Even in rural locations, there are still cars to be washed. Rather than leaving people to the sponge and bucket, providing a car wash can give a great service that will be appreciated by many. As such, remote places can still be a good place for car wash owners to start up a location.

But what type of business model is the best? We at PSD Codax, the leading provider of car wash access and supporting systems for all types of business models, are here to help you make the right decision. We’ll discuss the two main choices for car washes in remote areas: automatic, and self-service. Then, we’ll provide all the details so you can make an informed decision.

Starting a car wash and need an access system? Get in touch today.

The Differences Between an Automated and Self-Service Car Wash

The main two types of car wash are automated and manual. Automated systems include tunnel or roller systems that clean the car without the need for any human intervention. Manual – or self-service – systems require the customer to clean their own car, using the tools and materials provided as part of their purchase.

Each has their own benefits and use cases, but which is best for remote locations? To help you decide, we’ll discuss the advantages of each:

The Benefits of an Automated Car Wash

Automated car washes come with the obvious benefit of not requiring an employee to actively carry out the cleaning. Some of the other advantages include:

  • Speed
  • Low hassle
  • Potential to process large numbers of cars per day
  • Little human intervention required

However, despite these benefits, automated car washes come with some disadvantages that get especially pronounced in remote and rural locations. They require skilled maintenance to keep running due to their complexity, can be expensive to set up and run, and require consistent customer in-flow to be effective.

If you want an automated car wash, we offer a number of car wash access systems and related products to help your customers access it in a smooth and efficient manner.

The Benefits of a Self-Service Car Wash

Unlike an automated car wash, a self-service system doesn’t have as obvious benefits. Why would you want to go to a place where you have to do it yourself, when an automated car wash can do it for you? Well, there many great benefits of self-service car washes for both businesses and customers:

  • Nearly no staff required
  • Runs by itself
  • Suits all sizes – doesn’t depend on tunnel size
  • Often cheaper, meaning people are more likely to use it
  • Integrates better with car internal cleaning, as automatic ones would still require a person to do that
  • Fills a niche in the market

There are still a few downsides to self-service systems. They require customers to clean cars themselves, which isn’t appealing to everyone. They’re also smaller scale, meaning they aren’t suitable for busy urban environments. Finally, they still require maintenance from trained staff to keep them stocked and running, meaning you can’t break away entirely from human interaction.

However, many of these downsides aren’t applicable to self-service car washes in remote locations. You should consider this, among other factors, when you’re choosing between the two.

Find out more about our support for self-service car wash business models >

Automated vs Self-Service Car Washes: Which Should I Choose?

When choosing between self-service and automation, there are a few different aspects to think about to ensure you’re making the right choice. Here’s our top five things to consider:

  1. How far away are your customers, and how far away are your staff? If you don’t think you’ll be seeing a significant amount of people, self-service is the better choice.
  2. A car wash is an investment. Even if there are customers that would prefer an automatic system over a self-service one, you need to consider whether that’s a financially viable decision. In most cases, it’s better to go for the cheaper, more reliable self-service system.
  3. Is there any infrastructure currently available on the site? If so, it might be easier to implement an automatic system than otherwise. If not, getting the infrastructure built in a remote location can be costly, so the less-demanding self-service model proves more effective yet again.
  4. Automatic systems require a large amount of space. This isn’t usually an issue in remote areas, where space tends to be plentiful. However, if you are met with restrictions, the compact nature of self-service systems makes them an attractive choice.
  5. As well as staff getting to and operating your car wash, you’ll need to be able to find them in the first place. Recruitment can be an issue for car washes, especially if they’re in remote locations. While a self-service system doesn’t cut out the need for staff entirely, it does reduce it, meaning you’ll only need staff to ensure your car wash is well maintained and fully stocked with supplies.

Learn more about the difference car wash services available with PSD Codax >

Why Self-Service Car Washes are Better for Remote and Rural Locations

Due to their low maintenance, little need for staff, and extreme efficiency, self-service car washes are the best option for remote or rural locations.

They don’t cost as much to run, meaning you’ll see a return on your investment in a shorter period. And, since the car wash is in a remote location, you don’t need to worry too much about it going under-used. The supplies will be there, kept and maintained, for when a customer comes by.

Not having as many employees means you can cut down on the need for extra amenities like employee parking, break areas, restrooms, and access to food or refrigeration. With these out of the way, you can instead expand your operation to offer more stations or tools, or just keep things small, simple, and cost-effective.

Self-service stations also avoid the large capital investment of bigger automated systems. Although there is space to spare in remote and rural areas, there are fewer customers to make use of it. Having a simple, cost-effective car wash in place will give you the greatest return on investment. It will even save costs on running through less need for employees and a smaller demand on expensive electricity and water – both of which require extensive infrastructure to put in place, especially for larger and more demanding systems.

The remaining challenge is therefore marketing. Even though the investment won’t be as high as a larger system, you’ll still want people to know about and use your self-service car wash. That is where having a proper marketing plan in place can help you really start seeing profits.

Bring more customers to your remote location with our marketing tips >

Streamlined Self-Service with Car Wash Access Systems from PSD Codax

With an easier ROI, simpler management, and better integration into remote locations, self-service car washes really are the champion of the rural environment. While the power of automation can’t be denied, neither can the costs, so you’re better off going with a self-service car wash in these situations.

You can still automate part of the process, with streamlined access systems from PSD Codax. Our solutions help your customers know exactly what they’re getting and at what cost, giving them easy access to your car wash while you can effortlessly take in the profits. Get in touch today, or check out our range of products to find out more.

Want to expand your rural car wash? Find out what add-on services you can include >

If you’re thinking of opening another branch, find out how to become a car wash franchisor >