Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Blog: The final $64,000,000 question

January 31, 2014

Who imagined, 60 years ago, we could put a man on the moon?

Medical researchers today assure us they will have a cure for some of the more common forms of cancer in our lifetime.

To gain an edge in the messy war on terrorism, skilled soldiers can launch, guide and deliver a deadly missile into a window in a building a hundred miles away.

In light of these remarkable achievements, as I review the state of the car wash industry, I become disappointed and befuddled.

Why can’t operators and their suppliers combine their efforts, and work closer together to wash more cars?

Manufacturers today are building technologically advanced pieces of equipment.

Indeed, the reliability, performance and wash quality of most professional washes is amazing, satisfying even the most critical customers.

Best in class operators can count upon 98% uptime now.

Yet in many markets the best washes are not operating at 70% capacity.

Isn’t this the next breakthrough in the industry? 

Most industry veterans would acknowledge and agree, revenue at every car wash site is the sustaining lifeblood of the industry.  

Yet too many washes capture too few customers.  

For lack of an imaginative, dedicated and sustained marketing effort, the car wash industry, I fear, is locked into a slow but certain death spiral.

“If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it,” William James noted a century ago.

Evidently, operators and suppliers have not “cared enough” in the past to increase wash counts and revenues. 

The solution to this chronic but solvable problem, truth be told, is clearly a leadership question.

I wonder: which operators and suppliers will become, at last, marketing-focused, and capture more new and repeat customers?

This is the emerging, game-changing $64,000,000 question in 2014.