Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Industry Watch - November 2012

October 22, 2012

COMPANY NEWS

· SONNY’S, the CarWash Factory announced the addition of Service 4 Equipment Company to their select service organization (SSO) network, according to a press release.

The Sept. 13 release stated that Serve 4 will distribute, install and service SONNY’S tunnel equipment and AutoPilot CarWash Control Systems in the markets of eastern Missouri and western Illinois.

“Service 4 has been helping carwash operators improve their businesses since 1984,” Robert Picard, VP of sales for SONNY’S, said in the release. “Owner Jerry Schwab and his team have over 125 years of combined experience and represent the level of knowledge our clients need as a resource to better navigate today’s changing market.”

Service 4 has a complete line of carwashing products, and they can assist with property selection, design, construction, equipment, chemicals, merchandising, service and management and personnel training. Service 4 can be contacted directly with questions regarding sales, service, installation and support of SONNY’S carwash equipment and control systems.

· Lustra™ Professional Car Care Products announced the addition of Arizona Car Wash Systems as the provider of Lustra products in Arizona, according to a press release.

The Sept. 10 release stated that Arizona Car Wash Systems is a premier distributor of carwash equipment and chemicals in Arizona, and they represent the best manufacturers in each carwash equipment and chemical category. Arizona Car Wash Systems was established over 30 years ago to provide solutions to carwash operators and car dealerships. Currently, the company works with owners to provide site design and layout, financing options, technical assistance, installation, start-up, training, ongoing service and support, delivery and optimization of chemicals and continuous marketing support.

“We are very excited to have Lustra as our new vendor here in Arizona,” John Sorenson, Arizona Car Wash System’s general manager, said in the release. “Together we hope to promote the exciting advantages of Ultraflex and grow our chemical business here in Arizona.”

· AXEON Water Technologies, a premier provider of engineered water treatment solutions, announced the acquisition of assets and intellectual property rights of a leading systems manufacturer in a press release. The company, formerly known as Pure-O-Tech, is a premier manufacturer and full-service provider of commercial and industrial reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ozone and filtration systems.

The Sept. 17 release stated that, for more than a decade, Pure-O-Tech has provided comprehensive system designs and engineered solutions to customers for a variety of applications. “We were in talks with decision makers at Pure-O-Tech for quite some time,” Augustin R. Pavel, AXEON CEO, said in the release. “After seeing where the company was headed and the potential there, we stepped in and secured a majority of their assets and intellectual property, along with several of their highly skilled and experienced employees. This move secures for AXEON an additional 12 years of engineered system designs and experience, including new technology platforms for us to expand on — such as ozone and perchlorate removal systems.”

AXEON, a manufacturer of commercial and industrial membrane systems, elements, housings and components, will be leveraging some of the technologies that Pure-O-Tech has utilized in their system designs and controls, including their off-site monitoring capabilities software with integrated PLC controls.

“As a growing systems and equipment manufacturer, we regularly examine new and emerging markets and applications that we know will require more sophisticated designs, controls and automation,” Pavel said. “This type of research is an integral strategy in our mission to remain at the forefront of evolving water treatment. With the purchase of Pure-O-Tech’s assets, we now have some additional technology and knowhow to help meet our customers’ evolving needs.”

ASSOCIATION NEWS

· Industry professionals including carwash operators and owners as well as manufacturers and suppliers gathered in San Diego, CA for the Western Carwash Association’s (WCA) 31st annual convention and tradeshow. PC&D’s Editorial Director Rich DiPaolo was in attendance to capture the thoughts and feelings of attendees.

“The show is now open,” exclaimed the announcer to open the exhibit floor on Sept. 18, but the floor was also packed earlier in the day with other educational and networking opportunities and seminars for industry pros.

“Connect. Inspire. Thrive.” were the association’s messages to attendees this year, and the program included seminars on such topics as site selection, cost of development, financing, employer challenges and more. The first day of the show concluded with a Party by the Bay Opening Reception where guests were treated to food, drink, music and even magic.

Providing a unique chance to visit and get a hands-on feel of exhibitors’ products, technology, visions and goals are primary reasons why many carwash owners, operators and suppliers were in attendance for the tradeshow.

“We strongly support the regional shows,” noted Vince MacNeil, CEO of MacNeil Wash Systems Limited. “And, customers really enjoy the whole program and they want to see what new technology is available.”

MacNeil added that WCA does an outstanding job putting together an attractive program for attendees. “And, because the show is of good quality, operators make the effort and investment to come so all credit goes to WCA,” he said.

For Marcus McLaughlin, a member of Belanger’s marketing team, this show provided insight for his company into customers’ thinking and field experiences. “The nice thing about the regional shows, including Western, is it gives us the face time with operators in the local market to get their perspectives,” noted McLaughlin, who added that there is a lot of operator interest this year in reloading for new construction. They are looking for innovation to separate themselves from the competition, which is a key reason they attend these regional shows, he said.

· The Southwest Car Wash Association (SCWA) is celebrating its 25th annual convention this year by launching a unique membership promotion exclusively for its vendor members, according to a press release. The program is free tovendors, and it is designed to give them special recognition with their customers and at the 2013 SCWAconvention.

To participate, a vendor has to submit at least 25 valid introductory SCWA memberships by Dec. 31, 2012; then the vendor will be recognized as a “Celebrate 25 Featured Vendor” in the 2013 SCWA EXPO Guide and special signage at the 2013 SCWA Convention & Car Wash EXPO.

From now until the end of the year, SCWA will make available to participating vendorsfree six month SCWA introductory memberships that can be offered to customers or potential customers who are not currently SCWA members. These are available to new members only, and only current SCWA vendor members are eligible to sign up or sponsor new members under this program.

The introductory memberships are not available to vendors, distributors, manufacturers and current or past due members. The introductory memberships are available for non-member carwash owners, operators and managers.

The SCWA website, Twitter and Facebook sites will all be used to drive prospective members to SCWA vendors to receive this introductory membership. The offer is only available through vendor members.

To aid in the sign up process, SCWA’s current membership is available in asortable/searchable Excel file to help determine the “non-member customers.”  Vendors can compare the SCWA membership file with their customer base and develop a target list. Next, vendors can call, visit, or email customer or prospective customer “non members” and offer this special SCWA introductory membership to them.

It is important for vendors to let customers know they will be invoiced for regular SCWA dues on July 1, 2013. At that time it will be their decision to continue the membership.

· The Heartland Carwash Association and the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa have lobbied the Iowa House and Senate for a carwash sales tax exemption. The groups and carwash owners have tried to persuade the Iowa state government to remove sales tax on the products they need on a day-to-day basis; namely water, soap and electricity. Members have argued that many carwashes operate on a coin-op system which does not accept pennies and nickels. This makes it difficult to charge the customer sales tax.

As a result, the business has to make up for the lost state revenue by providing Iowa’s 6 percent sales tax rate for each wash. According to wash owners, this hurts them greatly. In effect, carwash owners who do not charge their customers sales tax are paying a 12 percent combined rate. An exemption on sales tax for water, soap and electricity would bring the number down to 6 percent.