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October 11, 2010
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In February, Sonny's Enterprises, Inc. announced their sponsorship of the creation of the CarWash College™, the purpose of which was to educate, train and inform members of the carwashing industry.

As of June, the college had graduated over 80 students, and was prepared to certify over 200 carwash professionals by the end of the year.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing® spoke with the first president of the college, Steve Gaudreau, about the classes so far, and the plans for the future.

PC&D: So far, what has the response to the college been?

Steve Gaudreau: The response has been extremely positive.

We ask participants when they are finished the program to rate us on a scale from 1 to 12 with 12 being the highest. Every program so far has been rated 11.3 or better.

As a result of the word-of-mouth this has generated, our courses are sold out 90 days in advance, and we've had to schedule additional classes this year to help meet the demand.

PC&D: What is the vision for the college in the future?

SG: Paul Fazio's original vision for the Car Wash College was to provide basic training in equipment maintenance and repair, as well as carwash management. Therefore, the biggest expansion next year will primarily be having more of these programs available to meet the industry need.

However, starting in September, we are offering a program for new investors in the industry that will provide a lot of financial information: The Car Wash Investor Seminar.

We are also looking at a Spanish language version of the equipment repair program, as well as offering some advanced management programs.

The other major expansion for next year will be offering on-site training at carwash locations.

PC&D: How does the experience differ for a current operator and a new owner?

SG: Our programs were developed primarily for someone new to the industry. Surprisingly enough, over 80 percent of the participants so far have been very experienced operators and managers.

What we found from the experienced people was two factors that created very high satisfaction. First, they told us that although they had been operating for some time, the “basics” we are teaching contained much new and valuable information.

Second, our instructor staff has deep industry knowledge and is able to provide information to very experienced people over and above the course material, if needed, on any individual subject.

So, at every level of experience, these basic courses are giving each participant what they want.

PC&D: How much of the class focuses on the express exterior segment of the market?

SG: The repair and maintenance programs cover all conveyor operations, including the express exterior segment.

The management course provides a basic management course for all types of conveyor operations; however, there are specific segments in the management course that are geared to the exterior express segment of the market that allows this course to be a comprehensive one for exterior express managers.