Cutting your losses
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SONNY's Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Cutting your losses

Have you ever been in a relationship that you know in your heart is over, but your mind tries to convince you everything is fine rather than cutting your losses at that point?

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I’m sure at some point, we’ve all had a failed relationship that we hung onto for longer than we should have, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be a romantic relationship either. 

Maybe It was a friend that mistook kindness for weakness and took advantage of the friendship. In your heart, you feel betrayed, yet maybe your head says to give them another chance rather than cutting your losses.

Perhaps it was business with a certain vendor for years who always promised the best price, only to find out the new wash across town is paying a lower rate than you.


Again, it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under you. You know you should end the relationship immediately, but maybe the angel on the right shoulder overrules the devil on the left and tells you to give them another chance rather than firing them and cutting your losses.

To tie this back to the car wash industry, how is your relationship with your current equipment? Be honest with yourself. Do you know in your heart that its over, but your mind is trying to convince you that you can patch it together for another year or two? Is it time to stop throwing good money after bad and cut your losses?


All equipment has a useful life. Once surpassed, it’s time to determine whether or not the money poured into it to keep it working would be better suited towards the purchase of new equipment.

In most cases, it is. If you maintained your equipment well and got some extra longevity out of it, good for you, but at some point you’re operating on outdated technology. By directing funds towards new, state of the art equipment, you can reduce your labor cost and produce a cleaner, drier, shinier car that will drive up volume, which in turn, will drive up profits and allow for a quicker ROI on the cost of the new equipment.


So, how do you know? Is there a magic formula to know when to cut your losses? Not really, but there are suggestions such as the 10% rule. If you’re spending more than 10% of the purchase price of newer equipment to keep your old equipment operational, it’s probably time to cut your losses.

If you are at this point, you know in your heart that it’s over. Your head is still putting up a fight, insisting that you can milk another year out of it. But let’s face it, it’s over. Cut your losses and move on.


All relationships are difficult. Some are worth fighting for and salvaging when things get tough.

Your old and outdated car wash equipment isn’t one of them. State of the art equipment will not only produce a cleaner car, but it will also help you to cut your losses.

All the best!

Bob Fox is the VP of Sonny’s CarWash College and has 37 years experience in the industry. You can reach Bob at [email protected]

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