Expanding your business while remaining the same location often means finding creative ways to add value to your offering. For petrol stations, there are a number of services car owners and busy commuters could benefit from – near the top of the list is access to a quick, effective car wash.

We’re PSD Codax, suppliers of world leading car wash access systems, making it even easier for you to add a car wash to your petrol station business. In this article, we’ll go over how popular car washes are, how to add one to your business, and tips for running your car wash.

If you’ve already settled on adding a car wash to your business, don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help raise your revenue via car wash sales and cross promotions.

How Popular are Car Washes?

While Covid saw a decrease in the popularity of car washes due to the reduction in people travelling, they have been a popular service since cars have been around. Why? The main reason is convenience. It can be frustrating to clean your own car, especially if you have to do it often or are limited in outside space, and car washes are often quick and reasonably priced enough to warrant using this service.

Car washes are even more popular when used as an add-on to an existing business. A customer who has come to fill up the tank is more likely to have their car cleaned while they’re there than they are to actively seek out a car wash, so including a car wash at your petrol station business is a great way to advertise your new service and generate revenue.

Further advancements like telematics are making it even easier for car wash owners to deliver exceptional service, so now is a great time to think about implementing a car wash at your business.

Which Type of Car Wash is the Best?

The business model you go for when adding a car wash to your petrol station is important. Each type of car wash has different infrastructure required to properly implement it, so it’s crucial to choose the right one if you want to see the best returns.

Based on market data, here are the most common types of car wash:

  • Hand car wash: 67%
  • Automated car wash: 8%
  • Jet wash: 8%
  • Conveyor: 8%

The remaining 9% is made up by people who wash their own car. This shows the vast majority of people have their cars cleaned at a car wash, showing their popularity as a service.

The most common car wash might still not be the best. The same research went on to give a breakdown of how much of the UK’s annual car wash revenue of over £1bn belongs to each type:

  • Hand car wash: 90%
  • Automated car wash: 4%
  • Jet wash: 3%
  • Conveyor: 3%

While hand car washes make up the largest proportion of revenue, this doesn’t necessarily mean the highest profitability. Hand car washes require significant amounts of personnel to operate, meaning you will have much higher overheads in the long term. Automated systems require a greater initial investment, but this can pay off nicely over time.

The type of car wash that is best for you can also depend on where your business is, how much space you have, and who you expect your customers to be. No matter the market you’re operating in we have the products to meet yours and your customers’ needs.

Find out more about the different types of car wash services >

How to Add a Car Wash to Your Petrol Station Business

First, you’ll need to make sure there’s the demand for a car wash in your area. If you have a major competitor, or you’re in a remote location where people aren’t likely to want a car wash, then you may want to consider a different service to include with your petrol station.

Once demand has been confirmed, you’ll need to make sure there is enough room for the car wash you’re after. Depending on the location, there are different types of car wash you can choose from. Even places with less space can still have a car wash in the form of hand washing or self-service, so there are plenty of options out there.

Next comes planning permission and regulations. You need to make sure your business will be compliant with the law, so this is a vital step that you cannot miss.

After you’ve got the go-ahead, you can start construction. This means sourcing and implementing the infrastructure like flooring, cleaning tools, and signage for your car wash.

Finally, you’ll need a way to access the car wash. You’re in luck, because we supply car wash access systems fit with world leading technology. Find out more by getting in touch, we’re always happy to share some of our experience from 25 years of car wash control.

Tips for Running a Car Wash Business

To help you get your car wash business up and running, here are seven useful tips that you may want to consider.

  1. The run-off from car washes can be detrimental to the environment, and there may be other regulations to consider, so ensuring you’re aware of these factors is key to a smooth beginning.
    Learn more about health and safety at a car wash >
  2. Extra services. With a petrol station already there, you’re in a great position to continue offering added value to your car wash. Including add-ons at your car wash like undercarriage cleaning, waxing, air pumps, and facilities can add convenience for customers and boost your revenue.
  3. Streamlined access system. Having a world-class car wash access system can make the journey much smoother for customers, showing them what services are available and guiding them through the process from start to finish.
  4. Make sure you’ve got the right setup for your car wash – in can be expensive to change later on, and having the right infrastructure for the business model you’re after will greatly improve the service you can provide.
  5. As well as being an important safety feature, good signage is another way to show your customers where to go and what to do – increasing their satisfaction with the experience.
  6. Subscription service. An increasingly popular payment option that car washes offer, a subscription service gives a customer unlimited access to your services for a monthly fee. This ensures they keep coming back to your specific car wash, meaning you’re guaranteed their business. This can also increase the revenue of your petrol business too!
  7. Since your car wash business is an add-on to your petrol station, you will already have a decent amount of exposure to potential clients. However, additional advertising can still be beneficial, especially when increasing the visibility of your new business.
    Learn more about marketing tips for car washing business >

Build your car wash from the ground up – find out about the best flooring options >

Car Wash Access Systems from PSD Codax

Your car wash control system is as important as your car wash! Maintain your brand image with your existing petrol station business with our customised payment terminals, increasing the breadth of your offering and generating additional revenue while adding value for your customers. Choose the right business model for your car wash, and you’ll be set for life. Increase margins, accurately and securely record sales activity to ensure you’re getting the most out of your investment with our car wash management software, WashConnect.

Once you’ve decided on what car wash you want, you’ll need a quality car wash access system for customers to start actually using it. At PSD Codax, we supply access systems built on innovative technologies to interface with any manufacturer to help you offer the best service. Contact us today, or read on with some related articles to find out more about running a car wash business!

It can be a great idea to include other add-on services in your car wash business – find out more >

To expand your car wash business further, check out our guide to becoming a franchisor >