There are many types of Car Wash operating styles. The base of all conveyorized options is the exterior car wash. Although it is certainly not new, the technological advancements in equipment, computers, wash materials and detergents allow this wash style to be performed with no manual prepping or exit end finishing. Quickly becoming a popular style in the United States and Europe, Express Exterior lowers operating costs by reducing labor expense and shortens the learning curve for new operators. In the most common layouts, customers are "greeted" by an automated attendant, stay in the car during the wash, and have the option to vacuum their vehicle themselves either at free vacuum bays or at self-serve vended stations.
Pros - Express Exterior
Minimal labor expense
No shrinkage, less accounting
Increased hours of operation
High volume throughput
Cons - Express Exterior
Loss of detailing revenue
Increased land requirement for vacuum bays
Loss of lobby retail sales
Flex service washing is the combination of Express Exterior and Full Service offerings on one property. The most popular layout utilizes an automated attendant offering affordable express wash packages as well as interior and express detailing options. All customers stay in the car during the wash. Express customers directly exit the wash, often routed past vacuum islands. Full Service customers pull into an aftercare area, exit the vehicle, and wait while attendants vacuum the car, clean the windows, and perform any other express detailing services the customer has selected. This style attracts a broader customer base than either express only or full serve.
Pros - Flex Serve
Reduced labor expense
High volume throughput
Accommodates all customer wash preferences
Cons - Flex Serve
Increased land requirement
Reduced lobby retail sales
Increased management and training requirements
Full serve car washing offers a robust number of profit opportunities yielding a higher revenue per car. Greeted by a live attendant the customer selects their wash level and extra services before exiting the vehicle to a retail waiting area or convenience store. While the customer is waiting, attendants take the vehicle through the wash, vacuum, clean windows, and perform other detailing services. Although popular with customers, it is labor intensive and rising wages in some markets are leading full serve washes to increasingly use automated equipment normally used in express and flex service operations to replace manual processes.
Pros - Full Service
Retail lobby sales potential
Higher price points
Shorter tunnel lengths, reduced land requirements
Cons - Full Service
High labor costs
High management and training requirements
Reduced volume potential
Fewer hours of operation
People have been washing their cars for a very long time. With this came about the Self Serve Car Wash. A Self Serve Car Wash is generally a group of bays which accept tokens or coins to purchase wash time. All the do it yourself equipment including specially formulated chemicals, brushes, and high pressure water guns are provided. Becoming increasingly popular within the self serve car wash is the use of In Bay Automatics. In Bay Automatics are machines where the customer pays for a car wash at an automated attendant, pulls their car into a bay at which time the machine "Automatic" travels back and forth over the car spraying high pressure water or using brushes to clean.
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