Business services Aug, 08 2011

Shine in ‘car care’ biz

Till date you must have heard about body spa and hair spa etc. Considering the ever increasing number of cars lot of car wash brands have forayed into the segment and car spa has emerged as a lucrative business opportunity. Read on to know more...

By Abha Garyali
Sub Editor
Shine in ‘car care’ biz

Till a few years back, washing cars at home with soapy water of detergents was the only appropriate way to keep your car clean. The practice of self cleaning of cars was quite time consuming and never gave the expected results. In fact the detergents used badly affected the shine and texture of the car paint. However, now with the emergence of lot of car wash brands in the segment keeping cars clean in at lesser amount of time and effort is quite easy. Car-care service centres not only washes the cars but also check their maintenance.

From unorganised to organised

No doubt car wash segment is still dominated by unorganised brands, but the industry is gradually moving from unorganised to organised segment. Gauging the rise in the sector lsome of the players have taken the franchise route. Anckur Sama, Founder and Director of CarzSpa said, “We entered into this industry four years back with one outlet, but today, we have around 25 outlets across India. The idea of switching over to car beauty clinic hit me from one of my foreign visits where I saw such centres flourishing. I liked the concept of grooming cars to perfection. Hence my profession of selling cars coupled with a passion of grooming cars brought me into this business.”

Need of car care centres

Increasing awareness regarding maintaining cars is the first and foremost reason for the popularity of car care centres. Earlier car owners used to get their vehicles cleaned from local car cleaners, as they had no other option, however now with the availability of car care centres people prefer to get their cars cleaned professionally.  Various other factors contributing to the increasing popularity of car care centres are:

Increased car owners: With cars becoming purchasable for the middle class, there has been a rapid increase in the number of car-owners. Clients who have spent over Rs two lakh to two crore for a car do not want to spoil it by washing it at home. This had lead to the popularity of organised car centres.

Increase in disposable incomes: With increase in disposable incomes, people do not mind spending a few extra bucks on the care and maintenance of their cars.

Hectic work schedule: Cleaning a car is a long and a tiring work. Usually people do not have the time or enthusiasm to wash cars due to lack of time. The best substitute for them is the car-wash centre.

Proper maintenance: Organised car care centres not only wash and clean cars but also maintain them perfectly. They do a complete check-up of cars, which make them worth-while for each penny that a customer pays.

Why franchising of car- care centres?

Car-care has emerged as a popular business concept due to its need in the Indian market. Smart entrepreneurs who had seen the vast potential in this business had started small but later on took the franchise route. The reason for expansion through franchising is the well-established brand name. Clients always prefer to send their cars for cleaning to a well-established and reputed centre rather than an unorganised washing unit. Sama shared, ‘Franchising has always been the preferred route for business development. It becomes very difficult for one company to handle the entire business across the country hence we require entrepreneurs to run the show in different cities and locations for further development and success.”

Moreover this sector does not require huge investment for its set up. However, keeping expensive machines and a large workforce would increase the budget.

Players in this field

This is a growing segment with not many players but the car-care business shows great potential for future. The main players in this segment till now are CarzSpa, Express Car wash, Speed Car Wash, Pureshield Car Glass Sealant and 3M Car care. All these payers are successfully expanding via the franchise route.

Challenges for success

The car-care franchise may have many benefits but also has a few drawbacks.

Firstly many aspirants enter the arena with big dreams of making fast cash. Like any other business, there is a lot of hard work in car washing business. Aspirants take a franchise believing that there are machines to do work and staff to manage it. However it should be kept in mind that even the owner (franchisee) has to struggle. As said by Sama, “To create sufficient footfalls and business in initial months is a challenge for a franchise. We can overcome these challenges with low budget marketing advertisement and good services so that the customers become our permanent clients.”

Secondly, the competition from the unorganised players is another challenge that can be dealt with by providing excellent services and showing professionalism.

To conclude, it would not be inappropriate to say that current trends certainly favour the car-care franchise business. People are spending huge amount on expensive vehicles, and are ready to spent few extra bucks in keeping their cars in a excellent condition and the preferred choice would always be a branded car-wash centre. There is definitely a large potential for aspiring entrepreneurs as, ‘No matter what happens, it is likely that as long as there are cars, there will always be a need for car wash’.

Related: Inking success

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