Drawing customers to your wash is a year-round effort. Whether it is advertising, geo-located promotions, or good old-fashioned superior service, owners are constantly looking for ways to attract new washers.
In a crowded market, however, it isn’t as easy as mailing out some coupons or offering a loyalty discount — owners need to think outside the box.
Bobbi Anne Munsey owns and operates Good For You (GFY) Express Car Wash in Spring, TX and has made a name for herself by putting on elaborate holiday displays and events, drawing crowds of interested customers who might otherwise not visit her wash. On Easter, Halloween, and Christmas GFY is done up to the nines with decorations that transform the wash into a holiday oasis, and make it a local destination.
“My focus with the holidays is to get the kids to want to be here,” Munsey says. “I want the kids telling their parents ‘can we go to the Easter Bunny car wash. Or please can we go see Santa Clause at the car wash.’”
Her plan is working. By making her wash a must-see attraction three times a year, Munsey has captured the hearts and minds of the local children, and in turn the wallets of their parents.
“I had a customer write me on Facebook to tell me her son is our biggest fan,” says Munsey. “At school the children in his class were tasked with drawing a picture and writing about something they were thankful for. Her son’s picture said he was thankful for the Halloween car wash.”
Munsey sent the boy one of the wash’s Halloween themed t-shirts, solidifying his position as their biggest fan and an honorary member of the staff. That kind of goodwill and guerilla marketing is invaluable and has helped cement GFY as a key member of the local community.
Halloween is arguably GFY’s biggest event of the three holidays the wash celebrates. Starting at the end of September and running through the first weekend of November the wash is transformed into a spooky and haunted festival. The entire wash is decorated in Halloween theme and the whole staff is in costume Thursday through Sunday to entertain and scare customers.
“I bring on all the employees on the weekends,” she says. “There are employees outside dressed up in costumes scaring all the customers. They are in the tunnel scaring people. It is awesome. Once customers drive through the wash they park their car and get out and take pictures of the decorations and the staff. It is a true community event.”
And it is not just GFY’s year-round loyal customers that get in on the act. But rather theentire community. There are plenty of washers that only visit during the holiday celebrations, helping give the wash a boost during otherwise down months.
For example, during the Halloween event, which starts at 6 pm, every customer is required to purchase the $20 top wash if they want the pleasure of driving through the haunted tunnel. A fee they are happy to pay.
“For $20 they get the value of our top package and all of the Halloween scare,” Munsey says. “We have customers that ride through the tunnel, get out of their cars to take some pictures and then ride through the tunnel one more time before they leave. That’s $40 for them to come through twice. The Halloween promotion absolutely makes the month of October for us. We would be hurting in October if we didn’t have it.”
With an all-hands-on-deck approach to Halloween, Munsey and her staff are exhausted come November and are grateful for a little downtime. But a little is all they get. By mid-month they are at it again prepping for the fast-approaching Christmas season.
For Christmas the GFY staff is once again in costume, posing as beloved holiday characters like Santa, elves, and the Grinch to once again appeal to the community’s younger set. The wash is decked out in an untold number of Christmas lights and is a destination for those in need of a little Christmas spirit.
“I want people to drive by and say ‘oh my look at those lights, I should stop and check it out’” says Munsey. “Once people know I do this, it becomes an annual thing for them even if they aren’t one of our regular customers.”
Following a busy fall and early winter season complete with 15-hour days setting up and running the promotions, the GFY staff earns a much needed respite during the winter months, but is back at it in the spring with their Easter celebration.
For Easter GFY once again decorates for the season, and has an employee in costume as the Easter Bunny interacting with customers and even lending a hand washing cars. One Easter GFY ran a stuffed animal promotion that was a big hit with the local children. The wash gave away stuffed Easter Bunnies with the purchase of the top $20 wash, helping to offset the expense of the additional staff and decorations.
While the three holiday themed washes are the biggest marketing promotions GFY runs, Munsey is constantly looking for ways to connect with and market her business to the local community. Prior to founding the wash with her husband Michael in 2016, she was a school teacher and an online marketer and blogger. Her past professions helped inspire her to organize the holiday promotions that have become GFY’s trademark.
In addition to the holiday celebrations, GFY works tirelessly throughout the year to build a feeling of community with its customers. For example, customers that “check in” on Facebook while at the wash receive a free air freshener. The simple marketing campaign helps spread the word about the wash in an organic and unique way.
“I’ll give customers a free air freshener every time they come in as long as they do a Facebook check in,” Munsey says. “It gets us in the conversation. A lot of times their neighbors or friends will ask them why they are always checking in at the car wash. When they tell them the reason they come in, they check us out themselves and get the free air freshener. There is a lot of competition in this area and we need to do everything we can to be the best and attract customers.”
Good For You Express Car Wash is certainly doing all it can to draw in customers. Through elaborate holiday celebrations and smart and simple everyday marketing, the wash is setting the standard for promotional excellence, and having a good time doing it.
Name: Good For You Express Car Wash
Owners: Bobbi Anne and Michael Munsey
Year Founded: 2016
Concept: Express Exterior
Lot Size: 1 Acre
Tunnel Length: 125 Feet
Menu: $6, $10, $15, $20
Tunnel Equipment: Motor City Wash Works
Payment Kiosks: DRB