Car Wash Case Study: Platinum Auto Spa

Car Wash Case Study

Platinum Auto Spa Case Study and Overview

Cold weather, hot business.

It gets cold in Aberdeen, South Dakota. We're talking 2ºF with a wind chill of -9ºF - cold enough to make operating a car wash a serious challenge. Platinum Auto Spa handles that challenge and all others with ingenuity and collaborative thinking.

Owner Mike Carrels leveraged the advantage of a large corner location with other business partners to maximize Platinum Auto Spa's exposure. He notes that many food stores and big box retailers offer fuel in addition to their main products, which has increased their profit margins. He applied the same principle here (where a slight drop in car count causes the same financial distress as it would at a standalone car wash) and offers gasoline from the nearby Cenex gas station.

The car wash features a Sonny’s tunnel system and equipment package with an STI belt conveyor. The system is finely tuned for cold weather operation and can remove thick layers of frozen mud with ease. Platinum Auto Spa also offer customers over a dozen complimentary vacuums. Despite the long winters, customers enjoy using them, even in 2ºF weather.

In addition to the cold weather, South Dakota also features a large number of vanity plates. To handle this anomaly, Platinum Auto Spa needed Sonny's to slightly tweak their license plate reader which works with flawless results.

Carrels' marketing includes time-tested radio and newspaper ads. He also concentrates on the wash's new website and their Facebook giveaways, which receive strong support. As part of their grand opening, they decided to price the first three sessions of their top wash package, The Platinum Special, at $15 before going back to the normal $34.99 rate. The response has been overwhelming, with over 700 members enrolling in just six weeks.

Platinum Auto Spa combines multiple models to maximize profit. In a town of only 26,000 people, they are proof that a well-researched business can be successful.

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