On the high-road or in the blind-end bedroom community: choosing the location for a car wash

February 2021

Location is an important success criterion for a self-service car wash. Important, but not the only one. It is tried and tested in our own branded car wash ALLES in the depths of the bedroom community.

Let’s consider the options

Lots of future owners are trying by all means to get a site on the 1st line only. What is the 1st line? Large intersections, parking spaces of shopping and business centers – anything located along highways and heavily trafficked roads. Ideally, avoiding expressways and congested areas of highways. If this is a highway, then it is better to be the entrance to the city. Preferably next to a filling station, shopping center.

Looks like it’s crystal clear: it is easy to attract all passing cars to a car wash at “walk-through” places.

What are the BUTs then? Jaw-dropping prices for land, expensive and short-term lease, high cost of connecting service lines, architectural and other difficulties with approval of the facility. And a number of other businesses eager to be in the 1st line …

What to do? One of the options is to take a closer look at bedroom communities, industrial areas, by-pass routes, secondary roads and other, not entirely evident, but convenient locations.

How to promote a facility that is not visible from the “main” road?

To create better conditions for customers, to stand out among competitors with quality and exclusive offers:

  • Wide functionality: the maximum number of washing programs + additional services (windscreen washer liquid, turbo drying, air, etc.) – give the clients something that is not available at car washes on the 1st line and at neighbouring competitors.
  • Open-hearted service – high-quality service for each client, let him tick the box: “My kind of bakery”, “My kind of grocery”, “My kind of a car wash” – the work of consulting operators is of utmost importance at this point!
  • Comfortable, spacious, well-lit wiping area with a variety of dry cleaning options (additional monetization + attractive service).

Advantages of a self-service car wash on the 2nd line:

  1. cheaper lease/purchase/connection of utility lines;
  2. higher chances of purchasing a good large plot with convenient and wide access way to it;
  3. dedicated customers that trust, come regularly (high % of customer returns).

But what about the payback of such an “unpopular” location? Experience has shown that if we sum up all investments and monthly costs for the 1st line facility, then the indicators gradually level out. The 1st line facility reaches maximum turnover faster, but the 2nd line car wash with interesting functionality keeps the high level of income more stable.

Jackpot location is a spacious site at a busy intersection or near a shopping center, the maximum ALLES functionality and competent business management. Such a car wash simply cannot be caught up. From the start it reaches 1.5 million rubles per month (6 washing stations, not in a metropolis). There are examples like this in the ALLES portfolio.

And future customers often ask us: would a self-service car wash be of interest in small towns? But of course! The basic calculation for 1 washing station is 5,000 people. And it is usually easier to get a good location there than in cities with a million-plus population. There are no less opportunities for successful business development.