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Advertising doesn’t always have to be expensive. Word of mouth is advertising, and that’s free. WashTrends Blog, written by car wash business consultant Chuck Lundberg, says advertising is a kind of chicken or egg dilemma:

I have always thought it was funny when I heard a car wash owner say that he cannot spend any money advertising because business has been too slow lately. So I ask the obvious question that one would ask who works outside the car wash industry—how do you expect your business to get busier if you do not advertise?

There are a few different ways to do it, he says. Coupons are cheap and easy to distribute through various placements or by giving them to your current customers on their way out the door. But, he says, it sometimes takes months to see measurable results, so don’t be too quick to give up if cars don’t start lining up right away. And be prepared to make the kind of investment that gets results.

The first offer needs to be good, really good. If you cheap out on the first ad, they will not take you serious and they will not even take a moment to look at other ads in the future.