How Clean is Your Car Wash?
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How Clean is Your Car Wash?

Boost your profit potential with four simple checklists.

Mark VII clean carwash

Cleaning carwash equipment and the wash bay may sound a little counterintuitive, but it’s one of the keys to running a successful car-wash business. Here’s how to do it right.

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“Cleanliness pays,” says Allan Johnson, a chemical Lead with Mark VII. “It’s a key part of preventative maintenance, and it shouldn’t be an afterthought.” A clean carwash attracts new customers and encourages repeat business, plus it reflects pride in ownership. The more effort you put into cleanliness, the more you boost your potential return on investment.”

A clean carwash is also safer and more reliable. Keeping the bay clean will prevent unsafe situations such as slips and falls. Routine maintenance and routine cleaning will help your carwash property last longer.


Here are Johnson’s must do’s for carwash success:

Do, from the Onset, Make Cleaning a Priority

The carwash bay is an extension of other customer touch points and should be clean and tidy. The carwash is a great profit center with high margins. It’s important to make sure your carwash is clean and convenient for customers. Inside the wash bay can create a dirty environment with unsightly grime and algae. Without regular cleaning, it doesn’t take long for that muck to build up. This can lead to mechanical breakdowns, costly downtime, an unsafe environment and unhappy customers. Loyalty is difficult to maintain in a dirty environment. Do create and follow daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly checklists. A regular cleaning will pay off!


Do Focus on Customer Touch Points

Marketing your wash with fresh targeted marketing will build loyalty and revenues. All customer touch points should have menus that drive top wash purchasing. Without menus at point of purchase, customer decisions will be price-driven versus value-gained. Do, refresh menus, create seasonal and awareness marketing regularly. Advertise the wash at impulse locations in the store. Customers often spend 4-5 minutes in front of the carwash pay terminal, use that as an opportunity to upsell. Keep the area clean, easily accessible and easy to read. Consider bilingual marketing so everyone feels valued.


Do Work with a Trusted Partner

Do your research. There aren’t many businesses that can offer all that Mark VII provides, from machine installation, service and chemical supply. Demonstrating consistency, responsiveness and loyalty is key to building long term relationships and partnerships — attributes Mark VII takes pride in.

Do Focus on Uptime

Do focus on operations. Downtime has a significant impact on profits. Reduce downtime by investigating customer comments, training employees and correcting machine issues immediately. Avoiding service calls can save hours of wash time; know the basics of your machine. Take time to investigate before placing a service call. Reset machine, check for items blocking machine movement, photo eyes blocked, verify chemical is at adequate levels. After assessing, contact service immediately if service is needed. Profitability requires consistent uptime.


Do Establish a Process To Keep Things Running Smoothly

Do follow a cleaning checklist that will save time and hassle. Mark VII has detailed lists, below are a few highlights.


  • At each shift change, observe wash operation by viewing a wash to ensure proper application of chemicals and equipment functions. View vehicle from exit end to ensure clean, dry and shiny results.
  • Conduct a walk-through to inspect the carwash area. Identify and rectify dirt buildup, debris, leaks, dated or tattered menus, equipment operational issues.
  • Verify chemical levels are adequate.


  • Wipe down payment terminal and end bay service menu.
  • Wipe down carwash overhead and gantry covers.
  • Clean bay floor with power washer.

Monthly or Quarterly

  • Power wash bay walls. Work with your chemical provider to select correct chemical to aide in cleaning.

Providing a clean and bright environment in all areas of the carwash will extend the customer experience and build loyalty and profits. “Customers appreciate a clean carwash bay and will reward you with loyalty,” Johnson says. “Focusing on cleanliness puts money back in your pocket.”

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