Shedding Some Light on the Car Wash Situation with Engaging Options

Jul 6, 2022




by Dave Anderson, Chemical Sales Manager, Howco Inc.

Any astute restaurateur will tell you that lighting, aka atmosphere, is one of the most important elements of the overall diner experience. Likewise, various other retailers incorporate lighting components that are manually or automatically adjusted for the time of day, featured products or services, number of customers on-site, or even accompanying music and scents. When the atmosphere is engaging, customers respond. Lighting is a crucial retail component that must be carefully balanced, monitored, and adjusted accordingly.

Many car wash operators have adopted this well-known phenomenon of lighting/atmosphere, and the trend is growing quickly. Operators are utilizing lighting elements in various ways and stages of the car wash experience to better engage, market to, instruct, and communicate with customers, such as:
- Increasing the showmanship of the overall experience, making it an “event” of sorts.
- Changing colors to coincide with various holidays.
- Indicating the wash bay is empty with no wait time.
- Placing sporadic, triggered lights in the bay that indicate what service or products are being provided, such as “lollipop” lights that indicate the customer is receiving a product such as RainX®, Salt Shield®, or Hard Shell.
- Alerting the customer that something different or special is happening – sealant, underbody, rinse, etc.
- Coordinating lighting with music and/or graphics to create a brief theatrical experience.
- Utilizing entrance arches to clarify or confirm the wash package purchased.
- Leading with instructional signs to place the car in neutral, keep hands off the steering wheel and foot off the brake.
- Adding arch signs with jackpot lighting and flashers to show a product has been received.
- Installing significant (and often changing) exterior lighting for a safer lot with more pronounced curb appeal.

Like most equipment in our industry, there are numerous lighting options from which to choose, including multiple LED and solar options, and your Howco representative will gladly guide you through the vast selection while keeping your lighting goals and budget in mind.

We’ve had a terrific response to arch lighting that can be programmed with various colors and gives great flexibility in its options. In addition to colorful and active lighting, some operators are adding scented products to the wash tunnel to further craft a visceral experience.

Interior and exterior car wash lighting is an important part of the wash experience that adds color, action, information, instruction, marketing exposure, excitement, and fun, engaging kids as well as adults. Exterior lighting also adds elements of safety and market presence.

To learn more about how lighting can help you wash more cars, please contact your Howco representative.