By Amy Milshtein

That New Car Smell: Car Dealership Cleaning

Auto dealerships sell dreams. Buyers may say they need “basic transportation,” but the showroom floor is about wants not needs. Shiny displays of cars and trucks are designed to inspire fantasies of freedom and the open road. The strategy works. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) reports that total dealership revenue reached an all-time high of $806 billion in 2014.


Even Warren Buffet has gone all in, purchasing the country’s fifth-largest car dealership in 2013.  But imagine the Oracle of Omaha’s displeasure if his showroom floor was scuffed. Car dealership cleaning is more than a need. It’s the backdrop to the fantasy, so it has to be done well.


It’s Always Showtime


A variety of different materials are appropriate for showroom floors. Epoxy, linoleum and large ceramic tiles are common options as they resist gouges and handle heavy rolling and stationary loads. Light colors with a heavy shine shows off cars best, but they also show wear and tear.


Protect your showroom floor from rain, snow, grit and salt with an indoor/outdoor walk off mat system. Daily cleaning is a must, but a heavy autoscrubber can be unwieldy. Luckily lighter, nimbler push-behind floor systems clean and polish just as well.


Dealerships usually feature curtain wall window systems to let in light and show off the cars. Be sure to keep them pristine and free of fingerprints and streaks.


Where the Rubber Hits the Road

 

Backroom spaces, where the paperwork is signed, is just as important. Less flashy and shiny than the showroom, these cubicles and offices should look and feel comfortable yet professional. Floors, either hardwood, carpet or a mix, still need to be stain and scuff free. Dust desks, shelving and task lights daily. Upholstered furniture should look and smell fresh and clean.


Buying a car takes hours so expect shoppers to use your restrooms. Keep them clean and welcoming with daily attention. Check them hourly for restocking. Touchpoints like door pulls, faucet taps and soap dispensers should sparkle.


After the Sale


NADA estimates that dealerships totaled $97.18 billion in parts and service sales in 2015. Still competition for this market is fierce. To boost customer loyalty, many dealerships are upgrading their waiting areas by adding computer lounges, cafes and playrooms. Finishes, fixtures and furnishings here often have a hospitality feel; comfortable seating, warm flooring and small desks and tables enhance the customer experience.


Maintaining these areas are just as important as the showroom. Carpets need daily vacuuming. Shampoo as necessary. Upholstered furniture should be stain and crumb-free. Keep play areas neat and inviting.


Don’t ignore service bays and drop-off areas either. Clean grease and grime off the floor before it gets tracked into the customer waiting rooms.


For more ideas on lightweight car dealership cleaning solutions click here.


Image source: Flickr

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. 

Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.

She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.

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