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Derrick Woolfson

Derrick Woolfson Business Development Manager

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Top Reasons Not to Wash Your Customers Vehicle for Free

If you offer a free car wash for your customer and the OEM asks that question on their post-service survey - it’s probably a good idea to wash their vehicle. If you do not have the resources, or team available to clean the customer's vehicles, then you either should not offer it or have alternative options. Here are some ways to handle the situation. 

Basic Clean - Wash the Exterior & Vacuum 

Even if you cannot wash the entire vehicle (cleaning the windows), you could still possibly vacuum the interior and clean the exterior ridding of the caked on dirt, and crumbs on the vehicle interior. Making enough of a difference where the customer can visibly see that their vehicle is clean after their service visit. 

Clean it in the Active Delivery Area 

Another way to combat the issue is to clean the interior - vacuuming the vehicle - in the active delivery area in service. This will show the customer that you have taken the time to clean their vehicle, which is better than not cleaning their vehicle at all. You do however want to avoid using an excessively loud shop vac - using a smaller handheld vacuum. 

Offer a Coupon for a Local Cleaner 

If you do not have the bay space or have enough resources - internally - to handle cleaning the vehicles on site, then you can look into offering the customer a coupon for an off-site cleaner. Not every customer will choose this option or find it appealing. However, you have at least offered them an alternative, viable option. Most cleaners will also provide the dealer a discount for the cleaning service. 

Bottom Line: 

Customers expect more and more these days. And in most cases, they expect their vehicles to be clean when they are picking it up for service. This is especially true if the OEM is asking the customer if their vehicle was cleaner when the picked it up. If you are finding the customer is saying that their vehicle is not only not cleaned when picking it up, BUT that is dirtier than you might have a breakdown. A breakdown that could be costing you thousands of dollars in OEM money programs. 

Take a minute to look into your shop and see if there is anything you can do in-house to clean your customer's vehicle. If you are not able to find one - look for another viable, cost-effective way to ensure that you are offering a means to clean your customer's vehicle. 

How do you handle cleaning your customer's vehicle? Do you find the customers saying that their vehicles have not been cleaned? If so, how have you dealt with the issue? 

Chris K.

If the customer's car is filthy, they should pay. A quick vacuum is all that is required. You want to pay us $150 for an oil change like BMW charges you, sure we'll do a full wash. But other than that, we just made 6.50 cents on that $34 oil change that took a seasoned tech 35 minutes to do. Just be happy we didn't charge you more. You came to us because we were the cheapest. Now you insult us that your car was not cleaned. Expletive you customer!

John Caudell

We are near the beach. We were cured of vacuming by customers that complained that we did not remove every single grain of sand. We were cured of washing by customers that complained that we didn't wipe every drop of r/o water off.


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