• Home ❯
  • Maximizing Tunnel Potential

877-627-5844 US | 866-658-9274 Canada

Mark VII Equipment Inc.


5981 Tennyson St

Arvada, Colorado 80003 USA

+1 800.525.8248 toll free

+1 303.423.4910 direct

+1 303.430.0139 fax



623 S Service Rd Unit 1

Grimsby, ON L3M 4E8 Canada

866.658.9274 toll free

289.235.8325 direct

289.235.7950 fax

Contact form

Maximizing Tunnel Potential

Maximizing Your Tunnel Potential

You’ve invested in one of the most exciting innovations in our industry, a tunnel carwash. The next step is maximizing its income-generating potential.

We’re all familiar with the basic industry formula — wash counts x average price = revenue. Let’s take a look at how best to manage wash counts and price to maximize tunnel potential and ROI.

Timing is everything

The first variable is your wash count. We have learned that on an annual basis, it’s more beneficial to fill in slow times than to simply add more units when you are already busy. Adding some revenue in these empty times helps cover your fixed costs.

These empty times can be during the day, during the week (weekends vs. weekdays), or the year (slow season vs. peak season). The challenge is to bring people in who didn’t plan to wash their car today. The key is to offer something “big” that changes their habit immediately. That big thing can be a buy-one-get-one offer coupled with an early-bird discount or mid-week incentive. For example, if Tuesday is your slow day, offer a buy-one-wash-for-a-Tuesday-and-get-a-free-wash-onanother-Tuesday deal.

During slow seasons, especially on rainy weeks or months, we recommend offering, and emphasizing, the “rain guarantee.”

The best way to implement your offers is to reach out to your existing base of customers through texts, emails and social media. Offer a coupon code with a discount price only good that day. That sense of urgency is important to fill in the empty times now…not next week. You can also incentivize your customer to share the news on your social media platform and extend your potential customer base.

Use your digital presence to your advantage. Consider posting your wait times for the vacuums, wash and detailing (if you offer it) on your website. This provides an incentive for customers to go on site when it’s not too busy to optimize your tunnel potential.

If you offer detailing, use the carwash to bring people in by offering big discounts, on empty days. The majority of your staff is there for detailing, and you need traffic to cover that fixed cost. A promotion like “one basic price for all programs” will attract customers. The objective then is to incentivize them to get the interior cleaning also.

Now, on to price.

The second variable, of course, is price. To think about this one, let’s look at one possible scenario. It’s a busy day with plenty of customers on site. You don’t need more vehicles, as you are already at capacity. In this scenario, your objective is to maximize your average price. If your customer is coming for a $10 wash, how can you encourage them to spend $12?

An efficient promotion is to discount the top package at the price of the one just below (example if you are on a $8/$10/$12/$14 pricing, discount the $14 to $12). In addition to bringing in business, this promotion incentivizes your customers to test the best of your equipment, love the wash quality, then come back at full price.

On busy days, we also recommend putting someone in the line to “check the car” before the pay station, then suggesting a package based on the condition of the vehicle. For example, the Bug Buster program or the high-pressure pre-wash in winter.

Before implementing these promotions, you have to ensure your pricing policy is on target. If you discount a program that most of your customers were ready to pay full price for, then you are losing money. Our guideline is that your top package should contribute 30% of your revenue. If that percentage is higher, you can most likely raise your price!

Our final recommendation: If you want to be efficient in your promotions then you need to know your customers very well. Acquire their contact information, encourage them to follow you on your social media platform, ask for their observations, then adapt your business to their needs. A carwash is a convenience business, and open and friendly communication is one key to success.

Like what you're reading? Read more here.