Page 1



3 President’s Message 5 Financing 102 8 2015 Golf Outing Recap 11 The Problem with Grit 13 Hiring Practices and Worker Safety 14 Join MCA Today!

Phone: 800-610-4512 Email: 120 N. Washington Square Suite 110A Lansing, MI 48933

Golf Outing

Photos, page 8


PAUL COFFMAN Breton Auto Wash




MCA is a membership organization that promotes the interests of Midwest Carwash Operators through interaction, education and information. The Finish Line is a quarterly newsletter published by the MCA. Opinions expressed by guest writers do not necessarily reflect views of the MCA. Acceptance of advertising does not imply endorsement or approval of the product or service advertised. All articles submitted with be considered for publication and accepted at the approval of the editor and MCA Board. The MCA reserves the right to edit submissions for accuracy, clarity and length. Please send address changes, membership inquiries, and advertising requests to the address listed above.

Advertising Index Diamond Shine.................................................................................5 DRB Systems, Inc.........................................................................15 Extrutech Plastics, Inc. ..............................................................11 Genesys Technologies/Crypto Pay..............................................3 Major Brands Oil.............................................................................6 McIntyre‘s Soft Water Service..................................................13 Michigan Cleaning Fund...........................................................12 PDQ..................................................................................7 Schultz Inc.......................................................................................10 Warsaw Chemical Company.....................................................14


Midwest Carwash Association 120 N. Washington Square, Suite 110A Lansing, MI 48933 Phone: 800.610.4512 Fax: 517.371.1170

Finish Line

Page 2

Fourth Quarter 2015

FROM THE PRESIDENT By Paul Coffman, Breton Auto Wash


’d like to share a recent experience that happened to me as a reminder that there is no better way to lose a customer than a lack of quality control.

It was a typical busy Saturday at the wash and there was no quality control person on the floor at the end of the line at the full service wash. A customer had paid for an exterior wash with interior cleaning. After he had re-entered his vehicle and driven away he realized that the car was not as clean as it should have been and finished cleaning his car himself once he returned home. It should be noted that the person had an injury and the reason he chose the interior cleaning was because he felt he was unable to do so to his liking himself at this time. He then took the

time to sit down and compose an email describing his experience and saying he was not impressed with our services. This resulted in a loss of revenue for refunding his wash. But has it also resulted in the loss of revenue for this customer over a lifetime? How many people might he have told about his visit and how many people might they have told? Quality control comes in many areas: direct customer service by your employees, the product your employees provide, the product you use, equipment condition and more. Wishing all of you a profitable season -


CryptoPay Credit Card System Engineered to Reduce Fees STOP paying tRansaction FEEs on EvERy swipE! Auto Cashiers

Self Serve Bays



Pet Wash

Go online now to learn how cryptopay reduces fees, secures your transactions and simply stops fraud.

719-277-7400 | HCA Ad Layout 6.indd 1

Fourth Quarter 2015

1/10/14 3:52 PM

Page 3

Finish Line

Get Fired Up!

EXPO 2016 June 20 - 22 FireKeepers Casino Hotel

More details at Finish Line

Page 4

Fourth Quarter 2015

FINANCING 102 Applying for Financing When You Need to Upgrade Your Equipment or Purchase an Additional Location By Buzz Glover


eyond owning my car washes, I spent most of my professional life in the equipment financing industry. It is where I earned most of the money to afford the down stroke I needed to get started in the car wash business. What’s ironic is that I do not have a finance degree and evolved into the equipment finance industry after selling equipment for years that would, in most cases, be financed in some form or fashion. This experience taught me how to package a loan or lease package properly to be presented to a credit officer. I used the same process for packaging the loan applications for the two car washes I built from the ground up and for the loan on the third wash I bought from a private owner. The process for most car wash owners or aspiring car wash owners when deciding to get a bank loan will be to stop down their local bank and say “I need a loan to upgrade my equipment at my car wash”. They sit down with the commercial loan officer and the loan and the loan officer will typically hand them a credit application and then ask them for the past two to three years of their personal and corporate tax returns. In some cases, they will offer up an equipment leasing solution if in fact they have a leasing group in their bank. Once the information is supplied to the loan officer, a long arduous process of getting additional information begins and in many cases the loan ends up being declined. According to a 2014 article published in the Huffington Post, “42% of business owners that needed a loan in the

Diamond Shine Car Wash Solutions Grand Blanc, MI Office: 810.406.3300 Cell: 810.624.3069

previous two years reported being unable to obtain one” .1 This makes the packaging of your loan even more critical. It also allows you to shop the loan transaction more readily.

Loan Packages Depending on what you are looking to finance, the loan package could look a bit different but will almost always have the same core contents. Proactively preparing a complete package will show your bankers that you are prepared and serious about your business and their participation in it. In some respects, you should be approaching the loan process with a “Shark Tank” like presentation showing credit officers that you know your numbers and your business. Keep in mind that while your commercial loan officer will have some influence on having the loan approved, they will not be the final decision maker with the loan being handed off to a credit officer, and in many cases, being handed off for two to three additional approval signatures. These hand-offs make the packaging even more critical as the hand-offs are never positioned with the proper explanation for the reason for the loan and how it will save you money or make you more productive and/or make your bottom line more impressive. Here is what I include in my loan packages for an equipment loan or lease: 1. The bank credit application (or a generic credit application they will accept) 2. A personal financial statement commonly referred to as a PFS 3. Last three-year personal and corporate tax returns. 4. A brochure or brochures of the equipment I want to finance. 5. A proposal, quote, or invoice for the equipment I want to finance @stevecwchemical

Fourth Quarter 2015

continued on page 6 Page 5

Finish Line

Financing 102 - continued from page 5 6. A quick write-up on how the equipment is going to do one or more of the following: ¾¾ Make my business more productive (wash more cars, etc.) ¾¾ Save me money (Ex., water reclaims saving X dollars on water costs) ¾¾ Increase my margins ¾¾ A pro-forma of how your financials could improve. 7. The structure or term that I would prefer. 8. A business plan (this is a good time to update your business plan of you have not done it in a while) 9. Additionally, if you are building or buying a new location you will want to add the following to your credit package: ¾¾ An appraisal of the land/lot/building if you have it. ¾¾ A site survey ¾¾ A site plan of the development with elevation drawings if available. ¾¾ The tax returns of the existing car wash you are buying As you can see, preparing for the loan process properly can be more work than most business owners imagine. In reality, most loans over $75k will require much of the information listed above and your ability to provide the information up front will speed the process along. While the loan application process can be tedious for larger transactions there are some ways to get around the long commercial bank loan process. Many car wash owners will simply use the equity in their homes to get the loans they require for their businesses. This process is completely different and allows the owner to use any equity they have in their home as collateral. While it is not a true business loan, the owner can then loan the money lent to them through the home equity loan to their businesses. This process is a much more streamlined for many banks and will almost always require an appraisal of your home. It also will usually provide a much more aggressive rate than a commercial loan.

other benefits, will typically have higher rates. Some of the primary lease benefits include, quick approval, little or no down payment, ability to write monthly payment off as operating expenses (if structured correctly), off-balance sheet financing to meet bank covenants. More recently, peer-to-peer lending sites have been popping up on the web where individual investors fund loans to small business owners. Sites like: and are portals that you can take your loan requirements to and have individual investors lend you the money. When you finally decide that you need a business loan to acquire additional equipment or buy another location, keep in mind that the packaging of the loan is critical and your ability to give your “Shark Tank” presentation in the material you provide will ultimately determine some of your success in the loan process. Resources: 1. h t t p : / / w w w. h u f f i n g t o n p o s t . c o m / s t a c y mitchell/small-business-lending-smallbusiness_b_5197783.html Buzz Glover is the author of “Car Wash Business 101: The #1 Car Wash Start-Up Guide” available on He also blogs at http:// He built two car washes in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA and bought a third existing location. He is also an equity owner in Patriot Equipment Finance with 25+ years of equipment finance experience.

Equipment Leasing Equipment leasing is also an option. Equipment leasing companies will typically have applicationonly requirements up to $75k and, while offering Finish Line

Page 6

Major Brands Oil Company is pleased to provide our customers with the Simoniz line of car wash products. Liquid High Foam Detergents

Drying Agents

Whitewall and Wheel Cleaners

Rust Inhibitor

Polishes, Sealants & Glass Treatment Major Brands Oil Company is also an Oil and Lubricant distributor of Quaker State, Shell, Pennzoil and other major brands. For any questions or inquiries please call Major Brands Oil Company.

462 West 23rd Street Holland, MI 49423 1.800.968.9000 616.392.5936

Fourth Quarter 2015

Fourth Quarter 2015

Page 7

Finish Line

2015 Bill Boal Mem

The weather could not We enjoyed seeing you at our outing i

Finish Line

Page 8

Fourth Quarter 2015

morial Golf Outing

have been more perfect! in September at beautiful Timber Ridge!

Thank you to our Sponsors Eagle Sponsors Belanger, Inc. Gallop Brush Company Schultz, Inc. Golf Carts

Car Wash Insurance Program


PECO Car Wash Systems Fourth Quarter 2015

Page 9

Finish Line

Markets we serve.


Environmental Services

Car Washes


P.O. Box 27607 • Lansing, MI 48909

Excavation c Mr Va

Phone: 517-484-7989 • Fax: 517-484-7920

1-800-PIT-CLEAN (748-2532) schultz seRvices Non-hazardous Liquid Industrial Waste Vac & Disposal Services: Car Wash Pit • Floor Drain • Oil Water Separator Reclaim Tank • Fresh Water Tank • Sewer & Storm Drain Rain Water Gardens • Retention Pond Maintenance Analysis Services: Third Party Waste Sampling and Testing • Storm Drain Inspection Environment Site Inspections with Documentation Other Services: Automatic Service Program • Third Party Line Jetting Miscellaneous Vac Services • Emergency Services Hi-Pressure Power Washer Services Disposal for other licensed Liquid Industrial Waste Transporters

ceRtificAtions & licenses

AssociAtion & membeRships

USDOT Motor Carrier Identification Number: 1179117 EPA Transporter Identification Number: MID982074445 MDEQ Assigned Transporter Identification Number: ULIW2074445MI Lansing Wastewater Discharge Permit Number: C-800-I-080113

Power Plant

Finish Line

Special Projects

West Michigan Air & Waste Management Association Environmental Management Association Better Business Bureau Michigan Manufacturers Association Midwest Car Wash Association

Water Treatment

Page 10



Fourth Quarter 2015

Grit, the Underlying Problem for Carwash Owners Safely handling road debris like sandy grit can eliminate up to 80% of car wash complaints By Del Williams


rit can act like sandpaper, rubbing against the automotive paint jobs that car wash owners are trying to clean and shine. Gritty road debris, such as small sand particles, often stick to car surfaces due to adhesion, particularly when adhered with dirt or oil.

related paint marring, particularly of black cars, handling the issue can improve both your process and profits,” says Pecora. “Solving the grit problem can cost just pennies per car, and at the same time retain clients who may be worth ten thousand dollars in lifetime business.”

“Since sand is many times harder than the paint surface, it can mar the surface of paint jobs if left in place,” says Dan Pecora, owner of Erie Brush & Manufacturing, a supplier of car wash brush and detailing supplies. “So the grit must go.”

The problem with cleaning black cars can be caused by the grit stuck in the stiffer, harsher cleaning brushes used at some self-serve and conveyor car washes. The solution is to use softer brush filaments and better lubrication which together will help release grit.

While grit is a problem for any paint job, black cars tend to show the marring from grit more than other colors. According to a DuPont Automotive Popularity Report, 18% of cars in North America are black, and black is the second most popular car color after white.

Eliminate the Grit Problem

“Since many of the car wash complaints come from grit-

Fourth Quarter 2015

While stiffer filaments have their place, they should not be used before grit is removed from both surfaces. “Unless grit is removed from both the car’s surface and the brush filaments, the harder you push the more the

Page 11

Finish Line

Grit - continued from page 11 grit can mar the paint,” says Pecora. “Shiny black paint is prone to such problems because every perceived blemish is more noticeable on its mirror finish.”

Since proper lubrication can release grit as well, it is also important that brushes have enough wet foam holes to enable such lubrication.

Handling the grit problem is critical not only because car wash owners want to retain customers, but also because nothing hurts business more than an angry customer complaining in person, or worse – online – in today’s social media world.

In self-serve foam brushes, for instance, some brushes like Erie’s FoamMaster® offer 6 foam holes on a typical 9-inch brush. This spreads the soapy foam far more thoroughly than brushes with typically 2-3 foam holes.

“No car wash owner wants to argue with a customer in front of other customers because it makes everyone question your quality and service,” says Pecora. “But the stakes are much higher with social media reputation apps like Yelp that drive business towards you or away from you. So car wash owners should not ignore the grit problem.” While a complementary polishing of any area of perceived paint problem will quiet an upset customer, not every car wash has polishing operations. A far better solution for car wash owners is to eliminate grit before it becomes a problem. Using a softer brush with better lubrication can resolve the situation. “The softer the brush filament used, whether microfiber, closed cell foam, or hog’s hair, the easier it is to release grit,” says Pecora.

“A continuous flow of soap foam will help to cleanse grit and dirt from the brush head to provide a better cleaning,” says Pecora. As a final word of wisdom to self-serve car wash owners serious about minimizing grit in their process, Pecora advises posting signs for customers to wash the grit from self-serve brushes and cars before use. For conveyer car washes Pecora also advises washing the grit from brushes before use. In addition to this, during the wash, employees should use a tall drum dipping the brush head into the top of the soap solution and stroking the car a few times and then re-dipping the brush allowing the grit to fall to the bottom of the barrel. Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California.

According to Pecora, hog’s hair – actual hair that comes from hogs – is one of the softest materials for handling grit for a number of reasons.


“The hog’s hair has the smallest diameter tapered filament, which helps to make it the softest,” says Pecora. “Since it is soft, tapered, and feathered at the tips, it tends to release grit when properly lubricated and will not grind it into the car surface. Because of the taper, the hairs still retain stiffness for washing up close, if scrubbing is needed.” Pecora, however, cautions against purchasing cheap brushes, which are typically imported from Asia. These products are usually stiffer, and less dense, than high quality domestic options and are unable to foam feed which removes grit. Another aspect to consider is bend recovery.

Your Self-Insured Workers’ Compensation Fund Returning Millions Back To Members

Over $19 Million since 1981

“Stiffer filaments like polypropylene and polyester may lack sufficient bend recovery, so if a brush is flattened out it could drag the grit along the car’s surface, which is the last thing car wash owners want to do,” says Pecora.

• Workers’ Compensation Insurance with a 50% Average Premium Return • Safety & Loss Prevention Services • Competitive Up-Front Pricing • Request a Quote Through Your Current Agent

In part, because domestically manufactured hog’s hair brushes are able to retain their original shape even when bent 90-degrees, some offer almost 50% more brush life than imported options. | administered by Regency Group | 800.686.6640

Finish Line

Page 12

Fourth Quarter 2015

Good Hiring Practices Impact Safety Performance By Joe Clifford, MBA – VP of Group Funds at Regency Group Administrators


his is the time when hiring temporary workers for the busy season becomes a priority. Due to the current labor market, companies may be willing to hire anybody who walks in the door. Unfortunately, "loose" hiring practices can have an adverse impact on your company's safe work environment.


Establishing and maintaining a safe work environment begins with selecting and placing the “right” individuals in the “right” positions. Careful hiring is critical to the quality and safety of your establishment. In fact, proper pre-employment screening can help prevent problems later on, including potential workers’ compensation claims. Here are some tips to help you develop sound hiring practices:

When the employee indicates an understanding of the procedure, have them demonstrate while you watch. Correct any improper or unsafe acts and explain why. Always check for understanding.

Once you’ve hired the “right” employee, your next objective is to provide the training necessary to perform in a safe and efficient manner. One key element in any effective loss control program is employee indoctrination and training. Incorporating the following tips into your new hire orientation program will get your employees off on a safe foot:

Introduction Take your new employee on a tour of the company’s work areas. Familiarize them with the company’s various departments and facilities.

Explain the job to the new employee step by step. Discuss hazards and provide detailed demonstrations of important safety practices.


Double-Check Test the progress of the new employee several times during their first few weeks of employment. Observe and evaluate the employee’s work methods. Correct any deviation from the safe work procedures described during the earlier job demonstration procedure.

Employee Acknowledgement Statement Finally, have the employee sign a statement acknowledging that they’ve received training. Documentation of their training with a signature will emphasize the importance that your company puts on safety and accident prevention.

Phone 800-708-PURE

Explain Discuss the details of the company’s safety policy and requirements. The Michigan Workers’ Compensation Agency recommends the following as a basic checklist. Items specific to your company and its processes should be added to make the list complete. • • • • • • • • • •

McIntyre's Soft Water Service

Employee Right-to-Know Safe Lifting & Moving of Materials Personal Protective Equipment Issued and Usage Bloodborne Infectious Diseases Lockout/Tagout & Electrical Safety What to do in the Event of an Emergency What to do for a Non-injury Accident or Near Miss Fire Safety & Housekeeping How to Report Unsafe Conditions or Acts Specific Safety Rules

Since 1960

55 Years experience in servicing & manufacturing water treatment equipment for the car wash industry. We service all brands of water softeners & reverse osmosis systems. 1014 N BRIDGE STREET, LINDEN, MI 48451

Fourth Quarter 2015

Page 13

Finish Line

Don’t miss anything the MCA has to offer...

Renew or Join Today!

The Midwest Carwash Association looks forward to working with you in 2016. Our mission is to unite operators and vendors to produce a forum for education and sharing of information freely. Become a member of the MCA and take full advantage of our members-only benefits.

2016 Events: • • • •

The Annual MCA Expo: June 20th – 22nd at FireKeepers Casino Hotel MCA Annual Golf Outing Beer tasting and networking in the Detroit area. Beer tasting and networking in the Grand Rapids area.

We would love to hear from you – your ideas and feedback help shape and make the MCA, your MCA. Please feel free to contact any Board Member or use the contact information below. If you have any questions regarding membership please do not hesitate to contact our office or any MCA Board Member. Call today at 800.610.4512.

New premium hyper-concentrated liquid alkaline pre-soak.

Micro Pak! Formula 600 Micro Pak AP Pre-soak

The economical, ecological, ergonomic alternative. • Easy to fill & mix (stays in solution) • Easy to recycle bottles and boxes • One skid = 12 30-gallon drums • Reduce shipping and storage costs • No bulky drums or messy powders • Unique Micro Pak blending station

Finish Line

Micro Pak excels in frictionless or reduced-friction cleaning and can be used as a single stage or part of a two-stage system. Get the whole story at

Page 14

Warsaw Chemical Co., Inc. P.O. Box 858, Warsaw, IN 46581 Phone: 800-548-3396 Fax: 574-267-3884 Car Choice ®. “If your car could choose.”

Fourth Quarter 2015

A Message from 4 Million Car Wash Customers:

“We Like to Save Time with FastPass from DRB Systems” ®

FastPass gives busy customers the quick, convenient and simple buying experience they want at a car wash. That’s why 2.4 million customers already have FastPass windshield stickers on their vehicles. It’s also why car washes that have installed the FastPass RFID system have grown nearly three times faster than those that haven’t.*


Without FastPassss

• The easiest and fastest way to identify monthly

used with the SiteWatch Automatic Recharge Module® (ARM®) for monthly passes and the Xpress Pay Terminal® (XPT®) self-pay station.



in less than two seconds by reading windshield tags without even requiring customers to lower their windows.

• Provides the most seamless buying experience when

National Average 2011-2014


• A wireless acceptance system that clears transactions

pass customers.

Car Wash Volume Increase 20%

FastPass RFID

Learn more about how you can offer your customers a better buying experience with SiteWatch FastPass from DRB Systems. Contact DRB Systems at 1-800-336-6338, or visit for more information.

With FastPass

* Comparison figure based on blind StatWatch reports from over 600 anonymous car washes.


800-336-6338 Green, Ohio / © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved DRB Systems

Fourth Quarter 2015

Page 15

Finish Line


120 N. Washington Square Suite 110A Lansing, MI 48933

Not an MCA Member? Join today at

Finish Line 4th Quarter 2015  
Finish Line 4th Quarter 2015