Congratulations on your decision to own and operate a car wash! As you may know, the express exterior car wash business model has seen immense growth over the past decade. We can attribute a large part of that success story to innovations like the unlimited car wash plan.
In fact, revenue doubled for one car wash in Northern California when it implemented the subscription-based service. Unlimited car wash plans allow customers to wash their vehicles as often as they’d like during a specified period, typically a month or a year, for a fixed price.
Unlimited car wash plans are essential for most express exterior car washes to be successful. But how did these plans start? And why are they now such a vital part of the industry?
While it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact origin or date, we can trace the concept through the development of loyalty programs in other industries and the evolution of car wash service offerings and technology.
In the early 2000's, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology emerged that made subscription plans possible for car washes by enabling the automatic recognition of member vehicles. DRB commercialized this technology, leading to the explosion of unlimited wash plans in the industry.
Car wash customers saw the value in paying a fixed monthly fee for unlimited washes since it provided a cost-effective and hassle-free way to keep their cars clean. And car wash owners saw the unlimited wash plan as a reliable source of recurring revenue.
Allowing customers to pay one monthly price no matter how often they wash may sound crazy. But it’s important to understand that most members don’t “abuse the system” as operators often fear. The typical unlimited car wash plan member only washes their car an average of 3.2 times per month.
It’s also helpful to consider the lifetime value of a customer rather than the amount you make per wash. If a member signs up for a plan that is $20 a month, that means they are spending $240 a year at your wash. Most single-wash customers wash two to five times a year, spending around $50 a year at your wash – if they choose your wash every time.
There are a number of other benefits of unlimited wash plans:
It takes careful planning to build an unlimited car wash plan. You need to consider a variety of factors before you implement your plan. Some of those factors include:
Like anything else, you get out of your unlimited wash program what you put into it, and marketing the plan is a key to success that can’t be ignored.
There are multiple channels to market your plan, including but not limited to word-of-mouth, direct mail, digital media, traditional media, events and so much more.
Creating a successful unlimited car wash plan involves careful planning, pricing strategies, efficient technology integration and effective marketing to attract and retain customers.
By offering convenience, cost savings and exceptional service, you can build a loyal customer base and ensure the success of your car wash business. And you don’t have to do it alone. DRB is here to help.
For more insights on investing in the car wash industry, download our ebook “The Car Wash Journey: A New Investor’s Guide to Point-of-Sale, Optimization and Business Success.”