Over the years I’ve had mobile car washing and auto detailing companies ask me about working in large Metro Area parking structures, offering services to company employees in the building. Sometimes folks contact me about setting up services at Airport Park and Fly’s. The other day someone asked about a 1,000 parking space parking garage in the high-rent district. Okay so, let’s say you were putting together a business plan for something like this – how many car owners are really going to be interested in your services? Let’s talk.
It has been my experience that you get 15% peak at the 6th week point providing the quality is “excellent” in the first-fifth week. The first week expect perhaps 5-7%. Now then, generally if you offer 5-day week service you get the most business on Thurs-Fri for weekend, so at first the Monday-Tuesday business might be dismal. These numbers “assume” that you have pre-announced advanced notification, flyers, faxes, or notification from the property manager of a new service which everyone considers trying. You should get 8% of the people getting weekly washes after that 6th week, and the rest getting add-on services for the total of that 15%.
Now then, the people’s cars will still be clean from the original 1-2 weeks, so the second and third week, expect slow growth, less than the first two week, but things then progress. Some folks choose not to use the service regularly because of cost, or kids at home washing cars, DIY crowd; by week six you should peak or plateau at 75% of your future maximum future volume as you slowly win over folks who budget you as a fixed expense.
What about pricing?
Okay so, with all this said unless your buildings contain high-end clientele and is in the downtown financial district – lawyers and other financial type businesses – then your price should be fair and honorable for the middle class. Remember most of your customers will become – if you do this right – weekly executive in-and-out washes at let’s say $15-25 each. Then once per month quick express wax at $40-50. Then, every other month max detail $100+.
You should not forgo the single-mom secretary with the beginner entry point BMW, she’s your very best word of mouth, don’t price her out of the market! Or give her a “free exterior only” wash with tire-dressing if there are 5-or more per office that sign up.
Let’s say you are working with luxury buildings, not condos, I am taking about luxury office buildings with enormous parking structures; if this is a mega-high-end crowd it’s okay to keep your higher price points perhaps one-third or half again more, those higher prices might survive, although I am sketchy on that, economically speaking in the present period. You can always bundle extras rather than lowering price, and you can always bump the prices up a few more dollars once you prove yourself.
What if a property company has 10 or more buildings?
This is common in downtown districts as one company is in charge of many, many, buildings and parking structures. They want amenity type services in all of them. Still, don’t take all the buildings at once, work into it, over committing might be unwise, labor constraints issues, and customer service managers, very challenging working in such a controlled chaotic environment – at first, that is. You’ll get used to it. You have to get it right the first time or your reputation will be trashed for a long while, you could lose 10s of 1,000s of dollars in sales the first six months trying to overcome a poor start.
Indeed, I hope I’ve at least answered some of the questions you might have. Still, please remember all this advice are merely my preliminary thoughts, but I’ve been asked about this now so many times that I thought I’d just put it into an article to save my time in the future. Every circumstance is different, and to do this topic justice I’d really, really need more details on this to better accurately guestimate for each potential circumstance. Please consider all this and think on it.