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Touch-up

October 11, 2010
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Most promotional vending at carwashes today is designed to speak to car owners and keep them coming back to your carwash, but Kiddie Ride USA has discovered a new target: kids. Using a vending-operated ride for kids at your carwash is a great way to keep your carwash at the forefront of the parent’s mind.

Professional Carwashing & Detailing: Tell me about Kiddie Ride USA.
Damon Carson: Kiddie Ride USA was founded in 1978 as a manufacturer and distributor of coin-operated rides. The company ceased manufacturing in the late 1990s due to a slow down in the grocer and mall business. Actually, Kiddie Rides are not manufactured anywhere in the United States today. I purchased the company three years ago, and we now concentrate solely on re-manufacturing the rides. We then market the rides to alternative markets such as carwashes, car dealerships, etc.

PC&D: Where do you get the rides from?
DC: We purchase these rides from vending companies at auctions, etc., who no longer want them.

PC&D: Tell me about re-manufacturing the rides.
DC: The beauty of the Kiddie Ride is that they use the same technology today that they have used since the beginning, so we can completely overhaul them mechanically.

In some rides we improve on a faulty design. Where faults exist, we may re-route wiring or add some steel tubing for reinforcement. We also install sound boxes to all of our rides; many rides were not equipped with sound originally.

Once we have checked them out mechanically, we begin refinishing them cosmetically. Fiberglass can last forever, and in most cases, older rides have thicker fiberglass than new rides. With that in mind, we strip off all the old paint, down to the raw fiberglass, then re-paint the rides with high-end automotive paint, repeating the exact same process of painting a new ride. Often our paint and technique is of a better quality than that used by the original fabricator.

PC&D: What is the average price of a kiddie ride?
DC: Rides start at $1,995 and go up depending on the ride you choose and the extras you add to it. However, we offer discounts on multi-ride purchases.

PC&D: Is there a particular ride that is popular?
DC: Actually, there isn’t a most popular ride. The rides that people often choose seem to have something to do with their business or something in the local area. For example, a guy with a business in a coastal area might purchase a Jet Ski ride. Picking a ride according to the theme of a business or area seems to be the popular choice.

PC&D: Can you customize your ride?
DC: Yes. The most popular ways to customize rides is to put a business logo on it and choose the colors you want it painted. In doing this, you not only have a vending machine and goodwill tool, you also have a billboard that pays for itself.

PC&D: What is the maintenance schedule for these machines?
DC: There is no routine maintenance required, but we do have a full-time technician on staff that can troubleshoot almost anything over the phone should problems arise in the coming years.

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