A clean footfall generator
The fact that this was the right decision is noticeable after a few short minutes. Car dealership owner Herbert Manz proudly shows off the modern, publicly accessible car wash centre with its autonomously running gantry car wash, two self-service bays and intuitive control technology, as he pleasantly greets a customer washing her car as he passes by. And he always has a smile on his face. And that's not just down to the perfect car washing weather in late January. The businessman's decision to invest around 500,000 euros in this - what is by his own account - most modern car wash centre in the area was obviously the right thing to do. The two motives behind his decision being firstly in order to earn money and secondly to wash his customers' vehicles passing through his workshop. After all, the automakers Volkswagen and Audi request that their partners hand back customer vehicles clean after visiting the workshop. More recently, this requirement no longer poses a problem for Autohaus Manz, then gone are the days when the apprentice car mechanics had to and fro between the local service station's gantry car wash and Böttgerstrasse 50 in Schwarzenfeld – several times a day. This took up a vast amount of time, which bothered Herbert Manz. Early risers can now observe how the vehicles that come to the VW and Audi partner's for servicing often start the day by first passing through one of the six wash programmes. "The vehicles are washed prior to servicing", explains Herbert Manz. "The master mechanic has to be on his toes." Washing starts from 7.00 a.m., which balances the entire workshop process.
Employees also in favour
In 1966, Herbert Manz senior set up in business with his wife Renate by opening a petrol station and workshop. This garage has been an authorised VW and Audi dealership and workshop since 1984. In 2010, the son and current proprietor, Herbert Manz, took over the business with his wife Marion in Schwarzenfeld, southeast Germany. Today, the dealership employs 40 staff, who have welcomed the new business arm. The work is shared three ways between the SoftCare Pro and the JetWash self-service stations from WashTec, which works wonderfully. The operator is particularly keen to highlight the excellent service he receives from WashTec in Augsburg, and also appreciates the superb exchange with Günther Kollmer, Area Sales Manager Gantry Car Washes. But now to the technology: On the basis of the analysis of the market potential, Herbert Manz opted for the classic SoftCare Pro car wash with a customised washing width and height of 2.60 m, and designed for 80,000 to 120,000 washes. Besides technical features such as the ideal speed, highly efficient pre-wash and specially adapted side brushes, the facility also monitors the main components. "Thanks to the auto-diagnosis functionality, breakdowns can be prevented before they happen, allowing downtimes to be minimised", according to the brochure. Good for businessmen. "If I am on the ball, I can make quite a bit of money out of washing cars, explains WashTec Marketing Director Thomas Brenner. This is why Herbert Manz also opted for the premium programmes ShineTecs and RainTecs. According to Günther Kollmer, this upgrade helps to boost the average revenues at the car wash centre.
Prospective clients on the forecourt
And it is precisely this car wash centre that also acts as a customer magnet for the car dealership. This is why, for example, Herbert Manz gladly issues 50 euro pre-paid cards as sweetners when a customer buys a car, or uses car wash cards as give-aways, when things start to get busy in the dealership. This creates customer loyalty. Herbert Manz: "The car wash is the perfect place for chatting with potential customers from the region." Also offering a warm cup of tea in winter helps to create a good feeling with customers. His five tips for colleagues thinking about going into professional vehicle care: first, a decent and spacious site; second, a sophisticated colour concept; third, targeted advertising; fourth, take the team with you and, initially, assign an employee specifically to this task and – last, but not least – fifth, opt for coating in the wash bay. Even if this is just for the subsequent cleaning of the gantry car wash. Herbert Manz is confident: "I am very, very optimistic.“
Text/ Pictures: Patrick Neumann/ Magazine AUTOHAUS 05/2016