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Vacuums are Key to Bringing in Customers and Building Loyalty

Vacuums are Key to Bringing in Customers and Building Loyalty

Tidy interiors complete the promise of clean, dry and shiny vehicles. Thoughtful accessories ensure your customers have the optimal experience in your vacuum plaza. 

Providing protection from the elements is perhaps the number one way to give your guests a comfortable experience. Awnings also boost the aesthetics and visibility of your site. Materials range from fabric to perforated aluminum. 

Mat racks
Save patrons the hassle and mess of vacuuming on the pavement with ergonomic mat racks. These also prevent customers from banging their mats on your vacuum stanchions, which could damage the stanchion finish. 

Waste receptacles
Good quality waste receptacles are a favorite of both patrons and wash staff. Customers love not having to trek across the lot while cleaning out their vehicles. Employees appreciate not having to pick up as much stray litter. Vacuum systems with debris cleanouts mounted above trash cans also make daily maintenance speedy for staff.

LED lights
Customers can easily see when they are vacuuming during dim hours, improving efficiency plus their feeling of safety on the lot. Lights also make your site visible to passersby at any time.

Towel bins
If you offer free towels, make them convenient with well-designed towel bins that store clean towels tidily and collect used ones. 

Compressed air
Compressed air lets customers get a complete clean by blowing dirt and grime out of all the interior nooks and crannies or blow those last few drops of water from hard to dry areas such as mirrors and door sills. Nothing says attention to detail like this tool.

Vacuum plazas are a great place for signage to let customers know about promotions, encourage membership signups, or convey other information. 

By Camden Easterling

With increasing wash competition, customers seek the best – and vacuums and accessories are deciding factors.

As the tunnel carwash industry continues to grow and consolidate, owners and operators are also seeing increasing sophistication in the field: Fantastic looking sites, new technology, professionally trained staff.

Close-up of hand vacuum attachment being used on a car seat

That means customers not only have more choices, they’re also much choosier about where they wash than in previous decades. And the deciding factor? It’s often the vacuums and the accessories in the vacuum plaza. 

Why do vacuums matter to wash patrons? In large part because vacuums are one of the only pieces of equipment customers operate themselves at a tunnel carwash. If the vacuums disappoint – poor suction, out of order, inconvenient – people aren’t coming back. And, they’re likely to share their opinion on social media, amplifying the impact of an unhappy customer. 

But provide top-notch vacuums and thoughtful accessories to make vacuuming effective, fast and convenient, and your wash is positioned to have not just happy customers but patrons who evangelize for you.

“This carwash is the best in the Treasure Valley,” writes one customer on the Facebook page for Epic Shine, a multi-site company in Idaho in the United States. Epic Shine is in an area where customers have plenty of washes to choose from. “My car is always super clean when I drive out and the vacuums always work, unlike other places.”

“Vacuums that always work” start with central vacuum systems designed by engineers who ensure you have the right combination of turbines (motors), separators (the dirt and debris collectors) and other components that work in combination to provide powerful suction.

Another reason, and a surprising one, customers select wash sites based on their vacuums as much or more than the tunnel is because they handle the vacuuming themselves. 

The appeal of the express tunnel is that it is a drive-through service. However, people feel a significant amount of satisfaction in the tasks they do themselves. 

This notion of pride in a job performed by oneself is called the Ikea effect. Researchers report consumers experience pleasure in ownership in tasks they complete, even seemingly tedious jobs such as assembling basic furniture from the retailer Ikea, and are willing to pay more for it. Carwash operators often hear from vacuum users that they feel extra satisfaction with vacuuming because they cleaned their interiors.

But make sure the task is comfortable, fast and convenient so it doesn’t slide into the territory of being drudgery. Offer accessories that make vacuuming pleasant, and you’ll set your wash apart from the competition (see side bar for the top accessories customers look for when choosing a wash).

“Great experience and great free vacuums and hand towels for cleaning after you go through the wash,” writes a customer on the Facebook page for Launch Car Wash, a booming site in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the US that has its second location in the works. 

While mechanized tunnels clean cars, people vacuum vehicles. Offer them the impressive suction with equally impressive accessories and you’ll build repeat business.  

Camden Easterling is the marketing director for Vacutech LLC and has been working in the carwash industry for seven years.

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