You need to look towards the future. If you do not, the new giant express washes and investment groups will take a large part of your business.
Everyone likes shiny new things. It is how the car industry survives and why your wash can be profitable. The drive for shiny new things leads your customers to your wash, or to the new washes around the corner. Your car wash customers are drawn to new and shiny things.
As your wash ages, making it new and shiny takes time, money (cash flow), and manpower. In your business, like all businesses, you are chasing two out of three all the time. We generally have one in abundance compared to the others.
If your business is up, money is flowing, you will be short manpower and/or time. If you have extra manpower sitting around, you are probably short money. If you are short manpower, you are probably pitching in to help and not paying attention to money and will be short money soon.
And so, the cycle goes until the end of time or your business.
If you want to continue being successful as a business, you must continue to innovate and advertise. Henry Ford said, "Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time." If you don't continue to advertise, your business will eventually die out. You must also continue to innovate (make your wash better) to keep all those customers your advertising brought in.Innovation in your car wash could simply be keeping it looking new, shiny, and clean. All are a huge money and time suck. Both advertising and innovation can seem impossibly hard.
Right now, decide what part of your profits you will hold in reserves for your business to, advertise, and reinvest in your wash. I know there is no extra profits… there never will be unless you make it so. I suggest the book "Profit First" by Mike Michalowicz if you aren't sure how to do this.
Once you have money going into reserves, what will give you the best bang for your buck? Here are a couple suggestions:
Everyone of those is expensive. Everyone will take time, effort, and money. Your other choice is watching your building and facilities erode at the same rate your customer base and profits erode.
The best customers AutoBrite has dealt with in the last 50 years have saved 10% of their total revenues every year and reinvested it in making their wash better. The customers that reinvest in their business have their revenues and profits rise year over year, those that don't, don't.
It's up to you!