Self-service car washes are quietly emerging, and the prospects are promising

  Our reporter Yang Tianyue

  In the past two years, the price of manual car washing has risen rapidly, which has given birth to the self-service car washing business to a certain extent.

The reporter recently visited and found that 24-hour unattended self-service car washes have begun to emerge quietly.

The process of flushing, spraying, and vacuuming is complete. After scanning the code and paying for it, you can wash the car once at a cost of about 10 yuan, which is favored by many car owners.

Some car wash practitioners said that recently more and more self-service car washes like this have been promoted and joined. With the improvement of functions and large-scale operations, the self-service car wash industry may usher in a broader market development prospect.

  Self-service car wash is only 1 yuan per minute

  In the parking lot of Miracle Fortune Plaza on the east side of the Olympic Sports Center, a white hippo self-service car washing machine stands in the center of the venue. Two blue and yellow plastic leaking grounds are bright and conspicuous, attracting the attention of passing car owners.

"The machine was installed just last month if I remember correctly," said the parking lot security guard.

  The reporter noticed that this car washing machine is equipped with flushing, spraying, vacuuming and other facilities, as well as a car wiping cloth and a sink.

Since it is in the promotion and operation stage, users can wash the car for 15 minutes for free.

  According to the customer service staff of the car washing machine, the normal charging price of this self-service car washing machine is also much lower than that of manual car washing: 15 yuan within 15 minutes of applying for a car wash card, and 1 yuan per minute for any excess, 48 ​​yuan per month, 398 yuan per year .

  There is also a hippo self-service car washing machine in a corner of the CNPC Shouqi No. 16 station near Wangjing. The gas station staff told reporters that this machine has been installed for more than a year.

"People who come to refuel often wash their cars here, and some nearby residents come here specially. There may be more than 20 people a day." Brother Zheng, a citizen who finished refueling, just washed his car here, "It's cheap! It's here. It only costs 6 yuan for a 10-minute car wash, and the money for a wash outside is enough for two months.”

  The reporter inquired about the applet and found that currently Hippo Car Wash has more than 20 self-service car wash outlets in the Beijing area, most of which are located outside the Fifth Ring Road, concentrated in Tongzhou, Shahe, Beiqijia, Yizhuang and other places. There are also layouts in An, Bazhou, Tangshan and other places.

The price of car washing at different outlets is slightly different. There are different pricing standards such as 6 yuan for 6 minutes and 10 to 15 yuan for 15 minutes. The converted car wash price for one minute is between 0.8 yuan and 1 yuan.

  Car wash prices continue to rise

  In fact, in many car wash shops and gas stations, self-service car wash equipment has already been laid out, but car owners who are willing to do it themselves are still in the minority.

Since 2020, the price of manual car washes has not fallen back after the rapid rise due to the epidemic.

The price of a car wash in Beijing is generally as high as 40 to 50 yuan, and the price of large chain car wash stores is higher.

  "The price of car washing has been increasing in the past two years. Now it is 40 yuan for a car wash, and 50 yuan for large cars such as SUVs and MPVs." A staff member of a car wash near Shuangjing told reporters that the increase in labor costs is one of the important reasons for the price increase.

The reporter noticed that this car wash requires five car wash workers to participate in the entire cleaning process of a vehicle, from flushing and spraying to wiping the car and cleaning the interior.

  In addition to price hikes, manual car washes sometimes "shrink".

"Many car wash shops did not clean the interior during the epidemic, but the price was the same as usual." Ms. Li, a citizen, felt very helpless. "Cleaning the interior is a very important part of the car washing process. If there is no such item, Just a simple spritz of foam and a flush of water doesn’t feel like it’s worth the money.”

  In order to provide convenience for employees, many property owners of densely populated office buildings have also taken a fancy to the self-service car wash business.

The Duye Building in Zhangguozhuang introduced a self-service car washing machine last year, which was welcomed by many nearby office workers and residents.

"12 yuan for a wash, water, foam, vacuum cleaner, towel, and mop are all available. Counting the time for brushing and wiping the car in the middle, it can be washed for about half an hour. The water pressure is also large enough, and the effect of washing it by yourself is not as good as it is. How much is it outside?" said Mr. Wang, a car owner who often comes here to wash cars.

  Self-service car wash ushered in new market opportunities

  While favoring the "self-reliance" of self-service car washing equipment, more and more car owners even choose to buy wireless car washing machine equipment and wash them by themselves at home.

  The reporter searched for car washing machines on the Taobao platform and found that there are various household car washing products such as high-pressure water guns, lithium-ion water guns, and self-priming high-pressure car washing machines, including well-known brands such as Huawei and Midea. Sales are in the thousands or even tens of thousands.

"It is convenient and cheap to wash your car at home after you have a car washing machine!" Many users have left similar comments in the comment area.

  Regarding the rise of self-service car washes, practitioners in the car wash industry have analyzed that car wash services are the rigid needs of all car owners. After the operator has acquired a large number of customers through free car washes in the early stage, it is easy to convert them into long-term customers.

It may become the general trend of the future for car owners to hedge the sharply rising labor costs by themselves.

With the large-scale deployment of shared self-service car wash equipment, operating costs will further decline in the future.

  According to the data of Hippo Car Wash, more than 1,400 car owners have already experienced the self-service car wash at one station of CNPC Shouqi No. 16 Station.

Users can check the usage of on-site car wash equipment in real time through the WeChat applet, thereby reducing the waiting time in line.

At present, this self-service car wash supplier has been opened to the outside world, and it is expected to further expand its layout in the city center in the future.