Full Serve to Express Car Wash Conversion

Your car wash offers a unique set of services to your community. There may still come a point, though, when full service detailing no longer benefits your clients – or your bottom line.

If the time’s come for you to cycle some of your services out of your business, never fear. Transitioning from a full serve car wash to an express car wash doesn’t have to be a challenge. Washify can help.

Why Should You Convert a Full Serve Car War Into an Express?

Car wash owners across the country are converting or considering converting from a full serve to an express model. There are a variety of factors that are pushing the market in this direction, including:

  • Increased cost of labor through increasing minimum wage
  • Greater risks associated with staff and COVID-19 (public safety, mandatory quarantines, sick days)
  • Consumer preferences shifting towards pay stations, streamlined buying experiences, and contactless payments

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What Express Wash Lot Changes Should You Prepare for?

If you want to take your cues from the car wash market today, you’ll need to plan your conversion ahead of time.

First and foremost, make sure you have the correct site layout to make the adjustment. In some cases, car washes have to change their traffic flow to create better throughput. Here are some questions to think about:

  • Where are your vacuums? Before the tunnel, after the tunnel?
  • Will you be offering free vacuums? Vacuums for unlimited members only?
  • What’s your plan for training your staff on the new workflow?
  • How will you communicate this change to your customers? Will your customer base change/grow?

Most importantly, consider how this change may affect your existing customer base. You can announce your conversion through social media. You’ll need a plan, though, to help guide your previous clients through the shift and any relevant changes in their memberships. Make a plan to address any backlash you may get for pulling certain services, too.

Full Serve to Express Car Wash Conversion

The benefits of converting from full service to express can appear customer-facing at first. However, converting to an express car wash with pay stations can help your business:

  • Reduce labor costs by removing excess staff members
  • Speed up the unlimited program sign up process with on-screen enrollment
  • Increase throughput with integrated license plate recognition
  • Create a comfortable, low contact buying experience, and you can even go fully “windows up” with Washify’s mobile app that integrates with the pay station and license plate recognition.
vehicle in express car wash

How Much Does It Cost to Convert to an Express Car Wash?

The cost of converting a full serve car wash into an express car wash is going to vary from lot to lot. If you need to reconfigure the way your lot is organized, your costs may be more substantial. In these cases, your primary expense will come from the relocation of or new investment in your vacuum bays.

Your business model is also going to change. An express car wash doesn’t produce the same detailing revenue as a full serve car wash. However, express washes don’t have the same staffing costs, either.

With that in mind, you can sit down with professionals to discuss what the conversion to express car wash services may do to your finances. When you can go into this switch fully informed, you can more effectively prepare your team for the upcoming changes.

How Can Washify Help You With the Conversion Process?

Whether you operate a full service car wash or an express lot, you need a POS system that helps you connect with your customers. Washify provides a suite of services to car washes of all types and can help you through your transition. Our express car wash toolkits include:

  • Point of sale terminals and X Station pay stations
  • Mobile POS for car wash members
  • Automatic credit card updaters
  • Employee management
  • Car wash license plate recognition


Are you ready to learn more about Washify’s express car wash integration? You can get a demo of our services online or over the phone. No matter what stage you’re at with your transition, we’re here to help you keep cars coming into your lot.