Forecourt owners should be wary of installing hand car wash operators on their forecourts, Dave Lindon, business development director at Istobal, has warned.

"There are many issues to consider," said Lindon. "These include your customers being approached by people to get their vehicles washed when all they want to do is buy petrol or something in the shop. This can put customers off and they might not come back.

"There may also be vehicles parked that restrict access to the forecourt and to fuel sales," added Lindon. "Remember these hand car wash people don’t work for you and have no interest in anything except washing cars and earning revenue for themselves."

Lindon cited examples where forecourt retailers have come unstuck: "One site signed a deal with a hand car wash company for £1,500 per calendar month.

"Two months later the site owner found another car wash company on the site, which had bought the franchise from the previous company.

"In a second incident, a car wash taking £15,000 a year was removed and a hand car wash company installed. But the district council shut down the operation because it had not adhered to planning and building regs.

"As a result, no car wash revenue has been taken from the site for the past four months."