3 strategies for raising prices at the car wash

Should you raise prices or not? That’s a current topic in most car washes. Prices have either already been raised recently or this move is imminent. With these three strategies, business owners reduce the risk of losing customers in the process.

The right time and amount of a price increase should be well considered. As we all know, price is a very sensitive area. More often than not it is the deciding factor in a customer’s decision to buy.
Changes in quality and price increases are closely observed and often discussed by customers. In the current volatile market situation, it is not so much a matter of IF you will raise prices, but HOW. Here are basically three strategies. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

1: Small price increases at short intervals

In times of sharp inflation, customers are sensitive to price increases. If a car wash increases its prices by only a small difference, customers will mostly be OK with that. However, under the current price pressure, further price increases will quickly be necessary to run a car wash economically. Many smaller price cuts in too short a time could also give the impression that a company’s pricing policy is unstable.
For customers, future price developments are more difficult to assess. Those who combine price increases with arguments can hardly claim to have improved the quality of the service every few months. Many small price cuts are also more difficult to calculate for internal planning.

2: Significant price increases at longer intervals

An announced bigger price increase is often a surprise for many customers. However, good arguments can often be found that are also comprehensible to customers. The most important argument is certainly the assurance that the new price level can be maintained over a longer period. However, customers will only accept such major price jumps at long intervals. Therefore, such a step should be well calculated, disseminated and implemented.

3: Raise and lower prices simultaneously

An alternative option is to treat different services differently. For example, the most frequently sold wash products could be raised in price. Whereas other, less demanded wash products could be reduced. An example of this would be to introduce or reduce the price of linens during a “happy hour.” Such offers usually have the purpose of making greater use of the off-peak hours of the opening hours and thus relieving the pressure on the peak hours. A simultaneous price increase and price reduction offer good arguments to explain to the customer.

Local impact

The car wash business is very local, so price changes at a car wash often affect the entire market in a region. On the one hand, this means that companies are forced to keep a close eye on the competition. On the other hand, it also means that in many cases a price advantage does not last long. In the car wash industry, therefore, you should not be price driven in the long run. Instead, quality and service should be the key arguments.

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Author: Sandra Schäfer

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