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Walmart and Unlimited time

hoyeman

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I saw the other day that retail is down from 5% to 25% with high end being the worst except walmart. And I hear McDonalds is doing well. I am thinking it is time to look at the unlimited time model again. I have always felt that my wash is a good canidate for that to begin with. I would love to hear from the unlimited washes that are out there to see how they are doing in this economy. I think that focusing on savings right now will go a long way. I have noticed that a lot of large companies advertising are focusing on savings. I will be adding detailing to my wash this spring and thought that I would highlight the concept of getting your car cleaned right. Either by someone else or by yourself where you are not a slave to the quarter eating machine. Any and all thoughts on this would be appreciated.

Thanks
David
 

washnvac

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I am $5 for 30 minutes. Have been that way since 2002. 2007 was my best year. I have four locations- this year the ytd sales are off 12-18% at all four. Operating costs have been way up; 50%+ over '07. I have just been eating it. I thought about raising to $6 or cutting time to 20 minutes, or both. But with the economy, it just is not going to happen anythime soon. I am still profitable. I have simply been diligent about cutting costs. It is amazing how much "perks and fluff" you add when things are good. For instance I cut out my lot sweeping service, and introduced my attendants to that ole high tech tool.....the push broom. Saved $800 per month. Attendants are there getting paid anyhow.
 

Wally

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I am $5 for 30 minutes. Have been that way since 2002. 2007 was my best year. I have four locations- this year the ytd sales are off 12-18% at all four. Operating costs have been way up; 50%+ over '07. I have just been eating it. I thought about raising to $6 or cutting time to 20 minutes, or both. But with the economy, it just is not going to happen anythime soon. I am still profitable. I have simply been diligent about cutting costs. It is amazing how much "perks and fluff" you add when things are good. For instance I cut out my lot sweeping service, and introduced my attendants to that ole high tech tool.....the push broom. Saved $800 per month. Attendants are there getting paid anyhow.
Buy them a Stihl hand held leaf blower for around $150.
 

Whale of a Wash

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I was wondering how hunting season works for you with unlmtd time. During hunting season My $1.75 for 3 min is so inexpensive that a hunter easily spends $10, and can give me a 30-60min clean up although most average 8-10min. We have a clay gumbo type of soil, and the fall is tough on the back, the pits , and for me unlmtd would be tough to handle, also I have some customers that wash every other day . They wash quick and dry down and in
10 min are gone. Does the $5 start time eliminate this type of customer, or the guy who wants to quick spray off a bicycle, or is unlmtd just on a few select bays.
John
 

washnvac

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All bays are $5 for 30. No confussion that way. To my knowledge, I only lose a few who want a quick spray off. I usually convince people to try it. Once they leave with their vehicle clean and shiny, and no soap residue---they are sold. Think about--no running around feeding the meter, no horn beeping, no missing critical wash steps, the customer is more relaxed and feels better about using the facility. There are no count down timers, as they are unnecessary in this set up. We do get a few "mudders", but I in fact have my attendants turn them away. I used to get a few at night, but that has pretty much ceased, as I used to post pictures of the vehicle with a $50 reward. They pretty much got the idea, then. There is still the occassional....but that is going to happen. My average chem cost per car is 40 cents right now. Average time customer uses bay is 15 minutes most months, 22 minutes after snow/salt is out. The $5 for 30 is not for everyone, but it works for me. (Note: I have double magnetic loops in the bays to prevent 2 cars from washing at once, or a car & trailer.)
 

hoyeman

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50%+ operating cost increase with a 12-18% gross decrease has got to be painful.
 

Sequoia

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Unlimited time

I suspect that if "unlimited time" is a good element to your wash then it's a good element in either an up or a down economy.
 

washnvac

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Right now people just do not give two hoots about washing their vehicles. Stock Market down another 400 points today. With all the media reporting this doom and gloom, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. At least on the slow days I am making electric, as two of my facilities have solar panels. It is nice to see the meter spin backwards; but it also means there isn't any business to speak of.
 

Bubbles Galore

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At our wash, we are looking at how we can diversify our wash from the others out there. Right now we are working on getting our dog wash set up for a Spring Grand Opening. We are also doing bonus time, which has been received well. I think that as long as you take a proactive approach you will continue to get people in the door.

I do like the idea of unlimited time, I just don't know that I would do it. I would have to sit at a wash for a weekend to see how busy it was and how the customers liked it. Just my .02
 

thoffmanjr

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Our credit card transactions are averaging $8.33 each in the bays with a $3 minimum. Cash customers average a bit less than $5 per car. 28% of our revenues are credit cards. We are $1 to start for cash and are going to $1 / minute, $5 for 8 minutes which is a 40% discount and $10 gets you 22 minutes, a 55% discount. We have $1 start and "Unlimited" with no loops in the floor.
 

mmurra

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We do $2/4min, $4/unlimited (20 minutes), no loop. I'm not sure it has had a positive impact, although I like to use it to clean my boat in the spring!
 
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