It’s seemingly become common knowledge at this point that LED lighting is the most energy efficient source for illumination, saving car wash owners on electricity consumption and, in turn, their power bills. The upfront investment is quickly returned, not only through substantial decreases in utilities but also ongoing maintenance and replacement parts in comparison to conventional lighting. Perhaps now you’ve recognized its ability to save money, but have you considered the notion that LED lighting can make you money as well? Read on to discover the many ways that car wash owners are integrating LED lighting to transform their facility into an active marketing machine that contributes profits right to their pockets.
CURB APPEAL AND SAFETY
Use bright, crisp lighting to turn your facility into a roadside beacon, attracting attention of passersby while simultaneously providing a sense of security once the sun goes down. Statistics show that adequate levels of outdoor light can reduce the likelihood of crime by 40 percent, allowing not only for expanded working hours but also providing safety after dark.
Not only does LED lighting give the assurance that customers are protected, but it also has a drastic effect on the overall aesthetic appeal of your site. Gone are the days of dingy, yellowed HID lights; transform your car wash and draw customers like a moth to a flame using brilliant LED lighting. Increase earnings through longer operating hours and secured business after the sun sets.
VISIBILITY MEANS PRODUCTIVITY
Proper illumination is imperative to ensure that every vehicle that leaves your wash is glistening clean, with zero dirt left in the dark. From full-service facilities to detail bays, vacuum arches, and self-serve car washes, crisp white light plays an essential role in a worker or customer’s ability to perform the task at hand so that every car leaves the lot spotless. A clean car is the ultimate objective behind the customer’s visit after all, so the better you can see to do the job well, the more likely they are to return the next time they’re in need of a wash.
LIGHT SHOWS THAT BUILD LOYALTY
Vibrant color effects have become a staple of the modern car wash, from arch lights synchronized with the wash cycle to fully immersive mood lighting that creates an out-of-this-world entertainment experience. LED technology allows car wash owners to integrate color effects that support their brand, showcase the capabilities of the wash functions and even the versatility to customize in support of community events and holidays.
By incorporating various levels of lighting functionality with every wash package, customers can be incentivized to spend more in exchange for an advanced show. The more impressive the light show is, the bigger the ticket gets. Customers who leave the wash with a clean car but also the memory of an enjoyable sensory experience translates to loyalty and repeat business. For example, a parent with small children is much more likely to patronize a car wash that engages and entertains the kids, positioning those tiny consumers to request subsequent visits in the future. The end result is a car that looks good, customers who feel good, and increased profits for the business.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIGHTS
Not all LED products are created equal. In fact, the ones deployed at leading car washes today must be manufactured to protect against wet environments where chemicals and varying temperatures are present. The car wash environment is filled with many unique challenges that must be considered when selecting lighting that can survive in this atmosphere.
A few things to consider when implementing LED lighting in car wash environments are: resistance to water, chemicals, oil and dust, and temperature protection mechanisms to ensure the light performs safely and effectively even in high heat.
Traditional plastics, paint, and even glass do not hold up well against the aggressive high-pH presoaks found in car washes, so operators must be careful when selecting the right LEDs for their wash. Traditional plastic latches and lenses fade or crack, paint flakes off the metal, and glass etches and becomes cloudy in a typical professional car wash setting. It is important to check for a UL Wet Location rating, signifying that a product has been approved for electrical safety by the Underwriters Laboratory, as well as it being listed for suitable use in a wet environment. An ingress protection (IP) rating of 68 is suggested to ensure durability against moisture and direct spray.
Car washes are also subject to extreme changes in temperatures. While LEDs perform better in cold conditions compared with traditional technologies, the LED fixture housing must be strong, durable, and substantial to handle hot wash spray on a cold winter day. Look for LED fixtures designed to operate in any range of temperatures by using high-grade housing materials that dissipate heat.
Always be sure to check the ratings and certifications when selecting LED fixtures for your car wash. A UL Wet Location certification will ensure the safety of the electrical components within the wash while an IP68 rating states the level of protection against moisture and dust intrusion. Also check warranty information to be sure that the products are manufactured by a reputable company that will stand behind the quality of their products in the instance of a failure.
Incorporating LED lighting in your car wash is an easy marketing tactic that will improve curb appeal, ensure safety, promote your brand, and increase customer spend and retention while paying dividends on the initial investment.
Erin Noonan is director of marketing for Clifton Park, NY-based G&G Industrial Lighting. You can visit the company on the web at www.ggled.net/carwash.