Saturdays are children's day
When asked why customers should come straight to us, Jacqueline Gomm, responsible for petrol station management at tws in Hamburg, replies confidently: "We now have a really good car wash made by WashTec, we are inexpensive and you will find coming to us quite an experience." The young woman is convinced that simply cleaning and caring for cars alone is no longer enough to ensure the business remains successful and that therefore car washing should become a special experience. She cites one particularly nice example – the children's washing event on Saturdays and goes on to explain. "This is the day on which dads don't like to stay at home. So they get the kids in the car and whisk them down to the car wash." Not without reason: "For each child under 14 years of age, there is ten percent discount on every wash. This offer applies for a maximum of three children", she says explaining the necessary requirements to qualify for the maximum possible thirty percent discount. Every child who accompanies their dad on Saturdays receives a small gift, "something to draw, for example", says Jacqueline Gomm and explains why: "We would like the children to become our customers one day when they're grown up. This is why we are investing today in our long-term advertising strategy.
Fair visit laid the foundation
However, before such "car wash" experiences could be offered as a reward, Managing Director Thomas Gomm wanted to be well prepared. This was because with the car wash technology he had been using up to a year ago for washing cars and vans he had experienced numerous technical problems and breakdowns. "I was annoyed by the frequent and what's more excessively long downtimes due to the sluggish response from the system manufacturer's service technicians. To my mind, they worked far too slowly. A situation which led to us losing many customers over the years", says the successful businessman describing his visible dissatisfaction. His daughter Jacqueline Gomm even refers to the previous system as what you might call a 'lemon'. They thus both saw the Münster trade fair "Tankstelle & Mittelstand 2015" as a perfect opportunity to find out precisely the information they needed at the various trade fair stands of the car wash manufacturers. "We had a very close look at the washing technology presented at the fair, listened to advice, requested quotes and took interesting information materials back to Hamburg with us", comments Thomas Gomm. He knew what he was looking for in terms of car washing. As a sales executive and partner, he had acquired almost ten years' valuable experience in the exterior and interior cleaning of trucks and tankers, before establishing the company tws truck wash GmbH in 2008 and also taking over the truck wash and petrol station with a shop, extensive lunch menu and car wash. Valuable experience which, specifically with regard to car washing, was useful when making the professional decision as to the future partner for their car wash business and which influenced this decision decisively
WashTec convinced us
By late 2015, it was clear which offer and which manufacturer they had opted for – WashTec and its modern and efficient SoftCare2 Takt dual gantry car wash. Above all, the physical separation of the washing and care process from the drying phase in this system design allows operators to save time, since two vehicles can be "processed" simultaneously under both gantries. Time customers would otherwise spend waiting in queues elsewhere, where only one car at a time can be washed, protected and dried. Thanks to the soft material and precision adjustment of the technical and chemical components, the system washes exceptionally thoroughly and gently. Once the high-speed door has completed its ultra-fast cycles and the vehicle is standing in the drying zone, powerful roof and side blower dryers remove any remaining water from the wash. Unlike with a gantry car wash, with the Takt systems, no residual water drips from the roof brush or gantry.
To complement the washing technology, the Gomms opted for washing chemicals from WashTec's subsidiary AUWA. Chemicals which, used sparingly, produce excellent and effective results. Chemicals that are highly concentrated and have a distinctive smell. Chemicals that are exceptionally well produced and sealed. Chemicals that repair car paintwork and make it shiny. AUWA supplies the product range for tws in Hamburg as a highly convenient, user-friendly refill concept. Advanced Chemical Systems, or ACS® for short, is the name of this user-friendly cartridge system, supplies the SoftCare2 Takt car wash in five litre cartridges with ACS active foam, ACS shampoo, ACS gloss drying aid and ACS wax treatment. Changing the cartridges is considerably faster than replacing heavy canisters. AUWA's motto sums the process up precisely – "empty cartridge out, full cartridge in, done". Weighing in at just five and a half kilos, compared with conventional drums, they are very easy to handle when it comes to replacing them. By using colour coding, AUWA provides a reliable system, which ensures that responsible and trained employees connect the various chemical products swiftly at the gantry without any mix-ups. Also in the technology room, the efficient water recovery system, which recovers virtually all the washing water, bears the name WashTec.
WashTec technology in focus
In contrast to many gantry car washes, the Takt system in use to the south of Hamburg is not just bright and friendly. It is also clearly visible for motorists, since the glazed front of the wash bay directly faces the 'König-Georg-Deich' street running parallel. This special location thus ensures that it not only gets noticed by passing motorists, but above all is seen in action. Pedestrians stop and cyclists dismount in order to watch this fascinating 21st century car wash live. Jacqueline Gomm is now topping off this fascinating car wash by having the colourful lighting effect show retrofitted. The order has already been placed, the system is due to be installed in the next few days. tws in Hamburg will then be among the first stations to offer its car wash customers WashTec's FoamSensation in a SoftCare2 Takt system. It is a special production that illuminates the active foam to produce a colourful light show. "We are convinced that the spectacular foam experience will go down well, especially at our children's wash event on Saturday", says the young and dynamic petrol station manager. It was also her who long realised the tremendous potential for boosting sales by staging promotional events geared to specific target groups. These include 'Happy Hour' events, along with the 'Brilliant' and 'Bronze' wash, which prove very popular at the discounted price offered. "Wednesdays and Sundays are wash day at our station. On these days, we offer all car washes at half price", says Jacqueline Gomm. And this includes a 'wash subscription booklet' she has created herself and which, in terms of its size and format, closely resembles a car registration document. The advantages are very much worthwhile – buy ten washes, get one wash free. The subscription booklet also serves as a reminder as to exactly what WashTec "pulled off" in January 2016 within the space of three short weeks: "Our gentle textile car wash, state-of-the-art technology, outstanding results. Our new car wash is also suitable for vans and off-road vehicles... Exceptionally gentle to paintwork and thorough!"
Text / images: Bernd Fiehöfer/ carwashinfo 03/2017