In Part I of this article, in the May 2022 issue of Auto Laundry News, we discussed the value of retaining existing customers, your business’s most valuable asset. We looked at various incentive programs such as frequent flyer miles, discounted gift cards, and frequency discounts. Finally, we turned our attention to subscription-based membership programs, known in the car wash industry as unlimited wash plans.

We explored the efficacy of these programs, and illustrated how converting even a small percentage of customers to plan members can dramatically increase revenues. At the same time, we calmed the fears of those operators that worry customers will overuse their unlimited access by showing that plan members who wash as often as 10 times a month still benefit the wash.

To help ensure that your unlimited wash plan exceeds your expectations, follow the suggestions below to create a successful subscription program.

RULES FOR A SUCCESSFUL UNLIMITED WASH PLAN

Many car wash owners devise their wash plans from the company‘s perspective to make sense for their bottom line. When the plan does not perform as they expected, they wonder why it is not selling. The answer is very simple; there are certain rules that must be followed in order to have a successful wash plan:
• Customers have to see the value of the program or they will not join.
• Pricing the plan right is the key for a successful launch.
• To create value, the wash plan price for every full-service car wash should not exceed two times the price of the corresponding wash.
• The top full-service wash may be priced at one and a half times the price of the wash to create more value.
• The price of an express car wash should not exceed three times the price of the corresponding wash.
• The price of the top express wash plan should not exceed two times the price of the corresponding wash.
• There should be no long-term commitment required. Customers may cancel any time with five days of notice before renewal date.
• Have simple and easy paperwork to sign with no fine print.
• Offer free perks as part of the membership, e.g., 20 percent off detail services or boutique purchases, free fast hand wax every three months, or a free month every six months of membership. 

HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR WASH PLANS:
• Have visible signs on the property to promote the wash plans.
• Include a wash plan announcement on all your advertisements and website.
• Send an e-mail or text to your database offering a one-time discount to join.
• Create brochures about your wash plans and hand them out to customers.
• The pay terminal is your best salesperson. The first page of the pay terminal should prompt customers if they would like to join the unlimited plan.
• Hire a dedicated salesperson for the purpose of selling unlimited plans.
• Laminate your wash plan promotion and place one next to the cashier. Hand one to each salesperson to inform each and every customer of how they can save more money if they join the membership program.
• Train your ticket writers and cashiers to promote the membership to every customer and offer employees a bonus for each membership sold.
• Create a contest between salespeople. Whoever sells the most gets an extra bonus.
• Offer free perks to customers if they join today, e.g., free car wash upgrade, a free one-time fast hand wax, or join today for the price of a regular wash.
• Have a priority lane for club members. Make them feel special.
• Offer a free one-month wash plan with every detail service if the customer agrees to renew at least one time.
• If a member customer wants to cancel, have some perks ready to encourage
them to continue, e.g., free fast hand wax or free one month of membership. You may also offer buy-one-get-one-free certificates at local restaurants. (Many restaurants will be more than happy to give you these certificates for free.)
• Offer a yearly plan at a discount, e.g., pay for 10 months and get two months free.

The goal is to have cars lined up all day. Keep the equipment and employees busy washing and cleaning cars. Create a weatherproof business by promoting your membership car wash.

AJ Rassamni is an inventor, author, speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He has a proven record of increasing sales up to 214 percent in one day. He was featured in Forbes magazine and on the front cover of a national trade magazine for increasing profit 400 percent in one year and 1,000 percent in three years during the recent recession.