As a carwash owner, you need to select the right equipment and supplies to keep your business up and running. Choose pumps and vacuums built to last and vending products that will sell and function properly. As manufacturers continue to come out with new products, you may start to question what is best for your wash. Or, if you are just starting out, you may not even know where to begin. Luckily, carwash distributors are there to help.

Your distributor assists with installation, service and maintenance. Wholesale distributors help you choose between different brands and price points based on your needs. The customer volume, location and size of your wash are all factors for consideration. But, with so many carwash distributors out there, who do you trust and who should you pick? The best distributors should offer advice and services so that your wash can succeed. Think of your distributor as your business partner for success.

Generally, there are two types of distributors in the carwash industry. The first type is the installation and service distributor, in which the primary focus is to install and maintain your equipment. Some equipment manufacturers only work with specific regional distributors, so check what is available around your location.

The second type is your wholesale distributor, where the primary goal is to sell carwash parts and supplies. Shop around online to compare prices and available products. It is also a good idea to get recommendations and ask other operators where they choose to buy.

Do your research

When choosing either type of distributor, do your research and get references from other customers. Search online or look up testimonials on the distributor’s website. Plus, remember, the professional carwash industry itself tends to be a close-knit group. It is possible for carwash operators to get a lot of feedback from other operators.

There are also websites, forums and social media groups that can offer plenty of helpful information. Carwash operators share their good or bad experiences on sites like Yelp, Google, Auto Care Forum, TalkCarWash.com, Facebook and Twitter — just to name a few.

Find out what is already working. Who is currently successful and why? What equipment do they use?

Look for a distributor that specializes in your segment of the carwash industry. If you need detail supplies, then find detailing experts. Next, see how long the company has been in business. Choose a distributor that has been in the industry for a reputable amount of time as it has likely built a good reputation.

Find knowledgeable staff

It is most important for a distributor to have an experienced staff. Look for well-trained staff members who have operated carwashes or repaired equipment. Their hands-on training and expertise will provide first-hand insight to customers. It is not uncommon for many carwash owners to be self-taught. Some learn the industry as they go. And, no matter what stage you are at, anyone can benefit from the help of experts in the field. The more knowledge owners and employees gain, the more they will be able to grow and strengthen their businesses.

A good service distributor will also have technicians available to help with questions and troubleshooting. As owners see technicians at work and ask the right questions, they will learn more every day. Knowledge and experience are the key factors for finding the best technicians. Plus, they are the experts on the equipment they represent.

In addition, the best wholesale supplier will have a knowledgeable staff willing and able to help. Having a technical service and support staff gives customers the technical support they need over the phone or through online chat. The sales and order department will help answer product questions and discuss financing options, special offers and promotions. The willingness to answer questions and give technical advice, rather than sending out a technician, saves the customer both time and money.

Learn about products

Also, browse the supplier’s product line. Does the supplier stock the replacement and repair parts you need on a regular basis? Some wholesale suppliers act as a one-stop-shop for carwash customers. But, there are always new equipment upgrades or add-ons that improve the customer experience.

Manufacturers are constantly expanding their product lines. The best carwash distributors will keep up with the market trends and keep customers informed. They should contribute to improving the state of your wash. Again, think of your carwash distributor like your business partner; it is there to help you succeed.

Many of the best wholesale distributors today have great websites and catalogs, which are a wealth of product information. Operators rely on these websites and catalogs often as a reference guide. Look to see if the products have helpful descriptions, images and specs. Are there tutorials, product manuals and videos online?

Some distributors feature their own how-to videos showing staff members repairing equipment. The website should be easy for new and returning customers to navigate.

Also, consider the price of the products being sold. Easy checkout options are necessary in order for customers to complete their purchases. Having a website is a great way to provide easy, 24-hour shopping for customers.

Consider location

Next, consider proximity, since you will want your supplies shipped to you as quickly as possible. Some wholesale suppliers have multiple distribution facilities across the country. For service and installation projects, choosing a supplier is often based on choosing the equipment.

Typically, if you pick out a good manufacturer of equipment, it will likely also have a reputable distributor representing it. In addition, make sure it has a good stock of parts and supplies.

Good service distributors will have well-stocked vans with all the equipment needed for correct repairs. Stocking service vehicles allows technicians to avoid downtime while they are on-site.

Remember, a good supplier will help you succeed and make money. The supplier can be much more than someone who is just trying to sell you parts and supplies. It can help run your business, repair your equipment and keep you informed about the latest upgrades. When carwash owners take advantage of all the distributor’s available services, they will develop a win-win relationship.


Amy Mastrangelo is a copywriter for Kleen-Rite Corporation, a leading carwash supplier for over 50 years. Kleen-Rite sells carwash pumps, vending products, auto detail supplies, pressure washers and much more to independent carwash owners. For more information, visit www.kleen-ritecorp.com or call toll-free at (800) 233-3873.