Publication of the Southwest Car Wash Association
Third Quarter 2019
SCWA IS HEADED TO
Fort Worth Convention Center January 29â€“31, 2020 Register Today! at www.swcarwash.org
SCWA Car Wash Tour | Houston | October 1 See Page 10 for Details
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE SCWA was recently - “On The Road Again” in Denver. More than 250 car wash owners and suppliers gathered for this SCWA event. The Denver stop was a great opportunity to gather with old friends and meet new members of the car wash community, plus visit outstanding car wash locations. If you did not have the chance to Andrew Zamora SCWA President join us you can learn more about the sites we visited and see pictures of the event in this edition of the ADVANTAGE. As I enjoyed the tour and watched all the attendees network together – I was reminded of our mission “we are better together”. Community is certainly a significant benefit of participation in SCWA. We all have a basic need to connect and our businesses thrive when we have a network of friends with similar interests and goals. As the business landscape and car wash dynamics continue to change, it is critical we do not fall into a rut. Instead we need to expand our community and never stop developing our network. Many people have had a mindset of contentment and never reached outside a small group of friends and this complacency can lead to not seeing all the opportunities; trends and options available for you and your business. Associations, like SCWA, help you go outside your comfort zone and build new relationships. Community is a valuable tool for all of us in the car wash business, especially in today’s market. Even if you have been in the industry for years (like me), an association can be a way to get inspired and learn what creative ideas others have to share. You might even have a few to share with others. Associations, like SCWA, are also the center for our continued learning. Education is a shared experience that bonds people. As we have seen at the conventions and webinars and even in the ADVANTAGE, the SCWA network provides the learning opportunity for all of us who wish to grow personally and professionally. This is not a series of tasks and assignments but rather an experience available for members’ convenience to be shared by colleagues. Creating a communal learning experience full of peer dialogue is one of the ways an association can help bind its members into a community. Maybe the best part of associations like SCWA is that you decide what you will get in return for your membership. What you do; how wide you build your community and how active you are in SCWA is up to you. Just know the opportunities are here for you – don’t miss out!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW: Houston Car Wash Tour October 1, 2019 2020 SCWA Convention & Car Wash EXPO January 29-31, 2020 Fort Worth Convention Center Fort Worth, Texas For more information and registration please visit our website: www.swcarwash.org See you in Houston, October 1!
SCWA NEWS SCWA 2020 Keynote Speaker– Vice President Dick Cheney
The Southwest Car Wash Association announced that Vice President Dick Cheney will be the keynote speaker for the EXPERIENCE SCWA 2020 Annual Convention & Car Wash EXPO. Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney has served more than four decades of public life at the highest levels of government during some of the most critical days in modern American history. In the post-Watergate administration of Gerald Ford, the President turned to 34-year-old Dick Cheney to lead the White House staff in the work of restoring the nation’s confidence and waging the President’s 1976 campaign. After leaving the White House, Cheney returned to his home state of Wyoming, where he was elected in 1978 as the state’s sole member of the House of Representatives. Re-elected to office five times, Cheney served in several leadership positions and was chosen by his colleagues as the minority whip, the number two position in the House Republican leadership. In 1989, he was nominated by President George H.W. Bush to serve as Secretary of Defense and in his four years at the Pentagon, Cheney led American forces to victory in Operation Just Cause in Panama, and Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf. In 1991, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2000, George W. Bush asked Cheney to become his running mate. President Bush and Vice President Cheney were inaugurated for the first of two terms on January 20, 2001. In the eight eventful years of the Bush presidency, the Vice President was best known for his involvement in national security matters following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Cheney has been recognized by many 3
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ADVANTAGE as the most powerful and consequential vice president in American history, and worked side by side with George W. Bush to keep our homeland safe and protect Americans from terrorist attacks for seven and a half years following 9/11. The SCWA 2020 Convention will be headed to a new venue January 29-31, 2020 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas and will increase exhibit space to more than 80,000 square feet plus feature expanded education sessions from nationally recognized speakers. For more information and to register online visit www.swcarwash.org. Mark your calendar now for EXPERIENCE SCWA 2020 – January 29-31, 2020.
INDUSTRY BRIEFS Customer Recklessly Discharges Gun in Carwash. Austin, TX — According to www.fox7austin.com, Erick Rodriguez, 26, was arrested on June 7th for recklessly firing his gun at Jurassic Car Wash. The owner of the carwash told officers he heard a loud bang inside the automatic carwash, and upon investigating, he found Rodriguez had exited his vehicle while the carwash was still in effect and said, “I’m having a bad day. I just discharged my firearm.” Officers responded to the call of shots fired, and when Rodriguez was detained, he said he had fired toward the bottom left floorboard of the driver’s side and the gun unloaded in the passenger’s seat, the article noted. Rodriguez told officers he had the gun in his hand with his finger on the trigger when it suddenly fired, but he had believed the gun had been in safety mode and should not have fired when he pulled the trigger, the article added. Officers found a black, semi-automatic handgun in the passenger seat of Rodriguez’s vehicle next to a loaded magazine with five 9mm rounds, the article stated; they also found one round in the chamber of the gun and a spent cartridge on the floor between the door and the passenger seat. There were severed cables and damage to the bottom left part of the driver’s side interior, the article added. Rodriguez was charged with discharge of firearm within certain municipalities, a Class A misdemeanor, and his bond was set at $3,000.
The car then rolled forward, and the door hit a pole, pinning Phillips, the article noted. Emergency service technicians treated Phillips at the scene, and she was later taken to Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Truck Drops Box of Radioactive Material At Carwash. Durham, N.C. — According to www.cbs17.com, a box of radioactive material was left in the middle of a street after it fell out of a pickup truck leaving a carwash. “A pickup truck carrying radioactive material had the box holding it fall out of the back leaving the carwash,” said Durham Fire Chief Robert Zoldos. “It fell in the middle of the street. A passerby actually picked it up and moved it out of the street, read what was on it, and called 911.” The package contained Cobalt-60, which has a wide variety of uses in both the industrial and medical field, the article noted. If mishandled, Cobalt-60 has been known to cause skin burns, radiation sickness and even death, the article added; however, the Cobalt-60 was packaged well in material designed to take that sort of impact, Zoldros noted. HAZMAT crews were able to clear the scene in less than an hour, and EMS crews cleared everyone who handled the package, which was eventually returned to its original owner after he was questioned at the scene
Woman Dies in Accident at Carwash — Murfreesboro, TN According to www.murfreesboropost.com, a woman died after her SUV pinned her against a pole at a carwash on June 21st. A preliminary investigation concluded that Alyce Phillips, 85, while driving a 2016 Toyota Rav4, was attempting to pay for a carwash at the automated pay station while keeping one foot on the brake with the door open, the article continued. 5
ADVANTAGE Mystery Man Leads Family To Man's Body At A Carwash. Houston, TX — According to www.chron.com, Jaime Diaz’s brother woke up around 6 a.m. on June 12th to someone pounding on the family’s front door, telling them they should go to the El Guero carwash. When Diaz’s brother rushed over there, he found Diaz dead in the back of an SUV, the article continued. Jesus Diaz, the victim’s son, identified his father. Harris County Sheriff’s Office Homicide Investigator Mario Quintanilla said of the body, “There’s definitely trauma.” Diaz appeared to have been shot, although the official cause of death still must be determined through an autopsy. “It bothers me that I don’t know who did it,” Jesus said. “It bothers me that [they would] leave his body here, when they could have called for an ambulance or somebody to come help him. Why would they just leave him here like he’s nothing?” Quintanilla said that several people are known to frequent the carwash at night, although it was not clear if any were involved in Diaz’s death. According to officials, Diaz would often leave for extended periods of time and then turn up again unexpectedly. Jesus said he thought his father was in Mexico the morning his body was found. As for the mystery man who knocked on their door and alerted them to Diaz’s presence, Quintanilla said
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that detectives absolutely want to speak with him and any who might know about Diaz’s death. Carwash Accused of Employing Underage Children Under Investigation. Madison, AL — According to www.waaytv.com, On the Spot Car Wash and Auto Detail is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor after allegations it has underaged children working there. Dashcam footage from a customer’s van, which was getting detailed in June, shows three children, who may be too young, washing a car, the article continued. When the owner of the van dropped it off, he did not see the children, but when Jimmy Lewis picked up the van the next day, he said, “I saw what looked to be an older adult with two younger kids. They looked like they were getting off work.” Lewis was concerned, so he asked the van’s owner, Young Chun, to check the dashcam footage. When Chun saw the video of the kids working, he guessed them to be around the ages of “13, 12 and 11,” he said. Because it did not seem right to him, Chun reported the carwash to the U.S. Department of Labor. Federal law states it is illegal for children under the age of 14 to have this kind of job unless they are working for their parents. However, it is unclear from the footage whether these are the children of the carwash owner or how old they actually are.
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ADVANTAGE ADVANTAGE The Department of Labor cannot comment on an open MARKETING
investigation, but if the carwash is found to have broken the law, it could face thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The attorney who represents the business told WAAY In311975, Federal Commission Newsthe his client hasCommunications no comment on the situation. (FCC) issued a largely overlooked ruling that allowed Zips Car Wash Moves West. Little Rock, AR — Zips Car earth-orbiting antennas —thesatellites — to used for Wash has announced acquisition of be seven stores broadcasting television over large areas. Around that from Champion Xpress Car Wash in and around sameRoswell, time, a New little-known regional broadcasting Mexico and San Angelo, Texas. network called Homeexcited Box Office (HBO) took notice, and decided “We’re to bring these high-quality, successful to use the FCC’s landmark decision totobegin operations into the Zips family and begindistributing to offer our unique culture of carwashing to customers in West Texas its own programming via satellite. and New Mexico,” move said Katie Sargent, manager HBO’s innovative would haveregional a ripple effect Zips spill Car Wash, been recognized as one that for would over who ontohas thealso landscape of marketing. of satellite the top Women in Carwashing by and the International Soon, networks proliferated, with them, Car Wash Association. “This expansion will allowpreus marketers’ ability to target in ways that were never to serve customers with our Unlimited Wash Club and viously possible. other special offerings, which can be used at our more Since that time, there has been so much technological than 170 stores.” innovation that marketers are faced with choices beyond “As we grow, we’re gaining a better understanding of measure. It can be blindingwe andserve bewildering for anyone the different customers — from once-a-year charged with allocating marketing dollarssaid on Sargent. behalf carwash consumers to biweekly customers,” of a “And business. And, this very issue is what has caused with this data, we’re making our services affordable marketers to go awry. This istype an of agecarwash of unprecedented and convenient for every user.” communications, many in still struggle to will connect Zips hopes its and new yet customers these markets sign withup one foranother. its Rewards App, whereupon they will receive But this problem is not the real problem.
Marketing - What has Changed in the Last 100 Years?
THE REAL PROBLEM a free wash just for signing up, the release concluded;
The true problem is that too many marketers have once a $100 threshold is reached, additional freebies that only one thing has changed in failed willto rollrecognize into consumers’ apps. marketing in the past 100 years: technology. That’s it. Yes, Mister Car Wash Acquires Two Locations in Milwaukee. you now have social media and tweets and followers and Tucson, AZ — Mister Car Wash expanded its presence in apps and branding and re-marketing and analytics and the Milwaukee area, growing from seven to nine locations, focus groups and ROI and CRM and customer personas with the acquisition of two express locations: American Car and digital and so on. It’s all certainly true. But, what has Wash, located at 7338 Good Hope and 160 W Layton Ave. enabled nearly every bit of it is technology. “Mister is excited to incorporate the American Car So prolific thelocations role of technology in marketing that it Wash team is and into its Milwaukee offerings,” hassaid become some an alluring distraction. Panic and peer Petefor Nani, director of operations, Midwest. “The pressure set in, and organizations pursue the latest and the acquisition is a great fit in our current Milwaukee market; greatest technology-based marketing tactics without taking their team and knowledge will continue to grow and thoughtfully consider strategic approach. As thedeliver time toeven more benefits to our acustomers.” legendary philosopher and strategist, Sun Wash Tzu once put it, With this latest acquisition, Mister Car operates “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” 306 carwashes in 21 states Marketing must ultimately get the product or service Dutch Car Wash. Aurora, CO — On May 11th, Celebrated into the hands of the customer — a real person. Marketers the official grand opening of its state-of-the-art, $5 need to realize thatcarwash it is wayfacility too easy distract ourselves million express in to Aurora, Colorado, (viaaccording technology) away from what is centrally important to a press release. in Over marketing: saleprovided to a realonperson 700 freegenerating carwashes awere the dayand, of hopefully, repeating thathas process again again to her the event, and Dutch washed overand 20,000 vehicles th so much about a or his delight. Marketing is 16 not . since its “soft opening”strategy on March plan, but a system. Build your marketing (including the The one-acre site features a visually stunning 110-footsale) around strategically based, syslong tunnela with full-length bay customer-centric windows; a curved, transparent roof forbecomes natural lighting; round, stainless tem, then technology a true and valuable tool, and not a distraction. Training On-Site Training Training Seminars
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ADVANTAGE steel equipment arches; 18 high-powered dryers; and 17 free self-serve dual hose vacuums. Dutch Car Wash features the latest carwash technology, including a license plate reader for Unlimited Wash Club members, a dual belt conveyor system for easy loading as well as other customer friendly amenities. The total wash time — from wash entrance to exit — will average less than 2 minutes; every 20 seconds, another vehicle can be loaded onto the conveyor, which is important since this location has an average daily traffic count of over 85,000 vehicles and is one of the busiest carwash locations in the nation. This eco-friendly carwash also has a water recovery system, which is designed to capture, filter and recycle close to 90% of its water, enabling Dutch Car Wash to be certified as WaterSavers® Compliant. Unlimited wash club packages start at $19.99 a month, and carwashes for pay-per-visit customers start at $7.99. All American Car Wash. Wichita Falls, TX — According to www.texomashomepage.com. On Southwest Pkwy. respond after two months during a much-needed remodel. Owner Larry Aryes said that while a carwash used to take 30 minutes to complete, it will now take only 5 to 10 minutes — all while conserving water. Aryes has owned the carwash for 22 years now, and while he has always sought to make it environmentally friendly, he's stepping up the game now.
“We use 20 gallons of fresh water for each car; every bit of water that sprays into the tunnel gets into the trench, and it just recycles. So, 80% of the water that goes onto a car ends up in our recycle pit and [is] used in the tunnel over and over after it gets filtered.” Ayres said. All American Car Wash held a ribbon-cutting on July 11th at 2 p.m., and the business held a contest on Facebook leading up to the ceremony.
LABOR The U.S. Government Has Finalized the “Public Charge” Rule
The U.S. Government has pre-published a final rule on public charge. This rule establishes a new definition of “public charge” and new procedures by which immigration officers will determine if an individual is inadmissible to the United States based on his or her likelihood of becoming a public charge at any time in the future. The final rule addresses U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) authority to permit an alien to submit a public charge bond in the context of adjustment of status applications. The rule also makes non-immigrant aliens who have received certain public benefits above a specific threshold generally ineligible for extension of stay and change of status.
ADVANTAGE The following are some frequent key questions and answers to this new rule: Question: What is a “Public Charge”? Answer: “Public Charge” is a term used by the U.S. government to refer to a foreign individual who receives one or more designated public benefits for more than 12 months, in the aggregate, within any 36-month period (such that, for instance, receipt of two benefits in one month counts as two months). The rule further defines the term “public benefit” to include any cash benefits for income maintenance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), most forms of Medicaid, and certain housing programs. Question: When does the new rule enter into effect? Answer: The rule is scheduled to be published on Aug. 14, 2019, and will go into effect 60 days following publication, or on Oct. 15, 2019. Question: Who will be affected by this new rule? Answer: The new public charge rule will affect all applications to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident, and non-immigrant applications for extension of stay or change of status filed or postmarked on or after October 15, 2019. Applications and petitions already pending with the Government before the effective date of the rule will be adjudicated based on the current public charge standard.
Question: What factors will be considered to determine that a person is a “public charge”? Answer: The government will look at the “totality of the circumstances” when making this determination. The factors to be considered include the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
The Applicant’s age, Health, Family status, Assets/resources/financial status, and Education/skills.
Additionally, immigration officers will scrutinize the applicant’s current and estimated income, job history, job skills, health status, assets, household size, and current or history of public benefits receipt. Finally, the regulation allows for the posting of a public charge bond for applicants who the Government thinks might fail the public charge test. Applicants who are determined as likely to become a public charge by the Government may be offered the opportunity to post a public charge bond of at least $8,100 to overcome the inadmissibility finding. Question: What are some of the “public benefits” that may affect your eligibility? Answer: The final rule expands on the prior list of cash programs and identifies five non-cash programs that may affect an Applicant’s eligibility.
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ADVANTAGE The first four programs listed below will be considered if the applicant is currently receiving or has received them in the past; the last five will be considered if received by the applicant starting on October 15, 2019 as follows: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
SSI (Supplemental Security Income) TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) State general relief or general assistance Benefits provided for institutionalization for longterm care Medicaid (with some exceptions) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance, and Public Housing.
Question: What public benefits are excluded from the determination of “public charge” Answer: • Benefits received by the Applicant’s U.S. citizens children or other family members are not considered in determining whether the applicant is likely to become a public charge. • Receipt of Medicaid by individuals under 2 and Pregnant woman during pregnancy and during the 60-days period after pregnancy are excluded. • Benefits received by military service members and their spouses and children are excluded • Public benefits by members of the U.S. armed forces serving in active duty or in any of the Ready Reserve components will be excluded • It also would not consider Medicaid benefits received by foreign-born children of citizen parents who will be deriving citizenship under the Child Citizenship Act. • The final rule does not include receipt or potential receipt of the following benefit programs: I. Emergency medical assistance II. Disaster relief III. National school lunch or school breakfast programs IV. Foster care and adoption V. Head Start VI. Child Health Insurance Program VII. Earned Income Tax Credit or Child Tax Credit • The final DHS rule does not change the public charge ground of deport-ability, so lawful permanent residents (LPRs) will generally not be affected now by their receipt of public benefits identified in the newly-expanded list of programs. Nor would they be subject to any new scrutiny in their application for naturalization. To obtain more information regarding the New Public Charge Rule and updates, please contact the experienced immigration attorneys at Monty & Ramirez LLP.
TECHNOLOGY Choosing The Right Water Recycling System
If you plan to build a carwash, more likely than not, you will have to install a water recycling system. Certain states like California and Florida already mandate them for carwashes and other water-heavy businesses, but for much of the U.S., regulation happens at the municipal level. Nowadays, these regulations typically call for an average of 60% reclaim, according to Denise Wight, director of corporate accounts for New Wave Industries. “[As] municipalities increasingly require the use of reclaim water in carwash operations and operators continually look for ways to increase profits, reclaim systems are becoming essential in the overall operation of the wash,” Wight underscores. Of course, there are still areas that do not require such water conservation, likely because they have not yet been faced with water issues. On the other hand, there are also some areas of the country that offer rebates for adding in a reclaim system. Whether they’re mandated in your area or not, it’s still a good idea to research water recycling systems and see which would be right for your carwash. After all, not only would such a system benefit the environment and discharge cleaner water
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ADVANTAGE to the sewer, but it will benefit your bottom line too, since you would ultimately spend less on water and sewer fees.
WHAT ARE YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES?
Water recycling systems are not a one-size-fits-all purchase. Every carwash is unique, and your answers to the following questions will in part determine the type of system you need: • • • • • •
What is the cost of your water and sewer? How long is your tunnel/how many bays do you have? Is your site attended or not? What is your expected car count? How many gallons per minute will you be using? Can you discharge waste to the sewer system? Where will the reclaim water be used in the wash process?
While all of these questions will affect the type of system you should purchase, “The dictating factor is generally where the water will be used in the wash process and customer preference,” Stan Royal, president of Con-Serv Manufacturing, states. Wight adds, for instance, that if you’re only using a reclaim system for the undercarriage, you can typically use a system that filters out debris of 25 microns or higher. However, if you want to use it with high-pressure pumps, then you will need one that filters out down to 5 microns. “Carwash owners have paid in excess of $100,000 for reclaim systems, only to find that this ‘new’ technology
and all the bells and whistles needed created excessive amounts of maintenance and were not effective,” Wight states. To keep from being in the same costly situation, you need to carefully consider the abilities and maintenance requirements of the following systems.
TYPES OF SYSTEMS
“Most drain systems consist of a catch basin to settle out the large solids, followed by a three-compartment underground settling tank to remove oil and grease, floatable materials and settle-able solids,” Wight explains. Design is critical to this part of the process, so be sure to check with reclaim professionals to make sure the tanks are designed and laid out properly, she adds. “A poorly designed tanking system means disaster for the carwash operation,” Wight warns. Some systems, Royal adds, rely solely on settling and the addition of chemicals to treat the water. “The systems that rely on settling will call for huge amounts of water to be stored underground or above ground. These systems rely on dwell time to provide the required result,” he states. In more advanced systems, after the water settles, it will move through some type of filtration, and each method of filtration has varying results. “Keep in mind that high particle content will lead to premature wear on water pumps, rotating unions, solenoid valves and spray nozzles,” Wight advises. “A system that consistently produces 5-micron quality water is the ideal solution for all wash types.”
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ADVANTAGE Cyclonic separators For those looking to get in on the reclaim action but keep it limited, a cyclonic separator might be the way to go. In fact, this type of system is widely used in the carwashing industry, according to Royal. Cyclonic separators take the used water and spin it at high speeds to force the heavier particles to drop to the bottom of the cyclone, which sends the detritus to the reclaim tanks to settle out. “The cleaner water is discharged out of the top of the cyclone and sent to the carwash equipment or high-pressure holding tanks,” Lee Bonin with SoBrite Technologies explains. “Hydrocyclonic reclaim water is used mainly in high-pressure applications, such as undercarriage, wheel blaster, side blasters and top high-pressure rinse.” The reason this water cannot be used in other areas of the carwash, such as for chemical dispensing and rinses, is because this type of system cannot filter out finer particulates. As Wight notes, “Not all cyclone separators are created equal. Many systems on the market are unable to achieve 25 microns or less.” Bag filtration In bag filtration units, reclaim water is forced through a filter bag, which catches the sediment in the water and removes it. These bags are normally constructed of a cotton material in various mesh weave sizes to filter out different micron-sized particles. The tighter the weave, the finer the separation will be.
“This is known as nominal filtration, due to the fact that the bag will be labeled as removing a certain percentage of the sediments that [it] is rated to remove,” Royal notes. “If you have a 25-micron bag, it may be nominally rated to remove 85% of the 25-micron-sized debris.” Once the bag is full, however, it must be changed out with a new one. As such, this type of reclaim system requires much more attention than others, because the bags need to be changed on a daily basis, sometimes during operating hours. It is a very labor-intensive, dirty and smelly process. Furthermore, the finer the weave of the bag and the finer the separation, the more often the bags will need to be replaced. Media filtration Another widely-used reclaim system in the industry is media filtration, or a self-cleaning filter system. Media filtration, also known as depth filtration, is the process whereby pit water is sucked from the reclaim tanks by a pump and pushed through a filter medium to sift out all particles of a certain size, which it will deposit back in the reclaim tank for easier removal. According to Wight, “The most common media are activated carbon, diatomaceous earth, silica sand and glass. The activated carbon and diatomaceous earth are porous media that absorb impurities.” Bonin notes that this method is a more complex way of cleaning the water than the cyclonic method. “The reclaim
The Gleam Machine is an extra service revenue generating system that is located after the blowers in the conveyor wash system. The system utilizes a special water absorbent material that also polishes the vehicle while it removes the remaining water droplets providing hand dried quality without the labor.
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ADVANTAGE water is sent through vessels where the dirt and oils become trapped in the media, and the filtered water is sent to a filtered water holding tank. The media is backwashed/ cleaned every couple hours of running time. The system backwashes with its own water. The water produced through media filtration can be used on all high-pressure applications, all cloth, all rinse bars and arches before the final fresh water chemical applications and final reverse osmosis (RO) rinse,” he says. Wight adds that it is critical to backflush on a regular basis, because heavy oil loads will clump the media together and bring the filtering process to a complete halt. Furthermore, consistency can be a major problem with these systems due to bacterial growth in the filter bed. Moreover, she states, “Avoid silicone- and oil-based chemical products. Silicone will clog filters; oil-based products will create a slime in the recycled water.” In addition, Bonin says that this would be the preferred solution for carwashes that cannot discharge to the sewer and require a closed-loop system. “The media filtration system will allow you to use the reclaim water in more applications in your wash, for with a closed-loop system, you have to limit your adding of fresh water to your system,” he states. However, it should be noted that even with a closed-loop system, at some point, water must be discharged, either by periodically pumping the tanks or utilizing irrigation or a leach field. Then, that water will have to be replaced.
Water restoration Finally, a relatively new reclaim option is a water restoration system. Unlike the other options we have already discussed, which only filter out solid waste, this type of system also breaks down the chemicals in the water. In this system, when the water is pumped from the last settling tank, it is sent through hydrocyclones to separate remaining solids down to 5 microns. The water is also aerated to promote aerobic microbe growth and then sent into a biologic chamber, where these microbes are grown to consume chemical waste. They are 90% more aggressive in consuming chemical waste in water than anaerobic microbes, and they give off carbon dioxide, which has no smell. Thus, this water can be reused in all functions of the wash except for the spot-free rinse. Similarly, restored spot-free systems take water from a full restoration system, process it further and then send it to an RO system to produce spot-free rinse water, thus allowing the operator to use biologically restored water in all stages of the wash. Now that we’ve discussed the particulars of each system, you might have a better idea of what you want. However, Royal warns, there’s one more important factor to come into play: your volume. “For a high-volume site that uses a lot of water, a settling system may not be effective, since the dwell time would be reduced. A bag filter may need to be changed too often to
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ADVANTAGE make it a viable option. These are suited to lower volume sites, whereas a cyclonic separator or a self-cleaning filter can fit into many applications, low- or high-volume. The choice is then the filtration result you want from your reclaim system,” Royal educates. Related: How becoming an eco-friendly carwash can save you money
We’re all well aware that dirty water is contaminated and smelly, and therefore, reclaim water poses a serious odiferous risk to carwashes. “Bacteria growth in reclaim water starts immediately; if it is not addressed in some way, the water will go septic,” warns Wight. There are two types of bacteria in all water: anaerobic and aerobic. Anaerobic bacteria thrive in dark environments devoid of oxygen, and they emit a gas that smells like sulfur. Aerobic bacteria, on the other hand, prefer water with high oxygen levels, and they emit carbon dioxide, which is odorless. As such, you want to promote the growth of aerobic bacteria in your water, and the key to that is aerating it. “Aeration is a great way to help with odor control,” Royal explains. “In some cases, aeration is not enough to keep the odor down, and other options need to be implemented. Many good systems come with aeration of some sort as a starting point for odor control and are built to easily add other options if needed.”
According to Wight, there are several different ways to combat pit odor: • Chlorine: For years, many operators have been dumping high amounts of chlorine or bleach into the reclaim tanks to kill all bacteria; however, this method only works for a day or two before the odor returns. In addition, since chlorine is a reactive chemical, when it runs out of microorganisms to kill, it begins to attack metal and seals in pumps, resulting in premature equipment failure. • Pit odor deodorizers: While there are various “fragrances” that can be added to the pits to temporarily mask odors, they will not kill anaerobic bacteria and can add to the problem by adding additional contaminants to the waste water. • Ultraviolet light: By passing water over ultraviolet light lamps, you can kill anaerobic bacteria. However, dirty reclaim water creates a film over these lamps, impairing their ability to kill the bacteria, so they need frequent cleaning. Additionally, the bulbs and ballasts wear out over time and lose their effectiveness. • Enzymes: Enzymes consume the organic material that is used as a food source by bacteria in reclaim water. Without this food source, bacteria cannot survive and multiply. However, it is important to use the proper enzyme formulated for chemicals used in this industry. • Biological systems: “These systems work by using bacteria and other biological enhancements to convert
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ADVANTAGE organic compounds to carbon dioxide and water. The main requirements include an active, healthy and compoundspecific biological population, oxygen, nutrients and a balanced pH environment,” Wight says. “These systems are typically used by large wastewater management sites and are very labor-intensive. In the carwash environment, these are not hands-free systems; performance needs to be monitored on a daily basis by someone who understands the systems and the delicate balance of the compounds.” • Chemical flocculation: This system uses specific chemicals to coagulate and flocculate (i.e., causing to form into small clumps) the organic particles, removing them from the water. However, this system is also highly sensitive to pH swings, and it can be very difficult to maintain as well as keep in balance. • Ozone: Introducing ozone into reclaim pits kills all bacteria, thus destroying odor, and it also removes chemical dyes (though not the chemicals themselves), keeping the reclaim water as clear as possible. However, note that too much ozone can degrade rubber on O-rings, gaskets and pumps. Furthermore, such a system must have the ability to control how much ozone is being injected at all times. Consult a water recycling system manufacturer to address any questions you might have about the specific systems available, and get the representative’s opinion on which one may be best for you. Written by Meagan Kusek of Professional Carwashing and Detailing Magazine. AMERICA’S MOST DURABLE CAR WASH MATERIAL
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AUTO RECALLS Ford Recalls 2020 Explorer, Lincoln Aviator SUVs for Crash Risk
Ford Motor Co. issued a safety alert for the 2020 Explorer and Lincoln Aviator SUVs on Wednesday, noting that the vehicles may be missing a part that keeps the car from moving while parked, "increasing the risk of crash." The company, which has touted its two new sport utility vehicles built only in Chicago, as long-awaited flagship products, said in a news release that the vehicles may be missing the manual park release cover, which is not a minor issue. "Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards require the manual park release cover be in place and only removable with a tool. If the cover is not installed, the manual park release lever may be inadvertently activated, which could result in unintended vehicle movement if the electronic park brake is not applied," Ford said in its release. Ford spokeswoman Monique Brentley noted to the Detroit Free Press, "This is a safety compliance recall, vehicles are safe to drive. The majority of affected vehicles are in dealer inventory. The issue will be remedied prior to delivery to customers."
Also, the instrument cluster of affected vehicles may be in factory mode, which disables warning alerts and
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SCWA On The Road Again Denver, Colorado
More than 250 car wash owners and vendors gathered in Denver recently for the August edition of SCWA On The Road Again!
DENVER CAR WASH TOUR SPONSORS National Car Wash Solutions Diamond Sponsor DRB Systems Innovative Control Systems Micrologic Associates Bus Sponsors
AVW Lunch Sponsor
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Details and pictures of the tour are on the following pages of this edition of ADVANTAGE.
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SCWA Denver Location Guide The SCWA Denver Car Wash Tour included 7 outstanding car wash locations. The following pages highlight the locations visited on the tour.
CAR WASH USA EXPRESS 16730 E. Quincy Car Wash USA Express is one of the three premium Express Car Wash brands in the International Car Wash Group (ICWG) portfolio. In the Denver, CO area there are 11 sites, soon to be 15 by year end. We are actively expanding to include additional premium express car wash sites in the West under the Car Wash USA Express brand in 2020 and beyond. Car Wash USA Express is an extremely strong brand in the West and Mid-South due the company’s dedication to employee retention and development. The team in Denver is extremely strong and tenured as shown in the consumer reviews Car Wash USA Express gets in the Denver market with a 4.5 Star rating.
“This is my go to wash! Staff is friendly and my car always comes out clean even after a Colorado snow! “ Specifically, at this Quincy location, the express tunnel car wash is 135’. We continually update equipment and safety standards. Currently we are proud to be the exclusive supplier of the Polymer Pro wash – a polymer-based rinse that improves and protects the finish of car paint better than spray waxes. We are proud to boast that all our chemicals are biodegradable, and we participate in the reclamation of 100% of our wastewater. We are extremely excited to be a part of the SCWA Denver Car Wash Tour and we welcome you to our site.
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JAZZ CAR WASH 6095 South Santa Fe Tunnel: • - 120’ with AVW and Tommy’s Equipment (installed by Focused Car Wash Solutions in July of 2018) • Con-Serve Reclaim system • Tesco PLC • VacuTech vacuums (installed 2018) and arches installed (installed 2015) • Micrologic POS Next steps • Evaluation and decisions for Flex • Eliminate fuel • Build / buy Express Wash Established: November 2007 Acquired 11/14 opened 11/15 History: Built in 1998, used to be old Mobile Gas Station and Ma’s Café before conversion to car wash in 98. At time of acquisition washing less than 20,000 cars per year and close to C11. Run down poor service with very grumpy staff.
Capital improvements recent 4 years $600,000, prior to 2015 gradual improvements over time amounting to roughly $200,000. Competition within 5 mile radius include 6 Express Washes; 1 Full Service and Detail Center and 7 Independent detail shops.
Owners: Keith & Lisa Taylor Core Business: Premium full-service car wash and detail center (1 location); Secondary Business: Gift store and fuel Approx. Mix: 55% Car Wash
10% Gift Store
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WATERWAY CARWASH 5290 DTC Boulevard The Waterway Greenwood Village location is located at the intersection of DTC Boulevard and East Prentice Avenue. This location opened in 2001, was the third Waterway built in the market and is now one of six the company operates in Denver. In 2018, substantial improvements were made to the exterior of the facility. Vice President, Senior Managing Partner, Mike Schlote is responsible for all company operations in Denver. Mike grew up in St. Louis, lived for a few years in Kansas City and then moved to Denver in 2001.
Like all Waterway locations, the Greenwood Village site is set up to sell car washes, gasoline and convenience merchandise. About half of the gasoline customers use the car wash and about half of the car wash customers purchase
gasoline. Waterway’s core focus is on the full service car wash customer. Waterway’s Clean Car Club loyalty program has been in place since the mid 1970’s and Clean Car Club members are a big part of the business. Recently, a ride-thru option with automated teller was added to the location so that customers can choose to either stay in the car or come inside. The Waterway price for a basic exterior car wash is $8, the full service car wash price is $18, The Whole Thing car wash price is $36 and the basic hand wax package price is $55. The basic Clean Car Club membership is $29 per month or $278 per year (a 20% discount off the monthly rate for a year). Waterway people are the company’s greatest strength. This store is normally managed by a four person team and employs over 100 team members. More than two-thirds will be high school or college students working part time.
H2WOW CARWASH 4631 Tower Road H2WOW’s Green Valley Ranch location is situated in a rapidly growing area of Denver. The wash facility features a 105-foot dual belt AVW conveyor inside a 120foot building, with equipment by AVW and Tommy Car Wash Systems. It also features Eurovac vacuums with AVW arches, a reclaim system by PUR, No Pile-Ups, and a point-of-sale system by ICS. In addition to the car wash tunnel, H2WOW’s newest location features two K9000 self-serve dog wash stations. H2WOW is committed to delivering an outstanding customer experience in a safe, team-oriented workplace for our dedicated staff. The facility has washed over 70,000 cars in its first six months of operation. “We’re so pleased with the early momentum we’ve achieved at Green Valley Ranch. Engagement with our neighborhood
community has been a key component of our success,” says co-owner Julie Petty. H2WOW’s Green Valley Ranch site is the second express tunnel in a family of carwashes built by H2WOW LLC with further expansion planned in the Denver area. We are thrilled to be included in the 2019 SCWA Denver Tour and welcome you to our site.
WILD BLUE CAR WASH 21435 E Quincy Avenue Wild Blue Car Wash is a 90ft Exterior Express Tunnel and the East Side of Denver in unincorporated Arapahoe County. Wild Blue is situated in the middle of major housing, apartments and retail construction on the fast-growing east side of Denver. Wild Blue – Quincy was built in 2017/2018 and opened for business in February of 2018. The Wild Blue team consisted of Hover Architecture (Troy Kirschman), Asalan Construction (Aaron Voorhees), Hi Performance Wash Systems (Shane Wells) and Focus Car Wash Solutions (Aaron Green).
The Wild Blue Quincy Site utilized the STI conveyor belt system for vehicle propulsion. The belt system has provided our customers a smooth transition from “driving to gliding.” We have a complete Sonny’s tunnel, SoBrite Reclaim system with ICS Point of Sale and Auto Sentries. Wild Blue Car Wash focuses on providing a remarkable customer service every car, every time. We are extremely excited to be a part of the SCWA Denver Car Wash Tour and we welcome you to our site. 37
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FOUR SEASONS EXPRESS CAR WASH 1123 S Federal Boulevard Four Seasons Express car wash (Federal location) is a 145 feet chain conveyor tunnel located on the west side of Denver. We currently have two locations with first location built in Aurora city in 2006, where we also run detail shop along with 7/11 store and Conoco gas station, 3rd location will be built within a year on north side of Denver metro area And more to come.
We are transferring from being one location in Aurora city to become multisite carwash to serve all parts of Denver Metro area. As our brand is becoming stronger, we work hard to ensure that our customers are fully satisfied with our level of service and to have clean and dry cars. We are excited to be part of SCWA Denver Car Wash Tour and welcome to our site.
DUTCH CAR WASH 4301 S. Parker Tommy's - 110' Building Washify - POS - LPR/Custom App AVW - Equipment and Conveyor Belt No Pile-Ups - Vehicle Monitoring We are excited to be a part of th SCWA Car Wash Tour and we look forward to welcoming you to our site.
Opened: March 2019 Google Review: 4.6 Stars Daily Traffic Count: 95k 5 Mile Population: 373k Wash Club Members: 2000+ Cars Washed: 45k+
ADVANTAGE Continued from pg. 25
chimes, and does not display the gear positions and which gear – drive, reverse, park, neutral – is selected, the Ford alert said. Federal safety regulations require the gear positions and selected gear to be displayed whenever the shifter is not in park. Ford said it is aware of one report of an accident occurring during vehicle transport within the production process. The incident resulted in only vehicle damage, Ford said. The recall affects 13,896 vehicles in the United States and 239 in Canada. The majority of affected vehicles are at dealerships, Ford said. The issue will be fixed before the SUVs go to customers. Affected vehicles were built at Chicago Assembly Plant and include: 2020 Ford Explorer vehicles built from March 27, 2019 to July 24, 2019. 2020 Lincoln Aviator vehicles built from April 10, 2019 to July 24, 2019. Ford dealers will inspect the vehicle for the manual park release cover and install one, if necessary, the company said. Dealers will also verify the instrument cluster is out of factory mode and clear any diagnostic codes. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19C06.
Industry observers said they're surprised to hear of problems on high-profile products so soon.
“We are glad to hear no one was killed or seriously injured, but it certainly raises questions about the quality control process when brand new, high-end, vehicles are being released from the factory where ‘park’ doesn’t work or the driver cannot even see what gear the vehicle is in," said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety. "These are glaring violations of federal safety regulations.” Ford noted during the launch of the 2020 Ford Explorer that the popular SUV is the all-time best-selling SUV in America. Prices for the 2020 Ford Explorer range from $32,765 to $58,250. The midsize luxury Aviator starts around $50,000.
ONGOING EXPLORER WOES
This isn't the first alert for Explorer owners this summer. Ford issued a recall on June 12 for vehicles built in 2011-17 because of a safety issue. "Vehicles that are exposed to frequent full rear suspension articulation (jounce and rebound) may experience a fractured rear suspension toe link. A fracture of a rear toe link significantly diminishes steering control, increasing the risk of a crash," the company said in its release. One customer reported hitting a curb when the toe link broke, Ford said. The company is not aware of any reports of injury related to this condition in markets included in this action, it said.
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ADVANTAGE This action affects approximately 1.2 million vehicles in the United States and federalized territories, approximately 28,000 in Canada and one in Mexico. Affected vehicles were built at Chicago Assembly Plant, May 17, 2010 to Jan. 25, 2017. Dealers will remove and replace the affected parts and align the rear suspension. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19S17.
EXPLORERS IN CHINA RECALLED, TOO
In addition, Ford started recalling in China on Aug. 1 a total of 44,333 "imported" Explorer vehicles built in 2012–17 because of a defective design – steering control may be reduced when the rear suspension system is functioning under high load, posing a safety risk, according to China's market regulator and the Xinhua News Agency. Phoebe Wall Howard
MANAGEMENT How to Manage and Motivate Millennials in Your Small Business
Want to succeed in growing your small business? Then one skill you’d be wise to learn is how to manage and motivate millennials. After all, millennials – those born roughly between 1980-2000 – are now America’s largest demographic group. While the average age of a small business owner is 50.3 years, many of your employees, not to mention customers, are 20-39 years old. Many small business owners have learned they have to manage differently to make the best use of the talents and energy of these younger workers. “We have team members from four different generations working together (Gen Z, millennials, Gen X and baby boomers),” said Megan Driscoll, CEO and founder, EvolveMKD, a Manhattan-based PR and digital communications agency. “Each generation has different priorities, goals, perspectives and even slightly different meanings for the same phrases (such as “business casual”). That’s why Driscoll recently brought in Joy E. Taylor, principal at the consulting firm Grant Thornton, based in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, to conduct a crossgenerational training program for her rapidly expanding business. Many of Driscoll’s hires were millennials, and she wanted to make certain that she created a management atmosphere in which they could thrive. “The difference between generations wasn’t all that many years – maybe six to 10 years between top leadership and millennials,” explained Taylor. “But Megan wanted to make sure there was the best possible communication and understanding. That was critical for a fast-growing company.” As importantly, both Driscoll and Taylor knew that collaboration across generations would be a competitive edge.
Driscoll wanted to make sure she maximized the opportunities for her younger staff and kept her company’s growth going. “Having a multigenerational team gives you a competitive edge,” said Driscoll. “Our clients range in age, and having team members who can relate to those different perspectives is valuable. … We’re recommending public relations and digital marketing plans, trying to reach consumers across generations, and having team members that intimately understand the channels that are really meaningful to those consumers makes our recommendations that much more impactful to our client’s businesses.”
Many women and men of today are more capable than we were 20 years ago. They’re more diverse, more technologically sound, more advanced in analytical and presentation skills. They’re far more comfortable being remote. They’re more entrepreneurial, and their value system is not just monetarily motivated. “Companies of today must allow for (staff to have) earlier transitions of jobs than in the past, and it works in their favor,” said Taylor. “That’s because many women and men of today are more capable than we were 20 years ago. They’re more diverse, more technologically sound, more advanced in analytical and presentation skills. They’re far more comfortable being remote. They’re more entrepreneurial, and their value system is not just monetarily motivated.” “Millennials want to move up and they want to learn,” said Taylor. “Because of their eagerness, they need to feel movement within an organization faster. They don’t want to be stuck in the same job, doing the same thing. While they may be a manager for three years, they don’t want to be doing the same thing. If you try to fight it, they’re going to leave, and you just create a pool of one-or two-year wonders. That’s expensive to hire and train.”
Typically, senior management feel that clients want and pay for their years of experience. But younger staff also feel that their own experiences should be valued, even if they did not have the longevity. “One of the most important question millennials ask of any company’s management is: ‘Why don’t you give me more opportunities to present, to be in front of clients and colleagues?’ Typically, senior management feel that clients want and pay for their years of experience. But younger staff also feel that their own experiences should be valued, even if they did not have the longevity.” 45
ADVANTAGE “The advice we give organizations now is to recraft your hierarchy to have sublevels – manager 1, manager 2, manager 3. It’s still a three-year journey, but every year, there’s movement and a compensation structure to go along with it. This generation must feel overt progression in return for time served.” Taylor advises managers to show respect to millennials for what they do know, such as their technological adeptness, and blend generational teams frequently. “Sprinkle young life into the life of your organization. Have them make presentations, lead groups. And don’t ever stop asking questions.” “We have more in common, regardless of the generation we’re in,” said Taylor. “Everyone wants respect…every one of us wants to trust our leaders. Everyone wants to grow and are excited when they learn something new.” Six keys to understanding millennials in your small business • They want to move up fast. Devise new levels and new rewards so millennials feel progress and have more opportunities sooner. • They thrive on positive feedback. Be sure to take notice and acknowledge positive contributions. • They want more than just money. Insure your organization has positive social goals. • They’re in debt. What you might consider a small expense can be a big amount to them. They appreciate free food, extra benefits, and, of course, more money. • They expect up-to-date devices. And for you to be technologically open. • They can be on their phones and still listening to you. It may be annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. Rhonda Abrams is the author of “Successful Business Plan: Secrets & Strategies,” the best-selling business plan guide.
PERSPECTIVE Building Your Business Beyond Curb Appeal
At the heart of every carwash business model is a focus on customers and providing area-leading car care and cleaning results. On paper, it is a simplified plan; but in reality, every wash a location provides will result in two distinct outcomes: repeat or lost future business. Each and every car rolling onto a carwash’s property represents either a missed opportunity or, with proper planning and investments in the industry’s latest technologies, a chance for customer retention. Today, as competition tightens around the country, appealing to customers’ senses is becoming a powerful customer retention tool. “Good or bad,” notes Marcus McLaughlin, marketing manager at Belanger Inc., “every trip through a carwash is a sensory experience.” The question, he adds, is whether or not that experience will make customers want to visit
again or never return. “The sights and sounds in the wash bay all affect the customers’ perception of value, influencing how much they are willing to pay and how often (or whether) they come back,” continues McLaughlin. While still important, carwash customers today are looking beyond clean car results. They expect more out of the businesses they patronize. Bright, tidy and modern locations are emerging over dark, old and unkempt carwashes. Incorporating new wash technologies and emphasizing cleanliness and professionalism with staff members can elevate customer experiences and produce profits for the competitive years ahead.
LIGHT APPEAL EQUALS HEAVY IMPACT
Carwash professionals are embracing the use of light-emitting diode (LED) features on equipment and signage. In addition to this emerging technology’s benefits in the variety of costs, colors and shapes, successful carwashes are also finding customer satisfaction advantages in the use of LEDs. Simply adding LED features throughout a carwash can be a competitive difference and make that site memorable to customers.
The human eye is wired to see three things: lights, color and motion. So, if you want to get a customer’s attention and keep it, colored, moving lights are a great way to do it. “The human eye is wired to see three things: lights, color and motion. So, if you want to get a customer’s attention and keep it, colored, moving lights are a great way to do it,” notes McLaughlin. “Customers intuitively understand the precision engineering involved with LEDlighted wash wheels, [as an example], which is why they’re so captivated by them.” Customers’ intense sense of curiosity, continues McLaughlin, helps actively market a carwash in real time, “pulling customers off the street and into the wash bay, and then tremendously enhancing their experience once they enter. The lighted wash wheels can (and should) be left cycling multiple colors 24/7, [year-round]. This actively markets the site before, during and after hours and helps every customer find the wash again through a phenomenon psychologists call the ‘beacon effect.’” Even during this information-packed era in which customers are inundated with marketing messages, curiosity and impulse visits are steering traffic to your site. Simply put, customers want their cars cleaned first and foremost, but an emphasis on presenting value and elevating their experience is coming to the forefront. However, while LEDs and other modern features can help drive business in, defects and lack of functionality can push customers away. 47
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ADVANTAGE “Having bright, clean [and] well-lit signs in the tunnel that tell the customers exactly what service they are receiving is a positive,” explains Matt Hord, training consultant for Brink Results LLC. “However having those same signs, but the lights don’t work and the sign [faces are] dirty, is a negative. Bright LED lights and scented soaps, as examples, positively impact the customer experience, whereas a dark tunnel with unscented soaps doesn’t project that feeling of clean and impacts negatively on customers.” Experts say the benefits of investing in and maintaining modern equipment with advanced features, such as LEDs and improved materials, can result in positive returns on investments. But, building up customers’ sensory experiences in these ways requires a carwash and its staff to constantly inspect equipment, fix issues as needed and be proactive, rather than reactive.
DO NOT DISTURB CARWASHING
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. A car is a family’s second biggest investment, just behind the purchase of a house, for many customers. You, playing the part of your customer, are proud of this investment and want to protect it. Now, imagine that you take your second biggest investment to your local carwash. As you go through the tunnel loud noises emerge, and your precious entity is being smacked around to the point you wonder if damage is occurring. Would you return? “Noise is a big factor for a lot of customers. If a customer is going through the tunnel and hears a lot of noise, [his or her] first reaction is that something is wrong with the equipment or that the equipment is old. The newer materials used for mitters and other equipment have helped create a much quieter experience. Instead of big, heavy material slapping against vehicles, the newer material glides smoothly across the vehicles. The quieter the tunnel is, the better the [customer] experience,” asserts Hord. While customers are attracted to bright lights, spinning brushes and mitters and scented soap or show-type wax applications (like the lava effect), when it comes to noise, the mantra today is the quieter, the better. There is a science behind muffling and lessening noise in carwashing, and our industry’s manufacturers have been hard at work over the past decade to find solutions. According to McLaughlin, conventional wash media must spin at 90 or more rounds per minute (RPMs) to reach a vehicle’s surface. “That’s because it’s ‘droopy’ at rest and extends at high RPMs to touch and clean the vehicle,” he says. “This creates a significant problem for customers; measured sound levels ‘inside the car’ in a typical carwash with wash wheels spinning 90-plus RPMs can exceed 94 dB per wash wheel, [which is] about the same [noise level] as a kitchen blender on its high-speed setting.” As mentioned, carwash equipment manufacturers have realized the impact that sound has on the overall customer
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Petit Auto Wash, Inc. Norton OH
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Slipstream Car Care Yatala, Brisbane, Qld
ADVANTAGE experience and have made advancements in wash media. Today, adds McLaughlin, new developments stand to redefine the wash experience. “[This includes] foam wash media designed to clean while spinning as low as 30 RPMs.” Manufacturers are able to dampen in-car noise levels through advanced materials as well as strategic design. One example of a new style of media uses self-supporting, thick foam “arms” that retain their working diameter at any RPM, even at rest. “The ability to wash at much lower RPMs has many benefits,” notes McLaughlin. “For one, in-car noise levels are drastically reduced, peaking at just 79 dB. Because decibel levels are ‘logarithmic,’ not linear (an increase of approximately 10 dB represents a perceived doubling in volume), the 94 dB peak heard with conventional media at 90-plus RPMs generates a perceived volume more than twice as loud.” Not only is today’s advanced equipment reducing noise levels, but cleaning performance is also being improved. In fact, the carwash professionals we interviewed for this article report that these improvements are helping owners and operators in several areas, including reduced labor needs, time and cost savings, more consistent wash results and higher profitability.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Cleanliness is almost everything in the carwash industry. Today’s customers expect spacious, clean and well-illuminated areas for various reasons, ranging from safety concerns to peace of mind in their purchases. Regular litter removal on the lot and in the tunnel/bay areas of a site is critical since patrons equate cleanliness to quality. Notes Hord, maintaining the tunnel by ensuring that the walls and equipment are clean will enhance the appearance, fragrance, feel and functionality of the wash. “If there are windows, it is particularly important to keep them clean even though it is a challenge to do so,” he adds. Since carwashes rely on water and often have dark, hard-to-reach areas, such as trenches and high ceilings, mold, mildew and bacteria often develop. While regular cleaning and a proper trash removal program are mandatory best practices, a complete and thorough cleaning of the location, specifically targeting hard-to-reach and often neglected areas, is recommended at least twice a year and possibly once a quarter for busy locations. Customers will equate the cleanliness of a carwash to its attention to detail, which they expect to see shine through with customer service and wash results. Adding sensory-focused features and practices into your site will lead to competitive differences and set the goals of your business and its employees. And, these features are not just for show any longer. LEDs, for instance, are not only helping carwashers produce an attractive and fun experience for customers, but this technology also offers 50
other impacts, such as marketing and package confirmation advantages, adds McLaughlin. If you have attended recent carwash trade shows and events, you realize the influences that emerging technologies are having on our industry. These advancements all have a purpose aimed at enhancing the customer experience and elevating results. “In carwashing, a truly innovative technology is ‘disruptive,’ meaning that it will change our business and upends old formulas and assumptions about what it takes to be successful. The possible consequences of ‘doing nothing’ or waiting too long could be rapid and severe. Be complacent at your own peril,” concludes McLaughlin. Improving your carwash’s sensory experience first starts with doing your due diligence. Next time you drive to your wash, notice the surroundings from the street and as you enter the property. What stood out and what didn’t? Ask your employees to do the same, and then provide feedback. Entice your loyal customers to do the same for a discounted or free wash. Successful carwashes are going beyond curb appeal and instead appealing to customers’ senses throughout the entire location. Rich DiPaolo is the editorial director of Professional Carwashing & Detailing magazine.
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