Last week, representatives from EverWash and Zep Vehicle Care joined forces to host a webinar for car wash operators titled “Navigating Your Wash Through Uncertainty and Setting Yourself Up For Success”.
Over the course of the one hour presentation, our panel provided car wash operators with guidance on navigating through uncertain times with COVID-19, and tips for how to come back on top after closures or slowdowns. Operators were also asked to share their most pressing concerns regarding their business moving forward.
Most cited adjusting to the “new normal” as their biggest concern, while others mentioned gaining customers back, among other responses. Here’s a breakdown of the poll results:
To address these concerns, operators who participated in the webinar received guidance from EverWash and Zep on how to properly “restart” a wash’s chemistry, the importance of equipment inspections, new onsite marketing ideas, and sales training guidelines. Discussions were led by Richard DeGennaro, EverWash’s Director of Training, and Dr. Andrew Landa, Zep’s Director of R&D.
While the discussions were varied and unique, operators could find three common themes present throughout the entire webinar:
In case you missed the webinar, or if you wanted to review these high level themes that were covered during the presentation, we’ve outlined them for you below:
The Importance of Embracing a New Approach
As consumers adjust to the “new normal”, car washes are going to have to develop and embrace a new business model. Whether it’s a Full-Service wash converting into an Express Exterior site, or a wash introducing a membership program for the first time, a culture change is in order for many operators. Richard DeGennaro had some words of wisdom specifically for washes looking at membership as an option and opportunity
“Moving forward, you must think in terms of how everything can improve your membership business, because that is your new business plan,” he told operators participating in the webinar. “You and your team need to stop looking at yourself as being in the car wash business, and instead start thinking of yourself in the unlimited membership business.”
Developing (or Redeveloping) Customer Trust
Trust is an important aspect of running any business, as customers are more likely to continue visiting a business they have confidence in. In times where public health is at the front of everybody’s mind, the appearance and cleanliness of a car wash location has never been more important in developing that sense of trust.
DeGennaro reviewed and recommended the use of regular site assessments as a rewarding and effective way to keep car wash locations clean. He suggested dedicating space to promote clean and health-focused consumer messaging, such as new services, best practices, and contactless washing. “When you’re selling clean, you must be presenting clean,” DeGennaro said. “You must become the leader your team needs in this time of change.”
Employee evaluations are another important aspect of developing trust between yourself and your employees, as well as your customers and your staff. If an employee isn’t presenting themselves in a clean and professional manner, that hurts your business in the end. Provide your employees with face masks and gloves to keep them safe, but also promote a safe environment to your customers. Have employees proactively wipe down points of contact, and place visible hand sanitizer stations around your location.
Always Prepare For the Worst
Many washes experienced some form of temporary, mandatory shutdown during the COVID-19 crisis. While we can all hope that our industry will not encounter another shutdown again in the event of a second wave, there is no way to know for sure.
“I have seen a lot of changes in the industry, but nothing can compare to the changes we have all seen with COVID-19,” DeGennaro said. “COVID-19 made us look at our industry in a whole different way.”
Operators should be prepared for another shutdown, and know how to properly shut down their wash and its equipment in the event of another long-term closure, as well as properly turn everything back on. Dr. Landa from the Zep Team took time to thoroughly explain the importance of preventative maintenance and equipment inspections when restarting a wash, such as:
Additionally, having a contactless membership program put in place can help keep your wash open in the event of another shutdown. For example, an EverWash Partner in Ohio was able to use the EverWash App as justification for reopening to members-only because it allowed employees to work and members to wash while avoiding all physical and verbal interactions. Members simply scanned the EverWash App through their windows, without having to roll it down to exchange cash or credit cards.
Local health officials agreed, and that wash has been able to grow their membership base during a time where businesses in many industries are hurting and stagnating. So instead of waiting for another shutdown, use this time to put systems in place to offer contactless payment and easy membership enrollment opportunities for your customers.
Ultimately, wash operators can always look to their trusted partners for guidance on how to navigate these unprecedented times. Whether that partner is your chemical representative or your membership partner at EverWash, know that you have plenty of support in setting yourself up for success, even when navigating your wash through uncertainty.
Thank you for reading our Webinar Recap Blog Post! Are you thinking of launching an Unlimited Program at your wash? If so, there are plenty of questions you should be asking yourself while getting set up, many of which you may overlook.
Click here for a FREE copy of EverWash’s Unlimited Program Checklist. This document outlines the 10 questions you should ask yourself when setting up an Unlimited Program. If you aren’t sure how you’d answer these questions, contact EverWash today!