Consistently clean, consistently dry, consistently shiny - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Consistently clean, consistently dry, consistently shiny

The one thing consistent is inconsistency. 

Clean, dry and shiny has been and will continue to be the base promise to our carwash customers. It is the one absolute — or, actually, three absolutes — of the carwash industry.

Gone are the days when saying your wash cleans cars is enough to get people’s attention. Every washed car that drives through your wash exit has your brand name attached to it.  

  • What do these vehicles say about your brand?
  • Is it a great wash every time and at every location?
  • Is it a great value to your customer?
  • Are you proud of the finished product you produce?

Some brands, if they’re honest with themselves, would have a tough time responding positively to the questions above. Why? While they may have started with the best of intentions, they lost sight of the base promise. They pursue cutting costs at the expense of quality; they pursue increased revenue rather than implementing services customers value; they pursue growth over consistency and service.

We visit dozens of washes a year. Some are large chain washes with several properties in one geographic area. We can quickly hit a fleet of washes for the same brand.

The one thing consistent is inconsistency. 

One location puts out a beautiful car — the next one doesn’t. One location has employees prepping vehicles — the next one doesn’t. One location has employees hand toweling — the next one doesn’t.

How can this be? I would presume since the locations are all owned by the same company, they all have the same set of policies and procedures to follow. Or do they?

Consistency: the quality of always behaving or performing in a similar way or of always happening in a similar way.

The only true way to manage growth is through consistency. Consistent policies, consistent procedures and consistent enforcement.  All promote unity and order for employees and customers.

Taking a look at some of the most successful chains in other industries, the one thing they have in common is consistency. In the 1970s and ’80s, you could visit any TGI Fridays restaurant and know the location of the restrooms. You knew the menu was the same in Buffalo, New York, as it was in Miami. You knew the servers would show up wearing red and white-striped shirts. You knew the potato skins were going to taste the same because the same recipe was used for food prep. For decades, TGI Fridays was the model of consistency. The chain grew across our nation and all around the world.

Look at Walmart. I’m not a fan of Walmart, but I do admire what they’ve accomplished. The 10,500 Walmart stores are within 10 miles of 90% of Americans. All the stores look the same, have the same product. Heck, they even have that Walmart smell to them …. What the heck is that smell anyway? I digress.

Walmart is consistent, and the few years it wasn’t consistent, it stumbled. Then it put a policy in place to reign in the inconsistencies. Now, if you visit Walmart, you’ll notice the layout is the same, employees are wearing blue vests, shelves are stocked, shopping carts match, and the colors and fonts on signs are consistent across all locations. Walmart is running a pretty tight ship.

Look at any industry, then look at the leader. I’m quite certain the leader is consistent in what it does and how it does it.  Home Depot, Starbucks, Dunkin’, Aldi, Publix, etc. Consistency simplifies the customer’s decision to not look elsewhere.

As we eagerly await the first “national” carwash brand, we know one thing is for sure: The brand(s) that can produce a clean, dry, shiny car consistently across all locations has the best chance at success. All bets are off if they don’t.

From all of us here at Sonny’s CarWash College, we wish you a Merry Christmas and continued prosperity in the New Year!


Bob Fox has 35 years’ experience in the carwash industry and is the vice president of Sonny’s Car Wash 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.

This content is sponsored by CarWash College. Sponsored content is authorized by the client and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Professional Carwashing & Detailing editorial team. 

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