Membership Matters

Membership Matters

By Charlotte O’Connor

There are many reasons to have and sometimes not to have a membership subscription at your carwash.

I recently threw a question out there to the public through a Facebook group called Talk Car Wash, and I am baffled by some of the feedback I received. The question was: “Why do you choose NOT to have a membership at your carwash?” I received quite a few interesting comments that I would like to share. Some seem to think that membership will only work well at a high-volume carwash. There is certainly some debate about that.

One comment was: Small town, a small market with no competition…

In my opinion, memberships are a numbers game; high volume overcomes and outweighs frequent washers, which makes offering unlimited work and high volume the secret sauce of unlimited.

However, if the potential for unlimited membership sales isn’t large enough to get you there, it only cannibalizes your current pool of frequent washers; it’s a margin killer.

 Rebuttal: High volume is attained by offering membership. High volume is not the secret sauce to membership. The 50,000 yearly volume sites easily have the potential for 3000+ members. Adding 3000 monthly members will add 90,000 more annual washes, making this example a high-volume wash.

I tend to agree with the rebuttal.

Not every frequent washer is frequent. There are times that they can’t make it, whether it’s going on vacation, tightening their belt, or just being too busy to get their car washed. Also, not to mention the weather patterns. The frequent washer will end up being more loyal if you offer them a reasonable unlimited package. Like I always say, it’s just too cheap not to have, even if you have to miss a month. Typically, most memberships are that way. The whole idea of membership is to reel you in and keep you so that you can count on that monthly revenue. Membership draws in more unexpected customers if priced right. Pricing will vary depending on where you live, but generally, it is priced at a ratio of one and a half or two carwashes.

So, if your basic wash is $10, a good monthly rate would be $15.99 or $19.99 monthly.

One thing with the carwash industry and in most areas of the country is that washing cars is seasonal. I have been selling memberships at carwashes for over five years and I see the highs and the lows throughout the seasons. A lot of people cancel their membership in the winter because they say they don’t drive their car as much, which I find to be crazy because the winter should be when you get the most value out of your membership. Then, when the weather gets better, people cancel because they can wash their vehicles when it’s nice out. This would be called your churn; these members will come and go seasonally.

As far as your retention goes, this is where you will have your employees collect and act on member feedback. If a member says it’s getting too expensive, try to get them to be in a less expensive package. If they say I’m not happy with the wash quality, find out exactly what that is and make it right for them.

Personally, I have built such a rapport with our members and regular washers. At times, when a member cancels their membership, I can get some feedback from them and potentially get them back on the platform. Knowing how much money they spent without having that membership is vital information. You must be able to spit quick factual numbers out to the consumers of how much they spent without the membership. It’s really a numbers game.

One thing that’s also good from a marketing standpoint is to offer multi-vehicle discounts. Most people’s households have more than one vehicle, and putting them all into one account with a discount can be a significant draw and entice more users. Most carwashes offer a 20 per cent discount.

This leads me to the next important thing: Your attendants, who are your greeters and front person, sell memberships. This is a critical piece to membership growth at your carwash. I know some of you might be saying that you have a carwash with no attendants. You can do a couple of things about that: Create significant signage around the wash or hire somebody on your busiest days to chat with customers and hand out information. I know this works because I’ve done it. Also, when you find good greeters, reward them because they will be your bread and butter for your membership growth. Training your attendants properly and providing them with the perfect pitch to sell more memberships is very important. Generally, a rule of thumb is to have a daily 10 per cent capture rate.

With one particular carwash I work for, in December 2022, we washed more cars and had less income than in December 2023. So, on December 23, we washed fewer cars and generated more revenue due to membership.

Lastly, another important factor when it comes to membership, is managing the memberships. Whether you do it yourself or hire a company, the best part is being able to negotiate or trying to convince the member to hang in there by offering a less expensive package. Depending on how many members you have and if you have anything less than 8,000, it is very manageable on your own, but, if you don’t want the extra work, there are plenty of companies out there like EverWash, Retention Express or Rinsed, to manage it for you. For a small fee, these companies will be your best negotiators to retain members.


Charlotte O’Connor is the membership sales manager for Town Wash Holdings, LLC. She has a strong hospitality background, specializing in sales and customer service. Charlotte grew up working in family-owned restaurants with all facets of the business and brought that energy to the carwash industry, focusing on membership sales. She worked closely with the EverWash App platform and continues working with other carwash industry membership platforms. She trains the employees to learn the perfect pitch and to enroll new memberships at the highest pace possible. She can be reached at

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.




Tanknology largest company in the world devoted to compliance solutions for petroleum systems. If you operate an underground or an aboveground petroleum fueling system, you are no doubt governed by multiple environmental regulations. In our blog, we discuss topics of interest to our industry community; whether it be a regulatory development, our take on breaking industry news, news from our company, or anything else we believe may be of interest the tank compliance community. We hope you will join us in the conversation.


Canadian Choice Award Nominee