Welcome to the new Gurdy’s Express Wash (www.gurdys.com) in Humble, Texas! Professional Carwashing & Detailing Magazine got a chance to interview co-owner Michael Goertz, Jr. to get the nitty gritty on starting a new carwash business.
The carwash first opened its doors for business this October, offering free carwashes ($4 off each wash, making the basic carwash free) for the first 30 days. The Grand Opening was held on Saturday, Nov. 4, finishing the day strong with 403 carwashes.
In his search for “something fun to get into,” Goertz discovered the carwashing business. He spent over three and half years researching the industry before breaking ground. Locating a consultant and great partners that believed in the success of the project was a key factor, and once this was in place, Goertz went to work.
Gurdy’s Express Wash is owned by a partnership of four: Michael Goertz, Jr., Michael Goertz, Sr., Randy Davis and Barry Corbitt. The facility is operated by Jonathan Goertz, and two part-time workers.
The wash sits on 1.29 acres, operating a 130’ tunnel, with a 110’ conveyor system, and uses Sonny’s Equipment and Simoniz chemicals. Two DRB XPT systems are used for customer transactions, accepting all major credit cards and cash.
The carwash is marketed as a state-of-the-art facility offering superior car cleaning, free vacuuming and convenience, all at a low price. Customers also enjoy the benefits of Gurdy’s VIP Club, offering free carwashes and periodic special discounts, as well as reloadable Gurdy’s Bucks cards.
The most challenging aspect of opening a new business is “getting the word out,” said Michael. To attack this challenge head-on, fliers are distributed within the community, full page ads are run periodically in the local newspaper and hand-outs are distributed to local businesses.
The owners are in the process of purchasing a large LED sign that will deliver the marketing message directly to the 54,000 customers that drive by the facility each day, located at 6811 Atascocita Road in Humble.
Using the above marketing strategies to support his goals, Michael’s immediate attention is focused on volume. He is looking to hit his break even at about 4,000 cars per month, and in December 2006, finished with 3,300 vehicles. Overall, the business is performing very well with increasing daily volume and high average ticket sales.
Being new to the industry, Michael and his team have enjoyed the learning curve; tackling accidents, addressing windshield wiper issues, handling customer complaints, and striving to keep efficiencies in line are all part of the everyday challenges.
While these issues will always be in existence to a certain extent, the overall customer feedback has been extremely positive, and as the numbers show, Gurdy’s is on track for success. The business is growing, the industry is fun, and to reiterate the company’s motto: “When it’s dirty, bring it to Gurdy’s.”