Your car wash is busy today, but what about in the years to come? The environment for car washing has been changing and the people that accepted the changes have been successful. How do you stay on the cutting edge and see what the next big trend is? The first step is to look for people that are having great success with new ideas. How do you find these people, you ask? Often times people who are doing new and exciting things like to share their knowledge with others. The best way to find these operators is to attend regional shows and to ask your equipment provider. Roadshows where you go on tours of car wash locations is another great way to find these new ideas. Every time I go on a road show I get a new idea – big or small, it is nonetheless, a new idea.
What do you do when you find an operator doing something that you really like and want to implement at your wash? As Sonny Fazio used to say "Go to the location and watch. You need to pretend you have a can of whitewash paint and a brush. Take the brush and dip it into the paint, then paint your brain white."
Essentially what he was saying is forget what you know and look at new ideas with a blank canvas. Only when you have a blank canvas can you truly "see" what's being done without letting your emotions get in the way. The comment I most often hear when people see new ideas in action is, 'it wouldn't work at my car wash'. Try it! Don't be scared to try new ideas. The worst that can happen is that you have to go back to the way it was before. If you don't take any risk you will never have any reward.
I challenge you to get out and find a new idea or innovation and implement it at your location. And don't be afraid to let other car wash professionals learn from you. After all, it is often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. The better we, as an industry become, the better we can serve our customers and the industry will grow.
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College. Robert can be reached at RAndre@sonnysdirect.com. For more information about CarWash College certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.