ATI - November 2014 - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

ATI – November 2014

Gathering most important news from the carwash and detailing industry.

Mike’s Carwash split a harmonious one

INDIANAPOLIS — When Bill and Mike Dahm decided to divide the Mike’s Carwash chain in two, the process was drama-free, according to the Journal Gazette.

The brothers hired consultants who specialize in advising family-owned businesses during the deal, and now two separate businesses have debuted.

Indianapolis-area locations have the new name Crew Carwash, while other locations remain under the Mike’s Carwash brand.

“Like all solutions, it’s give and take,” says Bill Dahm, CEO of Crew Carwash. His brother Mike Dahm is CEO of Mike’s Carwash.

It made sense for Mike Dahm to take on the Mike’s part of the business because of his name. He was born 15 years after the company began.

“People pull you aside” to ask details about the separation, Bill Dahm says. “It’s almost like they’re looking for drama.”

During the split, real estate companies appraised the locations. The two companies will do purchasing together in the future, but they will not coordinate prices or other policies.

Grace for Vets enters its 10th year of honoring veterans

TAMARAC, Fla. — Carwashes will honor veterans and service personnel with free carwashes on Veterans Day as part of the annual Grace for Vets program, according to a press release.

Grace for Vets is a nonprofit organization that honors military personnel every Veterans Day, Nov. 11, by uniting carwashes throughout the industry.

The program was founded in 2004 by carwash operator Mike Mountz, and several thousand carwashes in four countries now participate in the initiative.

Update: 189,000 Chrysler SUVs recalled

DETROIT — Chrysler recalled 189,000 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos in the U.S., according to

The recall was issued to fix a fuel pump problem that can cause the vehicles to stall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) posted the recall, which covers some 2011 models with 2.6-liter V6 or 5.7-liter V8 engines.

Chrysler “began looking into the problem in October 2013 and traced it to a spring that can become deformed because of heat,” notes the article. Other possible problems include the vehicle not starting, or the fuel pump working when the engine is shut off.

The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) says that the recall does not include the more than 5 million other vehicles with the same issue.

The group asked NHTSA to investigate power system failures that could cause Chrysler vehicles to stall while being driven. The problem is caused by a faulty Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM).

CAS says it has received more than 70 complaints, and that the government has received hundreds.

CAS joined with NHTSA in the past and it led to the recall of 1.56 million older Jeep SUVs.

Consider a small business loan before the New Year

WASHINGTON — The rebounding of the economy — however slow it may feel at times — means now is the time for small businesses to borrow any money needed for improvements, according to

Large banks are lending to more small businesses now, and banks want to meet their quotas before 2014 ends.

Competition is another reason to consider taking out a loan. The improving economy means businesses “are looking to invest in their own growth.” Instead of falling behind, carwash owners can take the opportunity to improve their businesses with any expansion plans they’ve been considering.

The third reason the article gives for a small business to borrow money before 2015 arrives is to take advantage of historically low interest rates.

The fed has kept rates low to encourage small companies, but as inflation climbs, so will interest rates, which could happen next year. Competition in the small business loan marketplace also contributes to the currently low rates.

Touring a two-story, multi-million dollar carwash

STUTTGART, Germany — Mr. Wash is a two-story carwash that can wash more than half a million cars every year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

About 40 employees clean, polish and vacuum vehicles. One employee even wears white gloves as he directs drivers through the wash.

On the large building’s second floor, automatic wash equipment gets cars’ exteriors clean, and employees clean the interiors. Customers can continue cleaning on the lower level.

The structure cost about $40 million to build five years ago, and it is much larger than most American carwashes.

"This thing will stand forever," says Eric Wulf, chief executive of the International Carwash Association, in the article. "There's more concrete and steel here than at 10 carwashes in the U.S."

Complimentary coffee and free vacuums are available to customers as well. The base wash costs 6 euros ($7.77), and it goes up to 20 euros.

Fabulous Freddy’s gives back to local schools

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash gave all customers a free Basic Exterior Car Wash during Customer Appreciation Day on Thursday, Sept. 25, with a donation to local schools, according to

Customers received the free wash with a $2 donation to local school districts.

The carwash chain also offered 50 cent fountain drinks, prize giveaways, a contest and more. The donations will help provide books, scholarships and more at local schools.

Fabulous Freddy’s locations offer full-service washes, detail shops, express lube services, c-stores and gas pumps. Customers can choose from one of eight locations throughout Nevada and Utah.

Some politicians favor state minimum wage increases

WASHINGTON — While Republicans are opposed to the president’s proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, some are more supportive of increases on the state level, according to

Voters in five states will decide whether to up the minimum wage in their states, and candidates running in those states say they favor the increase.

Candidates in Alaska and Arkansas oppose the federal minimum wage increase, but they support a moderate state-level increase.

Voters in Nebraska and South Dakota will also vote on the measure, though the wage would not increase to the federal rate of $10.10. The Illinois proposal is closer to that number. Voters there could push the wage up to $10.

Polls show Americans support increasing the minimum wage. The five states facing the upcoming vote have seen no groups with significant funding oppose the possible increases.

In the 10 times minimum wage increases have appeared on state ballots since 2002, voters have supported the measure every time.

Chain earns ‘Top Workplaces’ ranking

GREENWICH, Conn. — Splash Car Wash trains employees to help them move up the ranks, garnering a “Top Workplaces” ranking, according to the Connecticut Post.

The business trains employees in its classroom at one location, but it also provides on-the-job training.

Rather than focus solely on a college education, Splash hires people with good attitudes and aptitudes. It looks for people who follow instructions and have a desire for more than their current job.

CEO and owner Mark Curtis says in the article, “We hire for the attitude and train for the skill.”

“I believe the vast majority of people want to do a good job,” Curtis continues. “They don't do a good job if they're not respected by management or don't understand how to do a good job or why something should be done.”

The business has one of the highest employee retention rates in the industry. One worker has been employed at the wash for 25 years, some for 20 and some for 15.

Splash has 16 locations and employs more than 120 people.

Shopping center rezoning attracts $2.5 million carwash

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — The modern Mr. K. Car Wash is under construction as one of several new projects at an expanding shopping center, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

The 4,000-square-foot facility was made possible after many of the Stratford Square Shopping Center’s parking spaces were rezoned to allow more retail space.

“Retail has changed so much that it really made sense to change the zoning,” Stratford Square leasing agent Earl Martin says in the article.

The carwash will feature newly released wash products and technology, and it will be one of the first washes in the area to use 100 percent recycled water.

Owners and Georgia natives Christina and Kevin Son chose Montgomery because of the area’s charm and the seemingly growing market. The owners’ daughter, Hannah, will manage the wash.

Update: Danny’s owner guilty plea accepted by judge

PHOENIX — A federal judge has accepted the guilty plea of Danny’s Family Car Wash owner Daniel Hendon, according to the East Valley Tribune.

Hendon pleaded guilty to ignoring the illegal hiring practices taking place at his business.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 21.

Managers for the carwash said they were directed to rehire workers who had been fired previously because they were found to be working illegally. A federal audit found nearly half of the business’ 1,900 employees were not authorized to work in the U.S.

The federal judge accepted “Hendon’s guilty plea in July to a felony charge of identity fraud.”

Car cleanup event held for military families

DOVER, Del. — The 3M Hire Our Heroes Program sponsored a car cleanup event on Sept. 25, according to

The day-long event was held at the vehicle maintenance facility at Dover Air Force Base. Volunteers provided free vehicle detailing valued up to $250 for spouses of deployed and fallen military members.

The team of volunteers was made up of employees from 3M, Advance Auto Parts and local auto body repair shops.

All base personnel could also attend a pep rally at the Airman and Family Readiness Center where NASCAR driver Greg Biffle of the No. 16 3M Ford Fusion was in attendance.

Hire Our Heroes provides scholarships and grants to deserving military members and their families interested in careers in the collision industry.

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