General Merchandise

Draw Customers in With a Car Wash

Photograph: Shutterstock

When drivers stop into a gas station to refuel, they might also head into the adjoining convenience store to pick up a drink or a snack. For some c-store operators, that’s all they can hope for—a purchase on top of someone’s tank fill-up. But there are more options for drawing in customers and driving revenue—and one option is adding a car wash.

Adding a car wash to a c-store is more involved, of course, than stocking a new flavor of coffee, but the payoff can be substantial. According to and U.S. Census Bureau data, consumers spend about $5.8 billion per year at car washes, and, on average, nearly 20,000 cars get washed at any given carwash every year. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why some c-store retailers are quick to jump onboard.

But not every car wash is created equal, and it’s important to do some research before installing one at a given location. After all, optimum profits won’t be reached unless the car wash matches the site’s demographics, offers quality technology and is effectively marketed.

Effective marketing is key

Even when a car wash is available, it’s crucial for retailers to make sure their customers know it’s there. Without visual cues such as outdoor signage, signage at the register, posters at the pump and more, customers may see the building and wash bays but not fully register that they can get a car wash there—or that it’s connected to where they’re getting gasoline.

In addition to onsite messaging, social-media promotion and other advertising can help boost awareness of the car wash. By sending out direct mail coupons or social media blasts and other mobile marketing, retailers can be sure that customers coming in know about the carwash and can in turn enjoy the additional revenue the car wash can bring in.

Advanced options mean a more profitable car wash

Today’s car washes can use as little as 15 gallons of water per vehicle, which can help with the cost investment for retailers. And optional features, such as presoak chemicals, a high-pressure spray and touch-free car washes are what will bring in customers who want a superior experience. And for retailers who don’t have a lot of space to work with, mini-tunnel options are the perfect solution.

Choosing the right car wash solution

Offering a car wash can feel like a big or overwhelming endeavor. But with the right provider helping the process along, it’s easy as can be. Retailers should look for a car wash operator that provides full support for the entire life cycle of the facility, from the initial plans to ongoing operation. A great car wash partner will also be able to serve as a one-stop shop for all accessories and products related to operation, so that retailers won’t have to shop around piecemeal for their car washes to stay up and running.

With the proper technology, a reliable car wash partner and strong marketing campaigns, retailers are setting themselves up for success with a car wash. To learn more about what a car wash can do for c-store business, visit

This post is sponsored by Mark VII Equipment

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