October 11, 2010
Earlier this year, Mister Car Wash, a Top 50 chain with 39 conveyor carwashes, announced it had been purchased by Canadian private equity firm ONCAP.
This month, Professional Carwashing & Detailing talks with Ron Peterson, CEO of Mister Car Wash, about how the purchase will affect the company.
Professional Carwashing & Detailing: When did the acquisition take place and what does that mean for your company?
Ron Peterson: It closed in early April. Mister Car Wash was purchased by the biggest private equity firm and second largest business in Canada. To Mister Car Wash, this means we have just about an inexhaustible amount of capital to pursue acquisitions or new builds.
To the employees, this means a great future and ongoing opportunities. The business is like a three-legged stool. Once the capital structure and funding are in place and coupled with people who have the attitude of growth, this will result in a business focusing on people and product. When we look at our business, we look at constant improvement in both of those areas. Non-financial objectives improve the product and contemporary needs of customers.
PCD: Will the carwash expand or remain the same?
RP: Mister Car Wash will expand. Typically, ONCAP looks at an industry and tries to buy the best in class. They will then use that company as a platform to grow either through acquisitions or new builds.
PCD: How did Mister Car Wash come to the attention of ONCAP?
RP: They were studying the automotive industry, feeling that there is a great upside in the U.S. and then determine what segment to invest in. In looking at the potential of what’s happening to the do-it-yourself customer is disappearing with the customer income growth and poverty of time issues. The do-it-for me customer segment is growing considerably and felt that segment had great opportunity.
PCD: Where do you see future locations for Mister Car Wash?
RP: Currently, I’m looking at over 200 carwashes. By the end of this year, we will have gone into two or three new markets. The existing markets are the easiest because we have maintenance and management teams entrenched in the market. From that standpoint, it is easy to add two or three more.
PCD: Will the average consumer see a difference or change due to the acquisition?
RP: No, not so much due to the acquisition. We have two beta sites with carwash-of-the-future objectives. By the fourth quarter of this year, the first quarter of next year the consumer will see changes, but will not be directly related to the acquisition.