of detailed information and simplifies bulk mailings.

Fleets

Fleet customers are some of the most consistent. Wouldn’t it be great to extend that constant flow of traffic to your other profit center?

For fleet managers, time is of the essence. Enclose a flier with your next fleet statement, letting fleet managers know they can get their vehicles washed when they bring them in for their usual lube service.