Jim and Teri Rooney founded National Detailers Inc. (NDI) in 1997. The company specializes in automotive detailing and fleet management at special events across the country. The Rooneys had several successful years, but they eventually wanted to spend less time on the road.

Jim and Teri felt their expertise could be put to use in their local market of Knoxville, Tennessee. “Carwashing soon became the next logical extension of our company,” says Jim Rooney, owner/operator of 3 Minute Magic Car Wash & NDI Group. He also serves as president of the Southeastern Car Wash Association (SECWA).

Rooney notes he and his wife operated a few in-bay automatic carwashes for two years before launching 3 Minute Magic. “We rode the early wave of express exterior carwashes that were sweeping the southeast,” states Rooney. Today the company operates four locations and employs more than 50 workers.

Setting itself apart

According to Rooney, the business operates in line with continuous improvement principles and methodology, and it shows through what it offers customers. “At 3 Minute Magic, I think our most important asset is our people, along with the way we’ve positioned our company as a trusted [and] predictable, professional choice for car care in the greater Knoxville market,” he explains.

Rooney says he is passionate about staying involved in and advancing the car care industry. This focus contributes to an emphasis on education and incorporating the latest technologies in the wash experience.

“We move our business forward by exposing our team to continuing education opportunities, attending SECWA road shows and trade shows, and meeting with other successful operators throughout the country and abroad to share best practices,” Rooney notes.

The company’s newest location was formerly an auto dealership. The facility now features a 160-foot wash tunnel as well as a polish tunnel for extra shine.

According to Rooney, the business’ “leadership, creativity, execution and [relentless] pursuit of moving things forward” set it apart. “We live by continuous improvement principles and methodology, and it shows in the positive experience we’re able to provide our customers,” he adds.

Inspiring loyalty

Involving customers in the wash experience is important for every wash. If patrons feel like they have a stake in the business, they are more likely to return and contribute to consistent profits.

For 3 Minute Magic, faithful customers are exceptionally valuable.

“Loyalty is one layer of our customer-centric approach,” notes Rooney. “We believe those customers who appreciate the experience, value and consistency that 3 Minute Magic provides will stay with us even when we stumble, and tapping into and rewarding those fans is critical to our long-term success.”

Many businesses have found ways to engage regular customers and ensure their commitment to the company, and 3 Minute Magic regularly utilizes certain methods that work for it.

“We reward our loyal customers regularly through our MagicPass Unlimited Wash Club, exclusive Facebook fan promotions and special email offers,” shares Rooney.  

Valuing the community

3 Minute Magic demonstrates its community involvement through environmental and charitable efforts. The wash measures its chemicals, water usage and energy consumption to lower its impact on operations and the environment. “Simply put, if it can be tracked, we track it,” states Rooney.

In addition, the company analyzes data continually to identify trends that may be altered in order to prevent future problems.

The carwash is also WaterSavers certified, meaning it uses 40 gallons or less of fresh water per car.

Charitable involvement is central to the wash’s mission of serving the communities it calls home, says Rooney. “3 Minute Magic has provided funding and free carwash donations to charitable nonprofit organizations throughout the greater Knoxville community for years,” he continues.

“3 Minute Magic supports programs that address local needs and serve communities where we have a significant presence,” Rooney shares. He notes the business focuses its giving efforts on three areas to make the largest impact possible: school and community programs, community leadership and caring programs, and environmental stewardship efforts.

Recently, the wash supported Alzheimer’s Tennessee Inc. with a $2,500 donation during the grand opening celebration of its newest location in Alcoa, Tennessee.

Going beyond for success

To survive in a competitive market, 3 Minute Magic strives to rise above expectations. Rooney believes the adage that complacency can destroy a business to be true.

“My thoughts go out to those leaders who strive daily to make their car care businesses better today than [they were] yesterday,” he explains.

Rooney suggests operators regularly think about whether they confuse washing lots of cars or making plenty of money with advancing their businesses.

“Being happy with the status quo is dangerous, not only for small [businesses], but also for the carwash industry,” concludes Rooney. Make sure your wash rises above what is simply expected and instead goes beyond to create a carwash that is a truly impressive experience.