The Hidden Factor Restricting C-Store Car Wash Growth
There are a number of ways to drive growth at your C-Store car wash: cross-store promotions, loyalty clubs, wash plans, etc. But there’s one thing that, despite your best efforts, can prevent your wash from reaching its full revenue-generating potential.
Every time you have to a put an orange cone in front of a broken-down car wash, you’re losing money. To get the most out of your store’s car wash, it’s critical that you address this hidden issue.
Do you know your washes’ average downtime? First, you need to understand what impact downtime is having on your wash. Many C-Stores underestimate how much time downtime their washes have.
Typically, C-Stores can’t dedicate an employee to check on the wash regularly, so they have to rely on customers to tell them when there’s a problem. Unfortunately, many customers will just leave without letting someone know the wash is down.
If you’re calculating downtime based on when you’re notified of a problem, you’re not getting the full picture. Your lost revenue due to downtime is likely more than you realize.
The Cost of Downtime A little downtime here and there may not seem like a big deal, but it adds up. Let’s say you lose an average of only two washes a day per site. Assuming an average $8 ticket, you can see how this impacts your bottom line:
2 x $8 = $16/day per site
$16 x 30 = $480 per month
$480 x 12 = $5,780 per year
And that’s just one site. You can see how huge this could be for a C-Store chain.
Of course, there are hidden costs as well:
Reputation – Every time a customer encounters an orange cone at your wash, they’re less likely to return. If it happens too often, you could become known as that wash that’s always down.
Truck rolls – If your service provider charges for sending someone onsite, that is another cost you will incur.
Time – Every minute store personnel spends on troubleshooting the car wash is a minute they are not in your store generating sales. Maximizing uptime at your wash also maximizes your labor.
Lack of Solutions In the past, there really wasn’t a good way to tackle the issue of downtime. Some car wash equipment will alert you to problems, but you still have to rely on in-store personnel to decipher the alert and address it. They usually don’t have the time or training to do so.
That’s why assigning an employee to car wash duty is also ineffective. Sure, you don’t have to wait for a customer to point out the issue, but it’s unlikely the employee will be able to solve the issue. If anything, they’ll waste a lot of time troubleshooting before calling the service provider to send a truck.
Another Option That’s why we’ve developed a new service at Unitec called Uptime Solutions. Through this service, our Uptime Solutions team of car wash experts will monitor and triage your alerts. If possible, they will fix the issue remotely or help your in-store staff fix it quickly. If necessary, we’ll coordinate with your service provider for an on-site visit. However, we’ve found that 80% of issues can be solved without a truck roll.
The Uptime Solutions team also performs wellness checks, preventing potential issues BEFORE they happen and create downtime situations.
By simply improving your car wash’s uptime, you can directly impact your bottom line. We saw this with a 29-site C-Store chain that used Uptime Solutions. Within 12 months, the chain increased uptime from 88% to 99% while avoiding more than 500 truck rolls. This resulted in increased revenue potential and an overall reduction in costs.
Maximize Your Uptime and Growth If you are looking to increase the revenue potential at your C-Store car wash, you need to wash more cars. You can only do that if your wash is up and running as much as possible. Uptime Solutions can help you optimize your uptime, wash more cars and boost your bottom line.
About Nancy Campbell:
Nancy is Unitec’s Director of Managed Services and Support. She leads our Technical Support, Customer Care and Merchant Departments and oversees our Director and Uptime Solutions services. She has worked for Unitec since 2010, starting in the Merchant Department and working in various capacities during her tenure. LinkedIn
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