The corner Car Wash is part of the California DNA. You find at least one every mile, and they offer very competitive prices. You can find a car wash for less than $10 done in 20 minutes. However, these businesses are witnessing a real stagnation in terms of revenues.
It if was a godsend at the time the automobile market skyrocketed, it is now threatened by alternatives and notably the evolution or the car detailing industry. Let us give you more insights about this so that you understand all the differences between corner car wash and mobile car wash and find what suits you the most!
What are the main strengths of the corner car wash business?
If you live in California, finding a corner car wash is as easy as finding a gas station. And it feels definitely nice to be able to have your car washed for $10 because you recently caught rain or spent a weekend at the mountain. They will spray water on your car, wipe down the entire surface and vacuum rapidly the interior. It’s not what you can call a full car detail, but at least it removes the superficial dirt and dust of the car and makes it hygienic.
The other bright side of the corner car wash is the convenience. There are so many of them that it practically becomes an on-demand service as long as you’re willing to pull off for 30 minutes to an hour. And if the corner car wash is in front of your office, it’s even more convenient.
The main advantage of the corner car wash though is its price. Anybody that has a car might want to have it washed from time to time. Even if you’re driving a filthy 1996 Toyota Camry! The bottom-line is that the corner car wash industry is a real mass market for which the demand is huge. However, this is a downward trend. As time goes by, car values are increasing, and aestheticism is gaining more and more importance for car owners giving car detailing a bright future.
Why are the corner car washes threatened by other alternatives?
The world evolves and new technologies are changing many industries by introducing new ways of addressing some market. However, those businesses have many flaws. The corner car wash industry is definitely not going to disappear but will most likely change a lot in the years to come as it will need to reinvent itself.
– Over time, new cars have more and more value and are made of new technologies and materials. Whether it is for the bodywork or for the interior materials. Corner car washes are using traditional products, old rags, diluted and non-adapted cleaning supplies. Overall, the quality of the wash is not matching the need of the newest cars anymore. They manage to increase their margins like this at the expense of creating a premium service.
– The car wash industry is suffering from an employment issue. Corner Car Wash workers are among the lowest-paid in California. They are poorly treated and earn most of the time less than the minimum California Wage. Furthermore, due to their work conditions, they face health hazards notably because of their exposure to chemicals combined with nonexistent safety measures.
– Corner car washes are small businesses that focus most of all on their cost to make their company profitable. Given their pricing, it is almost impossible for them to provide an excellent customer service. If you don’t like your car wash, don’t waste your time asking for reimbursement or for the work to be re done.
– In terms of marketing, corner car washes are definitely not doing tons of effort. Those businesses look like gas stations most of the time. They don’t attract passing by potential customers that could go for an impulsive car wash. Hence, they limit their business reach to the neighborhood they are located hoping for a returning ratio of customer high enough to sustain their business model.
– The acquisition strategy is limited to a Yelp Account for the biggest part of corner car washes. Digital marketing, press, brand awareness… are not prerogative for those companies. Thus, you hardly come across prestigious stationary car wash or big industry players. At least prestigious enough to attract customers with beautiful cars like Bentley or Porsche that prefer going to their car dealership or purchase the services of professional car detailers.
What are the alternatives to corner Car Washes?
1. The Auto Bodyshop or detailing store
Corner car washes ambitioned to “industrialize” car washing. For over ten years now, a new industry was born. Detailing stores or Auto Bodyshop have been appearing in California and spreading very quickly. Those businesses are expert to provide from basic car wash to high-end detailing but also many other car services. They hinge on quality, customer service and the expertise of their employees.
Auto Bodyshop have huge margins. A full car restoration with paint correction, polish, interior shampoo, leather car seats conditioning and dress plastic will cost you up to $800 for the most expensive in Los Angeles. The job will take between 4 to 8 hours to be completed, and the detailer will only spend up to $100 in supplies, including the gas and water needed for the equipment.
The biggest issue of detailing store is their customer acquisition cost that is extremely high. Most of them rely on word of mouth and organic customer acquisition to sustain their business. However, their risk is high as car detailing is heavily impacted by exterior elements like the weather. This business is nevertheless thriving as there are more and more customers willing to pay a real service for having their car properly detailed. Purchasing power is overall increasing in California, and the newest cars require a particular expertise to be washed properly. Furthermore, car owners tends to keep their vehicle longer nowadays given the life cycle of the latest cars. Protecting its bodywork and paying attention to the deterioration of the interior of your vehicle is a growing need!
2. Mobile car detailing service
Adding an extra layer of service on top of the regular car detailing services was only a matter of time. Now, some car detailers are specialized in getting you car details at any location. They have fully equipped vans with water tank, generator and all the supplies they need to provide you with basic car wash to high-end detailing.
Those services have the same difficulties than detailing stores. Even though their cost are less high due to the fact that they don’t pay a rent for their store, it is still hard for them to break even at the end of the month. Their biggest difficulty is actually to acquire new customers.
At Washos, Our ambition is to help Mobile car detailers to cope with their marketing issues. Indeed, we gathered the best mobile car detailers we found in Los Angeles County and Orange County, and we connect them, on-demand, to people looking for car detailing at any location. The idea behind Washos is not only to provide a more convenient service to people looking to have their car detailed but also to help mobile detailers to supplement their income and expand their companies. Being the technological bridge between mobile car cleaners and customers is ambitious but doable.
So, What service should I go for?
If you have a very tight budget and still want to have your car cleaned, the stationary car wash is the perfect fit for you. Or you could simply sign up to our service and wait for a special promotion for your first booking. Indeed, we often do special mobile car wash offer for special occasions like what we did for 4th of July!
If you have multiple cars, the mobile car wash is definitely the best fit for you. Unless you want to do endless back & forth between your auto Bodyshop and home. But most of the time, people that prefer mobile car detailing are the very busy one. Saving 2 hours or more is priceless especially when you live in Los Angeles!
I would advise you to go to an auto Bodyshop though if you are looking for more than car detailing. For any technical issue you may have, you want to have the expertise of car professionals, and you want them to be able to work in the best condition. For that, going to their stores is definitely the best thing for you.
So, which one are you? If you feel like giving mobile car wash a try, here is the way!