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Crampton. "Customers can get the same
discount by spending less than $15 at the
car wash instead of $30 at a supermarket,
and the car wash is providing an excellent
profit margin for the operator."
The other key to a successful car wash
is to make it easy for customers to use it.
"People in the industry sometimes forget
that new customers are not that familiar
with their car wash facilities, and they don't
really know what they are supposed to do,"
said PDQ's Rob Lewis.
A checklist of things to consider would
• Visibility and signage
• Ease of entry and exit
• Marketing – eg pump toppers,
Regardless of other factors, maintenance
is critical. Although automatic car
wash equipment is designed to be low-
maintenance, there is no such thing as
'no-maintenance', especially in recycling
systems. The other important factor is
supplier support. The top equipment
suppliers offer ongoing support, including
assistance with marketing.
No feas on dog wash
Service stations with space in the right place
are adding dog wash units to complement
their car wash operations.
"No matter what the weather and in all
economic conditions dog owners will wash
their dogs every couple of weeks," said Willy
Benter, Managing Director, Tru Blu Dog
Wash. "You can go without washing your
car for a while but the dog has to be washed
regularly. Commercial dog washing is where
commercial car washing was about 10 years
ago. We are at the beginning of a period of
CK Group's David Crampton agrees.
"We are experiencing excellent growth," he
said. "Our customers have found that there
is never a slow period with dog wash. Car
wash activity depends a lot on the weather,
but the dog wash is always busy when the
weather is bad."
Tru Blu now has 230 dog wash
units operating in Australia, including an
increasing number in service stations.
"Independent fuel retailers are looking for
ways to diversity their businesses and dog
wash is an excellent earner. Although some
sites will support up to 100 dog washes per
week, about 40 to 50 is enough to provide
an exceptional rate of return on investment.
A good service station site with the right
demographic will generate about 60 per
The most important decision is location,
and definitely not in an area with a lot of
vehicle traffic. "An old car wash bay is ideal,"
said Willy Benter, "And, it might be a better
use of some current hire trailer parking or
other areas such as car parking and where
the ice machine is now."
The basic technology is little changed
in the past 12 months, but suppliers are
improving the units all the time. Tru Blu's
K9000 has an additional display on the
side that is easier to see while washing the
dog, faster changeover in the wash cycle,
upgraded note acceptors, and a new floor
that tilts for easy cleaning.
CK Group's Dog Wash unit is CE certified,
and it has introduced a dedicated vending
machine that stocks dog-related items such
as wash mitts, drying towels, ear wipes,
eye wipes, dental wipes and treats (for the
Autowash now offers a dog wash unit
imported from Italy, with an integrated ramp
to walk the dog up to the unit (easier than
lifting the dog into the basin), dual speed
and temperature controls, and a vacuum
unit that 'sucks' excess water off the dog
Although location and technology are
the key considerations, success is linked to
the overall experience for the dog and the
owner. It has to be safe, comfortable and
enjoyable. That means providing secure
fencing and shade, and using good-quality
"We use Fido's consumables," said Willy
Benter. "They are soap-free and work well.
There is about a 30% margin boost from
using good products. People don't come
back if the chemicals are poor quality."
As with car wash operations, ongoing
maintenance and marketing will make a big
difference to the success of the dog wash
"As with any business, there is a return
on effort," said Mr Benter.
Commercial dog washing is where commercial car washing was about 10 years ago,
according to Willy Benter, Tru Blu Dog Wash. “We are at the beginning of a period of
CK has introduced a dedicated vending
machine that stocks dog-related items
such as wash mitts, drying towels, ear
wipes, eye wipes, dental wipes and
treats (for the dog).
The latest development in the wash
category at service stations is truck
washing. Autowash has introduced a
touch-free truck wash system from
the United States that fts easily into a
truck stop location’s offer.
“This has been our biggest growth
category in the past 12 months,”
said Sales Director Adam Pisk. “The
Australian feet includes a lot of
American trucks with bull bars and
aerials and the like; they cannot be
washed with a friction machine.
“Our new unit uses 7000 litres of
water (mostly recycled) and chemicals
to wash both prime mover and load
in two minutes. The truck depots are
more than happy for their trucks to
be washed elsewhere, so the service
station channel is our target market.”
Autowash has introduced a touch-free
truck wash system from the united
States that fts easily into a truck stop
location’s offer. The new unit uses
7000 litres of water (mostly recycled)
and chemicals to wash both prime
mover and load in two minutes.
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