Express automatic car washes are excellent for cleaning a vehicle’s exterior quickly and affordably, and when paired with easily installed self service vacuum stations, they can offer quality interior cleaning service as well. But new developers often wonder if there should be a cost for customers to use these vacuums stations, or if they be free and available to all?

Arguments are readily available to support both positions, and here is the rundown.

Why Vacuums Should be Paid:

First, self-service vacuum stations can offer car wash owners an extra revenue stream. While in the past pay stations were limited to coin or token acceptor systems, modern vacuum pay stations can take everything from coins to bills, credit cards, and debit cards. This allows just about any customer with a wallet to use the vacuums quickly and easily.

Additionally because wear and tear only occurs when the system is on, a pay box protects the vacuum equipment and dramatically extends its lifespan. Free vacuums attract very high number of users, which means the vacuum system is activated more frequently and stays running for longer periods of time. In fact, free vacuums are often reported to run for the majority of the day at popular car washes. When usage is limited by a paybox and timer system, breakdowns become less frequent and the vacuums become cheaper to maintain.

Why Vacuums Should be Free:

One simple reason: everyone loves free. Free vacuum stations with no cost and no time limits attract a far larger crowd and turn your car wash into a destination for anyone with a car that’s dirty on the inside, or the outside. Your wash will consistently attract more notice, draw in much more traffic, and expose many more individuals to your primary revenue stream (the car wash system itself) up close..

The impact is so great many wash owners report more than a 20% increase in memberships and wash sales when free vacuums are introduced, making the potential overall income value of free vacuums actually greater than that of paid vacuum systems. And free vacuums mean that managers won’t need to worry about emptying coin boxes on a regular basis or dealing with outdated token systems. After all, quarters aren’t worth what they used to be.

The Tommy Car Wash Systems’ Position:

Go with the choice that brings the greatest value to your wash. Free vacuums draw in massive traffic and can make your wash the more attractive option if you are dealing with local competition. “Free Vacs” are a great selling point that’s perfect for big site signage and even if you get free-riders who never pay for a wash there is a high likelihood that they will at least tell others about the value of your free vacuum service and help advertise the wash for you.

Consider free vacuums a sort of standing marketing investment that gets people on your lot. Then make the effort to keep these systems running even with the increased wear and tear that they will experience. Trash cans will need to be emptied more often, filters will need to be checked and emptied frequently, and motor brushes will need to be replaced regularly. But a more repairs and fewer microtransactions are a small price to pay for the total benefits and competitive edge free vacuum service offers.

And if you’re looking for an outstanding, easy to maintain on-site car wash vacuum, consider the Tommy Car Wash Systems dual drop vacuum system. Dual motor and central vac systems are available. You can learn more about the equipment here, or reach out to one of our representatives directly by emailing now.

Tommy Car Wash Systems.