While there are many consultants and experts in this industry who may be able to provide solid guidelines and best practices for success in the carwash market, no one solution fits all. Too many variables are involved. Management issues, water quality, labor, marketing and local population are just a few unique differences and challenges among carwashes across the U.S.

Even competition in your local market operates in different ways. Simply put, no two carwashes are the same. In many ways, these differences are what make our industry interesting.

This competitive nature and ability to create a local brand is what drives many new investors to our industry. Just as locals boast about a hometown’s popular restaurant, people also spread the word about the best carwash in town, adding to your brand’s appeal.

Our publication and website, along with our multitude of electronic content offerings, often elaborate on methodologies that carwash owners and operators can use to find success in this business. We regularly highlight industry leaders who have implemented tools, knowledge and a dynamic work ethic to build strong, lasting foundations for profitability.

It is wise to take advice from consultants as needed, read industry trade magazines, business books and literature and study your peers — see what is working and what is not. In the end, however, since each carwash site is unique it is your duty to dissect this information as well as your own business’ trends and issues.

As we head into the final quarter of the year, it is now the perfect time to assess the business. Before the holiday rush, take the time to study your business’ successes and setbacks. Evaluate your business’ SWOT analysis — strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats. What changes can be made next year to capitalize further on the positives, while minimizing the setbacks? Change can often put employees and owners outside their typical comfort zone, but change also can signify growth and hope.

Another good way to stay ahead of the competition is attending regional and national carwashing and detailing trade shows. A few more are on the schedule for this year, and of course many more are planned for 2016. Be sure to set aside the resources and time to get to as many of these events as possible.