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Pricing your car wash – Important things to consider

The more you can take with the car wash, the better it will be for you. The lower you can set the prices, the better it is for the customer. So there are specific interests that conflict here. In other words, ensuring the best pricing depends on a number of different factors.

Running costs must be covered

The pricing of car wash depends on various factors. First of all, it is important that you cover your running costs. How much do you pay monthly for

  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Washing chemicals
  • Personnel
  • Maintenance work
  • Advertising

These expenses must be covered in order for the car wash to be profitable in the first place.

Acquisition costs and loans

Very few people get a car wash donated to them or inherit one. If you've borrowed to pay for the site and car wash, you'll need to pay this back gradually, along with interest. You must add this figure to the monthly amount you spend on running costs. Both sums together show you what you need to earn at least monthly to cover the expenses of the facility alone. Then add that to your living expenses.

How many customers do you have?

Keep track of how many customers visit your car wash (or are likely to visit if you are still in the calculation phase). This number depends on the location of your car wash, the number of car owners living around you, the level of competition, and the quality of your advertising. Find out which washes are selected most frequently. This allows you to carry out calculations using different prices for the washes and find out which small changes have a major impact for you monthly.

What prices is the competition offering?

How much money you can or should take monthly is just one aspect of pricing. Another is the prices of the competition. If there are other car washes in the area that undercut your prices, many customers will prefer going to them. They should therefore not be significantly more expensive than other providers (that is if you are not offering a very special service, but which in turn also incurs costs). Find out in advance by checking out the other car washes in the area or researching their prices on the Internet.

Discount offers and special conditions should be possible

When starting up your car wash business or as a season special, it's a good idea to hand out vouchers or give discounts on certain washes that are especially in demand over the coming months (such as the underbody wash in winter). But this only works if you still have a small amount of margin before you are out of pocket with your car wash instead of earning with it. The idea is also worth considering, for example, of introducing stamp books, with which the customer gets the next one free after ten washes – or directly with a kind of subscription, where the customer pays a percentage less. This means the price is a bit cheaper for them, but you know that you have a loyal customer. This type of discount can ensure that more customers choose your car wash in the long term.

Clear and transparent communication

Once you have set your prices, you should clearly highlight them. Attach an easily readable sign outside the car wash and display a list in the shop (if available). You should also display the list prominently on your car wash website and Facebook page. Clearly highlight discounts and special conditions when you offer them. Make sure that you display any price changes everywhere – a car wash where you find differing information on the prices does not inspire confidence.

If you set your prices, they must be high enough to pay off your loans, cover your running costs, and for you to make a living. With regular discounts or special conditions for regular customers, you can keep customers loyal to your car wash. It is important that the prices are clearly visible and consistent in all lists.