When Brian Snyder, a co-owner and operator of Wash 37135, and his team started plans for their car wash in Nolensville, TN, the vacuum system was not the first thing on their minds.
|Brightly lit vacuum plaza demands attention.
Photo courtesy of Vacutech LLC
“Initially we didn’t think about it at all,” Snyder says.
They knew they needed vacuums, but it wasn’t until later in their planning phase that they realized just how much vacuums impact the all-important customer experience car wash owners strive to create. His team focused on other aspects critical to the site’s success, such as tunnel equipment.
Wash 37135 opened in May 2019, and now, after several months of being in business, first-time wash owner Snyder says he understands the value the right central vacuum system brings to the business and its ability to create a loyal customer base.
“You need the vacuums to match your wash experience,” Snyder says.
Wash 37135 is located in a growing, affluent area. The area has plenty of what Snyder terms “top-button pushers” — discriminating drivers of nice vehicles who will pay for a premium experience. Snyder says he’s been surprised how much customer praise the vacuum system has generated.
“One thing we get feedback on even more than our wash is the vacuums,” he says.
People want shiny exteriors, but they also want clean interiors — and they want that do-it-yourself part of the car wash experience to be efficient and convenient, Snyder says.
“That encore experience has got to be great,” he says of providing a vacuum system that delivers on the overall customer experience.
The Wash 37135 team members work hard to ensure customer satisfaction — they send handwritten letters to each person who signs up for a wash club, are involved in the local community, provide friendly greetings, and more. Those personal touches plus a great vacuum system add up to a loyal customer base.
“Love, love, love these vacuums! Great overall service and super friendly staff,” writes one Wash 37135 customer on the wash’s Facebook page.
The wash averages $15 per wash and had more than 800 club members as of November. That equates to roughly 14 percent of Nolensville’s population over the age of 18 — strong numbers for a town that had just more than 9,000 residents in 2018, according to U.S. Census data.
“I think people want to come back and have that same experience over and over again,” Snyder says when discussing how the customer experience — including the vacuums — plays a role in generating repeat business.
TIPS FOR FAN-WORTHY VACUUM SYSTEMS
Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you plan your next wash build or overhaul of an existing site.
A great central vacuum system is an invaluable tool for drawing customers in and keeping them coming back to your car wash. In addition to the tips below, always be sure to work with a vacuum system provider that is reputable, offers an industry-leading warranty program, and provides excellent customer support before, during, and after an equipment sale.
The right central vacuum system will add to your site’s curb appeal and make it recognizable to drivers passing by. Look for a vacuum equipment company whose vacuum arch style complements the overall aesthetic of your design and your branding.
Also, consider how color impacts the customer’s experience, then select a custom powder coat for your central vacuum system equipment.
Power matters when it comes to impressing customers with your car wash vacuum system. Brian Snyder, a co-owner and operator of Wash 37135, says his customers appreciate that even on busy weekends when all or most of his site’s 17 vacuum stalls are full, they experience the same vacuum strength no matter where they are in the vacuum area.
Many factors, such as number of vacuum spaces, site elevation, equipment location, and piping layout, are critical to ensuring consistent, powerful vacuum performance. These factors vary by site and must be taken into consideration when designing a proper vacuum system. Be sure to work with a vacuum equipment company that will design and engineer your system specifically for your site.
Cater to Convenience and Efficiency
These days, convenience and time are rare commodities, and the washes that offer it are the top performers. Ensure your vacuum system provides as much convenience and speed as possible.
Offer dual hoses at each stall so customers don’t have to drag hoses all around or throughout their vehicles. Dual hoses also give customers the option to have passengers help vacuum, increasing their efficiency in the vacuum plaza.
Add waste receptacles at each stall to assist customers in quickly and conveniently cleaning out their vehicles.
Consider mat racks to hold vehicle mats, allowing customers to easily vacuum rather than awkwardly hunching over.
Customers appreciate an experience that is comfortable and enjoyable. Look for vacuum system accessories that enhance their comfort level.
Awnings or canopies are key for comfort. Wash 37135 customers say how much they appreciate that the wash’s awnings take some of the punch out of the Tennessee sun on hot days and shelter them during drizzles, Snyder said. Awnings don’t add that much cost, but they certainly boost the customer’s experience, he says.
“It’s added a bit of a luxury feature,” he says of the awnings.
Lighting also creates customer comfort. Vacuum arches with LED lighting increases visibility but also add a feeling of safety and security for customers during dimmer hours.
Bells and Whistles
What customer doesn’t appreciate those little touches they can’t get anywhere else? Look for vacuum system accessories that show your customer that you’ve thought about creating an optimal experience for them.
Customers appreciate additions such as compressed air, which allows them to blow out the trouble spots where dirt inevitably collects in vehicle interiors.
Towel bins with fresh, clean towels for customers to wipe down their just-washed vehicles also go a long way toward showing your customer that you care about their experience.
Steve Lieneman is vice president of sales and marketing for Vacutech LLC. You can visit the company on the web at www.vacutechllc.com.