As you may or may not have heard, CarWash College has expanded and now hosts classes on the West Coast. We’re very happy about it and can now reach people for training that could never travel to Florida for it.

I just returned from my first trip out to California to teach. While I have been in the state before, it was always for pleasure. This time I was going for business.

Before I go further, here’s what I found out about the Southern California traffic myth. It’s no myth! Being from Florida, I thought I had seen some serious traffic in my day. As it turns out, our rush hour pales in comparison to the traffic in just their drive-thru Starbucks! Sunday mornings before sunrise aren’t much better. Suffice it to say, their roads are very crowded.

The carwash climate is equally as crowded it seems, with hand washes dominating but with express exterior models beginning to make headway.

When I looked at the roster for the class before leaving, I noticed several of the attendees were new investors to the industry. I hate to admit it, but when I think of Californians, besides all the pretty women, I think of sweater-around-the-neck wearing, tasseled loafer-type guys that would never be caught dead cleaning out a trench or emptying a vacuum separator. What I walked into Monday morning was the complete opposite of what I expected. There were no tied sweaters and sneakers were worn over tasseled loafers by a score of four to one (there’s always one). After going through the introductions and finding out a bit about them, my attitude started to change.

These weren’t California guys as I knew them (although they were, indeed, from California) — these were carwash guys in the early stages. These folks were every bit as much carwash guys (and gals) as the folks I’ve met in Alabama, Georgia, Texas or anywhere else in the country. They just happen to be in the most expensive state in the country to do business.

Spending a week with these folks on their turf allowed me to better understand the dynamics of doing business there. Their labor laws are stricter, the land and building costs are higher, the risks are greater, but so are the potential rewards, hence the boom that is happening there.

My preconceived notions of Californians were quickly being dispelled even more so when one student asked us to go shooting with them the next time we were out to teach class.

So, this was a class that probably taught me more than I taught them and also sent me a special reminder about pre-judging folks without knowing all the facts.

It’s good to know that carwash guys there are like carwash guys here, only three hours behind … which happens to be the amount of time it takes to get through that drive-thru Starbucks.


Bob Fox has over 30 years industry experience and is an instructor at CarWash College™. Bob can be reached at [email protected] For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.

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