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L a n d in g f le e t a c c o u nts, V ic O d e r m a t s h a r e s p e a r ls o f w is d o m , W C A P a n e l D is c u s s io n and of course,

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CONTENTS Letter to the Editor.......................... 3

Carr’s Corner LETTER From the editor

Talking Shop in Nashville....................................... 7 Brown Bear Car Washes Profile.......................22 Tricks of the Trade.......................38 Innovations......................................46 Industry Dirt...................................53 Extra! Extra!....................................58 Carwash Review...........................62 Fleet Accounts...............................76 Darwin at the Carwash...............84

Maybe it’s because I have a 5-year-old boy at home, but these were my two favorite sights from Car Wash Show 2016: The infamous Lego display from Tommy Car Wash Systems and the “Transformer” foamer. Oh - and can’t forget Dolly Parton with yours truly and our publisher Jackson Vahaly.

During the Self Serve Panel Discussion hosted by

where not a single person posited that question to

the Western Carwash Association at Car Wash

me. Our industry has fully embraced the moder-

Show 2016 in Nashville this May, WCA executive

nities, technologies and innovations that used to

director Kristy Babb posed this question (and I’m

be the hallmark of express tunnel washes. Now-

paraphrasing here) to the veteran operators sitting

adays, we have the flashing lights and colorful

on stage: “What do you feel is the greatest chal-

foam and credit card acceptors and sleek, shiny

lenge facing your carwash today, and in contrast,

design in our bays that attracts young do-it-your-

the greatest opportunity?”

selfers and our more traditional customer base.

For a moment, I felt transported to a presiden-

More than that, we also have the strong work eth-

Vol. 43, No. 3, Summer 2016

tial election debate. The vastness of the question

ic and sleeves-rolled-up operator mentality which

Publisher Jackson Vahaly Editor Kate Carr Design Katy Barret-Alley

almost encourages those kind of meaningless po-

has been the concrete basis of the self serve seg-

litical responses we are so accustomed to by now.

ment since it was founded by Jack Thompson in

I prepared myself to hear those generalities and cli-

1962. The economic recession has weeded out

ches and pat answers that use as many words as

the weaker operators. True, our county highways

Editor Emeritus Jarret J. Jakubowski

possible to say as little as possible.

are still dotted with rundown and weed-covered

Editor Emeritus Joseph J. Campbell Editor Posthumous Julia E. Campbell Self Serve Carwash News is published 4 times per year and is independently owned by Jackson Vahaly. Web address is www.sscwn.com. All inquiries should be directed to:

Self Serve Car Wash News 110 Childs Ln., Franklin, TN 37067 jacksonv@sscwn.com Copyright 2014. 2 Dollar Enterprises/SSCWN. All Rights Reserved

But instead, there was a short amount of time

self serve sites, but these are becoming less and

for reflection and the operators assembled there

less. My drive up the coast (US-13 to US-1 to I-87)

had some pretty insightful replies. Some were

from Virginia to New York this summer revealed

technical and concrete, others more along the lines

three formerly embarrassing sites which had re-

of trends and issues in the industry. We’ll be shar-

cently been scooped up and cleaned up.

ing the final part of that discussion in our next issue

So what are the challenges today? Certainly

(the first half of the conversation is available for you

we still face the sting of competition from those

to peruse on page 7), but for now I’d rather just set

lower-priced express operators. We have a rising

your own thoughts in motion. So I paraphrase Babb

customer base which seems to have embraced the

once more: What do you feel is the greatest

opposite value system from our own: Do it for me

challenge facing your carwash today, and

(and while I’m glued to my smartphone screen). We

in contrast, the greatest opportunity?

find innovations for our segment are slower to hit

I think first and foremost, we need to acknowl-

the market than those for tunnels and automatics.

edge that the conversation in the self serve seg-

But the opportunities are immense. Reading

ment has dramatically shifted from the dominant

through Perry Powell’s interview with Vic Odermat

theme about five years ago which was, “Is self

(page 22) is inspiring and motivating. Fall down

serve dying?” (Or worse, “Is self serve dead?”)

seven times, get up eight. Or, to quote one of Vic’s

This was the first trade show in recent memory

{continued } • SUMMER 2016 •

3


LETTERS

Carr’s Corner

LETTER From the editor

favorite lines from Calvin Coolidge: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Who are the persistent operators in self serve these days? I’ll admit, walking around the floor at Car Wash Show 2016 was an interesting and slightly jarring experience. The space was large, the booths were busy -- but there were so many new faces and so fewer of the familiar ones to me. I suppose this, itself, represents an opportunity. We are in a period of growth and transition. Embracing modern technology and systems while holding fast to our history as hands-on operators who know the carwash from the nuts and bolts out is crucial. I think if I had been up on that WCA Panel stage with our esteemed colleagues and veteran operators, that would be my answer. Our greatest challenge will be walking that line of modernity and traditional values -- and so will your greatest opportunity.

Reader Input & Feedback

Dear Kate and readers of SSCWN, I’m hoping you can join me in showing our industry’s support for the families and communities of the recent tragedy in Baton Rouge. It was difficult to hear of the senseless murder of three distinguished police officers, but even harder to process that this tragedy happened on the property of one of our dearest friend’s locations – Benny’s Car Wash. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who had their lives taken from them. Also, please keep the Benny’s Car Wash family in your thoughts as well. Deputy Sheriff Brad Garafola was a part-time employee of Benny’s, and Officer Bruce Simmons who was injured in the shooting also worked for Benny’s Car Wash. It’s difficult to imagine what they are going through between the loss of a friend, the media frenzy, and their employee’s concerns. Benny’s Car Wash has set up a “July 17th Fallen Officers Fund” and will forward 100% of all

donations directly to the fallen officers’ families. Please visit www.bennyscarwash.com to find a link to donate to the July 17th Fallen Officers Fund – and support our friends at Benny’s to let the families of these fallen heroes know that their loved ones are respected, and remembered, by our industry as a whole. Sincerely,

Paul Fazio CEO, Sonny’s The Car Wash Factory

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• SUMMER 2016 •


Talkin’ Shop in Nashville A transcript from the Western Carwash Association’s Self Serve Panel Discussion at Car Wash Show 2016. Kirsty Babb, Executive Director, WCA: So our goal is to keep this casual. We’ve got a few questions prepared to get things started, but we want to encourage you to ask questions, too, and lead the conversation. Our first prepared question: What credit card systems are you using in your bays? Larry Nelson: I just remetered all my doors and my dog wash doors to Carolina Pride. They retrofitted my older doors that were ten years old -- the technology just wasn’t there ten years ago. I’m impressed by the usage of the credit cards. It’s been good. We have a computer recording system and it has so much more ability than what I use -- it tells us how much cash went in, how much time was used, credit card reporting. It was a good move. Larry Baker: We’ve been using WashGear for about 12 years. It works well. It’s a pretty simple process. The replacement parts are a little pricey, so I think if I had to do it over again, I’d probably go with a wireless system. But we’re happy with WashGear. It’s been good for us. Bob Cavilleri: I use both Carolina Pride and WashGear and each system has its plusses and minuses. Carolina Pride does have the capability to email your information of how your wash did that day. It breaks it down to cash, coin, and credit cards. So that’s unique for me -- WashGear doesn’t offer that. Mark Goddard: I use WashGear as well and it’s

been fairly reliable. I can say -- we’ve been using it probably for 8-10 years -- and I would estimate our credit card sales are approaching 50 percent of our total revenue, so it was a good move for me. Rick Deal: I have WashGear as well. I’ve been happy with it. I put it in when credit card processing was first coming out for self serve bays. But -- question out there for the group. How many of you accept credit cards? Gotcha. A lot of you do. So, I have a self serve only. I’m probably one of only a few in this room who doesn’t have an automatic. And I’m finding on the self serve side at my wash, I’m getting about 30 percent of my gross is from the credit card. It’s stayed there for a while now. It’s growing a little bit -- slowly. I imagine also a lot of you are wondering about what you’re paying for processing fees. The only thing I can figure with that is I take my statement fees and everything, total that up, take what I’ve got with the revenues and divide it, and I think it’s about 5.5 percent is what it’s costing me. Kristy Babb: So, a few more questions related to the credit cards. Do you post anything at your wash to alert customers about the pending charge when they use their credit card?

Larry Baker: With the WashGear system, when you hit the stop button to turn off the charges, it trails across the screen and tells you its a pending charge. Larry Nelson: At my wash, we don’t count down -- we just charge a flat rate when they use their credit card. Larry Baker: Oh -- and in regards to the processing fee, we’re using Costco’s processor called Elavon. They have a special program where if your average ticket is under $15, you get a preferred discount rate at a lower transaction fee and ours averages out to about 3 percent which I think is very good and I hope it continues. They’ve been pretty good as far as servicing it, too. We didn’t have any problems tying it into WashGear’s system --everything worked just fine. Kristy Babb: Shifting gears -- wondering if anyone {continued } • SUMMER 2016 •

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WCA’s Self Serve Panel Discussion at Car Wash Show 2016 saying they were going to start asking the self serve locations if they have cameras in order to prevent fraud and false slip and falls at your wash. It’s a good idea to have them, not just so you can see if someone’s breaking into your room, but also so you can see what’s going on at the wash. Kristy Babb: Great -- and if anyone’s interested in talking more about the cameras, we’ll be having a roundtable discussion about them after this panel discussion, so you can join us for that. Moving along, another question for the group: Anyone trying any new profit centers at the wash? Larry Baker: Our newest one is the handheld dryers in the self serve bays. I was a little skeptical initially. We’ve had them for two or three years now and they get a lot of use. I don’t have a system where I can actually track the percentage of use, but I hear ‘em fire up quite regularly and they seem to be quite popular with the customers. Especially the motorcycle fellas, they really love ‘em.

Panelists: Rick Deal - Turbowash, Midvale, Utah. “I’ve owned a car wash for about 30 years now.”

Kristy Babb: Is anyone doing dog washes?

Mark Goddard - Super Sonic Car Wash, Salt Lake City, Utah. “Been around for almost six years.”

Larry Baker: No, we’re not doing dog washes. We don’t want to give up one of our five bays for that.

Bob Cavilleri - South City Car Wash, San Francisco Bay, CA. “Several locations throughout the area. I’ve been in the carwash business for 40 years, and the self serve for about 21.” Larry Baker - Sparklin’ Clean Car Wash, Phoenix, AZ. “We have five self serve bays and an exterior tunnel - a 75’ tunnel. I’ve been in it for about 19 years, we really enjoy it. It’s been good to us.” Larry Nelson - Blue Cow Car Wash, Anacortes, WA. “I’m a single-site operator of a 110’ tunnel, three self serve bays, and two dog wash bays. Been doing it about 11 years.”

is using tire shiner in the bay? No? No one on the panel? Anyone in the audience? Okay. Moving on. Is anyone here dealing with chronic theft of vacuum nozzles? If so, what do you do to prevent it? Larry Nelson: You buy more nozzles. More seriously -- if you put some silicone in the cuff, it’ll at least keep the cuff there. I don’t know about the nozzles, though. Audience Member: I put PVC glue on it and that seems to stop it. Audience Member: We use copper bits, so we’ll go through with a copper bit and it breaks it off nice and clean. It keeps it in there. I mean, if they still want it, they’ll rip it off, though. Larry Nelson: It’s the dumbest thing in the world when you go out there and it’s gone. Kristy Babb: And what are they even doing with them?? Speaking of -- are any of you using cameras at your locations? And are any of you using them to watch employees? Are they helpful? Larry Nelson: We put 16 cameras in on Day One, and it’s not nearly enough -- it’s a large site. I say spend the money to get good cameras. If you’re going to upgrade or get a new system, spend the money. I popped in this morning -- it’s a two hour time difference -- and I could see what the weather was doing. It’s been great. It’s not to watch employees other than to get them out of the break room.

8

• SUMMER 2016 •

Larry Baker: We have about a dozen cameras -- they’re not high quality cameras, though, so I don’t think we could ID anyone. It’s mostly just to keep an eye on what’s going on. And I think, to some extent, they’re a deterrent to criminals. Bob Cavilleri: We have cameras at all our locations, as well, and I just recently upgraded to the HD cameras and you get a much better quality picture. I used to install the cameras above the changer where they couldn’t reach it, but now I’ve got them right at eye level. I’ve got three by the changers and they could maybe cover one, but they couldn’t get the other two. It’s very intimidating. Anyway, they used to kick and hit the changer when it didn’t work or when they thought it didn’t work, and there were shock sensors there and so it would set off the alarm. But since I put the cameras at eye level, I haven’t got any more of those alarms. Mark Goddard: I use cameras at all my sites. Rick Nelson: So, the question about watching your employees. Well, cameras for me -- when I first put them in I wanted them there for security. But I probably use them more now for management. I go in and I watch with my iphone or ipad, look at what’s going on, who’s been there, I’m in a cold climate, so I might check to see if it snowed. So it’s a management tool, but they’re also for preventing theft. It’s also good for -- I know our WCA insurance called me the other day and they were

Larry Nelson: We have two dog washes and they take a lot of staff time because we try to keep them clean between uses, but since we have staff on site for the tunnel, it’s not really an issue for them to get over there. Sometimes we’re so busy that several dogs might get washed before they get a chance to clean up. It definitely draws people to our site. We get some Saturdays and Sundays, we’ll have five or six dogs waiting in line. We bought the PD McLaren dog wash -- it looks just like the Kleen Rite one. They may even make it for them, I don’t know. But that’s what we’ve got. Audience Member: I’ve got a question for Larry Baker: Do you offer any sort of drying agent with your handheld dryers. Larry Baker: No, the spot free rinse is usually what they use before they grab the dryer and we’ve got the one with slick nozzle. Some of our competitors have the one with a round outlet -it’s sort of flat and narrow. But the one with the long wand seems to cut the water off real nicely off the car. I’ve been quite surprised at how much the customers use them. They’re very popular and they’ve been a great help to us to increase our time usage in the bays. Audience Member: Can I ask if anyone is using a drying agent with their spot-free? I’ve read of some people doing that. Rick Nelson: On the air dryers. I put those in about three years ago -- and I put in the same one that you did, Larry -- the one with the long wand and it does direct the air better. But I’m able to pull some percentages off -- I’ve been able to track a bay. And it’s right up there with your spot-free rinse as far as percentage, so that’s roughly 7-10 percent. But it’s growing every year. I think it’s {continued }


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WCA’s Self Serve Panel Discussion at Car Wash Show 2016 worth doing. It’s ahead of three or four other cycles you may have. Audience Member: I’ve got a question about the cameras. Can anyone cite an incidence where the cameras actually paid for themselves? Other than just monitoring and seeing the site -- but where it actually saved enough money to warrant the monitoring and maintenance and all that goes with it. Larry Nelson: I don’t know about paying for itself, but we were able to prosecute a guy that broke in -- well, the county prosecuted him -- and he had broke into one of our dog wash storage rooms, which really didn’t do him any good. He wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. But he looked right at the camera and we were able to freeze that and print it and they got him. He stole some plastic tubing so they were contacting me about the value of restitution, and I’m going, well, it’s about 30 feet of tub-

ing, I don’t know, about $9? (Laughter.) But anyhow, we’ve had people who’ve tried to grind our locks. Our vaults are down in a pit, you’ve got to go down on your knees to get the quarters out -- but, I don’t want to go to HD cameras. Audience Member: Can you touch on that real quick -- on the people who are grinding the locks? Are people doing that more now? Larry Nelson: Yeah, that’s what they used on mine. They didn’t get in, though. They just messed up my vault. Audience Member: I wanted to add something to the dryer discussion. With the dryer issue, what I found in my bays, I’ve had so many people who are getting in the bay and opening up their doors and actually blowing all the trash out of their cars. It’s amazing how people come up with this stuff. As far as the cameras go, I have a great system in all four of my carwashes, but what I find most usable as an operator is I can look at all my bays

10

• SUMMER 2016 •

and if I see a dry floor, I know there’s probably something wrong and I can call a manager and tell him, you know, you need to walk down to that bay and straighten things out. And another thing you touched on -- but working with the police. I mean, we had a guy whose arm got stuck in a vacuum cleaner for like an hour and we had it all on video and so I burned it to a disc. But the problem I had with our police department was that when burned the disc, what we had was not compliant with what they used in the court system. They needed a special PDF file or format or something like that and we had the hardest time getting them what they needed for the court system. Even though we spent a lot of time prosecuting this thing, he still just got a slap on the wrist, really, but at least we had it on film and it was a very helpful tool to help prosecute and convict him.

Audience Member: Yeah, to add to that, as far as cameras paying for themselves, I had a guy call me and tell me that our foam brush scratched his car up and that he could see the swirls and all that. So I told him I’d look at the video, and you could see that his wife was running the high pressure hose and he was using the foam brush dry all the way up on the hood of his car without it being turned on. And we’ve got a sign up that says not to do that, so I didn’t pay him. Audience Member: And I would even add, in defense of the cameras, we’ve been able to protect ourselves from liability of customers complaining that they’ve injured themselves, so we’d get their story and then we’d be able to look at the video and see that it was improper use of the bay or the tools or whatever, and they’d back off real quick as soon as they heard we had it on film. So it’s protected us in that regard, as well. As for paying itself off, I mean, it’s protection from potential liability.

Audience Member: That’s just what I was going to say: It’s the money you save from fending off those issues. Audience Member: For those of you who have prosecuted -- did they require that you have the license plate along with the image of the criminal? Bob Cavilleri: Well, the license plate does everything because they can zero in on it. Audience Member: So how are you positioning your cameras so that you can get that license plate? Bob Cavilleri: There are actually cameras that are specially designed to capture license plate images -- they use infrared technology or something and the camera actually only records in black and white, but it zeros in on the driveway area as they come in, and it can capture the license plates as they drive in during daytime or even night time. Even if they have the high beams on. But once they have that tag, they’ve got everything. We prosecute tremendously -- every chance we get. We’ve had people stealing stuff, breaking in -- at one of our washes they were removing changers out of the wall, wrapping cable around ‘em and hauling those away. We prosecuted every single one of those. We even got a guy trying to steal quarters out of the changer with funny money. But he got disappointed because the changer would not accept the money he had printed on some color printer, so he threw it in the trash, and I noticed that and went back to the cameras and noticed he had been trying to put this money in. So I called the police and I said, well, he didn’t get any money -- but he attempted to. Well not only did the police come, but the FBI came, too, and he got in trouble big time. Rick Nelson: If you can’t get a license plate, one of the things I’ve done at my washes is I’ve got a camera with pretty good facial recognition by the changers. So if you take that picture and you print it out and post it on your door with an offer for a $100 reward. And they’ll come back. It’s funny to see who tears that down off your door. Audience Member: Back to the dryers—has anybody tried putting those out away from the bays, like out by the vacuums or a shed or anything like that? Bob Cavilleri: Many years ago, I experimented with dryers as they were first coming out -- and that’s how they wanted them -- back there with the vacuum area. I got rid of the machine after about 18 months because it hardly got any use. But then as they started putting them in the wash bays, I gave it another try and it was a massive, huge success in the wash bays. Rick Nelson: The difference is that in the bay, the car can dry out in the bay anyway, they can towel it -- at least you can get some money out of them this way. Audience Member: I have a question about employees. We’re finding that because it’s not a very {continued }


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WCA’s Self Serve Panel Discussion at Car Wash Show 2016 lucrative position, we’re attracting a lot of...let’s say, “not great” employees. Do you have any advice? Kristy Babb: I think this is Larry’s favorite topic. Larry Baker: I’ve been blessed. I’ve got an incredible crew of six guys, and four of them have been there about eight years each. I pay them up a little bit -- not a great deal, but enough. Three of them are brothers. Al’s been with me for 13 years, Jo-

thing like the cameras where you go into a server and you can see them all and I’m starting to use tools like that. Is there anything to help manage what’s going on there better? Especially when I have problems. Because I can send my mechanic out to handle that and I can try to prioritize from a central location. Anyone else trying to do something like that? Audience Member: I just started using an app

PANEL MEMBER: Yes, all my carwashes have them in all the bays, too. Rick Nelson: So what are your percentages in the bays? PANEL MEMBER: Depends on the location. I have one location where all the revenue from credit cards is about 15 percent, but then I have one site where it’s 75 percent from credit cards. Audience Member: Does it show up on a customer statement as one transaction if they wash their car and then go and use the vacuums? PANEL MEMBER: No. On the vacuum sit’s a separate swipe and in the bays it’s a separate swipe. Audience Member: Yes -- but the actual transaction, does it group them together? PANEL MEMBER: No. Every swipe is its own transaction. Audience Member: I have a suggestion for the gentleman looking for a service and maintenance app -- there is an app out there for the android system from a company called Wash Systems that lets you schedule repairs and maintenance. Wash Systems, John Booth -- he’s got an ad out in one of the carwash magazines. I thought it was pretty neat. We’re going to be utilizing it at our wash. Audience Member: I have a question about the vacuums. There’s some express washes in my town with the free vacs, and I think I’m feeling the pressure to go to free vacs, too. Has anyone out there done that? Do you see any benefit to that?

ey’s been there 11, and Ernie, 8, Samuel, 7, and then I have two younger guys that I hired to replace a fellow that went into banking. (Chuckles.) I’ve been really fortunate. I try to make sure that I show them respect, that I ask for their ideas just like you’d do with anything you want to teach. We’ve been very fortunate. Larry Nelson: Do any of them want to move up North where it’s nice and cool? No hot weather to worry about. Our employees are primarily for the tunnel side, and we find it incredibly hard to find ones with work ethic. We touched on this a bit yesterday -- I think it’s a national problem. We hire primarily 18-25 year olds and if you find one that has been mentored or taught by their parents or somebody on how to work -- then I say, do your best to keep hold of them. PANEL MEMBER: I try to find retired guys that want to get out of the house for the afternoon or something. That’s worked out pretty well for me. Audience Member: I have a question about employees, too. I have six locations of self serve and I’m trying to find a way to manage things better. I use the Checklist app and that’s sort of working. Is anyone else using any sort of digital or a networking app that I can see remotely on a computer -something like Excel where I can see a spreadsheet and manage remotely. Are there any apps or some-

14

• SUMMER 2016 •

called WunderList. So you can go in and you can say, “This needs to be fixed, this needs to be fixed, this needs to be done.” And you can assign it out to people and they check off when it’s completely. It’s really helpful to us. It’s really intuitive. Audience Member: I have a question about cash, I guess. Is anyone going cashless with their vacs? Have they seen an improvement that way? And is anyone out there just doing tokens? And maybe doing that cashless -- dispensing tokens only by credit card? Larry Baker: I haven’t done that, but a friend of mine who recently sold his wash put Cryptopay swipers on his vacuums and then bumped the price up a little bit -- I forget exactly how he did it, but he was quite happy with it. The discount fee kind of ate into his revenue, so that’s why he bumped the price up slightly. He thought it was a pretty good idea. And he adapted the thing so he could put the swiper right on the vacuum itself. Audience Member: I have one site with six vacuums and I accept credit cards on all the vacuums -- along with cash. And about 20 percent of the revenue comes from credit cards. One swipe is four minutes for a dollar. I had to mark it up for the credit card fees. Rick Nelson: And you have them in your bays, too?

Audience Member: I’ve got a self serve next to my full-service/exterior express and because of the competition, we put some free vacuums in for the tunnel and I gave up on the little bit of revenue from my self serve bays. But it actually ended up increasing my volume in my bays. They have a five minute time limit on the self serve ones, but the tunnel ones are running constantly. Audience Member: We had a similar situation and we did basically the same thing. We took our vacuums and we put a power switch on ‘em. So you go there, you turn the switch during business hours, you push it four times, and it fires up. Then when the guys leave, we turn the switch back and then it works just like it was. Four pulses, which equals a dollar, for a start. So you still can make revenue, but you can go home. Audience Member: I wonder about people gating their self serve car wash -- where you pay to get in, you get everything you want -- vacs, everything -- once that fee is paid. Is anybody doing that? The article in the magazine seemed like it was very successful. Larry Baker: I haven’t done it, but I’ve read about it like you have. It’s kind of scary for me. I just didn’t like the concept as well. Going back to the conversation about vacuums -- we put in new coin acceptors that would take a token, so for our tun{continued }


• SUMMER 2016 •

15


WCA’s Self Serve Panel Discussion at Car Wash Show 2016 nel customers, we give them a token for a free vacuums. Its four minutes for a token -- or it’s a $1 if you pay for them. And it seems to have helped. We’re processing a lot of tokens. The bad part is, they’re taking the tokens home with them! I started with 5,000 tokens and I’ve already had to buy 15,000 more within the year. So I know if you’re selling tokens one of the benefits is that they might take them home -- but that’s when they pay you for them. This is a different situation. I’ve become the token king. Kristy Babb: Can anybody speak to the gated self serve concept? Audience Member: Well, as far as gated self serves go -- I’m in Birmingham, and I haven’t done it, but we’ve got several in that area. I’ve got a couple friends who’ve done it, and one’s had good success with it. He has had a wash since the 80s. I know the revenue had kind of stagnated at about

bay, it wouldn’t work very well, either. But it’s free vacuums. Free carpet shampoo. Free mat cleaners. Everything you want is in there. I think he started at $6 and he’s up to $7 or $8 now. He loves that he just pulls up and pulls the money out of the ACW at the gate and he’s done. He gets less trash, but more mud. So overall he’s very happy. It’s 24 hours. Goo Goo is running somewhere they’re actually closing down and they’re not open if they’re not attended -- or at least they were doing that. There’s another guy in town that basically just put up a gate, made everything free, but he didn’t do anything cosmetic and there’s nobody that works on the site. That site is floundering. He’s not happy. But they went with too high a startup price -- I think it was $10. So we’ve had successes and some failures. There’s a couple more down in Panama City, and then some here in Nashville -- Tim Jones, if I’m not mistaken. I could be wrong on that.

ket, and one of the first things that I noticed about the site -- and he had to tell me how he did this -he was a token vendor. So, you swipe the card and you get about $10 worth of tokens. We calculated his token usage -- just like you did Larry -- and he was buying a lot over the years. People would take them home, or they’d leave them in the change purse or whatever. They had his logo on them, but sometimes they’d just throw them in the trash. So he went to dollar coins, and that actually solved an enormous problem. He’d go to the bank, buy more dollars. If they threw them away, so what? That really changed the picture of how that wash operated. Of course he eventually went to credit cards, and now it’s like 70% credit card. But that was a huge increase in revenue -- about 22 percent within six months of the change. Audience Member: We want to move to credit cards -- but we also want to add loyalty cards, too. With Cryptopay, they don’t have the loyalty cards. So, if we go to the next system, it’s going to be a big price increase to do all four of our bays. So my question is how important is it to have a loyalty card? We see a lot of benefit -- but is it cost effective for four bays? I’m curious to hear what you think about loyalty cards. Larry Baker: I guess I don’t know how the loyalty card works. Audience Member: It’s one where you can set a special price, like from 2-5 p.m. on Wednesdays you could get a $1 off, or you’d get a free wash on your birthday. We’d like to be able to give them out in the community -- police officers and what not, or as a way to do fundraisers. And people can pre-pay on them. We’re near an area that’s zoned light industrial, so those companies might be able to give them out to their employees and set a dollar amount that they could use or something like that. Rick Deal: Yeah, it’s definitely a real advantage to have that option.

$70,000. It was a seven bay that was kind of underutilized. It was off a main road. The revenues continued to drift down as the expresses came in and at one point he decided to gate -- and he did a rehab at the same time. The place got a really nice facelift. I think historically his best year was close to $100,000 before he did this, and then for the past several years before the rehab it had been $50,000 or $60,000 and now I think this year he’s gonna hit $200,000 with it. So it’s worked for him. He loves the format. He’s got just one pay station there, just one point of money collection. The customers love it. There’s been some other guys who have done it in Birmingham with limited success. Some have enjoyed it and some haven’t. It’s an option. If you have a large site with a lot of underutilized bays it might be a good option to explore. If you have a small site with just three or four bays, I don’t think it would work very well. If you have a wash where customers like to take their time in the

16

• SUMMER 2016 •

Audience Member: I can chime in on gated self serves, too. I know one in downtown Baltimore. The fella had to put the gates in because at night the guys would come in and use the bays as mechanic shops. So he put the gates up to prevent all the riff raff from coming in at night. It’s a very large site -- something like a dozen bays. He did it for the reason of keeping out the riff raff. It’s worked okay. As far as monetarily, I don’t think it’s doing any better now than it was before, though. Audience Member: Getting back to the free vacuum competition. I had an automatic with free vacuums built right across the street from my self serve with 10 bay and six vacuums. I did nothing, and I saw my vacuum revenue drop from about $6,000 a year to about $5,000. I wouldn’t go to free vacuums -- $5,000 is better than nothing. Audience Member: I’m a broker, but I represent a seller with a number of washes in the Denver mar-

Audience Member: I think Cryptopay has that now, don’t they? I think I asked them about it -about fleet cards, at least, when I was at the booth yesterday. I think they have it. Audience Member: Well, the fleet card is like where you set up an account with your city and then you send them a bill at the end of the month. We really want the loyalty card. We’re definitely going to get the credit card system, it’s just a question of how high do we take it? Audience Member: I have credit cards on my inbay automatics, and I’m contemplating putting them in the self serve. I know people have said 30 percent or whatever is credit card revenue -- but what percent of revenue increase what might I get by putting the card readers in the bay? How much more time do they buy? If I’m doing $50,000 with my self serve, will I do $55k? Rick Deal: It’s really hard to measure. Because you’re going month-to-month by the weather, {continued }


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WCA’s Self Serve Panel Discussion at Car Wash Show 2016 really. I mean, I had people tell me before I put credit cards in that I would see an increase like 70 percent or whatever. But I just don’t buy that. I don’t know how they measure it. I can tell you that I could never measure what the increase was by putting credit card in -- but I can say it has been increasing in use. I mean, the revenues got better when I had a good year of weather, and then in 2008 when it went down, I don’t know. It’s hard to measure that stuff. Audience Member: I would ask, where are they going when they want to use a credit card and you don’t have credit cards in your bays? I mean, are they going down to your competitor’s? Because it’s hard to get them back. And that -- for me, anyhow -- was a big reason for putting the credit cards in. Audience Member: I think a good number to use -- based on what I’ve seen from three different sites -- is 10-20 percent jump in revenue. But the jump in revenue is not the only thing. You reduce your cost of maintaining your change machine. So, our credit card usage is about 30 percent -- and our change machine maintenance has gone down an equal amount. Coin acceptor maintenance has gone down. And there’s a lot less time handling money. So if you factor in all of those items as well as the 10-20 percent bump in business, there’s

more than just the increase in revenue. It’s time savings and money savings. Audience Member: So you’re thinking that 30 percent of your cash customers have switched to using credit cards? Audience Member: Yeah, and if a cash customer is paying $5, then I would say that the credit card customer is usually spending $7. Audience Member: I would agree with everything you just said, but getting back to this lady here -- it really depends on the neighborhood. Demographics are really important. I had one site where they spend a phenomenal amount of money on credit cards. Then I have another site in a low income

neighborhood and I see hardly any credit card usage in my bays -- so that was $10,000 expense per bay not very well spent. But I wanted credit card acceptance at all my locations so they would all be the same. Larry Baker: I would certainly recommend doing credit cards. Audience Member: I would add one point that no one’s mentioned and that is chip and pin. I would say that the industry hasn’t really kept up with the new chip in the credit card, and now that’s become an issue at my one site in Baltimore. Word has gotten around that if you dispute the charges {continued }

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WCA’s Self Serve Panel Discussion at Car Wash Show 2016 Audience Member: But as far as a maximum amount you’d charge? Rick Nelson: I believe the pre-authorization amount is determined by your bank. You set the maximum amount, but the bank sets the pre-authorization.

and you find the weakest link in the chain, then they’ll get you. That’s the negative. The positive is that we’ve got all of these companies in Baltimore who give the employees the company card. And at my sites, I’m a $6 start-up with a $18.50 maximum. So they’re just running down the clock. It really depends on your area. The long and short of it is, if you’re going to put the credit cards in, put the upgrades in. Go with all the bells and whistles. Be aware that wherever there’s a positive, there’s a negative. The manufacturers haven’t been able to make these chip and pin readers fit in the bays, but eventually they’ll come up with it so we can

be compliant with this new chip and pin law. I’d bear that in mind.

Audience Member: I would give one warning about all this -- with the smartphone technology, I get a lot of calls from customers who say, “Oh, your wash just charged me $8 and I was only in there for five minutes!” And I have to explain that that was the bank holding the transaction amount until the credit card could be cleared. But because they’re on their smartphones and looking up their bank statements, they get worried. So I explain that if they wait 24 hours they’ll see the actual charge and not the holding amount. YOu’ll get those complaints.

Audience Member: Is there a standard maximum amount for taking credit cards in the bay? Like $15 or something?

Rick Nelson: If you put signs up for that, it will help. I know a lot of signs don’t’ help, but that one does. We put one up and the calls went down a bit.

Larry Nelson: Well, you always pre-authorize. Audience Member: Yes - but is there any set maximum? Audience Member: Well, you can set it up how you want it. Like we charge $2 for cash to start up, but $2.50 for credit cards.

(Editor’s Note: This panel to be continued! We’ve covered 45 minutes worth of the conversation in this article and we’ll have the other 30 minutes in the next issue.)

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A Living Legend Drops Pearls of Wisdom By Perry Powell

Perry Powell interviews Car Wash Hall of Famer Vic Odermat, president of Brown Bear Car Washes, to learn more about his 55 years of success in self serve and conveyor car washing.

Perry Powell: Welcome to another edition of WashIdeas. I’m privileged, absolutely privileged, to have a as my guest today an absolute carwashing legend – I mean a true legend – Vic Odermat of Brown Bear Car Washes in Washington State. VO: Hello, everyone! Hope everyone’s having great weather today and having a great month and washing a lot of cars. PP: That’s right. You can tell he’s a true car washer -- have to mention the weather. Now, Vic, how many Brown Bear carwashes are there? VO: Depends on how you count them. We have 21 tunnel operations and 22 self-serve operations, and then we have gasoline stations and convenience stores.

ny days was being paid to people to maintain the washes when we had rainy days. So, that’s when we went strictly exterior. My first exterior was in 1969, then we built another one in 1970, and then three or four more in the 1970s, and then we continued with that for the next few years.

called the Commander Car Wash, about a 50-foot building, exterior only. And then the Challenger line was the 26-foot building. Those were exterior only. I guess that must have been the late 60s or early 70s. But we went with the exterior only in 1969. We built that first one from the ground up.

PP: So you were way ahead of this current express trend that’s out there.

PP: Was that a conveyorized 26 feet?

VO: Oh, yes. The genesis of this was Dan Hanna. When Dan Hanna went from being a California equipment distributor to making his own equipment he had three lines of equipment – one of them was called BAY SETTER which was for the full service carwashes, then he had another line

PP: And those tunnels that you have – are they all express? Or do you have some full service, too? VO: Yes, they’re express. Let me take a minute here to go over it. So, we were full service until 1970 when Boeing laid off around 40,000 workers in the Seattle area. Then we realized with 150-165 days of rain a year in our area that it turned out that all the money that we made doing full service on the sun-

22

• SUMMER 2016 •

Editor’s note: This interview has been transcribed from its original form as a podcast, directed and hosted by Perry Powell for Wash Ideas. You can find and listen to the original version under the “Living Legends” section at www.washideas.com.

VO: I think it had about a 45 foot conveyor, maybe 47 feet. And the building was 26 feet. PP: So you built your first car wash in 1957. What were you like 15 when you did that? VO: No, no. Well, if I could, I’d like to explain where I got the idea. I was a Marine going to basic training school at Quantico. And one Saturday driving from Quantico to Washington, D.C., I went by a site that said “Car Wash.” My car was dirty, so I pulled in there, and for $2, it was cleaned and vacuumed and the glass and door jams were cleaned as well. I thought that was a great deal. And when I got out of the Marine Corps – and of course, in California I saw a few more car washes as well – but {continued }


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Brown Bear Car Washes Profile

when I got out of the Marine Corps in 1954 I went into business with a service station. A few years later there was a car wash down the street for sale. At that time, it was just the wash trees and the blowers were bilge blowers from a ship. I bought that shed and the wash trees and the blower for $1500. I moved that onto my service station site and that was the beginning. At that time, I had a partner, and we figured at that time if we could wash 60 cars a day, 1800 cars a month, we could make a living. We had hoped that in 1962 when Seattle had the World Fair that we would really have a barn burner of a business. But in a year and a half, what happened was that the best month we ever had was 1200 cars, and I said, “John, I’ll buy you out or you buy me out, cause this is not gonna succeed.” He didn’t see any future in the carwash business, so I borrowed a couple thousand dollars from my mom and went into the business full-time, 365 days a year, 14-16 hours a day. And that was it. I could go a little bit further if I might. One day, on the bus going to University at Washington -- I had to take a bus, my family never had a car -- but on that bus ride to University at Washington, there was a Time magazine left on the seat. And in that

magazine, in a letter to the editor, I read a quote from Calvin Coolidge. It goes like this: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. “I narrowed this down to: Stick and stay and make it pay. Another one I quote often is Napoleon Bonaparte, and he said this on tenacity: “Victory belongs to the most persevering.” These quotes have helped me in times of duress. I can recall more than once in the Marine Corps and certainly in business. When I was close to declaring bankruptcy in 1970, certainly then. That was when Boeing laid off all those people. They put up a billboard here in Seattle that said, “Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn off the lights.” But I kept going back to these quotations and they encouraged me to stay the course. Having done that, I

think they might be inspirational for other people to not give up. Keep plodding on. Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. That’s exactly what I did. It was from the ground up. You helped yourself by picking yourself up off the ground and continuing. If you have a goal in mind, I think anyone can succeed. But they have to have some idea or some goal of what they want to be or what they want to do. PP: So the World’s Fair came around in ‘62. Did you have the big year you were hoping to have? VO: No, no. PP: Did you see any impact at all on your business? VO: No, no. But the next year I knew I had to do something. I went and leased a sign for $135 a month. That helped. But I think the thing that really helped was that there was a local newspaper called the BALLARD Tribune. I took out a oneinch column ad on the front page and made every Tuesday be Ladies’ Day and I gave fifty cents off. I think between the sign and the Ladies’ Day promotion, we generated the volume. Within a year, year and a half, I was doing close to 5,000 cars a month. Then, when the opportunity came to acquire another car wash that had been built in 1965 by Dan Hanna – in business with another individual – I acquired that car wash. And then, {continued }

26

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• SUMMER 4/26/16 2016 10:39 • AM


Brown Bear Car Washes Profile in 1967, another car wash had been built that was having trouble and I acquired that car wash. Then I built my first car wash in 1969. I built another in 1970. Acquired another two or three washes that year, too. And we just continued to grow. I want everyone to know – that in my opinion: “Bulls make money. Bears make money. And pigs get slaughtered either way.” And I would like to encourage everybody to have a philosophy in mind. Perseverance in principle is more important than ambition. PP: So did you get some of these values – I attended a conference recently and a sociology professor spoke and he talked about the different generations and how the different generations think and relate to each other and what values have been

talked about the persistence. What part did the Marine Corps play in that?

out of the conveyor is the product that you promised going into the conveyor?

VO: The Marine Corps was a great learning institution. One of the primary things that I learned from the Marine Corps was accountability. President Truman had cut back the budget for the Marine Corps -- so while I was an officer, if the lightbulb burned out in my office, I’d have to send out a requisition to get a light bulb. It was accountability. You are responsible. The other thing that I learned was that you salute the uniform – not the individual. I boil that down to something I instill in my people; they don’t necessarily have to like their fellow employee, but I expect them to respect that individual for the job that he’s been given and the job that he’s doing.

VO: It’s exceedingly important. It’s the upmost importance. That is why we – at my company – examine every new piece of equipment that we come in contact with. I have another saying: We have to turn over the rock to see what’s underneath it. So, we’re one of the first companies with a laser wash. We were one of the first companies with a hydraulic carwash system. The use of air dryers in place of wiping down to get a dry car. Anything we could do – if a company came out of with a new wash solution or detergent. I can remember one time in 1968, I think it was, a chemical salesman came by and said this is the greatest carwash detergent that’s ever been made. I said, “Okay, I want to try it.” He sold me a drum of this product called LA 15. It was a busy Saturday when I opened the drum and I went through three-quarters of the drum on that Saturday. So when the salesman came back that Monday, he asked how it worked. I said, “Terrible. It couldn’t break the road film. Where in the world was this developed that you can claim it gets cars so clean??” He said “Los Angeles.” Well, there’s a world of difference between the dirt in the Northwest and the dirt in Los Angeles! But, like I say, if there’s a new idea, we’ll look under the rock and try it. PP: And obviously you’ve kept those ideas that worked over the years. How different today is car washing and the car wash industry from when you started in the 50’s?

lost along the way. These values that you’re talking about – where did you acquire them? VO: From my father and mother. I grew up in the Depression years – I was born in 1930. We never went out to dinner. Never. My father never had a car. We did have a pickup truck – but never a car. They never went to the movies. My father owned a bakery and there was a small retail store that my mother ran in the bakery. But my father’s overriding concern for him that he would have to go to what they called – at that time – the poorhouse. So, as a result, I was very conscious of that fact that you have to help yourself. PP: And in that time in particular, we didn’t have all the safety nets in place that we have for people.

PP: So those values that your parents instilled in you that were honed by your experience in the military with accountability, do you have a systemic program at Brown Bear to impart those things to your employees that are coming up and maybe perhaps aren’t getting those values from other sources? VO: We have manager meetings every other week and I am given an opportunity to speak to these values. PP: Are those face to face? VO: Yes. Absolutely. PP: And you’re able to impart the values that have made you successful into your organization?

VO: Absolutely. Absolutely. There was no social security.

VO: Oh, yes. I have some little things: Number one, the customer is king. The customer signs your paycheck. Without the customer there is no money for your paycheck. We have to take care of the customer.

PP: So you’ve talked about the values and you’ve

PP: So it’s critical for you that the product coming

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VO: Well, certainly the one that impacts the bottom line the most is the labor. I can remember as a full service car wash operator on one Saturday I had 57 people working at one car wash. Between driving the cars on, vacuuming the cars, prepping the cars, keeping someone on each side with a steam gun, and you know, and eight mitters, dryers, I mean, oh my gosh. It was absolutely ridiculous. And, of course, I rotated many of these people. So, many of them were on a break. You know – if I could – I’d like to add one other thing about the Marine Corps that I think is very important. An individual can delegate authority, but he cannot delegate responsibility. So, if I tell somebody that I want this or that done – they have the authority to go do it. But if they don’t do it, then it’s my responsibility that it’s not done. That is another guiding principle with all my people. I think that is one of the reasons that I have such a group of people that have been with me for so long. We have a couple people that have been with us – I mean, I’ve got a guy here that I hired at 15 and he’s getting ready to retire next month. My general manager started when he was 15 and he’s 62 now. It’s respect of the individual. Giving them the authority and creativity to solve problems. By involving people – and not being autocratic or insisting that something is done my way. I tell my people to solve the problem as they see fit – I do {continued }


• SUMMER 2016 •

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Brown Bear Car Washes Profile not chew out my employees if they do something that I think is wrong. If they try to solve a problem in a way which I wouldn’t do. I might take them aside and say, “Well, if I was concerned with the problem, this is how I would have solved it.” I think you can get so much more from your people by being positive with them instead of being autocratic and insisting on “my way or the highway.” PP: Have you seen cases over the years where that component made the difference at an organization? VO: Absolutely. Invariably, I would say that is the reason. When we were distributors for Hanna, I think that we sold carwash equipment to about 55 operators. I couldn’t count the number of people where the carwash you sold to was going to be the first of many. It never occurred. PP: Yes, exactly. When I’m at conventions, I always hear people who are talking about they’re going to build one and then ten more. And I always say, “Let’s just build one and see how that goes first.” VO: Absolutely, Perry! Absolutely. You have to become involved in the business. It’s not a business where you can be detached. I can recall – you know, I leased my company out to Costo in 1996. Seven years later we took it back. When we took it back, Costco had washed approximately 800,000 cars. Now, in the last year, we washed over 2.5 million. It was the difference of paying attention to detail. It’s always paying attention to detail. Under the Costco operation, many of the carwashes would be closed at 6 at night instead of staying open until 8 o’clock. They had managers who – if their time was up at 4 o’clock and a carwash was busy, they’d just walk

PP: And they protect the company? VO: Yes, they protect the company. And these people if they’re busy and the site is short, they won’t go home. They’ll finish. They’ll stay on the job until the customer is taken care of. PP: In all of these years that you’ve spent – they’ve obviously been rewarding to you. Do you have a moment that you consider your most rewarding moment in this business? VO: Can I go back again here? When I was 10 years old, my father took me aside and said, “Son, one of the measurements of success when you get to be my age is whether or not you have money coming in while you sleep. The only way I know you can do that is by owning property.” And so, after my first two carwashes, I developed a philosophy that if I could acquire another car wash and have that carwash generate sufficient money to pay for the property, I’d buy it. And I’d hold onto that property until it had a higher and better use. And so that’s why we expanded. To give you a prime example, I bought my first self-serve carwash in 1964. I believe I paid $150,000 for it, including the land. And over the years I acquired the property to the north of it, and to the south of it. And I ended up with about 51,000 feet. I had a total investment there of about $575,000. Two years ago, I had an opportunity to sell it. And I did. I sold it for $5.5 million. That is the complete realization of buying a piece of property and holding it – and having the carwash pay for the property – and then selling the land when there’s a higher and better use.

thought in your mind. If you have the opportunity to acquire a carwash – and not to have the carwash to make money for you, but because it will pay for the property. If eel that we are as much a real estate company as we are a car wash company. PP: So, what you’re talking about there is having an exit strategy. And one of the things that’s coming up in this conversation, is that you definitely have core competencies. Your father gave you core competencies. And your son, Lance, is involved in the business, too. Right? VO: I don’t worry about exit strategy. My son is the exit strategy. And his intention to build the company and expand on what has been built. PP: And do you have those moments aside with Lance where you’re sharing those pearls of wisdom? That advice that is generational? VO: Oh, absolutely. In fact he’s sitting across from me at the desk right now. And he’s heard all of this before, of course. I feel that it’s so important to pass the knowledge along. PP: Well, it certainly speaks well of you that when we sit here and talk about why you’ve been successful for better than 50 years is that you have done those things that are the best and highest way to do it. You have not left your ethics at the door. You have rolled up your sleeves and worked hard. You have taken care of an awful lot of people. You mentioned you had 50-some-odd employees at that one full service wash. How many employees do you have today?

PP: Wow. Great advice, Dad!

VO: About 250.

VO: And so that is the highlight of having that thought for 67 years – here I’m 84 years old now.

PP: And you’re probably washing exponentially more cars than you were back then? VO: Oh, yes. And we’ve built the reputation – we’ve invested into our community. We have, I believe, at the Woodland Park Zoo, we have sponsored the {continued }

away. It was nothing more than a paycheck. Now, iwthin our company, most of the employees consider the company to be family. PP: They have a sense of ownership in some way. VO: Yes – and of belonging. It’s more than a job.

30

• SUMMER 2016 •

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Brown Bear Car Washes Profile donated close to a million dollars to the zoo. PP: And you’ve done some other unique things. You put bronze bears in front of all of your locations. That certainly wasn’t a cheap venture – but you’ve gotten some nice press after a few of them were abducted, huh? VO: Well, that’s another story for Brown Bear. We had approximately 41 or 42 bears stolen from one of our warehouses in Fife, Washington, and we received something like 60 or 70 television and radio and newspaper spots about that. PP: And these aren’t small statues of bears, right? Nothing that could sit on your desk. VO: No, no. These weigh more than a hundred pounds each. And subsequently, we had Lorenzo Ghiglieri, a world renowned sculpture and artist, create a 13- foot tall brown bear for us. We have those in about eight of our locations now, and we’ll have them at all locations where the municipalities will allow us eventually. Lorenzo Ghiglieri is world renowned – he has pieces on exhibit at the White House and the Vatican. So, these are not – shall we say – inexpensive pieces of art. PP: Did you get them back? VO: Well, as it turns out, the people that stole them were meth addicts. And they would cut them up and sell them to scrap dealers. We got about 21 back. But because of that episode and the press I decided that the fourth Thursday of every August would be a free carwash day as a thank you to the people of the Puget Sound area

that were so concerned about our bears being destroyed. So, we washed in excess of 26,000 cars every fourth Thursday of August. PP: The other thing that I noticed in looking at your website – and listeners, if you haven’t been to their website, you really should go. It’s one of the best carwash websites I’ve ever seen. (www. brownbear.com) But one of the things that you did there that I really grabbed hold of and really think that much of our industry misses in their marketing, is marketing to people before they can drive. And you guys have a program called the Kids Club and it includes this Exhibition Guidebook they can download that talks about car washing and the environment. I love that. You’re reaching out and you’re creating brand awareness and loyalty in kids before their feet can even touch the pedals. I think that is so important.

VO: Thank you for bringing that up. In 1993, the city inspector came into one of my carwashes and admonished the manager for washing down the lot. After that conversation with that city inspector, I was incensed. I made a phone call to all the carwash operators in the Seattle area asking them to come to a meeting at my headquarters and discuss the formation of the Northwest Car Wash Association. When we had that meeting, the thrust was to develop a charity carwash program so that people did not have to have their charity wash programs on bank lots or at service stations. So the water would be diverted instead of flowing into storm sewer system and then into the Puget Sound or Lake Washington untreated. So, I said, let’s start this program and sell tickets to the soccer teams, to the drill teams, to the basketball teams. We can sell them to the charities for $1.50 and they can sell them for $7 or whatever and pocket the difference. That program took off. It fell into disrepair when Costco had my company, but now it’s hundreds of thousands of tickets that are sold by charities. And these are the kids, in large part, under the age of 16. And they become a customer of Brown Bear – the customers of the future and they account for the brand recognition and loyalty that we have within the community. PP: Can you speak specifically to the Kids Club and to the Expedition Guidebook that you can download on your website and what the thought behind that was? VO: Well, the Expedition Guidebook was the product of our CFO Steven Palmer. He’s another individual that started for me when he was 15. He went to school, to university, and got an MBA. And when {continued }

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• SUMMER 2016 •


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Brown Bear Car Washes Profile he had finished his education he wanted to work for Brown Bear car wash. That is his forte. And he also has charge of our website. PP: He’s doing an excellent job. VO: The other thing that we’re doing that I think is a little bit unusual is that we sell carwash tickets at a discount to over 30 new car dealers – Mercedes, et cetera. So, like my wife, we have a Toyota. And when my wife went to have a taillight replaced at the service department, when she paid the bill, they gave her a ticket for a car wash at Brown Bear. And when you have 30 dealers passing out Brown Bear Car Wash tickets, I think you can appreciate how that expands the awareness of Brown Bear. PP: Absolutely. One other thing I saw on your website -- and you alluded to it when you talked about the Northwest Car Wash Association/Puget Sound Car Wash Association that you helped form -- is that you guys are extremely involved and at the forefront of water and environmental issues in your community. VO: Yes. That is another thing that back-up the charity carwash program. I hired Environmental Partners to do a study on charity car wash washing – and what happens to the water. It cost about $40,000. The study was printed in Stormwater Management Magazine. It also was noted by various departments of ecology in various states, as well as the Federal Department of Ecology. It is a study that is now referred to constantly because of the danger of what happens – 100 percent mortality to rainbow trout or young salmon – when exposed to the effluent from charity carwashing. We try to be very involved in our community. It’s a two-way street. It’s never good to have a win/lose situation. In all our dealings, we feel it has to be a win/win situation. Whether it be the purchase of a property or having to take care of a damaged vehicle. For example, I believe if you were to look at carwash statistics, most carwashes pay less than one percent in car wash damages. I think the industry average is about .7 percent. For Carwash Enterprises, we average about 2.4 percent. Not because we damage more cars – but because of the philosophy that we have. If we can retain that customer – even if it might cost us $100 or $500 today – it’s better than pocketing that $500 and have him tell five friends that we damaged his car. If we keep him as a customer, it may take us 3-5 years to recoup our money, but we will recoup our money if we keep him. But if we terminate him as a Brown Bear customer by not taking care of that damage claim, then we’ll never a chance to recover any money we might lose. To prevent this from having on a regular basis, we keep track of the customer and the car. So, if he comes back on a second time, we give it more scrutiny. The third time is invariably declined, most likely. We don’t want to be taken advantage of. My first experience with this was replacing a windshield back in 1964. After I replaced the windshield that the customer said we had tracked, I found out in

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the next two or three months that we suddenly had two or three other customers that wanted to claim the same thing. Then I found out that the word had gotten out that if you had a cracked windshield you should just head out to Brown Bear Car Wash. PP: So how would you handle that situation with your current policy in place? If you start seeing an anomaly today, how do you prevent that from happening? VO: Well, we don’t often see the same type of damage come in – like the rear mirror on a Cadillac or a bumper on a Tahoe. We just don’t see that same damage and frequency. For the windshield, of course, the International Carwash Association came out with a study that indicated that carwashes were not responsible for the cracked windshield. Invariably, it was a rock chip or some other damage, and then when it went through the carwash it just expanded. But normally, there’s no consistency in the claims. PP: So the thrust of what you’re trying to say is that Brown Bear has made a decision is that you’re going to decide in favor of the customer. VO: Absolutely. The least we will do, in general, is to be fair with the customer. If we have some strong doubts or questions, we might just offer to pay half of it. But that’s it. I feel that if we lose a customer we’ve lost them forever. PP: Your philosophy sounds a lot like a book I have in my library that I frequently recommend: Carl Sewell’s “Customers for Life.” It’s very similar. They’re car dealers. And they’re philosophy is that if you land at DFW airport and you’re locked out of your car, they will send a van – they will unlock your car – and you will never receive a bill. They figure the average person is going to spend about $550,000 on automobiles in their lifetime, and they

want them to spend at Sewell. It’s a great philosophy. I’ve purchased an automobile there myself. Their team is professional. Everybody is respectful. Their service is impeccable. And the customer experience while waiting on the vehicle is amazing. It sounds like you have those kinds of values as well. VO: Thank you, Perry. Let me continue here just for a second: It’s been said that every bad experience will be repeated by that customer to his friends or family. So you could lose another 10 or 15 people. PP: And today, you’ve got the online world to deal with. VO: Absolutely. PP: The reputation management is particularly important when they’re not speaking to 10 friends, they’re speaking to a thousand. VO: Yes, particularly with social media now. Absolutely. PP: I just returned from a conference where one of the speakers was saying that Yelp! is the biggest social media service for reviews today and that Google is pushing it towards the top of the search results, and he actually demonstrated where you could have 13 bad comments and it would take 64 good comments to overcome the 13. Conversely, companies should be concerned with their reputation on Yelp and building a good reputation on Yelp so that if that one bad review comes along, it can be absorbed in the mass because very few people are reporting. It’s always the bad actors. So, you have to build the positive. It’s something we all have to be concerned with. VO: Absolutely. That’s very interesting information. You know, with social media the word could get out and it could kill the company. And we’re very proud of our reputation here and we do everything we can to protect it. We’re not going to lose our reputation over a few hundred dollars in a damage claim. PP: I’ll just add one final thing: In 2004, I got a phone call from Vic and I got to spend a week in Washington with Vic and his son, Lance, and his team. It should be evident to our listeners by now that I can attest -- and now you can, too -- that Vic and his team are the real deal. That week was one of the highlights of my career and this phone call has been another one. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us. VO: Thank you very much for the kind words. It’s much appreciated. The car wash has been a labor of love. It’s not the money; it’s the sense of satisfaction of building something and making it into something. There’s only one instance where I bought a carwash and I wasn’t able to turn it around. But the satisfaction that you can get from taking a loser and turning it into a winner is priceless.


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37


Presenting some of the best discussions of the self serve industry’s headaches and solutions from ACF. You can find more discussions like these on AutoCareForum.com.

Foam Brush Woes Haines: I am running a Husky 307 pump at 60 psi with air assist at 40 psi. The problem is, sometimes it works good for foam and then it starts pumping liquid. It had been working great up until a few days ago; although I’m not certain of the pressures (I adjusted them without noting where they were. duh.) My foamers are in the brush handles, and the lines are teed after the pump in the equipment room. I am running 3/8” poly to my bays. As I said, it was working great, but now I can’t seem to figure it out. I’m using the KR Cherry soap. I’m not sure how slick it should be in the mixing tank, but I did add some more to the tank direct to eliminate that. How often should the pump “pulse”? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you. MDrost1: I believe I run both air and soap at 40 psi.

you’re siphoning diluted soap into the concentrate.

Robert 2181: I use a Flo-jet, with needle adjustment valves for air and foam brush soap on each bay. Sometimes you may have to turn the pressure way down and slowly turn it up until you get foam you want out in the bay. My pump cycles about 4 - 5 times per minute.

Haines: Adding more soap to the holding tank didn’t seem to affect the problem. I think most of my problem was that I was trying to adjust the pressures too quickly rather than wait on results. What caused the initial disturbance is beyond me. 60 and 40 seemed to be working as of last night, I will check in bit when I get off work. Most of the way through the thread referenced above; good stuff. Quick question, why use an expensive Graco instead of the common Flo-Jet? Longevity, durability, volume?

Earl Weiss: See at 40 seconds: https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=KlRMAQnwIPw I think you are trying to put too much thru a single 3/8 line. I would throttle the Husky back to 40 and air to 5 and gradually increase the air. Try a new bucket of FB soap in case the old one got diluted and make sure the foamer in the handle is not gummed up. Haines: I’ve seen your video, love your results. Will a Husky perform similarly to a Flo-Jet? It’s a new bucket of soap too. It’s working, knock on wood, at 60 and 40 for now. To throttle it back to five I’ll have to put a different regulator in. If it goes wonky again, I’ll try 40 and five. Doesn’t the pressure of the air assist affect how often the pump pulses? I guess I don’t get what changed that it is having problems now. Car wash gremlins I guess. Thanks for your replies! Earl Weiss: Yes, because you can only put so much thru the hose, so the Flo Jet is fighting the air. lilB93: The thing I find about KR soaps, got in 4 five gallons of cheery FB soap. Three were thick as they usually are the 4th was MUD. Of course that’s the first one we opened and put in place of the almost empty one. Then people start complaining no foam, We use flojets to pump it out to the bays. They would not suck it up. Just have to watch you get from them. 2Biz: There’s a good thread with lots of info about different foam brush setups on the Forum. Your air driven husky pump should be similar to a flojet. I run 60 psi flojet, 30 psi air mixed in through a foamer at the boom. You need a consistent flow of about 20 Oz a minute liquid to make good foam. It’s hard to accomplish this without using needle valves on the liquid. The tee’d in air is regulated to 30 psi, so no need for needle valves. I use 3/8 poly all the way out to the boom tips. Never have to make any adjustments. Always good foam. MEP001: Did adding more soap to the mixed tank affect the problem? You could be leaking liquid into the tank that’s slowly diluting the mix, or the foot valve in the bucket could be bad and

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• SUMMER 2016 •

Robert2181: All of the above! As far as using the Flo-jet pump. I have 6 Self-serve bays, 100’ tunnel and a quick lube. We have about 14 Flo-jets in use. They work perfect. When there is a problem, swapping one out takes 1 minute. we always have a couple of back ups. Earl Weiss: Not sure how long flo jets have been around 20+ years ago all the set ups were with Husky’s and Graco’s. They are spec’d out at higher volume than Flo Jets. In the tunnels and SS the only place I think I would need that volume is for the 8 Bay Foam Brush. I just use 2 Flo Jets at 4 bays each. All other pumps for the SS and 4 tunnels have been replaced with Flo Jets. I use Viton only. That way I just stock a couple of spares at each location and don’t have to worry about if it’s compatible or not. Haines: Well if the Husky blows up, I will definitely change over, but I don’t think I’ll swap it until then. I sure do like the prices of the FloJet for sure. Mrfixit: I believe the issue is related to the air. For some reason it lost proper air pressure. Could be related to a sticky regulator or other causes of air pressure loss like a leak.... Next time it does it check the pressures. Air does slow the pump, and i’m sure it was pumping away at the time. I’ve cheated a weak regulator by running the air a little higher... you can always open the regulator and check for gumming or damaged parts. Bud: Here’s a good one for you. Do you have a water softener? If so is the water soft. If my water isn’t softened for whatever reason, it affects all my chemicals but it is especially noticeable in the foam brushes. They will spit and sputter and throw liquid all over the place. Slash007: I don’t have soft water at one wash and the foam brush doesn’t spit or stutter... Comes out pretty foamy.

Rotary Pump vs. Flojet Slash007: I currently have rotary Procon/Vane pumps for all low pressure functions at my washes, but as I have been shopping for a new pump stand, I see that a lot of companies are using FloJet pumps for low pressure. Is one better than the other?

MEP001: The Procon setup is more reliable IMO, but the FloJet is cheap and very easy to replace with the quick-change bracket. I just changed one Friday, took me less than a minute. They need to be protected from high pressure backing up and must have clean, dry air supply, and you have to use Viton pumps on harsh chemicals, and covering all that they will last 3-5 years even with it dead-headed against the solenoids. A Procon will last longer and can make more pressure but it costs at least three times as much for the pump and motor together. Randy: 20 years ago we were having problems with the longevity of the Flo-Jet pumps on the Tire cleaner/Presoak. We installed our first Procon pump then and have never gone back to the Flo-Jet pumps on the Tire Cleaner/Presoak. In the 20 years that they’ve been installed I’ve replaced 1 $90.00 Procon pump head. I wonder how many Flo-Jet pumps I would have replaced in the last 20 years. The reason equipment manufactures use the Flo-Jet pumps is to make their equipment less expensive and more attractive to the buyer. The cheaper the better right, at least that’s what some operators think. Slash007: Thanks for the posts guys. I have only replaced one procon head in almost 9 years, so they have been very reliable. Replaced only one motor as well, but it was 20 years old at least. I figured it might be a cost savings to go with flojet over procon. I would much rather pay more now and have less worries later. JamboWash: What model Procon pumps are you using Slash007: Procon Rotary Pump Clamp Style Model 102A100F11XX at one wash, not sure what’ being used at the other. It’s whatever comes with the Coleman Super Saver, I never changed them. Washnvac: I previously was having serious aggravation with the flo-jets. I was sending multiple units back under KR 16 month warranty. They were being covered, but they always failed when busy. As a last straw before changing to procons, I added a point of use provider filter (PUP) at one location. (KR part # REA425- $159.50) This has made all the difference in the world. I have not had to change a flo-jet since adding it. So I put them at all locations. It requires a $66 yearly element change, but is well worth it. So, I would recommend the flo-jets as long as you get the filter; mostly for the reason MEP said: Easy, quick change out. And all my attendants can do it. As a side note to flo-jets-- I have an A-OK pump stand from 1997 that has 2 of the original 4 flo-jets on it--when they were made in the U.S.A. {continued }


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Rotary Pump vs. Flojet

{continued }

They are now made in China.

sories+air-compressor-dryers/products

Slash007: Looks like the price went up to $240.. What does that do exactly? Do you just install it near the compressor so that everything that needs air benefits?

Slash007: I do have oil/water separators installed in various areas, but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

JamboWash: looks like sonny’s has it for $221 washnvac: Sorry-- I took price out of catalog. I did not realize it was that much. But still should be worth it. I installed mine not at the air compressor, but just before the flo-jets. This site has it for $213 http://store.industrialairpower.com/ Randy: We still have a few Flo-Jet pumps on the Foam brush system. They seemed to fail mostly on the Tire Cleaner and Presoak system. We don’t use any filters or water separators on our air compressor or air supply, moisture in the air has never been an issue, the humility today is 88%. Cwguy.com: So is that product just an oil / water separator? Or did you already have an oil / water separator installed and you also added this? Slash007: We still have a few Flo-Jet pumps on the Foam brush system. They seemed to fail mostly on the Tire Cleaner and Presoak system. We don’t use any filters or water separators on our air compressor or air supply, moisture in the air has never been an issue, the humility today is 88%. At one wash, moisture is a huge problem. I blame it for most of my issues with mac valves and regulators. I do have an auto drain on the compressor and also drain it manually daily, but there is always water in the lines. Air is used for so many things there, I don’t know if one of the PUP’s would even help. Cwguy.com: So you do not have any oil / water separator installed? Everyone sells them.... it seems like that is what this is also? You can purchase them at almost any price point. Maybe you need an air dryer? http://m.northerntool.com/categories/shop~tools~category_air-compressor-acces-

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Cwguy.com: Maybe you have a different problem? Try turning off the air compressor auto drain for a day. I have a feeling your air compressor will fill up with a certain low pressure chemical. Then you can troubleshoot from there. Lilb93: I would purchase a refrigerated air dryer. you can find the on craigslist for 3 to 8 hundred. We have a larger one for 40cfm, in our service garage. Never a drop of water in the lines, The air tools now last alot longer. https://reading.craigslist.org/ tls/5531578259.html It is not my air dryer. Washnvac: From the ingersoll rand website regarding the pup: A Point-of-Use Provider (PUP) is a 3-in-1 solution for the bottom of a compressed air drop. In one compact unit, the PUP is a filter, automatic drain, and manifold for multiple distribution. PUP incorporates a high efficiency 1-micron coalescing filter, which will remove solid particles, moisture, and oil contamination leaving the air clean and your system protected. PUP’s unique design provides the solution for condensate removal and multiple outlet connections all in one compact unit. From a 1” female top entry connection, up to four outlet connections can be made to PUP. Two 1/2” ports and two 3/8” ports are positioned around the head of the unit allowing for any piping configuration. What I can tell you, is that the flo-jet failures have stopped with this unit installed just before the pumps. Cwguy.com: WOW.... Thanks! I recommend using an air dryer for his air compressor.... now I want to call someone Monday to try and purchase an air compressor and dryer. LOL I did read about the product and the auto drain seems nice but I never get that much in my trap. (Our humidity average is 77% apparently.) http://www.usa. com/birmingham-al-weather.htm I believe sometimes a check valve could cause the same symptoms? All this auto draining would mask the problem. MEP001: The moisture that accumulates in the compressor tank has almost no bearing on how much air gets into the lines (unless you let the tank get full of water up to the outlet). Cantbreak80: Following “best practices” for compressed air plumbing will significantly reduce moisture at the point of use. There are many piping examples available on the www, but, multiple drip legs are commonly recommended...especially in the humid environment of a car wash engine room. PaulLovesJamie: I’ve had a few procons fail on me & require replacement. IMO when I add in the cost of the motor & electricity, procons end up being more expensive even factoring in flojet replacement. Especially for lower pressure applications. Flojets last me 5 to 10 years each. I’ve always known that my compressor was originally piped “on the cheap.” Since I use a lot more air than I used to, and since I seem to be getting more moisture in the lines, I’ve been thinking about re-plumbing it... your post reminded me I need to do it, & do it right. So thanks for that. Copperglobe: Procon by far. Used both in our washes and I wouldn’t go back to Flojet.

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Cfcw: If you remove the air from the pump between usage with the proper equipment, the air pumps will last much longer. It will require a IDX controller, a solenoid, and a 3 way valve of some sort to bleed off the air. Pitzer used to use a pink hydrominder teed into the air supply line downstream of the solenoid instead of a valve to bleed off air. I put in a flojet in a very humid equipment room and the air supply is wet. I have a solenoid on the air supply. This flojet is probably five years old and still working. I know on one pump stand I have a ARO pump that is configured the same, and it is at least ten years old. I like rotary pumps for LP presoak because of the higher pressures, but I am fine with air pumps on everything else. MDrost1: Like CFCW said, I have a Norgren(PN 353162-0151-E) solenoid with a let off built in. Takes the pressure off the Flojets. Works pretty well. Aside from the valve being $90, works fine. Though I have to be very mindful of draining the tank to keep moisture out. If I don’t stay on top of it, the valve gets messed up. Anyone know of another potential replacement valve for this application? I’d be curious if there are any other options. MEP001: https://www.kleen-ritecorp.com/p36151-kip-3-way-solenoid-valve-24v.aspx I couldn’t find a 120V one on their site, but I got some from somewhere for only about $50. I put them on the frag/vac because they were trapping pressure in the line and the compressor would always start under load. KevinJames: I think you guys need to go back to 3rd grade and get some math lessons, a 5th grade could figure this out. If you’re paying $239.99 for a Pup air filter that requires a yearly filter change that costs $104.27, after 10 years you’re going have spent $1282.69 and you’re probably going to have to replace 3 Flojet pumps in that time period at $233.25 if you buy the cheapest one there is. For a total of $1755.93. Or you could buy 1 Procon 102A100F11XXpump for $77.57 and a buy 1/3 hp motor for $188.07 for a total of $265.64 and be money ahead over the 10 year life of the Procon pump, or longer and not have a the aggravation of dealing with the Flojet pumps. PaulLovesJamie: OK now thats funny, 3rd grade math requiring a 5th grader... LOL Washnvac: Ok---well that fuzzy math neglects the electric costs of running the pump, a $95 multiplexer, and a $?$ motor starter. Plus a 100 gph pump would not do my locations. One is a 9 bay which a flo-jet at 7 gpm does just fine. I would need 2 procons for that location, and I would need the 240 gph or 330 gph with a 1/2 hp motor for the others. And, a procon would not last 10 years on tire cleaner and presoak. I have them at one location-- 3 years tops. We will just have to agree to disagree. From the posts, there are pros and cons of each set up. MEP001: But are there flos and jets? I.B. Washincars: I just use a check valve open to atmosphere to bleed the pressure off. I just screw it in by hand, without tape or sealer, so it will leak a little. When enough air leaks off, the CV unchecks and dumps what’s left, along with any moisture. Pretty crude, but very simple and cheap.


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New In-Bay Safes Bigjws: Need to replace my 40 year old safes -- existing are the 8” dia x 10” deep galvanized tubular safes. They are located in-bay, so I’m planning on going back with all stainless. I saw where MEP mentioned the one from Dultmeier -- has anyone had any experience with the ones from Kleen-rite? They are made by Ideal..which I haven’t heard about. Also, any advantages/disadvantages that I’m missing between tubular vs square safes? The tubular seem to all have the plug locks with the allen wrench configuration, whereas the square ones have the t-handle locks .. any thoughts on longevity in a bay environment between the two? Thanks for your views! Earl Weiss: I don’t know that I have seen any type go bad. FWIW I have round steel safes in my bay but my Coleman Vac Islands have the Square Drawer type safe. I see some round ones are rate for $1600 in Quarters and the Square ones only $1000.00 but AFAIAC that is plenty, especially now with CC and Bill acceptors in the bay. Mine also have a secondary plate with Hockey Puck lock in that cover with that lock boxed in on front, top and 2 sides. If it were up to me I would only go with the drawer type safes. Even with the sleeves the drawers seem more user friendly. Going that route I would use the extra cover / lock. Ra Lock has this option - it’s rated for $1200 in quarters. What is it about your current safes that makes them no longer serviceable? Bigjws: Well, my father-in-law put the originals on in the late 70s, not galvanized. A sleeve was put on them sometime later after the originals rusted through, but they are now rusting out again. This past weekend one was ripped off the wall and stolen .. so I plan on bricking them in to ‘discourage’ any future ideas! Figured it’s not worth bricking in rusting out safes, so new stainless here I come…! Cantbreak80: Being that I’m a bit of a “gadget

freak”, I’d consider these: http://www.idxinc. com/carwash/safes.htm. No Keys! Wire them to a toggle switch inside the equipment room, power up the bay, select your rotary switch position and CLICK!, the safe unlocks! Slash007: My safes at one wash are round and only 7.5” deep. I have been wanting to swap them with square safes and a drawer, but can’t find anything that small. I really can’t go deeper than 9” as it would stick out too much since they are just mounted on the wall under the coin box. Anyone know if they still make safes that small? MEP001: A square safe with a T-handle in the center is usually going to screw into a nut in the back of the safe, so it’ll be about 2” deeper just to accommodate that, which means the drawer can only be 6” deep to be recessed 1” from the front, and it wouldn’t hold much. Dralco does make a rectangular safe that bolts to the bottom of a standard Weben box, not as secure as most but I think it can be beefed up with an American 2000 lock. Slash007: Makes sense. I probably won’t really find anything better and will just stick with what I

have. My coin boxes and safe are right in the middle of the bay, I have been thinking about moving them to one side so that they don’t keep getting sprayed with water so much. In the winter they get covered in ice as the water freezes. That would also give me more room as it clears half a bay wall to add trifoam or something else like tire shine. Earl Weiss: Or you can make it more secure by Building out the wall. Local Guy made some SS shrouds. Like a half tube and bolted to the wall on both sides. Left opening for safe door and filled with cement. Opening for safe door is recessed a couple of inches. Slash007: I thought about building out the wall, but my bays are already so small as it is, I couldn’t stand to lose any more room. Randy: We use the 14” round coin vaults https:// www.kleen-ritecorp.com/p-237...ound-safe.aspx and install them at the end of the bay so you can see them from the street with 2 bays dropping into one coin vault. We this high security vault head https://www.kleen-ritecorp.com/p-220...safeheads. aspx years ago we tried a “T’ handle square https://

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www.kleen-ritecorp.com/p-378...uare-safe.aspx and found them to be not very secure. Earl Weiss: FWIW I had my heads made “High Security” by taking to a local welding shop. They welded on the Tab for the 2000 lock and also a shroud that went around that lock with a space for inserting the key. Mac: The IDX ones look interesting, but what do you do if/when the locking solenoid fails? Cantbreak80: A failed solenoid or broken electrical conductor can be overcome by adding a manual release wire to the lock plunger. Secure a stout wire to the lock plunger. Fish the wire to the meter box or, to a junction box on the top of the bay wall. Fashion a “tee handle” from a large bolt or metal rod. If/ when the electrical system fails, open the meter or junction box and pull the handle. Mac: Well that’s fine if you rig it when it’s working. We are redoing a wash with these, the safes won’t open, and there is no emergency wire. Good head scratcher. Slash007: I wondered the same thing. Can’t believe there isn’t a fail safe. Cantbreak80: Odd that you can’t open any safe...you wouldn’t expect to find all safes with failed solenoids? Maybe the line from the transformer has a blown fuse? Slash007: Anyone have experience with coin boxes that have the vault hidden inside? You just open the main door then the there would be a box to collect the quarters. You would have access to both the bill acceptor and the quarters at once, so I’m not sure if it’s a good idea. I also worry that tak-

ing the quarters out would be hard and might mess with the wiring if the box got heavy or they were spilled for some reason. Thoughts? mac: A little update on my failed safe solenoids. Turns out IDX made them and I was able to talk to them about this. They said the solenoids used to open the safes are designed for intermittent use. In this case the signal went through a key switch. They said if the key was left on overnight the solenoids would cook. I think that is what happened here. And of course no one at the wash admits doing this. Se we have new regular safes on the way and a concrete saw and chipping hammer standing by. Not only that, but the yahoos who built and installed this ran all the wiring in the walls and then under ground. Including the J boxes that connect them. There has to be a special place in Hades for these kind of people, and should I end up there, I’ll definitely look them up. And Slas007 I have installed the Etowah boxes like this and so far no issues. Just open the door and the bills and coins are easy to remove. Earl Weiss: Can you say “Design Flaw”!!! Slash007: Mac, are you actually using the boxes with the hidden vault yourself, or just installed them for others? I am curious about the day to day and if there was potential for damage to the wires etc. over time. At one wash I lost power to a couple of vacs. After troubleshooting everything that I could, I finally figured out that the problem was underground. Apparently they had installed a J box under the concrete. I had to dig it up and redo all

the wires. I can’t imagine what goes through someone’s head when they concrete over a J box. MEP001: If I were to design something like that, I’d include some sort of fail-safe, even if it has to be as simple as a spring to push the safe out when the solenoid is momentarily energized, or even a beeper that stays on until the power is killed. It’s usually against electrical code to bury any type of junction box or pull elbow. Slash007: It is against code, but I guess if nobody is checking then people do all kinds of crazy things with wires. Luckily it wasn’t too deep. Cwguy.com: Makes sense. I probably won’t really find anything better and will just stick with what I have. My coin boxes and safe are right in the middle of the bay, I have been thinking about moving them to one side so that they don’t keep getting sprayed with water so much. In the winter they get covered in ice as the water freezes. That would also give me more room as it clears half a bay wall to add tri-foam or something else like tire shine. If you are looking for smaller square t-handle safes.... I have some drawers I could send you. Coleman sells just the safe housing separately. I believe I also have some Coleman high security plates somewhere? I also read the IDX patent for those safes a long time ago. I believe there are 2 electromagnets and if 1 fails it will still open. https://www.google.com/patents/US5211275

SCWA Convention & EXPO February 26–28, 2017 Arlington Convention Center Arlington, Texas www.swcarwash.org • SUMMER 2016 •

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INNOVATIONS

Bright New Ideas, Products & Services For Self Serve Car washes

From QwixMix: Windshield washer fluid vending unit QW-1-40 Vending Unit • On Tap Vending offers your customers the convenience of filling their washer fluid reservoirs while they fuel up with gas. • Easy to fill 40 gallonl tank with locking cap. • Payment options: Tokens, Coins, Credit Cards, Bill Acceptor, Fleet Management System or Tank Monitoring System. • Front locking panel easy to remove for cleaning and servicing. • Easy to read high intensity scrolling sign. • 10ft coil hose nozzle with rubber protected end to prevent scratching a vehicle. • Customer may stop pumping up to 3 minutes at anytime and then resume when ready.

From Productive Tech Solutions: Touch4Wash Mobile Phone Payment System Touch4Wash Interface Module The power of our Touch4Wash system can now be yours for as low as $500. Enhance your facility to allow mobile activation of your wash equipment. Works with your current pay station. Your customers can now activate any wash at your site with their mobile phone. This black box installs in any wash equipment.

From CustomKraft: Super Bay Meter The CustomKraft Super 12-function unit is the most advanced self-service system available. It provides an unsurpassed market advantage with unique features and cycles, as well as extended vending times per customer. The system is standard with 12-functions and three operating pressures. Any cycle may be delivered with hot or cold water, and with low-pressure, medium-pressure or high-pressure. Lower pressures are adjustable from 50 psi to full operating pressure. Typical settings are 100 psi for low-pressure, 250-400 psi for medium-pressure and 1100-1300 psi for high-pressure. Maximum recommended discharge pressure is 1750 psi.

Standard cycles are: • Tire Cleaner • Wheel & Chrome • Presoak • Soap • Foam Brush • Tri-color Foam Gun • Gloss Wax • Bug-Off • Rinse • Spot-free • Rubber Protect • Stop Custom cycles available upon request.

From Mark VII: Four innovations introduced at The Car Wash Show Celebrating its 50th year manufacturing car wash systems, Mark VII Equipment Inc., the North America subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, introduced four product innovations at the International Carwash Association’s annual event. LightRails is a new option for Mark VII systems featuring stainless steel guide rails with bright LED lighting that simulates an airport runway, providing customers a dramatic show while guiding them safely into the bay. LightDoors is a new visual design for Mark VII systems with LED lighting to add show for customers, while also allowing

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operators to custom brand their equipment with their logo and colors. Mark VII Plus is a cloudbased, real time remote monitoring system that aggregates data from multiple sites into a single user interface, making it easier for service technicians to maximize uptime and providing data and reporting tools the operator needs to grow the business. Finally, a new Chemical Injection System enhances consistency, reliability and cost control of chemical application on customer vehicles.


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INNOVATIONS From LEER: Ice Vending Ice Breaker™ – 24/7 Self Serve Once again, our product innovation is crystal clear with the introduction of the new Ice Breaker™ vending merchandiser – a spectacular new take on our classic ice merchandiser design. A superior buying experience awaits both the packaged ice consumer and the retailer. Eye-catching illumination, 24/7 self-serve, credit card convenience and remote sales & inventory monitoring are all features design to sell more ice, more often. Features: • 80 cubic feet capacity • 24/7 attendant free unit featuring familiar credit/debit card vending • Self-locking doors activated by powerful electro magnetic locks • Dynamic crown with “northern lights” illumination also functions as cover for refrigeration unit

• Large inviting doors and easy grip handles provide multiple touch points and comfortable access for customers • Consumer-friendly recessed user interface protects against the elements • Door wraps to side of cabinet to accentuate a clean aesthetically-pleasing merchandiser • Smooth Clean & Clear© interior finish [manufactured with antimicrobial sheet metal] in

white to showcase the packaged ice

● Outside dimensions: 95” width, 43” depth, 79” height

From Belanger: SpinRite-SpinLite Tunnel Car Wash System

From WashCard: BayStation

SpinRite multi-patented car wash media and equipment is the world’s first car wash technology designed to deliver ‘Better Than Hand Wash’ results at production line speeds. Its self-supporting soft foam arms deliver an ultra-quiet, thorough and gentle massaging clean. SpinLite wash equipment is a world’s first patented illuminated hubs enhanced with color changing LED lights. Perfectly complementing the better wash of SpinRite, SpinLite illuminated wash equipment announces that your car wash is open and ready to deliver an unprecedented customer experience. • Gentle and Thorough - Conventional wash wheels are loud, intimidating and chaotic. SpinMitt wash wheels deliver an ultra-quiet, thorough and gentle massaging clean that customers greatly prefer - and outperform conventional equipment and hand wash workers alike. • Quieter On The Car - Soft Foam Arms allow wheels to spin at 30 to 45 RPM, reducing sound levels by at least 200% and producing gentler interaction with all vehicle surfaces. • Consistent Wash Results - With at least ‘7 Hands Per Arm’ and ‘9 Fingers Per Hand’ each SpinMitt wash wheel conveys 250,000+ cleaning touches that removes dirt with multiple cleaning edges. • Support Your Brand - Choose between Red, Green, Blue or Black ‘Hands’ • Active Site Marketing - Attract and capture customers from the street and into your wash 24/7/365. • ‘Just Flip A Switch & Your Car Wash Markets Itself’ - with an attention getting light show of color changing hubs around the clock. • ‘Own The Night & Rule The Day’ - whether

WashCard’s baystation is loaded with NEW FEATURES no other manufacturer is offering to the Self Serve car wash industry: • Accept Cash, Coin, Loyalty and Credit Cards • Control up to 12 services • Individually priced services • WashCard Loyalty Software • Set different price for loyalty customers • Advanced Cash Auditing • Hidden Attendant/Maintenance Menu Access • Multilingual Options • Enterprise Reporting • Wireless Communication

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you are washing cars, between washes or even closed for the day. • Beacon Effect - Bring back customers by giving them a wash experience they remember, prefer, and seek out for their future car washing needs. • Package Confirmation- Wash wheels follow each car with lit colors that confirm their wash package, to assure customers they got what they paid for.


Everything for the Car Care Industry!

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We carry a full line of ArmorAll products Distributor of car wash parts, supplies and equipment for over 45 years. 6800 Foxridge Drive, Mission, KS 66202 • Phone: (800) 443-0676 • Fax: (913) 789-9393 • SUMMER 2016 •

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Replace or upgrade your ACW. Installs inside an existing ACW cabinet! Accepts Cash, Coins and Credit Cards The most economical 24hr Automatic Entry System! CryptoPay provides secure credit card processing that ‘Simply Stops Fraud’ Features CryptoPay Consolidation reducing Merchant Fees Compatible with CryptoPay In-Bay credit card system*

PayStation Features: l 4 - Selection Large backlit LCD display and voice prompts. l Accepts cash, coins and credit cards securely with CryptoPay! l Connect this Paystation CryptoPay to your existing CryptoPay system or add CryptoPay to your In-bay boxes for one complete credit card solution*. (*CryptoPay Coordinator is required for each car wash location) l Program up to 25 discount codes. Add an “optional” 2nd hopper to vend a bonus token that can be redeemed for a free vacuum or a discount on your next car wash purchase.

CryptoPay Security: Prevents credit card data from being ‘in the clear’ and at risk by encrypting the credit card data at the moment, and point, of the credit card swipe. CryptoPay provides secure credit card processing that ‘Simply Stops Fraud’. CryptoPay Consolidation: Reduces merchant and credit cards fees which are essential for small ticket purchases. Here’s an example of CryptoPay Consolidation: Imagine that a customer visits your carwash. He swipes his credit card at the PayStation and purchases an $8.00 wash. Ten minutes later swipes his card again at the vacuum, and is charged $1.00. CryptoPay combines these two charges into one $9.00 charge that is submitted to the credit card company, which results in only one merchant fee for the purchase. CryptoPay GoGreen Receipt Service: Allows your customers to get their receipts from credit card purchases made at your car wash. Receipts are available online 24/7, two hours after last usage. It provides end-to-end encryption delivering receipts safely online. American Changer Corp.

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Industry Dirt

Happenings In & Around Self Serve Carwashing

Innovative Control Systems (ICS), a provider of car wash management and control system technologies, recently announced it has acquired PSD Codax, a global leader in car wash code entry and access control systems. “This new alignment makes great strategic sense for both companies,” said Kevin Detrick, Innovative Control Systems President. “The geographic coverage and product lines are complementary. We are confident that the synergies created will offer significant benefits for customers around the world.” “When the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 negatively impacted sales, ICS expanded beyond the conveyor car wash segment into the in-bay and self-service markets by developing new products and a multi-site management system called WashConnect,” explained Rob Deal, ICS Vice President of International Sales. ICS also initiated a territorial expansion outside of the US. “We soon encountered PSD Codax and their forecourt code entry systems in virtually every market but North America. The geographic fit is excellent,” said Deal. “Together we are creating a global car wash electronics company with a wide range of evolving capabilities for customers.” Graham Round, Sales Director for PSD Codax concurred. “The opportunities for global synergy are immense. PSD Codax serves thousands of retail car wash and forecourt sites around the world. ICS products complement our own. Coming together with ICS will move Codax into a new phase of business development that offers more marketing functionality, operational control, and connectivity for current and future customers.” PSD Codax http://www.psdcodax.com designs, manufactures, and supports a full range of products for the car wash and forecourt car care equipment industry. ICS will continue to operate PSD Codax from their current headquarters in Bristol, England, giving the combined customer bases full technological support through a global network of call centers.

Innovative Control Systems http://www.icscarwashsystems.com is headquartered in Wind Gap, Pennsylvania, USA, and is a leading provider of car wash management and control systems including the Auto Sentry® line of payment kiosks, Tunnel Master® controllers and the WashConnect® multisite management system. Mark VII Equipment Inc., the North America subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany, the world’s largest manufacturer of vehicle cleaning systems, announced that Chris Armena has joined the company as its Canada Sales Manager. Mr. Armena’s background includes fourteen years of sales and management experience with global energy companies Total and Chevron. He also has experience as a gas station dealer and quick lube franchisee. He holds a BA degree in Mechanical Engineering. “I’m thrilled to have Chris join the Mark VII team,” said Chris Andersen, CEO of Mark VII. “With gas stations being a major segment of our carwash business, we’ll benefit from his extensive firsthand experience in that market.” Armena will be based at Mark VII’s Canada headquarters in Grimsby, Ontario. SONNY’S Enterprises Inc., has named Denise Ernst as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing. In this role, Denise is responsible for establishing, leading and executing the company’s overall sales, marketing and product strategies. “After an extensive country-wide search to find the right person to drive SONNY’S sales Denise Ernst and marketing to the

next level, I am confident that I found that person in Denise,” said SONNY’S CEO Paul Fazio. What attracted Denise to SONNY’S, “is the leadership position in the industry, its strong growth, quality of equipment and products and the fantastic company culture. Sonny’s approach of a total customer solution that includes education, software, equipment and supplies to help ensure their customers’ success is exactly what I was looking for in a company.” Ernst has a background in sales and marketing in both B2B and B2C, leading sales and marketing organizations, driving new business, launching new products and inspiring and developing sales and marketing teams. Her passion is helping companies develop by finding and meeting customer needs so everyone grows. In further news from the company, SONNY’S The CarWash Factory was awarded a 2016 Top Workplaces honor by The Sun Sentinel. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few. “The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest. And oftentimes, people assume it’s all about fancy perks and benefits,” says Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. “But to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health. And who better to ask about work life than the people who live the culture every day—the employees. Time and time again, our research has proven that what’s most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it’s going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together. Claffey adds, “Without this sense of connection, an orga{continued } • SUMMER 2016 •

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Industry Dirt nization doesn’t have a shot at being named a Top Workplace.” “Being a family-owned company, I have always hoped that we were building something beyond just a place to come to work. For me personally, this was verification that the people I work with everyday feel as connected and passionate about what we are doing together as I do,” Paul Fazio, CEO of SONNY’S Furthermore, SONNY’S The CarWash Factory announced it has extended the hours of operation for its customer service operation to 8:00 am to 8:00pm EST. So what does that mean to SONNY’S customers? This means that the customer service department will gladly process your order until 8:00pm EST and will make sure orders that are placed by 6:00pm EST ship that same day. Additionally, this means that the CarWash Controls technical support team will be available to help you until 8:00pm EST, to keep you up and running. As always, you will have access to 12,000 parts with $12 million in inventory to keep your business running smoothly from coast to coast.

Ryko, manufacturer of integrated, end-to-end clean vehicle solutions such as the Ryko SoftGloss MAXX, Radius and Mini-Express Tunnel, has announced the launch of a new, revamped website designed to enhance the customer experience and streamline different processes. The recently redesigned site offers quick, easy access to information about all of the products and service offerings from Ryko. “We are excited about the recent launch of the all-new website and the great deal of information that is available for both current and potential customers,” says Mike Gillen, CEO of National Carwash Solutions. “ The new site allows us to offer access to any information our customers may need, whether it’s on their computer, a tablet or a mobile device.” For new customers, the refreshed site makes it simple to research equipment and offers access to financing in two-clicks. Ryko and Ascentium recently announced a partnership to make it even easier for prospective car wash owners to get into the business, while offering affordable and customized finance options for

Ryko’s state-of-the-art managed car wash products, services and technologies. For existing Ryko customers, the new website makes all information about car wash products and services available in two-to-three clicks so that they are able to access the information they need quickly and easily. The new website also offers the ability for customers to easily contact a representative if they have any questions, with a contact feature on every page. In addition to providing durable and quality wash equipment, Ryko has 250 locally based technicians throughout the U.S. to provide fast response time to minimize machine downtime Brown Bear Car Wash has opened a new tunnel wash in Puyallup, WA, the family-owned company’s 44th location in Washington. The new tunnel wash offers three custom wash options (“Beary Clean,” ”Beary Bright” and “Beary Best”) and self-service vacuum facilities. Widely recognized for its environmentally-friendly practices, Brown Bear uses gentle, biodegradable cleaning detergents at all

Save the date! September 19-21 Atlantic City Convention Center 54

• SUMMER 2016 •

Sign up today at nrccshow.com


Industry Dirt its locations. “We’re excited to serve the car care needs of Puyallup area residents, and welcome them to join us in special promotions and community programs year around,” said Brown Bear Car Wash founder and CEO Victor Odermat Other services include the “Brown Bear Unlimited Wash Club” valid at all tunnel wash locations, and the “Brown Bear Charity Car Wash Program,” an environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional car wash fundraisers where harmful run-off enters storm water systems and drains into Puget Sound or other local waters. Odermat started Brown Bear in Seattle with one location at 15th Ave West in Seattle. The company now owns and operates 22 tunnel and 22 self-service car washes throughout the Puget Sound area and Spokane. Recently, the chain was honored for over two decades of environmental stewardship by the Puget Sound Business Journal in the annual “Healthy Community Corporate Champion Awards” program. For its best practices and community outreach efforts, including the pioneering Brown Bear Charity Car Wash Program, Seattle-based Brown Bear Car Wash received the 2016 “Environ-

ment Corporate Champion” award. Operating 44 car wash locations in Washington State, Brown Bear joined Seattle area recipients in other categories, including the Boeing Co. and Expedia. “Though we’re honored to be recognized with this award, seeking ways to safeguard the environment has been part of our mission for many years,” said Brown Bear founder and CEO Victor Odermat. “Helping to protect Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and other local waters is a way for us to give back to the communities we live in.” Brown Bear locations separate and remove road pollutants including oils, heavy metals and antifreeze from car wash wastewater. Once these are removed, wastewater is then safely released into the sewer treatment system, not storm water systems, for further cleaning. In a single year, Brown Bear Car Wash pays to dispose of more than 500 tons of potentially hazardous sludge – an average of almost a ½ pound for every car washed by the chain. The “Brown Bear Car Wash Charity Car Wash Program” spotlights the company’s community engagement at the grassroots level. An alternative to traditional car wash fundraisers where run-off frequently enters storm water systems, non-profit organizations can purchase car wash tickets from Brown Bear for $1.50 each, then re-sell them for

$6-$8 each and keep the entire profit. Since 2007, booster clubs, church groups and others participating in the program have raised more than $4 million for their organizations. Over 150,000 tickets were sold in 2015 and a record 27,000 tickets were sold this past March. “‘Wash Green” is much more than a corporate slogan,” said Odermat. “They are words reflecting our corporate commitment, which is a win for the organization, community, and the environment.” UNITI expo 2016, celebrated from 14 to 16 of June in Stuttgart (Germany), has been branded a great success by organizers, exhibitors and visitors alike, according to a pres release from the event’s organizers. The leading European trade fair for the retail petroleum and carwash industry covered all areas regarding the service station and carwash business on a 35,000 sqm exhibition space. Uniquely structured into subject-specific themed areas, trade visitors could find an exclusive selection of innovations, concepts and products that ensure business success. A total of 425 exhibitors from 36 countries covered 8 product and service areas: Forecourt equipment & construction {continued }

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High volume car washes that can deliver clean, shiny cars need to be a “WORK HORSE”, and that is what the TURBO WASH is often called. In fact, there are more units of the TURBO WASH basic design that are 10, 20 even 30 years old that are still out there washing cars. What other manufacturer can make that statement?


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Extra! Extra! Read all about it ... Are you on Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? We’ve got a hashtag for you! The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is trying to make #GoGreenDriveClean a trending topic by organizing a sweepstakes for a year of free carwashes. Carwash customers had the opportunity to take a selfies while washing their vehicles at commercial car washes throughout the month of May. After taking their selfie, they were instructed to post it to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #GoGreenDriveClean and tag NWAUpstreamArt to enter the contest. Social media users can use the hashtag to search for already posted pictures and continue to add their own to the movement. The contest was an effort to educate consumers on the environmental dangers of at-home carwashing. Any water that enters into a storm drain inlet in Northwest Arkansas goes directly to a creek or stream without being treated, the organization reminded would-be polluters. “We wanted a fun interactive way to get residents of Northwest Arkansas to stop washing their cars on the street or their driveways and get them into properly piped commercial car washes to help protect our water,” explained Jane Maginot, extension urban storm water educator for the division.

Northwest Arkansans weren’t the only ones on high alert for home carwashing environmental risks, the Hutt City Council in New Zealand was similarly scolding residents there for risking the health of their local waterways – especially those car owners who might think biodegradable or “environmentally friendly” detergents were okay to use during driveway washing. “There are no environmentally friendly detergents and that includes biodegradable brands,” regulatory services manager Geoff Stuart explained. “Any detergent or cleaning agent that gets into the city’s stormwater drains when a resident washes their car ultimately ends up in our streams, rivers and harbor. The impact on our environment can be devastating.” Furthermore, he said he would like to see more people using commercial car washes. We couldn’t agree more! Is it time for HGTV to launch an Extreme Makeover: Carwash Edition? The operators of Burbucar car wash in Madrid, Spain, must think so. They hired architect Lina Toro to completely renovate the carwash to “visualize its philosophy” of using clean and innovative processes in the wash process. The rehabbed carwash might be the “most gorgeous carwash in the world,” according to Slate. com, which published a series of photographs of

“You may now Super Kiss the bride.” A couple exchanged their vows at Delta Sonic Car Wash in Fairmount, NY, bringing a whole new meaning to the carwash chain’s “Kissing Clean Car Wash” motto and menu theme. (Customers at Delta Sonic order from a menu which features service items like “Super Kiss” and “Super Kiss Plus.”) “[The] car got super kissed, and we got super kissed,” explained the blushing bride, Peggy Blakely, a loyal Delta Sonic customer with her new husband, Ron. “It was exciting! This has just been the best day ever.” Delta Sonic provided a stretch limo for the event and the couple shared their first kiss inside the car wash.

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the wash to highlight its new design elements, especially the “bold blue epoxy paint that floods the entire 8,100-square-foot space on the ground floor of a seven-story building.” The wash also features a visible “purifying room” which holds its water reclaim/recycling system.

“You may now Super Kiss the bride.” A couple exchanged their vows at Delta Sonic Car Wash in Fairmount, NY, bringing a whole new meaning to the carwash chain’s “Kissing Clean Car Wash” motto and menu theme. (Customers at Delta Sonic order from a menu which features service items like “Super Kiss” and “Super Kiss Plus.”) “[The] car got super kissed, and we got super kissed,” explained the blushing bride, Peggy Blakely, a loyal Delta Sonic customer with her new husband, Ron. “It was exciting! This has just been the best day ever.” Delta Sonic provided a stretch limo for the event and the couple shared their first kiss inside the car wash. Looks like due diligence for wouldbe carwash owners in NYC now includes checking for pre-existing union agreements. This comes to light after one of the first NYC carwashes to unionize comes up for sale – and a union spokesman insists the new owner will have to honor the employees’ collective bargaining rights. “Regardless of who owns this carwash, the union contract requires a new owner to assume the obligations of the collective bargaining agreement,” stated Joseph Dorismond, organizing coordinator of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Vegas Auto Spa in the Park Slope section of


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Industry Dirt

And they didn’t invite us?! A New York City-based marketing firm went all out with a unique car wash theme for their annual summer party to celebrate their clients, vendors and business associates. The event included staffers dressed as carwash attendees, life-size hanging car air fresheners hanging from the ceiling, a dance floor that was designed to look like a carwash conveyor belt, and slogans like “Get Hosed at the MKG Summer Party” and “When in Foam” displayed throughout. Even better? The firm set up “Billy Ocean’s Car-A-Oke” room with karoke music binders that listed only one choice for partygoers to sing along to: Ocean’s 1988 hit “Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car.” So what inspired the carwash party theme? “This event gives us the opportunity to do what we do in our own way,” explained MKG Creative Director Lauren Austin. “When we’re choosing a theme, the criteria would be a theme that we don’t think anybody else would do.” Nailed it.

Brooklyn is listed at $500,000 and includes an adjacent beer store. Vegas workers signed a twoyear union contract in March 2015, and shortly after the owners settled a federal lawsuit brought on by employees who claimed the wash owed them $600,000 in back pay. Under the terms of the settlement, Vegas owners formally recognized the workers’ union contract and paid $100,000 to eight employees. Just a year later, the wash was listed for sale – although representing real estate broker insisted the sale wasn’t related to the union activity in an article on dnainfo.com. “The business brings in, after all the expenses, including union pay, more than $250,000 a year,” he stated in the article. But how much does it cost in headaches? Just another reason to stick to self serve… Or what about “elephant serve?” The elephant car wash at Winston Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR, has opened this summer season after a four year hiatus. It might set you back $25, but this unique car wash experience – wherein customers drive through the safari as elephants playfully spray their vehicles – is actually a fundraiser to expand the safari’s elephant exhibit. If you’re worried about union activity, the zookeepers insist it’s a voluntary service – if an elephant doesn’t want to participate, he/she “simply walks away,” according to an article on kezi.com. The elephant car wash is every Thursday through Monday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.

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Speaking of unique carwash platforms, the “on-demand” carwash concept is really picking up, according to a recent article in CSP Magazine. According to Get Spiffy CEO Karl Murphy, fixed carwash locations – like the two tunnel sites he owns in the Raleigh area – are fine for the “value-oriented consumer, typically a male baby boomer or GenXer, but for the millennial – in particular, the female millennial – the traditional system is no longer convenient enough.” Enter: On-demand carwash and detail services at the touch of your smartphone. The article reviewed four different services, including Get Spiffy, and noted prices from about $19 to $249, although the average for a “come to you” carwash seems to be about $35. Get Spiffy is limited to the North Carolina market for now, although the brand intends to go national, while Mobile Wash Wype (started by a former LA Laker), and Squeegy are all based in California (mostly in the L.A. area). Not reviewed in the article was Washé, which SSCWN reported about in its last issue. Washé is based in South Florida.

• Oil companies & fuel retailers • Carwash & carcare • Payment & Automation • Transport & logistics • Lubricants & additives • Shop & convenience • Services & media The organizers have counted more than 15,000 attendees from over 110 countries during the three exhibition days. The quality of visitors – trade visitors only – was very high according to statements from exhibitors and organizers. Three subject-specific forums were available free of charge for all: Shop & convenience forum, Carwash forum and International forum. A broad range of lectures and presentations offered attendants an insight into a wide variety of topics, from global market trends to technology-specific subjects. “Our expectations were already high before the event because we knew that we had done everything possible to make this exhibition a great success. The reality, however, has once again exceeded our expectations. I’m very happy and extremely satisfied with the result. I have received countless enthusiastic feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike. We have undoubtedly succeeded in creating an event that enriches our industry,” comments Elmar Kühn, CEO of UNITI-Kraftstoff GmbH, organizer of UNITI expo. The Shop & Convenience area, focused on innovations, concepts and ideas, has also proven to be hugely popular among participants. “Service station operators want to see solutions and concepts that can make their shop & convenience business even more successful. This is exactly what they could find at UNITI expo in high quantity and quality,” says Walter D. Mangold, shop & convenience expert in the organization team. For the forecourt equipment and carwash areas, the quality of exhibitors and the high internationality of visitors were key components for UNITI expo. “Through global marketing campaigns, numerous partners around the globe and a convincing concept, we have once again managed to increase the internationality of the trade fair. With approximately 40% of international visitors from 6 continents and exhibitors from 36 countries, UNITI expo has become the world’s most international trade fair of our industry,” confirms Bruno Boroewitsch, responsible for international marketing in the organization team. UNITI expo proved to be the ideal platform for industry professionals from all over the world to share products and innovations, while succeeding once more in providing attendees with a complete overview of the present and future of the industry.


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Association Round-Up Covering notable ICA, WCA, & SECWA get togethers.

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• SUMMER 2016 •

SSCWN staff thoroughly enjoyed our time at Car Wash Show 2016 in Nashville this May, but we were super bummed to miss events in Boise and Fort Lauderdale. In case you missed them, too, we’ve gathered up some photos and highlights from the representing Associations. Enjoy!


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• SUMMER 20163:04:11 • PM 7/20/2016


Association Round-Up

2016 Calendar of Events Calendar

Submissions can be made to Editor Kate Carr at katec@sscwn.com

August 9

ACWA Table Top Show Bulleen, Victoria, Australia acwa.net.au

September 13-17 Automechanika Frankfurt, Germany

September. 19-21 Northeast Regional Carwash Convention Atlantic City, NJ nrccshow.com

September. 26 NECA Golf Outing Harvard, MA newenglandcarwash.org

October 8-11 SECWA Expo & Convention Westin Golf Resort & Spa Savannah, GA secwa.org

November 1

NECA Dinner Meeting Woburn, MA newenglandcarwash.org

November 16

Learn More, Earn More by Kleen-Rite Corp. Columbia, PA

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• SUMMER 2016 •

From the International Carwash Association: This year’s The Car Wash Show in Nashville was one for the record books. In what would be the largest Show in 10 years, nearly 8,000 attendees walked the trade show floor to see the products and services from more than 400 exhibitors. It lived up to its reputation as the largest car wash convention and trade show.

“Once again, the car wash industry has shown that The Car Wash Show is the event to attend,” said ICA Chief Executive Officer Eric Wulf. “Across both our car wash and fast lube communities, we saw record numbers this year because the Show provides them with tremendous benefits {continued }


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Association Round-Up ICA continued... and opportunities.” This year marked the first year of a new partnership with the Automotive Oil Change Association. “This gives us an opportunity for our membership to really get more bang for their buck by coming to one show with a lot of activity and I’m looking forward to it,” said AOCA President David Haney. “I’m excited.” And this year marks the second year of partnership with Western Carwash Association, and the benefits are paying off in a big way. “Now what we have is an ability to focus all of our resources and our efforts on more local issues,” said WCA President Jason Johnson. “So we’ve hired a group for advocacy in our legislature, we’re able to have chapter meetings and we’re able to do more roadshows. We freed up all the staff time to attend to more local issues.” Attendees at this year’s Show experienced a variety of activities beyond the trade show floor, including the Welcome to Nashville Celebration, a massive block party held on Fifth Avenue with live entertainment provided by country music star Kellie Pickler. Headlining the 17+ hours of education, retired Navy SEAL Rear Admiral Scott Moore delivered an inspiring keynote address sharing stories of teamwork when quick decisions mean life or death and insights on how to recruit, train and equip teams that will exceed expectations. “His whole idea of culture and getting ideas from each team member was just awesome. He was very inspiring,” said Tom Hoffman, Sr. of Hoffman Car Wash. “This whole concept of teamwork is universal within any organization ,” said Clean Sweep Car Wash Owner Ken Littrell. “And it’s the same principles applied that make us successful in the car wash industry.” This year’s Show featured 70 education sessions curated to help attendees learn new ways to enhance their businesses. “One of things I took out of this is to make sure we’re updating quickly and making [our posts] as interesting as possible when we’re posting to social media,” said Dave Watson, owner of The Chamois Car Wash. Additionally, The Car Wash Show offered industry seminars for new investors, emerging leaders and car care executives which provided car care professionals with, respectively, an in-depth workshop about the industry, knowledge about developing leadership skills and information on how to drive innovation. “There are just things that you think you know that you don’t know,” said New Investor and Soft Water Car Wash Owner Martin Clayton. “Labor is going to be a bigger issue than you think. It’s not about if you perceive it as a good job but your marketplace determines whether it’s a good place to work. So [learning] how to overcome those challenges and be successful at it.” With more than 17 hours of access to the trade show floor, attendees were able to see goods and services from exhibitors. The show floor is vitally important to both attendees and exhibitors, alike, as it is an opportunity to establish new business relationships that will, ultimately, benefit customers

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Association Round-Up ICA continued... around the globe. “We get to touch and feel the equipment and I get an opportunity to speak with other operators,” said Arshad Niaz, owner of Dream Wash Autospa. “All of those are unique benefits you can’t get otherwise.” “I think it’s a great opportunity especially for small businesses to meet some of the larger companies that we can distribute our products to,” said Stephanie Stone of Integrus Packaging. The show also featured several awards. First, the Community Service Leadership Award was awarded to Rising Tide Car Wash of Parkland, Fla. for its work in the autism community. The award is presented to a company or individual that provides a continuum of leadership to the community in which their business operates. The D’Eri family, owners of Rising Tide, have a son – Andrew – who has autism and sought to help those on the autism spectrum by providing employment opportunities, something the community desperately needs. As of 2015, more than 80 percent of their employees were on the autism spectrum, and the car wash has received national recognition as one of the largest employers of people with autism in the United States. “We started this because my brother has autism and he needed employment. But what we found is that our employees are genuinely the best we could ever ask for,” said Tom D’Eri of Rising Tide Car Wash. “Everybody in this industry is really focused on system and process and procedure and that’s how we produce consistent customer experience. Our employees really buy into that and love that.” Bob Hodge was named this year’s Hall of Fame Award recipient. A beloved industry veteran, Hodge is a well-known, loyal man who is the friend and mentor of many. His unique journey – going from academic to car wash inventor and operator – allowed him to contribute extensively to the car wash industry with, for example, the Hodge arch. “The Hodge name is synonymous with toughness, integrity and quality – we are lucky to have a man like him in our industry. Both he and the team at Rising Tide Car Wash are well-deserving winners of the Hall of Fame and Community Service Leadership awards,” said ICA President Fred O’Neil. “I was just thrilled. I just almost couldn’t believe it,” said Hodge. “I’m so flattered and to have all these wonderful people who have supported me. Just a phenomenal experience.” And wrapping up the awards, the 2016 Brian Campbell People’s Choice Best Booth Award was presented to Sonny’s Enterprises, Inc. The award honors the best booth as judged by attendee voting. The award was named for Brian Campbell, who was diagnosed with Williams’ syndrome at just 6 months old and given a 10-year life expectancy. He is now 35 and has been attending The Car Wash Show since 1993. The show also featured area car wash tours as well as special giveaways for ICA’s newest events. The Car Wash Show 2017 will take place on April 4-6, 2017 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas. The Car Wash Show will return to Nashville in the spring of 2019. {continued }

• SUMMER 2016 •

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Association Round-Up

From the Southeastern Car Wash Association: January 30 through February 1, 2016 marked the first time the SECWA Road Show visited Ft. Lauderdale, FL. We had a highly attended three days of golf, panel discussions, great round tables and guest speakers followed by visits to six fantastic and diverse car washes in the area. We also had the pleasure of touring and having an awesome lunch at Sonny’s The Car Wash Factory. Thanks to all that participated in our very successful Road Show! Please stay tuned for our fall Expo in Savannah GA October 9 – 11, 2016. What a great town and venue to come together and learn from car wash experts along with an awesome trade show!

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When Business is Fleeting...

The money rolls in with fleet accounts for self serve car washes. By Kate Carr No matter the type of carwash, the size of the operation, the demographics or the location, there is one common complaint that comes up whenever we talk about carwash revenues: Consistency. The carwash business offers very little in the way of reliable (or even predictable) revenues. Innovate, invest and improve your business as you will, there’s no accounting for the weather. Or -- as was the case in 2008 -- the economy. Carwash businesses have worked hard over the last ten years to safeguard their businesses in the way of loyalty programs and monthly unlimited wash clubs. These are both excellent ideas, and we’ve seen some pretty amazing success stories with the former in self serve, but there is one other great idea that doesn’t get as much hype as loyalty or wash clubs -- Fleet accounts!

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What exactly does a fleet account program for self serves look like? Well, much like loyalty programs, it looks a little different from car wash to car wash. The basic components are this: You offer a special accounting/payment service for designated fleet customers; that is, businesses with two or more vehicles to service. Some washes put a minimum or maximum number on the amount of vehicles to service; some washes offer discounted pricing for their fleet services. Neither of these terms are required in order to operate a quality fleet account program, but they are worth considering. Most importantly what you’re offering the fleet business customer is accountability and convenience, not a cost savings. They want control and oversight on how and when their vehicles

are being washed, and a systematic way for making payments on those services. That’s where your program comes in. Fleet card management and service programs vary from company to company, so you’ll want to know ahead of time what sort of control you’d like to offer your fleet accounts. Will they be able to set limits on the days, time, or cost that an employee can spend at the wash? Will they want to service more than 25 vehicles? Do you want to offer them actual cards or send an itemized bill each month? Would you prefer them to prepay? Will they want a program that itemizes receipts and offers tracking on different vehicles? These questions will form the foundation of your program, but there are a few larger, more {continued }


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When Business is Fleeting...

important questions you’ll want to consider before launching (or improving) your fleet program. Self Serve Car Wash News spoke to Luis Argueta of WashCard Systems, as well as to Amber Foley, marketing manager for Classy Chassis Car Wash in Tacoma, WA, and got the basics for creating a successful fleet program for your self serve car wash.

First of all, what’s in it for me? “The main advantage for self serves offering a fleet program is the increase in revenue,” explains Argueta. “The more businesses you can get to commit to use your wash over your competition, the more you lock in every month; this becomes a consistent monthly Income.” Once your fleet accounts are set-up on an auto pay system, the carwash can take in more money month-to-month, Argueta stated, and might even see a bump in the fleet account’s business after they become accustomed to regular washing. In addition to this more reliable income, operators can also benefit from the management software that is geared towards fleet services, Argueta added. “Fleet managers can manage their own accounts using a customer portal. In the portal, they can pull up reports, assign and edit cards to their own vehicles and make payments on their invoices,” he said. “This allows the business customer to take control of the account and use the wash services more often.” Foley, who oversees the marketing for Classy Chassis’ six carwash locations, detail services and quick lube sites, strongly agreed with Argueta’s take on that issue. “I usually give the fleet customers a quick walkthrough and then they take it over for themselves,” she explained. “I always give them the option; I can manage it for you, or you can manage it yourself.

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• SUMMER 2016 •

Every single one has opted to do it themselves.” Not only does that give the fleet customer the feeling of control and oversight, it also frees up Foley’s time in the office. “We’ve collected more business, but it’s also been less work on our end,” she stated. “The customers are managing things themselves. There’s less work for us -- no one’s calling and asking us to check on who used the wash or when.” Instead, the customer is able to do that on their own and manage their accounts from their own headquarters. What kind of a boost could you expect from fleet accounts? Well, according to Argueta, WashCard customers in their third quarter reporting averaged $2,805/month from business accounts -- and top performers averaged a whopping $40,000/month.

What’s in it for them? For fleet customers, the most important advantage is the accountability a fleet management system offers, Argueta said. “[It] becomes a huge benefit for business customers because of the accountability a fleet system can offer: Reports, card balances, time restrictions set during certain hours – and usage, that is logged by fleet cards. Businesses will know their fleet vehicles are being washed and company money isn’t being spent elsewhere,” he added. “As far as the customer is concerned, it’s flawless,” Foley said.” There’s one bill. Everything’s organized and convenient. On our end, we had to make some adjustments as to how we do our billing, but I think it’s been a pretty easy transition.” While Classy Chassis has only been marketing their fleet account system for about six months, it has steadily grown during that time and Foley predicted it would continue to exceed their expectations throughout the year.

How should I sell/market the fleet account program at my wash? Speaking of marketing the system -- how exactly does a self serve sell their fleet account system? According to Foley, it’s a three-pronged approach that involves their website, door-to-door/cold calling, and approaching current customers who might not know about the program. “We have gone by businesses and handed out brochures and asked if they feel it would be beneficial -- a lot of times, that works very well,” she explained. “They say, “Oh, really? We can track it ourselves?” A lot of businesses think there’s a fee to the program, so we explain that it’s free and they’re pleased to find that out. We also approach businesses that are already using our wash and let them know we have a program just for them. And then a lot of it comes in from the website.” And in regards to the website, Classy Chassis’ is very well done, both in the presentation of the program and in their use of keywords/Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques. (You can check it out at www.classychassis.com). So much so that even though their program is only six months old, it’s one of the first hits when you Google “self serve fleet service.” Argueta agreed that having a section on your website dedicated to the fleet service is key to marketing your program, as is maintaining your brand. “A clean image can be very important for both you and your customers,” he added. “Have a plan for training and educating employees on how to sell and service a fleet account at a SS wash. Make sure they know your services, your program and it’s benefits. Also, make sure your website {continued }


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When Business is Fleeting... presents your service offerings and the fleet program in a way that is clear and to the point.” To that end, Argueta suggested hosting mock sales pitches if you have multiple employees. Set aside a time where you can have a small team building exercise and ask them to sell the program to each other. Observe and guide them while making notes for adjustments in their delivery and demeanor. Remember: slang, jargon, acronyms, industry specific terms need to be avoided in conversations with all customers. Furthermore, Argueta cautioned operators from getting too caught up in discounting the fleet service program. “Don’t let that be your only focus [in selling the program],” he warned. “For a lot of companies, accountability, control and reporting can be great benefits. Position your wash as a modern business that can guarantee they are in good hands.” Promote the benefits of your fleet management software to the companies -- and be knowledgeable about the advantages it offers to you, too, Argueta suggested. It should come with automated features to save you time, giving you more time to commit to networking and reaching out to the businesses in your communities.

Promote the benefits of your fleet management software to the companies -- and be knowledgeable about the advantages it offers to you, too, Argueta suggested. It should come with automated features to save you time, giving you more time to commit to networking and reaching out to the businesses in your

How should I structure my fleet account program? Perhaps the trickiest part of offering a fleet account program is deciding how to structure your offerings. “This is a very loaded question because there are many factors that can affect how a fleet program is structured,” Argueta said. For example, Classy Chassis has six locations and a mix of self serve, automatic and express/full service carwash equipment. The company also has a dog wash, truck wash, full service detail shop and an express quick lube. So for their program, the company has decided to offer bonus perks for fleet accounts which utilize the auto pay feature, and additional discounts for clients which use their detail and quick lube services, and for those with a larger amount of vehicles in their fleet. Your wash will want to consider the size of your market and how many fleet programs you realistically think you can attract to the wash. Don’t start off your program with any steep discounts, and be mindful of all the important advantages (time saving, accountability, convenient billing) the program will offer without having to drop your prices.

Who should I approach to recruit to my fleet account program? There’s no end to the kinds of businesses which might be interested in a fleet account program, Ar-

communities.

gueta said. “Don’t limit your vision to large fleets of vehicles, like cable companies – think business. When you market your program, you can get accounts that range from a couple vehicles to a couple hundred! It can be your nephews Karate Club that has a couple vans, it can be your local Maid Brigade, or the Sheriff’s department in town.” Foley found that approaching customers that were already using the carwash and asking about their needs was very helpful. Also, scout around town and be prepared to hand out flyers to any vehicle that has a company logo and/or contact information posted. Catering companies, landscapers, your school system -- these are all potential fleet accounts for your self serve.

How can I maintain good fleet account relationships? Once you’ve landed your fleet account, it’s crucial that you offer them customer service which goes above and beyond what they might expect. Your networking and keeping a close relationship with these business might lead them to recommend you to other businesses, Argueta said. “Handling business relationships can be like a dance– you always want to be in touch with your partner,” he added. His suggestion was once a month; you won’t suffocate your customer, but you’ll keep in

contact often enough that you can spot problems before they arise. Remember: these conversations aren’t about payment. Those are two separate calls, Argueta cautioned. Don’t let your “check in” call turn into asking for a check. Some additional pointers from Argueta: When talking to your business customers, make sure you keep a conversational tone when you ask them: Any recent changes to your fleets? Do you need me to send you more cards? Ask how they are managing with the customer portal and if they have any questions. Make them feel heard and ask for feedback. − Once a month is a great option, and you don’t suffocate your customer. Don’t let this conversation turn into a payment request– these are two separate conversations.

What should I look for in a fleet account system provider? There are many ways management software can help accommodate fleet accounts, some have more options than others. When looking into a fleet management system, ask a lot of questions; make sure the system can offer the functionality you’re looking for and builds upon your offerings. Consider the flexibility, options and type of service you’d like to offer your fleet customer and build from there. Do you want them to be able to manage their own account or do you prefer to send out bills? Do you want to be able to have an automated payment system? Will they be using special cards at your wash? Do you want them to be able to control the days or hours an employee can use the wash? Will they want to limit the amount of time spent in the bay? All of these are important questions you’ll have to ask yourself before interviewing potential fleet service card/ system providers.

Success is fleeting Once you have your system in place, work hard to market and manage those accounts. Your ability to maintain relationships with your fleet customers will become a cornerstone of your business -much like how you build customer loyalty, only the return on investment will be on a much grander scale. Make sure your business philosophy and mission are tied into your fleet account program and you’ll be well on your way to a more reliable -- and profitable -- carwash operation.

• SUMMER 2016 •

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Darwin Carwash at the

If you thought that was a bold move, you’ll be really impressed by our next Darwin. The owner of Wash

PSA: If you drink, don’t drive – and definitely don’t carwash. A man “having a very difficult time trying to put money into the car wash machine” at a Traverse City, MI, gas station was arrested on suspicion of operating while intoxicated and possession of marijuana, according to Grand Traverse County sheriff’s Capt. Chris Clark. The man was discovered to have a blood alcohol level above the legal limit -- .09 – after a gas station attendant dialed 911 to report his boozy behavior.

Perhaps another PSA is necessary: If you insist on ramming your minivan into the carwash change machine, maybe hire a babysitter for your kid first? A pair of Darwins forgot to check in with the nanny before trying their preferred theft technique at Rutherford Car Wash in Rutherford, PA. Police have surveillance video of their Honda Odyssey crashing into the vending machine during an attempted burglary just after midnight on a Tuesday evening – and a young child is pictured inside. While they weren’t able to access any money, they did damage the carwash property, and authorities are asking the public to report any information about the suspects (two white males) and/or the van.

Darwin as an entrepreneur! Concert goers in Fort Laramie, OH, continued their annual tradition of bathing at Southside Car Wash following the four-day outdoor musical festival

Wait – is showering at self serve carwashes a thing now? Perhaps so. A group of four unidentified “tourists” – including two participants who opted to completely remove their undergarments – were spotted bathing at a car wash in Egilsstaoir, East Iceland, according to an article from icelandreview.com. When some other customers attempted to put an end to their nonsense, one of the tourists jumped “on top of a low wall where he waved his private parts and laughed.” You know what they say, “What happens in East Iceland stays in East Iceland lands you in the pages of SSCWN.”

Well, here’s 45 reasons to pursue charges on a Darwin that burglarizes or vandalizes your carwash: Hubert Bourgeois has been sentenced to 45 years in prison following several burglaries at carwashes in Ascension and East Baton Rouge, LA. SSCWN previously reported on Bourgeois crime spree – and he confessed to at least three robberies which resulted in eight counts each of criminal trespassing, simple criminal damage to property, simple burglary, as well as single counts of illegal carrying of weapons, prohibited acts, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Follow the money – or in this case, the quarters – to solve this crime thriller. Po-

known as “Country Concert.” “New this year were entrepreneurial brothers Collin and Evan Luthman,” according to WHIO. “They parked at the site and [offered] clean, folded towels for rent at $5 each.” No word on how much money the pair were able to launder at the wash, but a news report said they were considering dropping the price since sales were slow.

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lice in Clanton, AL, are searching for a suspect who may have recently deposited or attempted to cash a large amount of quarters he obtained from two separate burglaries at a local carwash. According to the police report, the suspect used a reciprocating saw to access the coin machines at the wash. They’ve asked local banks and store owners to be on the look out for someone dragging around bags of quarters. {continued }

Me Klean Car Wash was shocked and devastated after two regular customers stole her 2014 Lincoln MKZ in a brazen daytime incident. Patty McDougall, who coowns the wash with her husband, said she thought he was crazy for wanting to put up so many cameras on the site. “I have great, awesome customers,” McDougall said, adding that before this incident, she didn’t believe the cameras were necessary. But thank goodness she had them, because the video surveillance system showed the moment when her regular customer entered the pump room and stole her car keys. “I even said hi to him as I came in and out of the pump room,” Patty told a local news agency. The car thief -- who Patty identified as a regular customer -- then makes his way back to his pickup truck and stops to tie his shoes while he works to locate Patty, who was painting on the other side of the building. After he spots her, he walks over to the car and takes a purse from the front seat. Not satisfied with petty thievery, he returns with a second man and together they drove off the property. April McDougall, Patty’s daughter, expressed her shock in the article. “They are regular customers and then they come and rip us off.” “Now they’re using our car to steal other people’s cars,” April McDougall said. “They’re just stealing car after car and they’re driving them around like they own them.” “I just want them caught and I want my car back,” Patty McDougall said.


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If I got paid by the amount of stupid people I deal with at work, I could retire by next week Caution: This story will really burn you up. A carwash worker in Staten Island has been arrested and charged with setting a fire at the wash that injured 10 firefighters and was allegedly done to cover up an earlier burglary. According to FDNY fire marshals, Willie Mandrell, an employee at Touchless Auto Wash, started the fire which resulted in severe damage to the carwash and in an “all hands” response from 12 units and 60 firefighters. Rush hour traffic was diverted during the incident, as well. “We have zero tolerance for anyone who commits arson,” Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro said in announcing the arrest. “It is a dangerous criminal act, which shows no regard for the safety and well-being of FDNY members and the people we are sworn to protect. Thanks to the excellent investigative work by our fire marshals, the suspect wanted for senselessly putting the lives of FDNY firefighters in danger has been apprehended.” Mandrell has been charged with arson, burglary and reckless endangerment, as well as assault charges for the injuries sustained by firefighters who fought the fire.

“Hand me the keys! My wife is in labor!!” Now we’ve heard them all. An unidentified man made headlines in Houston after he handed carwash workers a $20 bill and demanded they give over the keys to his SUV to take his wife to the hospital because she was about to have a baby. The only problem? The Volkswagen Toureg didn’t actually belong to him. The carwash realized their mistake after the actual owner returned to the wash and asked for her vehicle, at which point employees told her it had already been picked up by her husband. “I’m in shock and thinking, ‘This can’t be right,’” the customer told a local news station, adding that her husband hadn’t been to the wash. “We’ve changed a couple of things to ensure the safety of our customers’ cars so that this won’t happen in the future,” carwash owner Kevin Kamrath said in the report.

According to an article in the Oxford Mail, Hemin Poor, an immigrant carwash worker at UK Direct Valeting, attacked a co-worker after the second man began to vacuum the interior of a customer’s car. Poor was outraged since the customer had asked the staff to skip interior vacuuming -- and he decided to express his discontent with his fists. After throwing a few punches and a body slam -which resulted in a broken jaw and a lost tooth for the other worker -- Poor returned to his work. Despite a unanimous decision from the jury, which took less than three hours to find Poor guilty and sentenced him to 15 months in jail, Poor insisted on his innocence. “No I didn’t hit him, I only used the palm of my hand to push his lip,” he told the court. “I don’t know what happened after because I left quickly because he had the sharp head of the hoover in his hand.”

Now this really sucks – a disagreement be-

“Take him down!” Employees at Xtreme

tween two carwash workers over a vacuum cleaner has led to one worker being jailed for 15 months.

Clean Auto Spa in Gainesville, GA, helped capture an attempted kidnapper and carjacker after

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a mother cried for help. The woman had ben vacuuming her car at the wash when a man jumped into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive away with her child in the backseat. Car wash employees Landrell Payne and Melvin Hall sprung into action. “Landrell said, ‘Take him down.’ So I grabbed him around the collar and I took him down,” Hall said in a news article about the incident. The two workers worked together to hold the man down until authorities could arrive. “I have children as well, so when I saw the child, I was automatically thinking, ‘I don’t think this is going to go down here. Let’s stop this guy. He’s not going anywhere.’” The man was apprehended shortly thereafter and faces a number of charges, including carjacking and kidnapping.

Must be a helluva gas station carwash ... A Saudi Prince and the son of a former member of parliament in the country had quite the argument over who was first in line to wash their car at a Beirut gas station -- one that involved three gunmen and a firefight which injured the carwash owner. According to a news article account of the fight, Saudi Prince Saud bin Sultan approached Michel Raphael, son of former Baalbek MP Saoud Raphael, and hit him after he attempted to enter the car wash before him. “Shortly after, Raphael called three gunmen who arrived at the gas station and opened fire, causing material damage and wounding the owner, Tony Karam, in the leg,” the report said. The incident was caught on the carwash’s CCTV and broadcast on Al-Jadeed TV. The carwash owner was taken to the hospital. Raphael’s father Saoud later denounced the attack and denied that his son was carrying a weapon, saying that he visited the carwash owner in the hospital.


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