EasyCarWash grows into regional brand
Within five years, the German brand EasyCarWash has grown from a start up into a force to be reckoned with in the car wash industry. Soon they will open their 10th self-service car wash location. Carwashpro.de spoke with managing director Henrik Mernitz.
“We have expanded EasyCarWash into a regional brand in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern”, says Mernitz, who promises it won’t end at the state borders. “We have a unique look on self-service washing and therefore don’t really experience competition at our locations.” Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, a landlocked state, has only about 1.6 million inhabitants in total, so the development of a self-service car wash brand has special framework conditions.
No average wash
The direct competitors for EasyCarWash’s self-service wash are generally portal car washes with partially connected self-service wash bays at service stations. “At most gas stations, customers can wash their cars for no less than €8. The pre-wash with self-service pre-cleaning equipment is often not included.
“For that price they often don’t get a high-quality wash, but something inadequate and average”, Mernitz suspects. “The brush system can’t clean hard-to-reach places like folded mirrors, rear spoilers or door handle recesses.”
“Furthermore, some of these car washes and the associated self-service wash bays have seen better times”, the EasyCarWash manager concludes. They were built in the 1990s and some have not been renewed since. If maintenance also has been neglected, then we are talking about rather poor car washes.”
That’s exactly where EasyCarWash excels, Mernitz insists. “We focus on performance, service and cleanliness at our locations. We are available 24/7 and offer phone support whenever there are questions. This is greatly appreciated by our customers, especially the elderly, but also young people.
“At our locations, customers can wash their cars for as little as 5 or 6 euros if they use our CarWashSystem correctly. But they leave with really clean cars,” says Henrik Mernitz, describing the difference.
No AAA locations, but plenty of space
Instead of going for expensive AAA locations near major shopping centers and highways, EasyCarWash does things a little differently. Their nine locations are often at the outskirts of town, near main roads.
“We are focusing on much more space for our customers and offering everyone a washing option. Our standards have been 6- to 7-space SB washes, and we’re currently building a 12-space facility as well.
Above that, we have gradually started to remodel our locations and add outdoor side wash bays. They have been equipped with special elevated steel structures and swivel booms, after we found the double-deck gyroscopes at the standard outdoor washing stations we used, were too low.
What is also standard, is the drive-through principle. “All our sites are all designed as drive-through boxes. Customers find this is much easier to handle than head wash boxes.”
EasyCarWash is also expanding its market presence in the commercial vehicle wash sector. “Our self-service truck washes are not like conventional truck washes, where it’s about overall cleaning. Our truck customers don’t always want a clean train, they care about the caboose. Trailers get dirty again after a few miles, but the truck is what matters to them.”
Some of our locations are already equipped with side bridges at the outside wash bays. “Honestly, I can’t really understand why they are so popular, because they’re much more cumbersome to handle. But customers seem to like using them.”
The concept of EasyCarWash and EasyTruckWash can be summed up as helping people help themselves, he said. “We offer high-quality equipment at each wash location and provide service through explanations and advice from on-site staff.”
“Not every location is always staffed, but our customers still appreciate our customer handling expertise. It’s very clear to us, just washing is not enough today.”
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CarWashKey as cash maker
The EasyCarWash payment system included all common payment methods, especially fuel cards from DKV and UTA. In addition, our customers can buy a CarWashKey at the automatic pay station of the respective
CarWashKey at the cash machine of the respective location. The advantage of the CarWashKey is the individual and fast use of the credit loaded on it directly in the wash boxes or vacuum areas, and this without restriction at all EasyCarWash locations. This saves frequent trips to the automatic pay station.
In addition, Key owners receive a bonus of 10 percent when topping up their CarWashKey with at least €10. “At the end of the day we don’t sell washes, we sell time. For one euro, our customers currently get one minute and 20 seconds of time washing, and 4 minutes of time vacuuming.”
According to Mernitz, the CarWashKey is a success. At each car wash location, about 30 new carwash keys are sold each week. “That’s 30 potential returning customers for the EasyCarWash brand. The Carwashkeys have a very clear advantage for us: they bring in sales immediately, no matter when the customer comes to wash.”
EasyCarWash will soon open it’s 10th location at Rostock/Brinckmansdorf