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Carwash Profitability: Tips and Techniques

If you are looking to increase profits in your forecourt shops, it’s worth reminding yourself about the exceptionally high margins that can be generated by your carwash equipment.

The economics of a carwash are a lot like a commercial airliner: once you have made the capital investment and committed to operating it each day, every extra sale returns almost pure profit.

Traditionally, carwash operators kept it simple, setting relatively high prices and focusing on quality rather than quantity. But as hand car washes have dragged prices down, this strategy has become unsustainable.

At Codax we speak to a lot of carwash operators every day and have noticed that many of the successful ones have adopted some clever marketing and pricing techniques, similar to the ‘yield management’ that airlines use to maximise customers and profits:

1. Reward customers for washing their car more frequently

Your existing customers like your carwash service, so give them reasons to use it more often. Promote multi-buy offers, where customers get big discounts on the regular price if they pay for a large number of washes at once, to be used regularly.

Systems like the Codax Smartcard allow you to set a time limit, so that washes have to be used within, say, three to six months. This kind of limit, while generous, encourages customers to think of their carwash credits as something to be used quickly, not held on to.

This principle applies whether you use Codax Smartcards to store value (€, £, kr, …) or specific wash programmes.

2. Upsell more premium wash programmes

Everyone likes to get more than they paid for, so when a customer asks for a basic wash, offer them a premium wash for the same price, if they buy several at once. They come away extra happy, while you get another customer into the habit of using your premium wash.

Another good way to incentivise or reward people who buy a bundle of premium washes is to give them a gift card for another family member. With a Codax Smartcard, this card could contain a number of basic washes that can only be used during specific off-peak periods.

3. Promote it shamelessly

Many people love the whole carwash experience, but need prompting to make this premium purchase.

Make sure your staff are all trained to offer carwash promotions with purchases of fuel. Get your marketing people to create point of purchase materials (or ask us for examples). And make sure your Codax Smartcards feature strong designs and clear branding so that they provide a regular reminder to your customers every time they open their wallet.

Running a profitable carwash requires more creativity and a little more effort than in the past, but by adopting some of these ideas, we trust your carwash will continue to return some of the highest margins available on the forecourt.

If you would like to discuss any of these points with our carwash experts, please contact us.

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Innovative Control Systems Acquires PSD Codax

Wind Gap, PA, USA—Innovative Control Systems (ICS), a premier provider of car wash management and control system technologies, announced today that it has acquired PSD Codax, a UK-based global leader in car wash code entry and access control systems.

“This new alignment makes great strategic sense for both companies,” said Kevin Detrick, Innovative Control Systems President. “The geographic coverage and product lines are complementary. We are confident that the synergies created will offer significant benefits for customers around the world.”

“When the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 negatively impacted sales, ICS expanded beyond the conveyor car wash segment into the in-bay rollover and jet wash markets by developing new products and a multi-site management system called WashConnect” said Rob Deal, ICS Vice President of International Sales. ICS also initiated a territorial expansion outside of the US. “We soon encountered PSD Codax and their forecourt code entry systems in virtually every market but North America. The geographic fit is excellent,” said Deal. “Together we are creating a global car wash electronics company with a wide range of evolving capabilities for customers.”

Graham Round, Sales Director for PSD Codax, concurred. “The opportunities for global synergy are immense. PSD Codax serves thousands of retail car wash and forecourt sites around the world. ICS products complement our own. Coming together with ICS will move Codax into a new phase of business development that offers more marketing functionality, operational control, and connectivity for current and future customers.”

ICS will continue to operate PSD Codax from their current office in Bristol, UK giving the combined customer bases full technological support through a global network of call centers.

PSD Codax, is headquartered in Bristol, England, and designs, manufactures, and supports a full range of products for the car wash and forecourt car care equipment industry.

Innovative Control Systems, is headquartered in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, USA, is a leading provider of car wash management and control systems including the Auto Sentry® line of payment kiosks, Tunnel Master® controllers and WashConnect® multi-site management system.

More details

If you would like to find out more about ICS Carwash Systems, please visit their website, or to discuss this announcement, call Graham Round, Sales Director, on +44 777 151 8253.

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Case Study: Clean Express, Stockholm

Clean Express is a new, unmanned self-service wash centre built in a suburb of Stockholm. They have four self-service jet wash bays and self-service vacuum cleaners.

The challenge

As with any unmanned wash centre, security and reliability needed to be outstanding. For this reason the owners wanted all payments and cash holding to be in a single, secured location on the site. They also wanted to avoid tokens, which often jam and can also attract thieves, who cause expensive damage as they try to break in.

The solution

The installers recommended Codax because of the proven reliability of our token-free access systems and the flexibility and security of our payment terminals.

All of the carwash, jet wash and vacuum cleaners at Clean Express are controlled by the Codax code access system and accept Codax Value and Tracker Smartcards.

There is a single Codax Payment Kiosk, securely mounted into a building, where customers can make their selections using a clear, rugged touch screen user interface. Most customers pay using bank cards, although they also have the option of using bank notes. The bankcard terminal within the Payment Kiosk accepts chip and pin cards and can processes pin-free transactions.

When customers pay for a service, the machine prints a standard Codax access ticket with a secure access code printed in barcode format which they scan at the wash or vacuum bay to start their chosen option.

The Clean Express centre also includes the Codax smartcard system so they can give pre-pay cards to regular customers and also offer account cards to fleet users. The cards are conveniently credit-card sized and are branded as the ‘Clean Express Car Cleaning Pass’, providing a constant reminder to return to the centre.

Customers with pre-pay cards can add credit quickly and easily using the Codax Payment Kiosk. For customers with account cards, the Codax Card Manager software provides detailed usage reports ready for invoicing.

More details

If you would like to find out more, please see details of the Codax system and our self service payment systems on our website. Or contact us on +44 1275 866910 to discuss your specific requirements.

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For more information about these news stories, please contact us on
+44 1275 866910 or email info@psdcodax.com.