contributor Victoria Lim published an article earlier this year that dives into how to get your design and site infrastructure right – the first time. The article begins with a brief history lesson. Lim talks about how, in the past, it would have seemed crazy to offer extras like free vacuums or to create parking spots equipped with electrical conduits for the cars of the future. 

However, times are changing.

Lim argues that given the increase in Americans who washed their vehicle at a car wash at least once in the past year, more companies should incorporate inevitable growth into their business plans from the jump. Of course, what exactly that growth might look like is almost impossible to predict, but allowing space for modifications in the overall site plan and budget is a good place to start. 

Kevin Pence, owner and president of Commercial Construction and Maintenance (CCM for short) spoke with Lim about how he begins to establish these flexible assets for his customers. 

“We don’t know what all is coming down the line with the car wash industry, and one of the best ways that we can serve our customers is by helping them to be ready for whatever comes. We like to add additional conduits, plumbing capacity, chases, etc. to help operators adjust quickly and easily to things that they would like to add or subtract,” Pence said. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about staying up-to-date on what is going to make your site more appealing to potential customers. Back in the day, a commitment to sustainability might not have had the draw it does today. But now – especially with young consumers – companies that are environmentally-conscious are more likely to be viewed in a positive light. 

Of course, even initiatives based on the need for positive change need to make sense for your business. If you’re running a car wash based in Colorado, solar energy might be a great thing to look into. But if you’re out of Washington where cloudy climate and rain are more common than a sunny day, maybe not. 

According to the article, some popular customer service add-ons that have skyrocketed in popularity over the last few years are subscription memberships, towels and window washing fluid available for self-use at the vacuum bays, and pay station buildings. 

As technology continues to improve and customer demand shifts, the biggest advice anyone can give up-and-coming car wash operators is to embrace change. If there is one lesson that nearly every industry had to learn during the pandemic, it’s that the ability to pivot is invaluable. Now we just have to take that knowledge and move forward. 

The future continues to draw nearer, and many of the same conversations that are being had in the world of business and tech are being held in the car wash space. 

For instance, Autobell Car Wash, a huge family-owned company with more than 80 locations across North Carolina, South Carolina, Maryland and Virginia, is looking into robotics to improve their services, and working to figure out how this technology can be incorporated into its existing equipment set-up. 

Read the rest of the article for more information and a wish list of common site upgrades for the future, and for more insights and information on the car washing industry as a whole, check out our latest blog posts or contact us to learn how Hover Architecture can turn your design dreams into a reality.