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One big but simple reason that McDonald's achieved world dominance in hamburgers is consistency. It's not that their burgers are better than anyone else's, but more the fact that wherever you go a Big Mac is a Big Mac, and you know exactly what it will taste like. There is comfort in consistency.
Consistency is good for business. A primary goal for your carwash is to put out clean cars, day in and day out — consistently. Repeatability is the key, although every carwash operator knows that is much easier said than done.
One key to putting out clean cars consistently is to set the proper dilutions for the chemicals used in the cleaning process, and then to monitor those levels for consistency. Your soaps and waxes come to you in concentrated form and in most cases must be diluted to desired strength for use in the wash. Starting with the manufacturer's recommended dilutions, you should feel free to make small adjustments up and down, testing a run of cars each time you make a change, until you are satisfied that you are getting the cleaning you want at a cost per car you can live with.
Once you've dialed in the proper mix and usage for your wash, your job of cleaning cars consistently has just begun. This is because your soap and wax strengths must be monitored to ensure that they don't "wander" over time. One culprit that can affect proper dilutions over time is fluctuations in water pressure. For example, hydrominders will put out consistent dilutions over a pretty forgiving water pressure range, but if pressure falls significantly below about 30 psi or significantly above 60 psi, watch out. You may find that you are not drawing your products properly to produce consistent soap and wax dilutions for the wash. It is not enough to know what your city water pressure is — you need to know what is happening to the pressure inside your wash at times of peak demand. You can use a hose bibb pressure gauge to check pressure levels. If you are dealing with significant fluctuations in pressure, you may need to install a holding tank and a pump with a pressure switch to attain consistent product applications for your customers.
The more you can create a consistent, repeatable experience for your customers, the better. From the neat, clean appearance of your site, to a reliably friendly greeting, to delivering a clean car quickly at a good price, consistency in your wash's performance is a key to building up your business.
Laurie Sherman is Co-owner of Blendco Systems, LLC. Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.