budgens frilford car wash

Budgens Frilford near Abingdon in Oxfordshire was the winner of the Best Valeting Facilities Award at the recent Forecourt Trader of the Year Awards. And when you look at the family run site it’s easy to see why.

K&M Rashid Ltd, aka Karim and Maggie, have owned the site for around 30 years. When they bought it, it comprised asmall 500sq ft store with two pump islands. Over the years the site has been developed many times. The first phase was around 17 years ago when a 1,500sq ft Budgens store was built, the number of pump islands was doubled to four and a rollover car wash was installed. The second phase of development saw the store extended to 3000sq ft, new tanks installed to accommodate VPower and VPower diesel and the car wash replaced with a newer model. The latest phase was the launch of the Car Wash Centre, which opened in July 2022.

Karim and Maggie’s daughter Sarah Redley is in charge of operations at the site. She says car washing has always been popular, so much so that there have always been queues of cars waiting to be washed.

Sarah takes up the story: “Our original thought with the development was to stick with one car wash and install fourjet washes however, we felt another rollover would help to combat the queuing problem. We also felt that going from one jet wash to four might be excessive so instead we installed a two-bay drive-thru jet wash, which is undercover. We also upgraded our vac and air/screenwash units.

“However, since the install we have found that we still have the same queuing problem but now for two car washesinstead of one and the jet washes have proved so popular we are currently in the planning process to add an additional two to the run.”

As for the reason for the valeting facilities’ popularity, Sarah says: “We have always prided ourselves on our valeting facilities in terms of their reliability and cleanliness. We have always strived to keep them clean, presentable and welcoming to everyone.

“In November 2019 we added a contactless payment option to our rollover car wash. This took off instantly and with the Covid pandemic it came into its own as customers could use the car wash without leaving their cars and coming into the shop. We soon found that contactless sales were double those of the in-store car wash sales.”

Both rollover car washes offer contactless payment but customers can still purchase a ticket in-store if they want to. The jet washes are contactless or coin operated at the machine, while the air and vac machines are purely contactless.

Despite the investment in new kit, Budgens Frilford has kept the pricing the same as before, with the top car wash priced at under £10 and the jet washes at £2 for two minutes.

“We believe in fair pricing and keeping things simple. The contactless is a straight £2 for two minutes and the coin system is £2 to start minimum, then people top up as needed with either 50p or £1 coins.”

budgens frilford car wash menu

Menu options

The car wash menu offers five different programmes, starting at a basic brush wash, HP wheel wash and foam pre-wash for £4.50 and going right up to a £9.95 wash which includes ShieldTecs wax and dry, ShineTecs polish and ‘foam sensation’.

Sarah says the most popular washes are the £9.95 top wash and the middle of the range £6.95 wash. “Most customers like that programme three (the £6.95 wash) also dries the car and keeps the cost relatively low.”

The site operates a loyalty programme where if you buy three top washes you get the fourth free. “This is very popular with our regular customers and encourages people to use our top wash as I know £9.95 can seem a little steep for just a wash. However, the products that the top wash offers are far superior to the rest of the washes.”

Customers can also get 10% off their wash if they scan their Shell app – Sarah says a lot of people don’t know about this discount until staff at the site tell them.

Budgens Frilford also uses social media to promote the wash centre. “We are fortunate in that we have a loyal customer base who are regularly jet washing their cars and taking pictures and videos for their social media. I believe this has significantly helped the popularity of the valeting centre.”

budgens frilford jet wash

Brand clarity

All the site’s valeting equipment has been supplied by Washtec for ‘brand clarity’. “We have had a Washtec car wash since our first install all those years ago and have always rated the quality of the machines. But, as with any new equipment, there are always teething problems. The jet washes were a new concept with only one other site currently offering the same set up so it was new to the Washtec engineers too. Any problems we had were always responded to professionally. It took a few months for us to be fully operational but Washtec would always go out of their way to get us back online. We have always been looked after.”

Sarah says the equipment is easy to use: “The rollovers are self-explanatory and we have a large menu board so it is easy to distinguish between the wash types. The jet washes have a colour system. The button pad on the jet wash board is listed in suggested user order and has a colour which matches the colour of the hose. For example, the Power Foam is in red and therefore the user knows to use the red hose.”

PSD product panel

Your SmartStart to online car wash sales

One of the most affordable payment terminals on the market, PSD-Codax’s new SmartStart Pro cost-effectively enables secure car wash transactions. Powered by our WashConnect management software, the 10.4” touchscreen and multiple cashless payment options help speed your customers through the purchase. Customisable decals, graphics and videos reinforce your brand and offer the ability to cross-promote other products.

Through the WashNOW! mobile app your customers can make purchases and manage their account, without taking valuable time from any staff on site. Updating cards on file for monthly billing or changing contact details takes only a few taps on our white-label application, which is available today on android and iOS.

AutoPassport ANPR enables the SmartStart Pro to recognise your customers at the entry to the car wash, whether to sign up or welcome back a subscription member, redeem a wash purchased online or even offer targeted incentives. With over 97% read accuracy, WashConnect keeps the automated wash personal.

All this comes with 24/7 support while you easily access real-time financial results from across your estate in one place: from your PC, tablet or mobile.

It’s a smart start to online sales with the SmartStart Pro.

Contactless pays off

If there is one problem with the car wash centre, it is the positioning of the vac and air/screenwash units. Sarah explains: “They are used and sales have increased since we introduced contactless-only but I believe they are in the wrong place, which is our error, If we are able to add more jet washes to the site we will move these machines. At the moment, if the jet washes are busy it’s impossible to get to the air/vac.”

Overall though, Sarah says the Car Wash Centre has quickly become a great success; car wash sales have increased by around 25% while the jet wash use has increased by over 60%.

“We still get the queues but for both car washes now and we have a community of car enthusiasts who meet at Frilford to use our jet washes and meet friends weekly, some even daily. The success of this project has led us to start planning for an additional two-bay jet wash. We have just submitted our plans to the council. Hopefully it will be a swift process and we can begin building early next year.”