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Building Business With Car Wash Data

Building Business With Car Wash Data


Consumer data is one of the biggest tools we have as business owners to help us build our business. As a marketer, I once had someone say to me, “If you can’t measure, then don’t do it!” That statement has rung true with every campaign, email, or piece of content I work on today. What I didn’t realize in my youthful years of marketing, is that this statement rings true for any element of your business, whether you are B2B, or B2C. Understanding your customer data is critical to knowing how to better your experience in your business.


Data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, 6 times as likely to retain customers, and 19 times as likely to be profitable as a result.

Think about that. What does acquiring more customers, retaining them, and profiting off of them look like for you?


When it comes to data points you can learn and understand in your car wash business, there are many data points you can understand. From how many cars per day, to average spend, to time spent on location, individual demographics, and so much more. If you are a self-serve operator, you can understand much more when it comes to your individual bays. How much soap do customers use versus bug remover?



Those are data points simply with your location. But how do your customers interact with you? We’ve gone in length of the importance of marketing strategyemail marketing, and up to date websites. All of these “things” are ways for you to understand how your customer truly gets involved with your business.

As a loyalty software provider, we have always been motivated to find helpful data points for operators to understand what interactions a customer has. With the power of the internet, CRMs, and email marketing platforms, the data volume is endless. Which, can also make it seem a bit overwhelming or troublesome.

Well, here are a few helpful hints to get your data in order.


Probably the easiest of data points to be able to grab is demographics. Demographics can be a big help in understanding your customers as a whole, but also understanding how to market to them. The great thing about car washes is, everyone needs a wash now and again. So your opportunities to reach out to new potential business is always there. However, based on your location, knowing who your customer demographic is can help you reach out to them in better and more meaningful ways.

Key data points for demographics are gender and age group. That’s it. If you have a good handle on this, you can grow your business very easily through online marketing tactics, or even the old school method of direct mail which could work very well with the Boomer generation. However, if you know your key demographic isn’t the boomer generation, don’t focus on marketing towards them. Focus on the age group you know frequents your car wash.

So, get out there and understand the customers you already have. Then push yourself to understand how to best reach them. Whether it’s through email, social media, direct mail, or a connection at the local coffee shop.


If you have loyalty options (like WashCards) at your car wash, one of the biggest things to monitor and understand is how much usage those programs are getting. You should be looking at this every few months to understand how your customers are using the programs. Are they using it? Getting some basic key statistics can help you measure your efforts month to month. And when I say basic, I really mean basic (unless you want to heavily dig into it). Don’t make a crazy amount of extra work for yourself. Your goal is not to pick and prod at every number you can. It’s finding the ones that matter to help you grow, help you gain customers, and in the end, help you earn more.

Basic numbers. What does that mean? From a loyalty perspective, you could simply start with how many members do I have? Then when you have that grasped, maybe dig one level deeper and ask, what programs are they using? Once you have a grasp on that, see how often programs are used. If you have two loyalty programs, is there one used more over the other? A lot of this can be measured in Excel.

The main thing is to simply get a view of what your current usage is, so you can see how those numbers change based on your marketing efforts.


As mentioned before, this is a heavy hit topic lately. But there is a big reason for it. Marketing is important! As the definition of “Marketing” states, it’s the action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising. I’m pretty sure that should be something you are interested in doing with your business in order to stay successful.

As I’ve spoken with many car wash operators and managers, I know one of the biggest problems is how to “do” marketing. Where to even start. I’ve mentioned in a few blogs before that starting with social media is one of the easiest, and best places to go to. Post a few times, find a target market and use ads to push your promotions. These are things WashCard can provide help with, or you can do on your own. Having social media at your hands can be really helpful to understand some of the demographics of your business as well.

While social media is a great tool, email marketing can truly be your best friend. There are lots of free and very inexpensive tools out there for email marketing and building a CRM. This requires you to have a form on your website that connects to these tools, but with a little help and knowledge it can easily be done. From there, it’s collecting your customer emails from what you have already, and starting to send emails with valuable content.


To a car wash operator, understanding what the term “valuable content” means might be baffling. Fear not. We’re here to help. Valuable content can have a number of different looks and feels depending on your…you guessed it…demographics!

You don’t want to send out mobile promotion codes if you know your demographic is mainly people in their later stages of life, because chances are they won’t use it. But if you know you have a younger demographic, this could be the perfect piece of valuable content to send!

Other valuable content you could send can include:

  • Car wash tips
  • Coupons or discount codes
  • Events coming up
  • Share community events
  • Contest
  • Holiday hours
  • Cute animal pictures
  • Employee highlights

The list is endless. Well, maybe not endless, but you get the idea. The great thing is, you can promote signing up for monthly specials and discounts and continuously gain more contacts to email.


Let’s jump back to that. The data. Why we’re here.

Email Marketing can be a huge help in finding data points for your business. It can help you decide what works and what doesn’t. Any email marketing provider should give you metrics based on how many opens, clicks, forwards, shares, etc., that your email received. This can be really great insight to what your customers are looking for.

Say you send out a monthly promotion code to 300 people. At the end of the month, you pull a report saying you had 150 uses. I would say that is a pretty good turnout of usage, especially considering the average open rate for emails is around 24%. I’d say at that rate, you could assume your promotion is working pretty darn well. Using these data points in your email marketing can help you decide what is the best route to create more business at your car wash.


The ability to gain a whole customer view depends in part on integration of your data from different sources. According to a survey by Adobe, the top 3 ways marketers are adding value include the use of CRM data, real-time data from analytics, and by integrating analytics across channels. In a nutshell, this means taking the data from multiple sources and integrating it to find what your customers are looking for.

When you’re able to see your customer data and act off the tendencies and trends you see in it, you not only cater better to your customers, but you’re able to provide them a full experience. If your online (website and social), email, on-site, and in person experiences become consistent, you build trust. You build repetitive business. And most of all, you build word of mouth recommendations.


Changing your business based around customer data can be a bit of a guessing game at first. You will need to experiment a little to really understand your customers. A great way to understand what they really want, or need, is to survey your customers. This can be done on your website, through tools like SurveyMonkeyTypeForm, or by simply asking them on location.

No matter what you do to change, if you do make changes, the important thing is being able to see and look at your data. It’s your friend. Shake hands, get close, and get to know each other because you’re in it for the long haul now!

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