How Shifting Demographics Helped this Car Wash find Success

Case Study

The Problem

A little of a decade ago, Bill Barber, the owner and operator of WashLinks, got the ambitious idea to take a cross country road trip on his motorcycle and visit every car wash company in every city across Canada. He wanted to meet with the owners and discuss their business.

One of his stops was in Regina, Saskatchewan where he met fellow car wash owner, Kirby Casiel. At the time, Kirby was operating a successful but stressful full service car wash out of a warehouse. Why was it so stressful? Well, Kirby’s clientele were farmers with large, muddy farm vehicles that were time consuming and difficult to clean. His car wash model simply wasn’t built to handle such vehicles in an efficient manner, so he had to do a lot of manual prepping himself.

He was turning a pretty profit, but he was exhausted at the end of the day, dragging himself home every night only to have to do it all again the next day. In short, Kirby’s current car wash model and demographic were not sustainable. That’s where Bill came in.

The Strategy & Goal

Bill identified two issues: The first was that Kirby was targeting the wrong demographic. The second was that his car wash model was outdated. 

To tackle the first issue, Bill had to make Kirby see that there was a more ideal customer base out there for him. Yes, cleaning farm vehicles was lucrative, but because they were so large and muddy, he couldn’t process as many vehicles as he’d like.

It took a while, but after crunching numbers and opening up Kirby’s mind to what his car wash could be, Bill was finally able to convince him that he needed to attract a new customer base and discourage the big trucks and farm vehicles from coming to his car wash.

Tackling the second issue involved a lot more time and planning, but Bill was able to come up with a car wash design that made better use of Kirby’s warehouse space. He updated and added new equipment that would clean the outside of the vehicles more efficiently. Then, he added nine new interior and exterior cleaning areas with a new vacuum system. Lastly, he put in automated pay terminals, so Kirby’s customers could easily and quickly pay.

The Results

The results were astonishing. Bill turned Kirby’s old fashioned car wash into a modern, full service Flex-serve car wash that gave customers a combination of express exterior and full service offerings. This freed Kirby from all his exhausting manual work, allowing him to focus on running his car wash. Additionally, now that he was attracting the right clientele, he was able to process countless more vehicles, making his car wash even more profitable.

Kirby was so thankful for the work that Bill put into his car wash, that he recommended dozens of potential customers to WashLinks.

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