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Blog: Revenue is the most important metric

April 09, 2013
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When I meet with an operator, I have learned to scale down my initial questions.

To break the ice, and begin a productive discussion, I ask: What do you know now about the carwash business that you wished you had known when you first entered it?

We exchange more needed pleasantries, but eventually, I get to the key question.

“Looking at the financial performance of your carwash,” I begin, “on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being peak capacity, where would you rate your carwash today?”

Many operators are stunned by this direct question. Others get a little testy.

Truthfully, I don’t blame them.

Operators are proud to share with me, and rightly so, that their wash has a phenomenal uptime record.

Also, chemical companies have made tremendous advances in cleaning safely and quickly even the most difficult surfaces, and always in very challenging environments.

For sure, eye-popping uptimes and consistent wash quality are two notable achievements which have really helped operators wash more cars.

Yet in today’s economic environment, most carwash operators need more.

Operators and suppliers may emphasize their 98 percent equipment uptime, yet does that metric really matter when so many washes are operating at only 60-70 percent capacity?

How will the industry respond to this chronic and unforgiving revenue crisis?

Let’s hope, as they have consciously done in the past, that operators and the leading and most innovative suppliers will choose to work together, and overcome this obvious obstacle which is severely limiting the financial success of the entire industry.

Developing and implementing a solid marketing plan at every carwash site, in truth, is as important to the industry now, as maintaining a 98% uptime was 10 years ago.

It remains to be seen, of course, which savvy operators and value-added suppliers will act upon this game-changing concept, and begin to build a larger customer base.

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