1. What is the full name and location of your washes?
Palms Car Wash. We have two locations in Austin, Texas.
2. What is your title?
General Manager of Operations.
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3. When did your first wash open?
4. What type of carwash is it?
Our locations are flexwashes. We have three great services: Wash and go, wash with free vacuums, and full serve/full detail.
5. Number of employees?
6. When and why did you get started in the carwashing industry?
I was lucky enough to take a position as a vacuumer at a full service wash over 16 years ago during college.
7. What do you like most about running a carwash?
For me I still get fired up every Saturday morning for big days. It makes me proud when I look around at the locations and see people who I have hired taking their game to the next level. I enjoy developing my team. I also really enjoy getting customer feedback. To know our customers like what we do makes it all worthwhile.
8. What advice do you have for other owners who are just starting out?
Work on hiring the right person the first time. Make recruiting number one. Create a culture in your people that is an extension of your values. Train your people that customers are number one. If you practice that each and every day then you will succeed.
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9. What is the greatest obstacle you have encountered with the carwash?
My greatest obstacle is maintaining our sites. It is an everyday job. We have a maintenance checklist for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly maintenance. Without our equipment working properly we can’t deliver a top notch product. It takes a team effort to keep our sites moving at full speed. Upkeep and preventative maintenance are part of our business and you have to stay on top of it.
10. Do you have a lot of competition? If yes, what do you do to stand apart from the competition?
Yes [we do have a lot of competition]. [Our] company’s culture, [faith in our] employees, and quality service sets us apart from other competitors.
11. Do you enjoy the business?
Yes. Sixteen years ago I was lucky to have been given an opportunity to start as a vacuumer at a wash in San Antonio. Since then the relationships in this business that I have made have molded me as a leader in the industry. My son asked me the other day “what was your dream when you were young?” and I replied that I am living it. I get to work with great people every day and put smiles on my customers’ faces.
12. Do you have any funny stories to share that took place at the business?
As I said before I started my career in San Antonio so we really didn’t worry about freezing temperatures much. I moved to Dallas to run a wash in Farmers Branch a few years later. We had a couple of days of snow. Then one morning it sunned up. The temperatures were around 25 degrees. They said that 25 was the high for the day. So I went and bought three heaters and put them in the tunnel. We opened at 7:30 a.m. We ran several hundred [cars that day] and that was above what the wash had been doing before I got there. So I looked at the day and we had broken a record for a Saturday. Then I noticed that the other washes were closed all of that day due to the temperatures being below freezing while we were slammed. That was funny because my team adapted and overcame.
13. What are your goals with the carwash?
My goal has always been to:
- Make the customer experience and quality number one.
- Put together a championship team.
- Recruit. Recruit. Recruit.
- Give our people the training they need to do the job
Carwash: Palms Car Wash
General Manager of Operations: John Pinson
Number of locations: 2
Number of employees: 45
Year opened: 2003