I’ve written several times about luxury cars being a guilty pleasure of ours. I’ve also written about my aversion to subscription-based payment schemes. So why am I so delighted with our monthly car wash subscription at the local gas station?
Our monthly car wash subscription costs $30. That’s the equivalent of 2.7 ‘Works’ washes at our local station. $12 for each car wash seems ridiculously high to me, but according to the Census Bureau, Americans spend $5.8B a year on car washes and the average cost of a conveyor/tunnel car wash is $12-$15 , according to the International Car Wash Association.
In order for us to break even on the cost of the subscription, we need to use the way about 32 times a year. Fortunately, we live very close to a great car wash with a speedy pull-through, continuous-loading wash. It only takes 90 seconds to load each car, so even if there are a few cars ahead of you, you don’t have to wait long. Additionally, the same gas station chain has 75+ locations around our Metro area, so wherever we happen to be, there is always a wash handy.
I suppose I could call them and they would tell me how many times I used their washes over the last year, but I’m confident I cleared the 32x breakeven. We live in Minnesota and with the frequent snows and sloppy roads, I am sometimes through the wash 3-4x in a week. Not as much in the summer, but still a lot. (We don’t have a subscription on our summer sports car – that one is fun to wash at home on a nice sunny day).
In my mind, if you are going to have nice things you need to keep them nice. What I love about the subscription is that you can use it whenever you want. It bugs me to see a beautiful newer vehicle covered in road grime and or filthy on the inside. It’s like a fashion model whose hair is a greasy mess and wearing an outfit with food stains on the front. (A Jeep or classic pick-up truck might be the exception to this rule – kind of like a guy with a rugged amount of five o’clock shadow).
How do you manage the cost/work of keeping your vehicle clean?
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