smiling employee holding a handheld payment device.

What to look for in a car wash POS system

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Everything you need to know about implementing point of sale systems in the car wash industry

Whether providing full-service car washes, waterless car washes, or self-service car washes, car wash operations are focused on quality customer experiences so that customers keep wanting to come back to clean their cars. Car wash businesses have the important role of providing user-friendly wash packages to their customers. As such, car wash owners and businesses should be supported with technology that can streamline processes associated with inventory management, email marketing, payment processing, and other management tools.

When these tasks are automated with a car wash point of sale (POS) system, employees can focus on delivering efficient and high quality services. Leveraging technology, especially through a POS system, can take your business to the next level. This article will provide an overview of car wash POS software as well as what to look for in a POS solution.

What is a car wash POS?

A car wash POS system is designed for use by car wash businesses and car wash operations. Car wash POS systems can streamline the various domains of management and operations, including processing automated transactions, securely holding detailed information related to customer loyalty programs, report on profitability over time, and function as an overall management system of car wash employees in real-time.

Many POS systems for car wash businesses can function not only as a cash register (including the hardware needed to read a barcode, a terminal to accept credit cards or mobile wallets, as well as a cash drawer), but also as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that can integrate with other custom features. Whether utilizing a mobile app for self-service or working from the back office, users will be able to access data and information from the cloud-based system about car wash metrics, reservations, and payments in a no hassle, efficient way.

What should I look for in a POS?

Car wash POS systems should offer functions and customizations that will suit the specific needs of your business. For example, you may want to offer a kiosk that customers can utilize to input their service selections and function as a pay station. Alternatively, you may want employees to have full use over the POS. In this case, you may want more advanced features that can capture important customer information (like license plate data) with easy touch screen features.

Outside of specific priorities for your POS, there are important aspects of functionality that all car wash POS systems should include. Before purchasing a POS system, make sure to review this list and do your research on the products that will align most strongly with your business model.

Important and significant POS features are listed and outlined below.

  • Reporting. Reporting is one of the most useful aspects of implementing a POS solution at your car wash business. Reporting tools allow your employees and management team to pull data related to sales information, labor information (such as hours worked), breakdown of payments received (and payments still open in accounts receivable), as well as inventory details. Real-time inventory reporting can help your business manage stock of important items in your business, including tools for cleaning, cleaning chemicals, and other products you may offer to customers. Moreover, these reports are compiled on a customizable dashboard that can be accessed anywhere, at any time, from a mobile device. The dashboard presents key metrics and reports in easy-to-digest, visual formats like graphs and charts. Sales data can help track when your car wash is the busiest and what type of service is the most in-demand. Over time, this can help support larger strategic business decisions.
  • Multi-payment options. The best POS system will be able to process payments from all types from customers. This can include cash payments (using a cash drawer for storage), credit card or debit card payments, payments through an app (if provided), as well as mobile wallet options. The more payment options available to your customers, the easier the transactions are to complete. Moreover, when payment processing moves quickly, customers are able to receive their car wash and then move forward in their day fully satisfied. This can also include membership plans for your customers. In fact, membership plans are often sold on an annual basis. Therefore, each new membership your car wash business sells locks in a full year’s worth of revenue from that customer. This gives you as a business owner peace of mind knowing in advance that the revenue will be there, thereby allowing you to focus on strategically planning for the future of your car wash.
  • CRM. As discussed, the ability for POS systems to provide customer relationship tools is a major draw for implementation in the car wash industry. Customer relationship tools can hold customer data, manage loyalty programs, and offer special discounts to membership programs. With access to email marketing, customers can be targeted for certain purposes, drawing them back to your storefront as a crucial part of your core business. Loyalty programs work best when they reward repeat car washes, and this is something your POS system can accurately track over time.
  • Integration. Integration capabilities are crucial for quality POS systems. Integration allows your system to work with third-party apps. For example, as your sales data is tracked, you may have the ability to integrate this information with an accounting system. This will help your accounting team track income, expenses, and prepare the books ahead of time for payroll. In addition to integration, many POS solutions are cloud-based that enable management teams to access pertinent information from anywhere. Or, if needed, managers can work offline.

What are the pros of incorporating a POS system at my car wash business?

The primary benefits of having a car wash management system within a POS system are vast. However, there are three key pros that you should consider as you research, identify, and implement your POS system at your place of business. The major benefits include saving money, increasing customer counts, and receiving support to sell more in car wash services.

Technology automates many manual tasks that drive labor costs. Moreover, when technology is used to track your business’s trends, you can better target your marketing and improve customer conversion. Lastly, relationship management tools help you to provide incentives for customers to keep coming back and getting their car washed. At the end of the day, there is no bigger benefit than driving sales, increasing profitability, and building a strong reputation in the car wash industry.

Moving forward

The right POS system at your car wash business can be a game changer in retaining customers while also building a new customer base. To stand out from other competition in the car wash industry, a POS system can promote real-time automations and customizations for customers who receive the service that works for them. Total business integration with a POS system will enable a high level of service and business delivery – everything that a customer wants when they come to wash their car.

As you consider your next steps in selecting the right POS for your business, make sure you do research to explore the right fit and the right program for your needs. As you do, you can look forward to POS systems empowering your team and employees while driving sales with new innovations in technology.

Next steps

Are you ready to amplify operations at your car wash business with the help of technology? Are you ready to incorporate POS solutions into your day-to-day business operations?

Heartland is ready to help.

Every day, America’s entrepreneurs wake up and grind away at the day-to-day operations that keep their businesses afloat. But Heartland customers get a head start because they trust us to deliver a complete technology solution that makes it easier to stay competitive, connect with customers, sell more, and even manage and pay their employees. With our POS, payments and payroll technologies in place, and our people passionately committed to their success, nearly 1 million businesses have peace of mind, a growing bottom line and more time to focus on leading their businesses into the future. Learn more at