Convenience stores and car washes are generally found at gas stations, like this one in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Convenience stores and car washes are generally found at gas stations, like this one in Hiroshima, Japan. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

When car wash businesses and convenience stores get together, could both sides stand to profit? The industry publication Convenience Store Decisions seems to think so, according to a recent post called “Opportunities About at the Car Wash.”

“To succeed with a car wash, you must be convinced that it is worth the effort. I have come to realize that being able to offer a quality car wash adds a whole new dimension to your business and really separates you from the competition,” [Geo. H. Green Oil Co. Marketing Director Jim ] Callahan said. “While most of us don’t have the time or the dedication to wash our own vehicle, everyone feels better driving a clean car. Yet, most major convenience store chains have very few stores with a good car wash, giving you an opportunity to create an important point of differentiation to set you apart from the pack.”

Callahan is right that the ubiquitous version of the convenience store/car wash combo is the major chains. It’s common, of course, to see automated car washes at a gas station, which almost always has a convenience store. According to the post, about 65 percent of all car wash businesses also sell gasoline. Average annual profit per car wash approached $90,000.

They pointed out that running a car wash business is more work, sure, but the benefits are immediately obvious. “Let’s not forget that a car wash provides a steady cash flow every day,” Callahan said. “That is your greatest opportunity to get these customers into the convenience store to boost in-store sales.”

Don’t forget this idea works both ways. While people are waiting to have their cars washed, they are not spending any extra money. But they might if you offer a supply of conveniently available inventory — from food to magazines to the milk they forgot to pick up at the grocery store.

Have you had any experience with running a convenience store?