This article originally ran in the February 2017 issue of Kleen-Scene Magazine.
Mobile-Powered Membership Sales & Subscription Management Platform
Can a couple of guys from the health club industry and their nifty smartphone app really help car wash operators double their annual revenue? (And do so with no administrative work, maintenance support fees or added investment from the car wash?)
It may sound too good to be true, but John Cassady and Scott Caplan – founders of EverWash Car Club – say they’ve created an easy to use membership sales and management platform that can do just that.
Our editorial staff at The Kleen Scene was intrigued by EverWash, and recently sat down with these two guys – business partners and close friends for the past twenty years – to find out if EverWash Car Club’s turn-key membership sales & subscription management platform can really deliver on its promise of doubling wash revenues.
TKS (The Kleen-Scene): Let’s start with the basics: Who are you and what’s your background?
John: Scott and I both come from the health & fitness industry. Scott started and ran the largest health club chain in the Philadelphia market. I started and ran the nation’s largest membership sales & subscription management company to the fitness industry; selling memberships into the GlobalFit Network of over 8,000 fitness centers nation-wide, covering over 60 million eligible individuals.
TKS: How does your health club background translate into helping the car wash industry?
Scott: Over the past several years, we noticed that select car washes were selling monthly memberships, but coming from the membership driven world of the fitness industry, we saw that most of these washes could use a little help with their sales & marketing process. We couldn’t help but think they could be generating a ton more revenue from their membership sales. They just needed a more effective and practical way of onboarding members and managing their memberships.
John: After exiting our respective companies we jumped at the opportunity to work together to see if we could build a better mousetrap: one that could help the average car wash operator more easily and sell memberships.
So we took what we knew about the “subscription management business” and teamed up with the best and brightest car wash industry leaders and tech folks to combine best sales & marketing practices with today’s amazing game-changing mobile technologies. One thing led to the other and a few years later we had EverWash CarClub. Technically we are a “mobile-powered membership sales and subscription management platform to the car wash industry”.
Scott: In even more simple and consumer facing terms, EverWash is like a gym membership for your car. The app is free and offers users a unique, easy and personalized way to find a car wash, learn about membership options and then easily and securely buy a membership… all from the convenience of a smartphone.
Over 70% of new gym members come from referrals. So with that in mind, we built an “Invite a Friend” feature into the app, so every user can simply push a button and gift a car wash to their friends, helping them “discover a better, more convenient way to wash their car”.
“So when it comes to increasing revenues nothing in the industry comes close to moving the needle like a successful monthly membership program.”
John: So let me back up a bit. It’s pretty widely accepted in the car wash industry, and studies show, that monthly members are much more profitable than the average pay-as-you-go car wash customer. So when it comes to increasing revenues nothing in the industry comes close to moving the needle like a successful monthly membership program.
Scott: It’s no surprise that the gym industry as a whole is more accomplished at selling memberships than the car wash industry. Most health clubs reach around 4,000 members, and some have over 10,000. Comparatively, washes that sell memberships often level off at around 300 members with far too few washes even reaching the 1,000+ active membership level.
The subscription economy is a fairly complex industry that requires a different set of talents over the skills needed for a pay-per-service business like the car wash industry. The real problem is that most car wash operators simply lack the resources to set up and run a subscription plan that can generate significant sales. It’s just not their field of expertise.
Our mantra is “Why have customers when you can have members”
John: Our mantra is “Why have customers when you can have members”. EverWash was founded on a simple but powerful notion that having more monthly recurring-revenue-producing members, and not pay-as-you-go customers, hold the key to profit increases across the industry.
TKS: Why is it then that the overwhelming majority of car washes still operate on a pay-per-wash basis?
Scott: The short answer is that it’s not easy to set up a subscription-based sales and marketing program… not one that works really well anyway. The subscription economy is a fairly complex industry that requires a different set of talents over the skills needed for a pay-per-service business like the car wash industry. The real problem is that most car wash operators simply lack the resources to set up and run a subscription plan that can generate significant sales. It’s just not their field of expertise.
John: EverWash solves this problem, by helping car wash operators focus on doing what they do best: Cleaning cars. And we focus on doing what EverWash does best: Attracting new customers, selling memberships, and strengthening customer relationships.
TKS: Many car washes currently have an unlimited monthly membership program. Why do they need Everwash?
Scott: They don’t need us if they want to stay small or are satisfied with their membership numbers. But in the car wash industry, there’s only one way to really increase wash volume and revenues, and that’s through a really high-powered, professionally managed monthly membership program. And while traditional subscription plans run by individual car wash owners have shown the potential to increase rev-enues, they typically under-perform, and the burden of managing each and every member is still on the car wash owner.
John: The bottom line is that EverWash helps convert more ordinary, occasional-use customers into higher profit making members when other, less comprehensive and less results-driven, monthly billing and POS systems can’t.
TKS: How is EverWash different from other membership platforms that already exist?
John: We are the only membership solution on the market that is strictly pay-for-performance. In other words, we give the EverWash platform, free-of-charge, to the car washes and then we operate on a commission-only basis, so we only make money based on the actual amount of revenue that the EverWash platform generates. That means EverWash shares a common, deeply aligned goal with its partner washes: to grow car wash revenue through increased membership sales and to have members around for a long time. This strict pay-for-performance structure keeps us motivated and focused on one task, and one task only: selling car wash memberships.
Scott: Other “monthly unlimited” systems in the industry sell pricey POS and RFID readers to the car wash industry, making money off the car wash owners regardless of whether their membership solution is successful or not.
TKS: Ok, I get it. But why develop an app?
Scott: First and foremost the app allows consumers to buy a car wash membership anytime and from anywhere 24/7. Other monthly solutions ability to reach the consumer and sell memberships is limited to the few short minutes that they’re physically at the carwash. And the app also allows members to manage their membership. So members can easily and securely add cars, update their payment information, upgrade their wash plan, refer friends, cancel a car, review payment history and so on…all from the palm of their hand.
John: In every other area of their lives, car wash customers rely on their smartphones to schedule and manage their lives. Our solution builds on this, with an app-based service that puts getting their car washed top-of-mind in their hectic lives. Our app is free to download and is based on the concept that apps make our lives easier to manage. This is the thinking behind very popular apps for tracking exercise, eating well, ordering food, and calling for a ride, among the many other things people do through apps today. And business that don’t provide that value or don’t engage in mobile commerce will fade from view.
TKS: So what’s with the network? Why would joining a network of other car washes increase individual owner revenue?
Scott: It’s actually a fairly simple concept – but critical to that revenue increase we’ve been talking about. When car wash operators join our partner network, all of a sudden they are empowered by the strength of being part of a much larger system – with the economies of scale that larger companies enjoy, but still keeping all the same small-business advantages they love and count on. We come in and it’s like they hired an ad team and marketing experts and an entire tech department-full of smartphone-savvy app programmers — all of which sets the stage to generate a significant and sustainable source of revenue, and at absolutely no investment cost to the car wash owner.
TKS: You say that your solution includes marketing services. Can you tell me more about this?
John: In addition to designing beautiful, customized menu boards and windmaster signs for each car wash, EverWash also manages direct-to- consumer campaign marketing. Our goal is to keep customers thinking about getting their car washed. We send targeted promotional emails and texting campaigns to members and prospects, with special offers that align with customer behavior. We also run direct mail and social media campaigns.
These services are crucial to reaching new customers. Our plan also includes referral and loyalty programs that encourage members to invite their friends to download the app and join a monthly membership plan. This is tremendously important for generating a steady stream of customers. It really is difficult for a small-business owner to create this kind of customer benefit. They need a solution that has been developed, tested, and refined — which is then easily put into action, with no additional hardware, software or equipment purchases.
TKS: So, given all the great things that your solution provides, why do so many car washes still rely on pay-per-wash sales?
Scott: Honestly? Because until now, they didn’t have the chance to partner with a company like EverWash. I mean, we’ve spoken with many car wash owners who definitely know they need more customers to move that revenue needle. But introducing and then managing a customer subscription plan is a very complex operation. It requires a specialized skillset, with significant knowledge of sales, marketing, IT, and customer relationship management. Most car wash owners don’t have the time, money, or expertise to do this. It’s really a tremendous amount of work to manage customer subscription plans day in and day out.
“The EverWash mobile app is a sight for sore eyes. Easily the best monthly membership solution in the business.”-KC Fordham, KC’s Car Wash
The problem facing car wash operators is that finding potential members then convincing them to join a subscription plan is just the beginning. After they sign up, car wash operators then have to communicate with & nurture these new customers to keep them connected to the brand. This means taking care of their service needs, communicating with them about promotional offers and other calls-to-action, and managing their payments and accounts. Doing all of these things well requires the full-time effort of a dedicated team, a luxury that small businesses often cannot afford.
TKS: So tell me again, what does it cost to use EverWash?
John: Nothing, we are strictly pay-for-performance/commission only. All fees are based entirely on additional revenues generated from new EverWash members.
TKS: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us about your product. Any final comments?
John: Just that we love what we do and we want to share our enthusiasm, expertise and successes to be a catalyst of innovation and a vibrant leader in the Car Wash Industry.