Let’s face it…retail business across the United States and the globe are in uncharted territory with the spread of COVID-19. With many states issuing and still under “stay at home, stay safe” orders, many car washes have been forced to close, especially full service car washes. Others have been caught in a county by county battle of what is an essential business and what isn’t. What will happen when this is all over? What will the industry look like?
Here are some early predictions and areas we are looking out for coming out of this COVID-19 pandemic.
The Express Model
Over the next five years, we are predicting that most people across the globe will be hypersensitive to hygiene and cleanliness. People as a whole will also be looking for more contactless interfaces and interactions. COVID-19 has made us extremely aware of every surface that is touchable and could transmit the disease. With people wanting to limit what they touch, an option that requires less (if any) physical contact is likely to gain traction.
That’s why the Express car wash model with an unlimited club or a pay per wash function is a perfect fit in a post COVID-19 world. All of our Tommy’s Express Car Wash locations use License Plate Recognition technology, which gives guests the ability to manage their own accounts and cars from their phone. This allows the guest to come to the wash without having to roll their window down or come in contact with any team members or surfaces that other people may have touched.
New available sites
While we have a good feeling that the restaurant industry will make a speedy recovery once the pandemic has passed, they are also some of our biggest competitors for great sites. Some restaurant owners may take the time to re-evaluate the already competitive restaurant industry, or if they are barely hanging on they may use this as an opportunity to try something new. This will leave some great pieces of real estate open for new investors to buy and turn into a great car wash location. Many of these sites are close to big box stores or other great neighboring stores, making them ideal locations because of their high traffic count. In a recent study conducted by the International Car Wash Association, 75% of respondents said that they first learned about the car wash they used most often by driving by it. That means there is a high probability that these possible vacant locations will help you get the awareness of drivers passing by. For more information about Site Selection, here is a video from our President, Ryan Essenburg, about finding the perfect site for your car wash.
Investors seeking alternative industries
With the recent downturn in the stock market and business across the globe at a standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some investors are beginning to think about new ways of investing their money. Our prediction is that some investors will want to pull money out of the stock market in favor of an investment they can see and touch on a daily basis. They will be looking for an investment that has a great ROI and a low labor cost to run.
But why a car wash? According to a recent report done by the International Car Wash Association, professional car washing reached a record high in 2019, with estimated retail sales of nearly $11 Billion. It also states that 83% of Americans who own or lease a vehicle used a Professional Car Wash at least once in the past year. Those numbers have only been growing, with 77.5% of people choosing to wash at a professional car wash and at-home washing decreasing 12% between 2016 to 2019.
So what does this all mean for me?
If you are a new investor looking to become part of the car wash industry, Tommy Car Wash Systems has many different offerings that could benefit you. Our Tommy Car Wash Systems equipment line is a leader in stainless steel wash equipment and gives you the ability to wash up to 200 cars per hour! And our Tommy’s Express franchise opportunity has incredible benefits to those looking to start their first car wash. Our locations feature a membership-based model, are automated with a low labor cost, and have no perishable items.
If you are looking for your next investment opportunity, fill out our contact us form, and our sales team will reach out to your shortly.