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Business Operations

News from the industry

October 11, 2010
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Mike Benton is the new vice president of sales for the Eastern region at D&S Car Wash Equipment Company, a manufacturer of in-bay automatics, self-serve equipment and industrial vacuums, based in High Ridge, MO.

Benton’s primary focus will be to execute a “best practices” strategy and deal with revenue growth. Benton will work closely with David Whitaker, the company’s vice president of business development.

Benton worked for 17 years in the building materials and semiconductor industries and most recently held the position of vice president of manufacturing at Swan Corporation, a kitchen and bath manufacturer based in St. Louis, MO. He has a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a Master of Arts degree from Webster University.


In Other News

Mark VII Equipment Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, a global supplier of carwash systems, is now servicing its customers in North and South Carolina directly following its acquisition of the assets of its distributor Atlantic Wash Systems.

The Raleigh-based company has been selling and servicing Mark VII carwash systems throughout the Carolinas since 1971. Founder Mitch Lancaster will continue to manage equipment sales, while day-to-day operations are incorporated into Mark VII’s direct service organization. The company will continue to have service personnel located in the North Carolina cities of Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington, and the South Carolina cities of Charleston and Columbia.

The direct operation will continue to be called Atlantic Wash Systems, a division of Mark VII, and customers can call 919-877-0011 for sales and service.

The second annual 3M “Elbow Grease Economics” study showed more than 50 percent of Americans intend to keep their vehicle longer due to the faltering economy.

The study of more than 1,835 car owners also found that a growing number of consumers are taking car maintenance into their own hands and in their driveways as economic fears grow. Other highlights:

  • More than one-quarter (26%) of car owners are taking better care of the appearance to keep their cars looking new. For unemployed car owners, this increased to nearly 30 percent (28%).
  • Just over one-third (36%) of car owners consider their car to be one of their biggest investments, although for those making between $50,000 and $75,000 annually, this increases to 42 percent.
  • Eleven percent are planning to make the repairs they've been postponing like having dents and scratches repaired.
  • Eight percent are planning to take their car in for professional engine service or detailing.
  • Approximately five percent of car owners are doing body repairs like fixing scratches or repairing dings and dents.

Fine Details® The Car Cleaning Specialists have been added by SJF Motorsports, along with racecar driver Scott Fletcher, to the 2009 HYPE Energy Drinks Ontario Pro Challenge Series program.

The event is a 13-race series which will cover six tracks in four Ontario regions. Fine Details® is an Ontario-based company with 21 locations throughout the province.

Sudsy’s Car Wash in Murfreesboro, TN, raised $3,000 to help those who were affected by a recent tornado that tore through Rutherford County, destroying 81 houses, damaging over 800, and injuring over 80 people and killing two.

The wash gave away $2 from each of their SILVER, GOLD and PLATINUM wash sales during the month of April. The money was given to the American Red Cross.

Co-owner Vicki VanLiere said, “Like most of middle Tennessee, we were fortunate to have not experienced any first-hand losses in the tornado, but many in our community were not so fortunate. It is really a privilege to be able to help in a time like this and we live in a community were we know folks rally around real needs.”

Zep Inc., makers of a wide range of cleaning and maintenance products, including EnviroEdge™, a line of earth-friendly carwash chemicals, is now offering its customers an easy-to-implement program for employee training and customer communication.

The goal of the program is to give a competitive business advantage to washes using EnviroEdge products by providing education and training for three of the carwash’s leading staff: The greeter, the cashier, and the EnviroEdge “captain,” who is described as being a lead employee who can act as an active steward of the earth-friendly environment that the carwash provides.

The program includes a talking script for greeters, as well as promotional tools like a receipt holder, counter cards, change mats, mirror hang tags, interior posters and window clings which they can use to help illustrate their conversations when speaking to customers.


In Association New

The International Carwash Association signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Federlavaggi (Italian Carwash Association) during Autopromotec, an auto industry trade show held in May in Bologna, Italy.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing Editor Kate Carr attended the signing, held Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. in the carwash exhibition area of the trade show.

Among the articles included in the memorandum, the two parties “agree to exchange relevant market and technical information for the purpose of exploring possibilities for increased trade, technological and knowledge sharing between members.”

“We are thankful for the opportunity to attend Autopromotec as a member of a United States trade delegation hosted by the Italian government,” remarked Eric Wulf, International Carwash Association’s executive director and CEO.

Efforts by the Western Carwash Association to educate its membership about California labor laws are working. Only seven percent — or $53,700 — of the total fines issued during recent sweeps came from WCA member locations.

“It’s unfortunate that 65 of the facilities visited were fined for not registering or renewing their registrations, but only five of the 65 are WCA members. I’d like to think that if the owner/operators of the other 60 facilities had been WCA members, they wouldn’t have received a registration fine,” said Holly Macriss, WCA Executive Director.

Macriss said more information about the registration requirements can be obtained by visiting the state’s website, www.dir.ca.gov. Some carwash locations, such as self-serve operations without labor, are exempt from the law.

It is also important for California operators to maintain their registration yearly. “The registration isn’t a one-time thing,” Macriss explained. “The fine for not renewing a registration is $100 each calendar day, not to exceed $10, 000. It’s only $250 to renew,” said Macriss.

The WCA is also working with California associations whose members are petroleum operators because gas station facilities with carwashes must also register if there is a labor component to their carwash facility.