An Industry Perspective...These two ideas will help you wash more cars - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

An Industry Perspective…These two ideas will help you wash more cars

“Good is the enemy of great,” writes business writer Jim Collins.

For many years, I have wondered how that unambiguous statement is manifested in the carwash business.

I understand the basic concept. It applies to people, businesses, schools and many other organizations.

Once carwash operators reach a certain level of success and achievement, do they suddenly lose their ability to reach a higher level?

Sadly, it seems so.

“The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good — and that is their main problem,” Collins concludes.

To escape the fateful and frustrating trap of “just being good,” I suggest operators roll up their sleeves, sharpen their focus, and engage their customers on two key questions.

Hopefully, this probing thought process, and the subsequent answers will inspire you to make 2013 your most profitable year yet!

First, what does “wash quality” mean to consumers?

Secondly, why do they get their cars washed anyway?

Carwash revenue is the vital life-blood of the entire industry

Based on my experiences, I have learned that “wash quality” is an almost impossible concept to define. For example, I have witnessed many operators negatively evaluate an entire wash, yet when those customers were asked about the appearance of their just-cleaned vehicles, they seemed quite pleased about the quality of the “final product.”

Obviously, “clean, shiny and dry” means different things to different people.

Carwash operators, of course, are correctly concerned about the day-to-day performance of their washes; nothing will erode a customer base quicker than solutions which streak or leave a windshield eyebrow, or an incomplete rinse pass, or worst of all, blowers which do not dry the surface of the vehicle as it exits the tunnel or bay.

For operators who strive for greatness, then, how do they overcome this nebulous yet pervasive “wash quality” issue when dealing with an irate customer?

Exceptional customer service is quite likely the best answer

Have you ever “won” an argument with an upset customer?

I complain about few things. However, when I feel I haven’t received the value for the product or service which I ordered, used or purchased, there is not a much that an owner or manager can do to appease me.

I suggest operators who experience complaints from unhappy motorists on wash quality issues, shift their focus and become instead exceptional customer service companies.

Rather than debate an unfortunate event, simply acknowledge quickly the mishap, and do your best to apologize without any reservations.

We are all human, everyone makes mistakes. I greatly appreciate a business owners’ honesty and his sincere apology. Most customers, even when they are upset, will also give you the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps the most important part in making this adjustment will be coaching your cashiers, servers and attendants to resolve quickly and completely this troublesome matter when it occurs.

Most of all, do not let an unhappy customer leave your business without knowing what steps you will take to correct this circumstance, as well as what efforts you will make in the future to earn his trust and business again.

At a minimum, I encourage you to make a “courtesy” follow-up phone call that day as a standard procedure for this rare occurrence.

I have used an “attitude of gratitude” to get back on the same page with an upset customer. In truth, because of his complaint, I have become more conscious of an area or problem which I might have otherwise ignored.

This course of action could be used with excellent results at your wash too.

What prompts customers to wash their cars anyway?

I recently asked three experienced operators how many specific occasions they could name, when their customers might routinely get their cars washed?

Their silence was deafening.

Here, I confronted Collins’ observation, that good businesses may not be able to become great ones.

I concluded that good operators only tracked their wash counts and revenues.

What would “great” carwash operators do, I wondered?

Specifically, would their wash counts increase once they fully realized how many times during a normal month that a motorist might consider washing his car?

I have no evidence to prove this statement, but I do know from coaching baseball, that batters in the top half of the batting order are more eager to take batting practice than their team mates in the lower half of the order. The best players wanted to take full advantage of having four at-bats in any one game, whereas the good players were not as motivated; they only got three at-bats.

My point is this: when any operator realizes there are more than two dozen events which could trigger a consumer to get his car washed, he might also be more inclined to market his carwash more effectively. (See Sidebar: “Are These Your Customers?”)

My final thoughts

Nothing is more important in 2013 than operators building a larger customer base, washing more cars, and making more money.

Operators who anticipate possible upsets at their carwashes, and who can teach exceptional customer relationship skills will retain more customers than those who won’t.

Finally, operators who fully anticipate the daily needs of their customers have an excellent opportunity to wash more cars.

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Here’s who will be exhibiting at the event and where attendees can find them.

This information is accurate as of 8/14/23. Please visit for the latest exhibitor and show updates.

Exhibitor NameBoothAA Electric851AC Power902Access One Solutions904Aerodry Systems837, 839, 841Airlift Doors Inc.830, 832American Car Wash Supply337 blockAmerican Changer/Hoffman Mint136, 138AMP Memberships739Arcadian Services913Ardent Advisory Group LLC533, 632Ardex Labs413, 512AUTEC Car Wash Systems654Auto Laundry News555Auto Mat Washer & Supply157, 256AVW625, 627, 629, 724, 726, 728Belanger Inc.313 blockBissell213, 312Blair909Blake Equipment251Blendco Systems425, 427, 524, 526Car Wash King825Car Wash Solutions450Carwash Boilers Inc.829, 831Carwash Communicator853CarWash Superstore212, 214carwashworld.com631, 633Cat Pumps840CATS Products342, 344CBK Carwash Systems USA Inc.153, 155, 252, 254Celtic Bank441Centaur Technology Advisors241Charger Prime Commercial255, 257ChemQuest Inc.743, 745CK Enterprises118Clean World Distribution Inc.801, 803Coast Commercial Credit LLC220Coleman Hanna Carwash Systems701, 800Con-Serv Manufacturing332CryptoPay121Culligan Water Co.536Cul-Mac Industries907D&S Carwash Supply239Dencar855, 857, 859Devon Industries145, 244Diamond H2O741Diskin Systems Inc.101DIXMOR142Dosatron USA103DRB525, 527, 529, 531, 624, 626, 628, 630DSD Express116Econocraft Car Wash Equipment649 blockERC Wiping Products729Erie Brush407, 409, 506, 508Etowah Valley Equipment156, 158Eurovac Inc126EverWash204, 206, 208Extrutech Plastics352EZ PVC LLC, a Division of AmeriLux International848FarrPro643FL Tanks316G&G Industrial Lighting219, 221, 318, 320Gallop Brush809, 811, 813General Pump140Geoscape Solar757GianGem842, 844GinSan Industries/Industrial Vacuum Systems648Gliptone437, 439Grace For Vets755Grassi Advisors and Accountants253GreenEdge Technologies Inc.656Hamilton Manufacturing805, 807Huron Valley Sales Inc./PROPAK230, 232Hydro-Spray120, 122, 124INKFISH Inspired LLC901innovateIT Car Wash Equipment513 blockInnovative Control Systems419, 421, 518, 520International Drying Corp.355, 357, 454, 456J Squared905, 906JBS Industries328, 331J.E. Adams Industries821, 823KCW727Keller Water Filtration149, 248Kevins Worldwide645Kirikian Industries – Neoglide349, 448Kleen-Rite Corp.137, 139, 141, 236, 238, 240KLOPP: Money Handling Equipment538Laguna Industries737, 836Lane903LEAD – Manager Training (ICA)543, 545LiveReach AI243, 245Lock America Inc.350Made You Look917Mark VII/Hafer Equipment249, 348Mat Wizard127, 129Matthews Real Estate Investment Services838McClean Solutions LLC826, 828Micrologic Associates601 blockMile High LED Systems/Car Wash Lights130MIRACLE703, 705, 707, 709, 802, 804, 806, 808MONEXgroup131Mosmatic910Moso Natural154Motor City Wash Works325 block, 431, 530Myrrh Consulting854Nayax314N1 Buying Group557National Automotive Chemical144National Carwash Solutions (NCS)613, 713 blockOasis Car Wash Systems200, 202Olde Granddad Industries Inc.642, 644One Touch Pneumatics Inc.845OptSpot556Parker Engineering133Patapsco Corporate Services217PDQ Manufacturing Co.225, 226, 324, 326Perfect Car Corp336, 338Petit Auto Wash Equipment540, 542, 544Polsinello Lubricants850, 852Premier Touchless Drying730, 732Professional Carwashing & Detailing115Proto-Vest Dryers237Qual Chem LLC401, 403, 500, 502Quick Dry Towels119Register Tapes Unlimited at IndoorMedia856Retention Express LLC457Rhino Wash Consultants827Rinsed549, 551, 553RNVAC/TRUEBITE150RR Lalena229, 231, 233Self Serve Carwash News128Sergeant Sudz LLC451, 453, 550, 552Shore Corp.125, 224Simoniz501 blockSoBrite Technologies749Sonny’s The CarWash Factory201, 301 block, 105SplashSource117Spot AI354, 356Superior Auto Extras725, 824Superlok/Mako Products918, 919Synergy Solutions443, 445Texas Microfiber908The Cobra System113Tommy Car Wash Systems637, 639, 736, 738Triadex Services152Triumph Car Wash Parts911, 912Turnkey Automotive Solutions742, 744TurtlewaxPRO216, 218Uni-Structures, Inc.340US Professional Funding351Vaughan Industries Inc.751, 753Ver-tech Labs731, 733Wash Brands650, 652Washworld537, 539, 636, 638Watchfire Signs914, 915, 916Welcomemat226, 228Windtrax Inc.107, 109Women in Carwash Conference Inc.215

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