I’m old. At least, that’s what my colleagues tell me. Constantly.

I never really looked at myself that way until recently. I’ve been experiencing some aches and pains which have worsened and finally decided to get checked out and see what the medical professionals said about my ailments. The reason I had put it off so long, I guess, was I was afraid of what they might tell me is wrong.

My worst fears were confirmed as I was told I need to have a total joint replacement and the sooner the better. I’ll be having surgery just before the holidays so that I can have some time to rehab before Car Wash College classes resume again in the New Year. The prognosis is that I’ll be good as new a few weeks after the surgery.

After overcoming the initial shock, I started wondering why I’ve waited so long to get this fixed when it has bothered me for years and can be fixed in a short period of time.

It also got me thinking of some of you folks that have older tunnels. Do any of you have equipment that’s experiencing aches and pains, and instead of band-aiding the problem, as I did, should opt for full replacement? And, the sooner the better?

If you’re still operating with equipment that’s obsolete, how are you competing with all the washes with new technology? Are you limping around and taking aspirin for a problem that requires surgery?

This isn’t meant to be an article to sell equipment but rather for us to take a better look at our tunnels and to suggest maybe that asking an expert from outside to come and evaluate the situation would be helpful.

Like me, you may be afraid of what they might tell you, but not hearing it doesn’t make the truth any different. The problem is still there and will only get worse until it’s addressed.

Updating an old, tired site may just be the ticket needed to not only improve your wash quality but also your bottom line by offering more on-line extras and reducing labor costs.

Yes, there is always a price to pay, but your costs should be recovered relatively quickly if you make improvements in the right areas.

But who do you call for this type of advice? Someone who doesn’t have any skin in the game would be your best option. If there are no independent consultants in your area, I’d recommend you call a friend or acquaintance in the industry whose opinion you can trust and whose own washes are highly successful. But, you must be prepared to hear the hard truth and to take the action recommended, or it will all be for naught.

I’ve used this quote in other articles, but it still makes me laugh whenever I think of it. Jack Milan of the Jax Car Wash chain once told me that people are like carwashes in that their parts wear out. I understand Jack’s perspective much better now than I did 20-some years ago when he told me that.

Facing reality can be scary, but once you hear the truth and the options to fix the problem, the decision to act, hopefully becomes much easier.


Bob Fox has over 30 years industry experience and is an instructor at CarWash 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.

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