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The Car Wash War Is On Between Hand and Machine

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The Car Wash War Is On Between Hand and Machine

Car Wash Superstore

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

We are equal opportunity supporters of all car washing professionals: get it clean, by hand or machine.

If you're just entering the car wash field and are unsure of what type of facility you'd like to open, or if you just need talking points for when you debate other car wash operators at your next Better Business Bureau meeting, we're breaking down the pros and cons of machine car washes and hand washes.

Machine Car Wash Pros

Protection: The University of Texas experimented with different washing techniques, and their results were confirmed by a separate group at the Technological University of Munich: machine car washes are less likely to damage the finish of a car.

Consistency: A machine car wash doesn't ever forget any steps. It performs as programmed, every time. Its reach isn't limited, so the amount of friction applied to the roof is the same as the side panel. Its arms don't get exhausted, so the first area to receive contact gets the same treatment as the final. 

Capacity: Even with an experienced team of employees, hand washing a car can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. Most machine washes are completed in well under ten minutes. The more cars you can wash in a day, the more potential profit you can make. An automatic wash has the potential to run all day and all night, all year long.

Machine Car Wash Cons

Consistency: A machine's one-size-fits-all approach can be a detriment, since it has no ability to perceive areas that require special attention. Not all cars are created equally, and neither is all dirt.

Expense: The specialty pumps, hoses, water filtration systems, brushes, and more required to set up a machine wash facility can be massive and cost prohibitive. And even when you can find great deals, the replacement parts are expensive as well. Even with speedy delivery, if your operation has to close for any period of time you could lose short-term revenue or lose a customer forever.

Spotting: Automated car washes are more likely to leave unsightly water spots than a thorough hand wash and dry. 

Hand Car Wash Pros

Simplicity: Buckets. Hoses. Sponges. Towels. People. The last item, humans, are the most complicated equipment you'll need to get a hand car wash up and operational. The startup cost is exponentially lower, and replacement equipment is always easy to find.

Special Attention: Personalized service feels nice. And on top of that, the hand wash experts can focus extra effort on the areas that need it. They can use specialized tools to reach areas that a machine overlooks and they can give difficult areas an extra scrub.

Hand Car Wash Cons

The Sandpaper Effect: The extra oomph a hand wash pro applies could actually be damaging your paint. Rags and towels accumulate specks of dirt and dust over time, and those particles can scratch through up to 1/10th of your paint coat in a single wash.

People Problems: A hand car wash operation requires more people, and those people require management. Automatic tunnel machines don't need lunch breaks, take off for the holidays or suddenly no-call no-show for work.

Impact: Washing cars by hand, on average, requires more water than an automated system. Most car washing machines incorporate water recycling systems that only use fresh water for the final rinse. They keep harsh chemicals and other potential environmental contaminants fully contained. A hand wash facility can be set up anywhere, potentially resulting in harmful runoff.

The type of car wash that you choose to operate - and it's possible you offer multiple options - should ultimately be dictated by the needs of your customers. By hand or by machine, Car Wash Superstore is ready to supply you with all the tools you need to keep them satisfied. Contact us today for high quality materials that will help you achieve success!

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