How Ditching Coins Can Help Your Car Wash Business
While taking cash may still be critical to some of your clients, we can guarantee it’s not critical to all of them. By not accepting credit cards, you are missing out on a great chunk of business. In fact, some of your cash clients might be REALLY happy if you added credit card acceptance to your business. In the nearly 30 years of running a loyalty and credit card acceptance platform, we can proudly say we’ve never had a customer who has regretted adding cards to their business. Whether it has saved them time, money, or frustration. It has been a win for customers across the board.
The real question here is, when there’s a world of credit cards, loyalty cards, and mobile payment options, why are you scraping up the quarters off the floor of your wash? Is it worth it?
One of the age old comments we get here at WashCard is “But my customers LIKE using coins.”
We totally understand that.
INSERT SARCASM HERE.
Coins are heavy. They roll everywhere. They are readily available to exchange. They come in fun shapes and sizes. They’re easy to track and manage. The bank is ALWAYS open to take them.
END SARCASM HERE.
While you may think your customers WANT to use coins, have you ever thought they may WANT to NOT use coins? Have they had the option thus far? Having only coins in your self service bay may actually be killing some of your business, believe it or not.
Using a credit card, loyalty card, or even a mobile payment sure has its positive aspects to it. For one, it’s more convenient for the customer. They don’t have to carry 2 rolls of quarters or tokens to your bay in order to wash.
Second, it’s less time consuming. Putting a card in a reader takes far less time than putting in quarter, after quarter, after quarter, after quarter, (you get it, right?).
Third, a customer who sees “cash only” or “coin only” can be deterred right from the get go. Specific customer sets are more than happy to take their hard earned money elsewhere so they can use their credit card and get on with their day.
HAVING COINS CAN BE RISKY
Take this into consideration:
1 roll of quarters is a half a pound in someone’s purse or pocket.
2 rolls, you got it, is an extra pound.
Not only is that a lot for your customer to carry around in their pocket, that’s a lot for YOU to haul around to the bank. While this isn’t necessarily risky, collecting all these coins can be (especially depending on where your location is).
You never know what criminal can be lurking around the corner when you’re taking coins out of your bays. You also never know what employee could be pocketing quarters every time they collect them from the wash (we have a system that monitors cash and coin collection so this doesn’t happen). The last thing you need as a business owner is having your own employees taking cash or quarters from you.
THE QUESTION WE OFFER YOU IS THIS: IF YOU COULD REMOVE THE RISK OF THEFT ALONE, IS IT WORTH IT TO GET RID OF, OR MINIMIZE, YOUR COIN ACCEPTANCE?
IT GOES BEYOND BEING JUST A PAYMENT METHOD
At this point, it goes beyond just being a payment method for your customer. We’ve mentioned your customer maybe not wanting to use coins anymore, the weight, inconvenience, etc. But there’s still more!
The number of break-ins to coin-operated systems is just silly. We hear about it on a regular basis here. Some punk breaks and does $2,000.00 worth of damage to your equipment in to your $2,000 system to grab $50 in quarters and ruins your equipment. Once you have a break-in, then you’re dealing with law enforcement, insurance, downtime in your business. And why? All because some punk wanted to steal and only got away with $50 in quarters. Is it really worth the hassle for you or your business?
Even if you don’t have someone breaking in, there is still the instance of damage to your equipment. Quarters get jammed in acceptors. People do some unthinkable things in the car wash. Unimaginable (until it actually happens). However, damage happens, especially when it comes to coin or bill acceptors. This means additional maintenance, time at your location(s), and less time for a vacation!
SO, ANOTHER QUESTION WE OFFER FOR YOU IS THIS: IF YOU SPENT HALF AS MUCH TIME AT YOUR LOCATION SIMPLY ON MAINTENANCE, IS IT WORTH IT TO GET RID OF, OR MINIMIZE, YOUR COIN ACCEPTANCE?
WHAT ABOUT TOKENS?
Imagine you’re ready to wash your car.
In order to start your wash, you need cash to get your tokens.
So first things first, you make sure you’ve got a $5 on you before you go to the wash.
Then you take that $5, walk to the token machine and exchange your bill. The token machine then delivers you some shiny tokens to your hands. As you walk back to your car, you drop two tokens, and have to scrape one off the ground that fell on a piece of sticky tar.
You make it back to your vehicle, start putting some coins in to start your wash.
Slowly you make it through those 20 tokens, one of which got stuck between your seat and the console in the car.
You’re just about done rinsing the last of the soap suds, and BAM.
IT TURNS OFF.
Back to fish for dollars or coins to walk all the way back and get more tokens.
Finally, after going back for more tokens, you’ve gotten enough to do a really quick final rinse and your car still has a spot on it, but you’re over it and just ready to leave.
This might be a bit extreme, but you get the idea. Tokens are a hassle. A hassle most customers would be glad to get rid of.
BUT “FEES ARE MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A TOKEN OR TAKING QUARTERS”
Yes, we’ve heard it all before.
If you are taking quarters (or tokens, or cash), it may be less money to accept that payment if you haven’t been broken into, or your employees aren’t stealing some of that income. We’ll take that point. However, did you know that customers who have the ability to pay with a credit card spend more at the bay?
For our customers, we see, on average, a 40-50% increase per wash transaction with credit card customers over those who pay with cash.
Not a typo. 40-50% MORE.
For example, if a customer is using cash, they’ll spend, on average, $5. If a customer is using a card, they’ll spend, on average, $10 per wash.
Why is this you ask? Because a cash or coin customer is only limited to what they have on them at the time. Whether it’s $2 or $7, they are limited. With a credit card, loyalty card, or mobile payment option, customers are spending more because they have the option to. They have the ability to. The situation where they run out of time, have to run back for more tokens, and do a quick last rinse isn’t happening. A customer can easily, and happily, spend as much time in the bay as they need and want to.
Cash VS. Cards
Let’s go back to the average cost of a wash. Yes, taking a credit card does come with it’s fees. When you have a WashCard product, your effective rate can be in the range of 3% – 8% depending on your volume, as well as who you are using to process cards. Take a look at the chart below to understand how those fees affect your transactions and costs. (Note: this is just an example of earning potential based on what we have seen with ours customer usage)
|Cash Spent In|
In The Bay
|CC Effective Rate (With WashCard)||Income After|
Regardless of the fee, when your customer is spending more in the bay, you are making more overall.
Another question we have to offer: If you are making more money per wash, spending less time at your location collecting quarters, less time dealing with broken equipment, and are able to take a vacation, is it worth your investment? All the while being able to track and monitor every single thing that happens at your wash?
IF NOT, HERE ARE A FEW MORE DOWN SIDES OF HAVING COINS ONLY IN YOUR BAY.
You’re Missing Critical Data
When customers use cash or coins, you are missing out on critical data. With any WashCard system you can look at customer behaviors when a customer uses their card. When you can view these customer behaviors, you can tailor your business to how that customer spends and gain a lot of really great information about how to best serve them.
Cleaning, Drying, Time Sucking
Admit it. Cleaning wet, soap filled coins is not your favorite thing to do throughout the week. Scrubbing coins off the floors or out of machines should be a thing of the past with the level of technology we have in today’s society. This little bit of your weekly routine takes time and effort. Most car wash operators run a second business or work a different day job, so this only cuts into the time you have in your day to accomplish all your tasks.
Accounting Mistakes Can Be Made
No one is perfect. The unfortunate part of cash, is that it doesn’t automatically get added to your accounting software. That information has to be entered manually. One wrong number put in, and you could be setting yourself up for a major disaster. I’m sure there are much better things you could be doing with your time anyway.
Coin Counters Are Going Away
Have you noticed it? Simply put, it’s going to make it a bit harder to count your coins and banks are requiring them to be rolled to be depostited. For you that means extra time spent rolling and delivering coins.
Do You Pay Your Bills With Cash?
Today, there are very few places you can walk in to and pay cash for a bill. Sure, you can write a check, but that’s a very different system than cash and can be traced. Cash or coins just don’t cut it for bills anymore.
Wanting to keep coins in your bay reminds us of a recent t.v. commercial.
No. We aren’t trying to promote said company. Just the idea of still operating on a coin-based system is similar to liking wet grocery bags, or spilling coffee, or any other situation shown in this commercial.
There is also the trouble of birds. You heard it right, the birds!
Yes, this is an older article. Yes, new systems have ways of preventing this, but it’s still comical and proves a point that ANYONE can be stealing coins from you.
And more recently, the Car Wash Bandit!
There’s always a need to be looking out for the ‘Car wash bandit’ who has stolen thousands in coins from car washes out of multiple states.
IS IT TIME TO CHANGE?
Are you interested in adding credit cards to your business? WashCard offers a variety of products that allow you to add cards, while keeping your cash in tact. Interested? Take a look at some of our products or contact us today with questions.