CarWash College™ Tip of the Month
Throwing Good Money After Bad
Have you ever heard the expression before, “throwing good money after bad?”.

According to the dictionary, it means to waste additional money after wasting money once. That sounds awful doesn’t it? Wasting additional money after wasting money once? Talk about your double negatives! Are you throwing good money after bad when it comes to your equipment repairs?

In the CarWash College Repair program, we teach managers and techs how to repair equipment. Often times, components can be repaired quickly and inexpensively. There comes a point, however, when you start throwing good money after bad when it comes to equipment repair and should start to consider replacing rather than repairing.

How do you know when you’ve reached the point of diminishing return? Bust out the calculator. If over the course of the last year, you have spent 50% of the cost of a new component keeping an old component running, you might be throwing good money after bad.

With a nod to my old friend, Jeff Foxworthy, here’s a few more ways to tell if you’re throwing good money after bad.

If you have more cold rolled steel welded into your conveyor than steel left from the factory, you might be throwing good money after bad.

If you spend more labor hours changing plastic wheels on your rollers than you do washing cars, you might be throwing good money after bad.

If your employees spend more time with a pry bar in their hand to unjam rollers than they do guiding cars onto the conveyor, you might be throwing good money after bad.

If your wrap brushes have bungee cords where the shocks used to go because the clevis’ have worn through, you might be throwing good money after bad.

If you are having replacement parts fabricated yourself at a machine shop, for a component that your manufacturer no longer makes, you might be throwing good money after bad.

I think you get where I’m going with this.

At some point, a component has outlived its useful life and it will be time to retire it. Yes, you’ll have to spend some of that hard earned cash you’ve been banking, but look at what you’ll be getting in return:

  1. Peace of mind. With a new component, only preventive maintenance will need to be done for quite some time. Major repairs will be years down the road.
  2. A cleaner and/or dryer vehicle. New components have advanced greatly over the years depending on what you’re replacing. For example, a set of wraps from today are vastly superior to what we were washing with just 10 years ago. Tire brushes now offer several different washing materials. Blowers have become more flexible as to placement and horsepower needed, etc.
  3. Reduction in labor. If you added labor to compensate for a component that was no longer holding up its end of the bargain, that burden should be lifted.

I was very fortunate in my career to have spent a little time with Jack Milen of the Jax chain from Michigan. Jack liked to spend parts of the winter in Boca Raton where I had my wash. When in town, he’d come by and wash his car at my place. Jack always a joke for us. My favorite was when he was passing me by one day. He smiled and said, “Bob, people are just like car wash equipment.” “Oh yea, how’s that Jack?” I asked. “Sooner or later, the parts wear out!” Classic!

Car wash equipment is built to last. When properly cared for; you can expect years, if not decades of service. Car wash equipment, like everything else though, has a useful life. Once it gets past it, well, you know what happens…

Bob Fox 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.

This content is sponsored by CarWash College. Sponsored content is authorized by the client and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Professional Carwashing & Detailing editorial team.