Recently, I had the opportunity to visit different car wash locations and every time I visit a location I always learn a few new things. This trip was no exception. We pulled up to the wash around 1 p.m. and it was extremely busy. Cars were lined up at the pay station at least twenty deep and were moving fairly quickly. The lot looked good – it was free of any large trash and was well kept. My initial impression of the facility was a good one. However, as I explored the facility further, I became disillusioned.
My tour "host" was a long-time maintenance worker and it was when we entered the equipment room that my initial impression was changed. This is where the problems became blaringly visible. The floor was covered in water – not from a large leak but from a series of small ones. The backroom was a 180 degree departure from the very attractive, seemingly well run facility. Why? At this point, I wasn't sure. We continued our tour of the backroom and the more I saw, the worse it got. The presoak wasn't working. The CTA wasn't working. I wondered why neither of the maintenance workers or the management team wasn't doing anything to fix it. So, I asked the maintenance worker why and his response was "Oh, I didn't see it". I asked a manager and he responded that 'they were busy and he too, hadn't seen it'. I thought to myself 'how could they not see it'? Then it became clear – they each had their own agenda and only saw the things that were important to them at that instant.
This goes back to the age old saying "You can't see the forest for the trees". But what exactly does that mean? It means if you are too close to any specific situation you need to step back and get a little perspective. When you do, you will notice that there was a whole forest you couldn't see before because you were too close, and focusing on the trees. At least a few times a day you need to stand back and look the whole picture and things should become clearer. Don't beat yourself up though when someone else comes in and finds a problem. Outside people are going to see things faster because they don't yet know the trees. The better you become at being able to see the forest the better run your business will become.
Robert Andre is the President of CarWash College. Robert can be reached at RAndre@sonnysdirect.com. For more information about CarWash College certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.com or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.