Vacuums are an important component in professional carwashing. But, for a new carwash, how many is enough? According to the experts, it’s important that new operators not underestimate the number of vacuum stalls needed on their sites. Additionally, not taking into account land constraints and solely basing the number of vacuums installed on the length of your tunnel or the number of bays your wash has is also not recommended. A good vacuum experience will draw new customers in and help retain existing customers. In fact, our experts say the more vacuums, the better. However, it’s not that simple. By not properly planning and designing the site, vacuums or lack thereof can cause bottlenecks, customer frustration and loss of business. It is a best practice to fit as many stalls on your site as possible and/or leave space for expanding the vacuum area in the future.
The correct vacuum system partner will help you devise a site plan to maximize the number of stalls,” explains Steve Lieneman, vice president of sales and marketing for Vacutech.Some of Lieneman’s other factors to consider when planning the number of vacuum stalls include car counts; the weather, which impacts how, when and for how long people vacuum; and the demographics. Still there are other important factors to consider, such as carwash format. The vacuum needs of an express exterior carwash are different than a full-serve wash. Also, in addition to energy-savings potential a topic we will touch on later in this article studying your anticipated busy times of the day and year, which can be realized by watching the competition and understanding your area’s weather patterns, demographics,can also help determine the number of vacuum stalls your wash needs.
Wes Taggart, principal of AutoVac, adds that new operators should ask such questions as: How many vacuum hoses will be in use during the busiest times? How many people will be vacuuming at the same time on the busiest day?The correct horsepower calculation is important so that all customers have a great vacuum experience,” insists Taggart, adding that bigger equipment isn’t necessarily better, as oversized vacuum systems cost more to purchase as well as more to operate. “Believe it or not, too much suction can be just as bad as not enough suction.New operators must also be practical when planning for carwash vacuums. Just as too few vacuums can lead to traffic flow issues, having too many stalls without demand can lead to a similar outcome as well as the illusion that your carwash is not busy, which is not an ideal message to convey to passersby.Partner with trusted manufacturers, suppliers and site design consultants to help maximize your lot’s space, regardless of your budget.
Twelve-foot-wide vacuum stalls a larger width if lanes are parallel is important to give the customer ample room for ingress/egress of the vehicles, especially when vacuuming through all areas of the vehicle. This also allows for adjacent cars to have room to have their doors opened as well during the cleaning process,” educates Taggart.In the end though, if you properly plan the site and allow for adequate turning radiuses, the more vacuums you can fit, experts say, the more it will benefit your business in the long run.The more vacuums you have on your lot, the higher the potential is to draw more customers from the competition,” confirms Patrick Pearson from GinSan/Industrial Vacuum Systems. “Customers do not want to wait in lines.