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Luxury Wash has developed a certain reputation in the three years since they started washing cars outside of Atlanta, Georgia. That reputation includes being distinguished as the unofficial record holder for being the fastest carwash in the city; all of the employees are outfitted in bow ties; and, it has received support from President Barack Obama.
And Owner Bentley Brandon wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The bowties represent something different,” he said proudly.
Brandon started in the carwash industry at 13 years old — then it was just a job to help make his family’s ends meet. Nearly 15 years later, Brandon is working for himself, trying to change the way people see carwashes.
The learning curve
“My father taught me how to wash a car,” Bradley said, explaining how he ended up in the business. He soon developed a passion for cars and rose up in the carwash ranks, eventually becoming the manager of a carwash. It wasn’t long, though, until he realized it was time to step up. Without bank loans or partnerships Bradley decided with was time to start his own carwash business. He used only the money he saved.
“I was a manager,” Bradley explained. “But I’d never been an owner. At first I made a lot of mistakes. The mistakes I have made have made me aware.”
One of those decisions he first saw as a mistake was his membership program. The program provides less expensive washes in exchange for an upfront membership fee. But as word spread Luxury Wash grew and is now approaching 1,000 members. Luxury Wash now boasts several high profile clients such as Advanced Auto Parts, ADT Security and LA Fitness. Bradley estimates they wash about 700 vehicles a month.
“You’re not only saving with us, you’re saving with different companies as well,” Bradley said.
There are a couple of ways to get a Luxury Wash carwash without being a member: Vouchers and coupons. Beyond those, though, only members can access Luxury Wash’s service, which also includes a mobile detailing package.
Man versus Machine
“Now-a-days … You’ve got to be innovative,” Bradley said, which is how he ended up holding the Man versus Machine event that led to his unofficial record. Bradley said although machine carwashes offer convenience, he can make a care even more clean using his hands. The Man versus Machine event pitted Bradley and four of his employees against a competitor with an automatic wash. Bradley set out to prove not only could his team do a more thorough job, but also quicker.
“We washed the car in 2 minutes 26 seconds, including interior, tire shine and windows,” Bradley said proudly. “I wasn’t the only guy in that. There were four other guys I got to share that moment with.”
“Carwashing is my sport,” he added.
The Man versus Machine event brought a lot of press to Luxury Wash but Bradley also uses social media sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial in an effort to bring customers to his location and get them signed up for a membership.
Setting a goal
“We’re working hard every day to achieve new goals. The ultimate goal is to grow,” Bradley said.
People who have heard Bradley’s story tell Bradley he inspires them, which only fuels Bradley’s fire.
In this quest Bradley works side by side with his employees, trying to set an example and teach them some of the techniques he has learned throughout his 15 year career. New employees are offered one-on-one training with Bradley. Bradley would like to see his employees embark on a career with Luxury Wash — not just a job
Outreach, support and President Obama
“I want people to invest in me and I can invest in them,” Bradley said. “It’s a close family.”
But it all almost did not happen. When Bradley set out to open Luxury Wash he met some resistance from local officials. According to Bradley he had submitted the color plans for the shop which were of the listen city color choices.
“Looking back on the situation it was pretty big on emotions and several restless night of not knowing if my business would be able to function the next morning,” Bradley said.
The city took Bradley to court over the matter. Bradley reached out to Congressman David Scott, the NAACP and wrote a letter to President Barack Obama — who wrote him a letter for inspiration.
Ultimately Bradley and city officials and came to an agreement. Luxury Wash was able to keep their colors.
“A lot of people came to my aid,” Bradley said. “I am grateful President Obama responded.”
But at the end of the day it’s all about the customers. Bradley tries to give customers a different experience, from the bow ties to the quality of wash.
“[Luxury Wash] represents just class.”
Bradley hops to take his “sport” on the road holding World’s Fastest Carwash events in cities throughout the United States.
“I do plan on taking it to another level.”