Many factors contribute to running a successful car wash. The quality of your equipment, a great location, and effective marketing strategies… all play a part. But in the midst of all these financial or physical investments, it’s important that car wash operators don’t neglect one of their greatest resources: their employees.

Regardless of the size of your team, it is impossible to overestimate the importance of the human element and personal service in car washes. Your employees are the face and voice of your operation, and their conduct and behavior will have a huge impact on how customers see your wash and whether they decide to come back.

It is essential that all car wash managers give their employees the training and motivation necessary to help them reach their full sales and customer service potential and up to you to ensure your car wash’s employees have the training they need to reach their full sales potential. The following ten principles are a great place to start.

Be Personable

It isn't enough to treat every customer as just a customer. Instead, employees need to be willing to treat customers as unique individuals and open to connecting with them personally.


We’ve all felt the magnetic pull of a smiling, cheerful person. It’s infectious, and it can help relax customers and create a more positive impression surrounding your wash. While everyone has bad days, employees should be able to rise above personal issues and remember that smiling can make a huge difference in their own mood as well!

Offer Eye Contact

Human beings instinctively recognize eye contact, and customers feel more connected and engaged when it is offered. Train employees to look visitors in the eyes when they’re speaking and pair the habit with a smile.

Be friendly

A warm, friendly greeting each visit goes a long way in building trust and loyalty with your customers. Ask your employees to practice making casual, cheerful conversation with one another and do your best to help them maintain this attitude at work.

Maintain Appearance

It’s important that your employees, like your wash, are presentable, clean, and professional. Your employees’ appearance reflects your car wash business overall, so encourage them to maintain a clean, tidy appearance, wear the staff uniform, and tuck in shirts.

Be Enthusiastic!

Enthusiasm and excitement are highly contagious. If you want your customers to be excited about your wash services, your employees need to be excited about them first. You can help your employees show enthusiasm by fostering a fun, cheerful work environment. Hiring employees with naturally enthusiastic personalities will help!

Be Courteous and Tactful

While it’s rare that an employee is outright rude, a subtle lack of courtesy can be just as damaging to your wash’s image (and profits). Being courteous and respectful may seem like common sense, but stressful situations can bring out the worst in even the best employee. Foster a supportive environment and make it clear that disrespect or irritability from employees is not tolerated.

Be Observant

When a customer needs assistance, they shouldn’t have to go looking for it and become irritated in the process. Train your employees to notice situations where a customer may need assistance and be proactive in approaching them and initiating contact.

Be Appreciative

Your customers and their satisfaction is your wash’s lifeblood, so it’s important to ensure each visitor who has contact with your employees knows that you appreciate their business! A simple “thanks for stopping by!” as car owners drive away from the vacuums or enter the wash goes a long way towards creating repeat business.

Have Ambition and Confidence

A confident salesperson is more successful, and an ambitious employee is far more likely to work hard to please customers - and their boss. Train your employees to work towards up-sells and membership sales, and consider offering bonuses, vacation days, or other rewards to most successful employees. Give your team something to strive for!

Know the Details

To sell memberships or enhanced services effectively, your employees must know the services intimately and believe in their quality. Employees should be able to not only thoroughly explain each value-added wash feature and a la carte service but also identify opportunities to upsell. Having confidence in their product knowledge will help employees make customers feel more confident about their purchases and the value they are receiving.

Tommy Car Wash Systems designs, tests, and builds some of the most advanced, low-labor model express wash systems. Our express car wash tunnels are all over the United States and Europe. To see for yourself, take a car wash video tour of a Totally Tommy wash installation, view our car wash plans and site models, or contact our team directly at

Tommy Car Wash Systems