Technology is Changing. Is Your Wash Keeping Up?

Technology is Changing. Is Your Wash Keeping Up?

Building a Car Wash Generate Revenue

Consumers love new technology. Look at smartphones, for example. When Apple releases even the slightest upgrade, people clamor for it. There’s something inside us that wants the very best products and services available, especially once we know they’re out there.

The car wash industry is no different. It’s 2019, and wash technology is more sophisticated than ever. As you look ahead, it’s important to consider the benefits of equipment upgrades and replacements. The decision to invest in new features doesn’t just help your customers, either. It’s critical for your relevance, reputation as a wash, and ultimately, your revenue.

It’s Better For Customers

Step into your customers’ shoes. Better yet, slide into your customers’ driver’s seat. What kind of wash experience are you providing? How long are they waiting in line? How clean is their car getting? What’s it like to move through your particular wash? Is it exciting, impressive, and exceptional? Or is it routine, average, and unmemorable? What might make a customer come back, and what might keep them away next time? These are questions worth asking to become—and stay—competitive and profitable.

Customers want to be delighted. And this happens when they have an abundance of advanced features and services to pick from. It happens when they get through the line quickly and their schedule isn’t disrupted. It happens when special touches, like LED lights, catch their attention. And it mostly happens when their car comes out looking spotless and shiny.

It’s Better For You

We all know equipment depreciates over time. Car wash systems have a lifespan of around ten years, give or take, if they’re properly maintained. Of course, a complete wash system replacement is no small investment. But by offering a better wash with improved features, you’ll be able to raise your prices to match those benefits. Upgrades typically boost revenue by up to 25%. Consider the impact on your bottom line.

Today’s wash systems are increasingly efficient and allow for quicker throughput. The LaserWash 360 Plus and Tandem Surfline from PDQ offer substantially faster wash speeds and reduce operational costs with efficient, precise cleaning. Laserglow Illumination creates a standout appearance and enhances the wash experience dramatically—something customers will remember.

Is it time to look at investing in new technology? Harrell’s Car Wash Systems can help you determine which upgrades will keep your car wash current and competitive.

Choosing a Car Wash Location

Building a Car Wash Choosing a location Site Selection


There are numerous things to consider when choosing a car wash location. This decision is one of the most critical elements of the development process. Car wash site selection is a complex process and unfortunately is often made without proper planning. We at Harrell’s specialize in site selection and prefer to be involved before any offer is made on a property.

One of the most important questions to ask when choosing a site is, does the car wash I want to build match the needs of this market? The best location may be near major retail or big box shopping destinations. Many people stop to wash their cars while they’re running errands or grocery shopping, so proximity to retail is often very important. However, studies have also shown that people are willing to drive past a conveniently located wash for a better value.

Generally speaking, busier roads are certainly more desirable. However, there are other factors that should be taken into consideration such as traffic speed, road type, ingress and egress, income, competition and proximity to a traffic light. Weather also plays a major role in car wash success. Typically, harsh winter areas that require salt for paved surfaces create large surges in volume.

After a site has been selected, Harrell’s can also assist with feasibility studies and business plans. Moreover, there is no rule of thumb for property size. Depending upon the style of wash (tunnel, in-bay automatic, self serve) the property size will fluctuate greatly. Again, this is why it’s best to get us involved from the beginning!

If you have an interest in investing in a car wash, Harrell’s will provide you with the information you need to make the decision that is right for you. Again, we can assist you with every step of the process including site selection, site layout, as well as recommending contractors and/or financial institutions. Harrell’s can also help with a car wash remodel. We know how to help you make money by raising your per car average thus maximizing your revenue while managing your utilities. So whether you’re choosing a car wash location, building a new wash or remodeling your existing wash, give us a shout and we’ll help get you moving in the right direction.

New Years Resolution: Wash More Cars Per Hour

Building a Car Wash Wash More Cars Per Hour


Looking ahead to 2017, the car wash industry forecasts revenue in excess of $7.1 billion! Our interest is to help you increase your portion of that revenue by washing more cars per hour. So if you’re interested in a better return on your investment, lowering the cost of ownership and increased revenue, talk to us about installing a 360 system.

Sure, upgrades require an investment. But owners who have made that investment tell us time and again that it was absolutely worthwhile. And we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: investing in equipment upgrades really does pay off! We’re always excited when a customer upgrades the equipment on their site. Site upgrades accomplish so much. They add curb appeal. Curb appeal attracts more customers. More customers mean more revenue. And because of the upgrades, site owners can raise their prices….which means more revenue. Customers love having a better experience. Owners love having increased business. Here’s a telling example:

One of our customers with a double bay site upgraded to a LaserWash 360 Plus over the summer and here’s how their numbers changed from one month to the next:

Old wash pricing: $10, $9, $8 or $7 per wash
Average price per car: $8.50 x 1,688 cars per month = $14,348 revenue

New wash pricing: $15, $12, $10 or $8 per wash
Average price per car: $11.25 x 2,019 cars per month = $22,714 revenue

That’s an $8,798 increase in one month! And that’s not all: The upgrade to new equipment provided lower maintenance costs, less chemical usage, and increased throughput of 2-3 cars per hour. In some cases, there are even tax advantages for new capital equipment purchases.

With the LaserWash 360 Plus, while it’s a perfectly capable system “out of the box,” it’s based on a modular system to enable you to add new features over time. If you are running a 360 Plus system and are looking to extend its functions and increase revenue, talk to us about upgrading to 3x Foam, Super Sealant, Rain Rinse Arch, Bug Prep, OverGlow, LaserGlow Illumination Effects, as well as a variety of drying options.

OR…..YOU CAN WASH EVEN MORE CARS PER HOUR!
We were surprised to learn recently that one of our longstanding clients had no idea that we do tunnel washes. We figured he couldn’t be the only one — so let’s talk tunnels!

Understanding that tunnel washes can be a bit intimidating to customers with their MRI-type feeling, we’ve opened up our tunnel car washes with full-length bay windows and large entrances. We nicknamed this the “microbrewery effect” because it reminds us of how you can sit in a microbrewery sipping your craft beer while knowing it came from those big beautiful steel tanks in the very next room. And it’s cool to look at.

Whether the tunnel is an Express, Inbay or Mini, here’s the important part: you can wash more cars per hour, and set higher wash prices for the incredible clean that tunnel washes produce. On a busy day, more cars and higher prices means more revenue for you. Take a look at the Totally Tommy Mini Tunnel wash. The benefits are immediately obvious. The Mini requires as little as 1/2 acre, can be 70-90 feet long and can process between 70-120 cars/hour. And talk about cool! The curb appeal is immense, and the benefits to you are huge.

Interested in talking with us about a tunnel wash? Our team will work with you from start to finish to create and customize your tunnel site.

Harrell’s Car Wash Systems can help better prepare your business for the new year. We are focused on your success and driven to maintain the highest quality service and products to meet your car wash needs. Contact us today to learn more about ways to improve your car wash and increase revenue in 2017.

How Building Car Washes Is a Lot Like Poker

Building a Car Wash

Are you considering building a car wash in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky or Illinois?

If so, let’s talk about poker for a minute.

Building car washes can be a long, somewhat complex process with an almost unlimited number of variables. I’ve often compared a start-up car wash to playing poker, and here’s why: in poker, the answer to most questions of how to play literally any hand is, “Well, it depends.”

With any strategy game you must consider your competition. How strong are the other players at the table? Do they know every card dealer by name and live in the casino? Or are they just visiting from out of town looking to play a few hands to pass the time? This is a very important question to ask yourself when contemplating constructing a car wash. Where are you sitting at the “table?” Your location, or position, at the table is essential to calculating what starting hands you’ll play, how much you’ll wager and when to simply fold and wait for the next hand.

Another key to success is simply a question of time. How much time (and other resources) are you willing to dedicate to the game? Is poker a hobby, a career or a game that simply requires too much time, money and effort to be the best at the table?

And like poker, starting any business means that your investment is at stake. When the competition raises the stakes, are you ready or willing to ante up? Is there a bit of gambler in you?

Those are a lot of questions, we know. Before you throw in your cards and fold, however, we’d like to ask one more question: How great would it be to have an expert sitting beside you through every hand, guiding you in making the best decisions with the cards you have?

That is exactly what we do at Harrell’s Car Wash Systems. We aren’t here to simply provide equipment and wish you luck. That’s not how we do business. At the start of every new car wash project, we start with an in-person market pro forma or feasibility study to identify all the variables applicable to your scenario (or, in poker lingo, we take a look at your hand and see what we think you can do with it). We can help you identify key players in your market and strategies to best position you for success.

The best location to open a car wash also varies significantly depending on the type of wash you want to start. A tunnel style car wash, for instance, typically requires a higher level of investment and time. This necessitates a very strong traffic count, population density and/or retail environment in order to be profitable. By comparison, in-bay automatic washes can generally be built with lower levels of traffic, population and retail. There are countless other market variables that need to be accounted for before a project can move forward. Land zoning requirements, ingress/egress, car stacking, turn radius, incomes, etc. all need to be considered. Finally, how much time can you dedicate to this business? How involved will you be on a daily basis and will it be your primary source of income?

How will you play the next hand? What type of car wash is best for you? Well, it depends… Don’t let the unknown keep you from having a winning hand in this thriving industry. When you have Harrell’s on your side, it’s like having an ace up your sleeve! Give us a call today to get started. We’re the Midwest’s leading car wash distributor, and we’ll bring our expertise to the table to guide you from start to finish.