The price of higher costs

The price of higher costs

Americans and businesses continue to face expensive bills and shortages.

Life in America is expensive these days and as economists debate whether or not the country is in a recession or headed for one, at the time of writing this in early July, consumers and businesses face elevated costs, longer wait times and shortages. This convergence of trends is causing Americans to shift buying habits in some cases or spend more for less. 

According to AAA, at the beginning of July, the national average for a gallon of gas in the U.S. was $4.72. Although outrageously still too high, this is an improvement over just a few weeks prior, when gas prices peaked (we all hope) in June at $5.03/gallon, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. 

In addition to slowly falling gas prices, there are other signs that prices and inflation might have peaked, signaling the worst is behind us for this period of elevated costs. For U.S. business owners, including carwash operators, a return to normalcy in the areas of costs, pricing, product and labor shortages, and other key areas of the business can’t come soon enough after two and a half challenging years, and counting.

It will be interesting to see what these next few months bring as the government continues to take steps to slow inflation and minimize any setbacks of a recession. A return to normalcy could be months or years away at this point given all the shifting dynamics in the country and in the world. 

Operators will continue to adjust accordingly and as needed. I had the great opportunity to catch up with Justin Alford of Benny’s Car Wash a few months back for an episode of Unscripted. Alford and I spoke about some of the headwinds impacting the carwash market today. Like many operators, Benny’s recently needed to adjust to market conditions and make uncomfortable decisions.

“We went almost 10 years without a price increase years ago,” disclosed Alford, “and now we’ve had three in the last three years.”

Let’s all hope for better days ahead. 

What hasn’t been slowed by inflation and elevated costs is the rate of buying and selling carwash locations. Our poll question for the past few months asked, “Do you plan to either buy a wash or sell your carwash in 2022?” 

A large majority (71%) noted “yes,” 16% answered “no plans at the moment but open to a conversation” and 13% selected “no.” 

Visit today to cast your response and see updated results.

Did you miss our interview with Justin Alford? Check it out below.

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