Featured Profile: Hoffman Car Wash - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Featured Profile: Hoffman Car Wash

New York-based operator secures profitable future through innovation.

Sponsored by innovateIT Car Wash Equipment

Since 2018, innovateIT Car Wash Equipment has been providing operators with heavy-duty carwash equipment that is built to last. Currently, the company manufactures: dispenseIT, a chemical dispensing system; wheelblastIT, a high-pressure wheel blaster; and moveIT, a heavy-duty conveyor. Custom control systems are also available. For more information on how innovateIT Car Wash Equipment can help meet volume with consistency and reliability, visit www.innovateitcarwash.com.  

When market leaders like Hoffman Car Wash are faced with industry challenges, they don’t close the business or aim to just get by. Instead, they innovate it. 

After 55 years in the carwash business, Hoffman Development, the parent company of Hoffman Car Wash, is on the dawn of a new day. In an effort to stay in the forefront of market trends, such as wash volume and rising labor costs, Hoffman Development created innovateIT Car Wash Equipment. The outfit, which opened in 2018, develops and manufactures carwash equipment to provide “consistent, repeatable quality through innovative technology.”

The Hoffman family has seen the carwash industry evolve since Tom Sr. and Carole Hoffman opened the first Hoffman Car Wash — a self-serve location in upstate New York — in 1965. Today, their son, Tom Hoffman Jr., is helping lead the evolution through innovateIT’s mission.

Hoffman Car Wash
Hoffman Car Wash

“We started in the carwash business very early on, and we started innovating from the very beginning. My dad would travel the country and learn from the best in the business, and we would implement these ideas,” recounts Hoffman, who serves as CEO. “Then, we began developing our own ideas. We started having requests from other operators to help build equipment and share our ideas.” 

The goal of constant improvement and staying ahead of trends is evident in both Hoffman Car Wash’s conveyor location lineup and the innovateIT Car Wash Equipment menu. Hoffman Car Wash’s conveyor locations now include 13 express exterior washes, three full-serve washes and two flex-serve washes. Every location, including its self-serves, is located in New York’s Capital Region, the Adirondacks, Hudson Valley and Southern Tier, and they are outfitted primarily with innovateIT equipment. 

“We plan to add two additional exterior locations in 2020 and two more in 2021,” says Hoffman. “At the same time, we are refining the equipment we are installing in our locations and also making it available to the masses.”

Hoffman Car Wash
Hoffman Car Wash

Supply meets demand

As customers have more carwash options these days, it is the operators who can execute a successful membership program and provide a high-quality wash that will thrive.

“Innovation and technology are at the forefront of everything we do inside of our tunnels. We want to provide the highest quality wash and service for our customer and at the same time eliminate the unexpected,” explains Hoffman, adding that the chain’s washes meet consistency through automation and repeatability. 

There is no denying the impact that unlimited wash programs have had on the carwash market, challenging some operators to keep up with demand. Many operators across the U.S. are reporting increased car counts and, in some cases, record car counts in recent years. 

Hoffman Car Wash
Hoffman Car Wash

“Carwash operators are seeing volumes skyrocket, and they need heavy-duty equipment and technology in place that can withstand the workload without breaking down,” asserts Hoffman.

Since demand is only meaningful to a business when it can supply a service to meet it, downtime from equipment failure does not present an ideal scenario, and even worse, it leads to profit losses, customer frustration and additional expenses. According to Hoffman, the carwash business has changed significantly over the past decade, and unlimited washing has changed the face of the professional carwashing industry. 

“We were wearing out our equipment faster than ever because of the amount of cars we are now washing,” he recalls.

Hoffman Car Wash
Hoffman Car Wash

As a top 50 conveyor chain in the U.S., Hoffman Car Wash was constantly looking to improve and stay current. So in 2018, Hoffman decided to establish innovateIT Car Wash Equipment and start manufacturing heavy-duty equipment that can consistently handle high volumes without breaking down or needing constant service. 

“Because of our experience with Hoffman Car Wash, innovateIT has been able to develop the heavy-duty equipment that is up for the test,” remarks Hoffman. 

And, as an added benefit of manufacturing its own equipment, Hoffman Car Wash is able to utilize automation to minimize the impact of rising labor costs, which continue to escalate in New York. “Our state government has inspired us to accelerate our automation and find ways of being more efficient, because labor costs are going to be rising rapidly,” notes Hoffman.

Hoffman Car Wash
Hoffman Car Wash

Built to last

innovateIT Car Wash Equipment’s growth mirrors that of the industry, and by late summer, it will be moving into a state-of-the-art 25,000-square-foot building, which it will share with the Hoffman business’ office staff.

According to Hoffman, interest has surged in the equipment because it is durable and simple to maintain. “Customers recognize the absence of proprietary parts to further simplify maintenance concerns. Innovative ideas are also recognized as valuable to improve their wash process and to differentiate their locations from the competition,” he adds.

Included in the current innovateIT equipment lineup are: a reliable chemical dispensing system that consistently helps deliver clean cars in both conveyor and self service carwashes; a high-pressure wheel blaster, which is a touchless wheel cleaning system that automatically adjusts to conveyor speed; and a heavy-duty conveyor that is designed to maximize production.

Related: Carwash robotics

Hoffman Car Wash
Hoffman Car Wash

“We also build custom control systems in our UL Shop,” explains Hoffman. “We can control an entire building with our control system. Our technology can interface with a carwash’s point-of-sale system and serve as its tunnel controller. In addition, it can control your building’s lighting, radiant heat and HVAC systems.”

As competition increases across the country, leading carwash operators will be characterized moving forward by their use of technology and innovations as well as having a pursuit of ongoing advancement. Customers can find that at Hoffman Car Wash and innovateIT Car Wash Equipment. 

After all, this is New York. If the equipment can make it here, it can make it anywhere.  

Check out this follow-up interview with Tom Hoffman Jr. for insight into advancements in carwash technology and their impact on the industry.

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