Sustainable car wash cuts back on opening hours

Photo by Anders J on Unsplash

German car wash operator Wi-Wash has just decided to limit their opening hours during the dark winter months. With energy prices going through the roof, it becomes much harder to run a profitable business, they realise. But since Wi-Wash thrives on solar power, it’s also a matter of battery limits.

Prices for both liquid gas and electricity have recently doubled or tripled in parts of Europe. Car wash operators are hesitant to pass these increased prices on to customers, with the risk of losing regulars. Wi-Wash in the German town of Ochtrup decided to approach the matter differently, with lots of positive feedback.

Opening hours

The Wi-Wash indoor car wash in Ochtrup opened only a year ago. and is still in the midst of building up a regular clientele. Instead of raising their prices or extending their opening hours, they do the exact opposite. Customers will now no longer be able to wash six days a week from 8 AM to 8 PM., which used to be the case during the dark season.
Instead, the solar powered car wash opens the doors 2 hours later, at 10. Furthermore, they allready close at 6 PM. “We want to save energy costs by asking our customers to come wash with us only during daylight”, explains operation manager Sven Unruh. “Our solar panels generally deliver sufficient power from 9 AM onwards, but we want to store the energy, to make sure we have enough reserve power for the rest of the day.”


Since the opening, Wi-Wash has placed great emphasis on the sustainability of the car wash. A huge solar panel system has been installed on the green roof, with enough reserve even to store energy during cloudy days.

Furthermore, they also treat their water in a sustainable way. The last couple of months made it clear the plant can be operated without major energy subsidies from outside, according to Sven Unruh. But it will mean they have to limit their opening hours during the dark winter months. The limited opening hours will last until the end of February.

Personnel costs

The decision also means fewer staff. “We work a lot with temporary staff in addition to permanent staff,” says Unruh. According to him, most employees understand why Wi-Wash is cutting back the hours. It’s better to earn less than to be laid off completely, the staff agreed. During winter, only the regular employees are deployed four days a week. On weekends and promotion days they will get support by additional temporary staff.

By the look of things, most customers understood the limited opening hours even though some had to get used to it. “But they all actually came back a short time later and washed their vehicles.” So Sven Unruh is currently confident that the Wi-Wash facility will weather the coming months well.

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Author: Rene Passet

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