In last month’s tip (Out With The Old), I wrote about the fact that I was facing a total joint replacement for a problem I have long neglected. Now, two weeks removed from surgery, I can honestly say I wish I had done it long ago — and I’m technically still in my rehab stage.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all peaches and cream. There were moments during the first few days after the surgery when I wondered if I had made the right decision, considering the amount of pain I was in. But, as time and my rehab roll on, the pain has lessened and the benefits are now starting to show. In just a few more short weeks, I should be totally pain free from a joint that has caused me years of discomfort.

Change can be painful, as I have found out, but the benefits, if done correctly, can soon outweigh the pain and make it a distant memory.

Going to trade shows over the last 14+ years has allowed me to meet operators from all over the country, some of whom have been in the industry their entire lives. When I get the opportunity to speak with them and discuss their business, I find it interesting how adverse some are to change, whether it’s to their business model, types of equipment in their tunnels or embracing the newest technologies.

Why? The answer most often heard is, “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” followed closely by, “Our customers wouldn’t like that.” The truth is, from where I sit at least, is that they’re afraid of the pain any change might cause while not looking at the benefits that wait shortly thereafter.

I recall meeting a couple at a trade show a decade or so ago who looked as if they were at their wits’ end.

They had recently acquired an old full service wash after having been in the corporate world and were afraid they had made a mistake, as they were being held hostage by the location’s manager, who was stealing them blind. I felt awful for these people.

They subsequently met some local folks who guided them through the process of firing the manager and helped convince them that their business model was flawed and needed to be changed in order to succeed. It was explained to them that there would be pain initially and that they might lose some of their regular customers at first, but the benefits would soon outweigh the risks.

Maybe because they hadn’t “always done it this way,” they listened to their advisors and made the changes. They were wildly successful and opened a few more locations before selling recently to one of the consolidators. Had they not made the changes, it’s tough to say what would have happened to them.

Change just for the sake of change isn’t what I’m advocating, but change that can bring real results should at least be given serious consideration, whether it be something as simple as a new component to eliminate labor to something as complex as knocking down your existing tunnel and rebuilding on the same location with a layout that flows better for easier processing, thereby increasing volume (this was done recently, by the way).

For those who read this that are still hesitant, take it from a guy two weeks removed from getting the latest and greatest medical science has to offer installed: change, while it often brings short-term pain, also brings long-term gain.


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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