ADVANTAGE Publication of the Southwest Car Wash Association
Fourth Quarter 2020
! e t a D w e N
JUNE 9-11, 2021
Wade Welch Memorial Golf Classic Recap and Pictures
P R ESID E N T ' S M ESSAG E Jeff Blansit, SCWA President
EW DATE FOR SCWA CONVENTION & EXPO
With this issue of ADVANTAGE we bring to a close 2020. Little did we realize as we left the 2020 SCWA Convention & EXPO this past February – it would be the last large car wash event of 2020!
As you probably know by now the SCWA Board of Directors recently voted to move the 2021 SCWA Convention & Car Wash EXPO dates to June 9-11, 2021 at the Fort Worth Convention Center
This decision was made after careful consideration of the current COVID situation and evaluating the factors that will exist over the next 60-90 days. The SCWA Board believes that getting through the winter months; the flu season; and rollout of the vaccine; will provide a safer and larger attended event for everyone to enjoy. The SCWA Board based their decision on feedback from prospective attendees, exhibitors, information from other events during the same time frame; and Legends, a company providing COVID protocols for many professional sports teams. In addition, the Board asked the SCWA Exhibitor Council for guidance. The Council, comprised of over 30 exhibiting companies, unanimously recommended SCWA move to the June dates during a recent Zoom meeting. As I noted in a recent press release, we are excited that moving the Convention & EXPO dates to June 9-11 will still make SCWA the first BIG Car Wash Show of the Year and deliver the opportunity for exhibitors and car wash owners to connect in a safe and comfortable environment. The popular SCWA Experience is very well known and we want to make sure that unique experience is available to an even larger car wash community. 2020 has truly been a year of challenge and uncertainty. I am very proud of how SCWA has “risen to the occasion” to help our members and the car wash community as a whole navigate this unprecedented time. I have expressed many times over the past months – it is at times like now that members and industries need an association that provides a relevant response and guidance.
And now we eagerly look to 2021 and the opportunities that are in front of us beginning with the 2021 SCWA Convention & Car Wash EXPO on our new dates. The SCWA event continues to be one of the most popular car wash events and continues to grow bigger and better every year. Attendees come from not only the Southwest but also across the U.S. and even attracts international interest.
As you probably know by now the SCWA Board of Directors recently voted to move the 2021 SCWA Convention & Car Wash EXPO dates to June 9-11, 2021 at the Fort Worth Convention Center. The 2021 SCWA edition will feature the largest EXPO yet with over 325 exhibit booths (and still growing) in over 80,000 square feet of EXPO space featuring the very latest in car wash, lube and detail equipment, supplies and services. Be sure to check out this impressive list of exhibitors in this edition of the ADVANTAGE. So many attendees talk about how much they enjoy visiting the SCWA EXPO because they see all the great car wash companies both large and small in a relaxed atmosphere. As small business owners we are all busy and have a lot going on in our lives – so the thought of taking a couple of days away to attend a convention can seem like a stretch. However ROI is the key and if you can come away with only one good idea or new equipment insights to improve your business and increase your profits – then it is certainly worth the investment. EXPERIENCE SCWA 2021 is now June 9-11, 2021 in Fort Worth and offers something for everyone. The program and registration information is included on the SCWA website www.swcarwash.org. Join us for the FIRST BIG CAR WASH SHOW of the YEAR! I encourage you to experience the power of the car wash community as only you can in the Southwest – EXPERIENCE SCWA 2021. On behalf of SCWA we wish everyone Happy Holidays and a Successful 2021. See you in Fort Worth.
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ADVANTAGE If you have multiple checking or savings accounts, consider consolidating to one of each, preferably at the same bank-more accounts mean higher odds of overdrafts. Especially troublesome are accounts with automated withdrawals or payments-easily overdrawn if no one is paying close attention. If there are lots of CDs, savings accounts and/ or moneymarket accounts at different institutions, some could be easily overlooked. Stick with paper statements. It's perfectly fine for you to access your accounts online, but it's easy for someone else to overlook or be shut out of your online only accounts, which may be difficult to access. Bills and statements that arrive in the mail provide a wonderful fail-safe. That's true even if the financial agent doesn't live near you-your mail canCONVENTION be forwarded to that person by the FORT WORTH CENTER post office or a trusted neighbor.
CONVENTION & EXPO
! e t a D w e N JUNE 9-11, 2021
DRAFT A ROAD MAP
Create a concise guide to your finances. Having all of your financial information in one place will save your designated agent a lot of time and greatly reduce the odds that something will be missed. Handwrite this list, or type and print it. But don't save it on your computer or send it via e-mail-that would increase the risk that this sensitive info could be stolen. Among the details to include... Income sources. Note how each of your income streams arrives-pensions and Social Security payments often are direct-deposited into bank accounts, for example. If you
We wanted our members to know, the SCWA Board of Directors voted to move the 2021 SCWA Convention & Car Wash EXPO dates to June 9-11, 2021.
Grit Trap Disposal Testing • Waste testing that meets any landfill or disposal site requirements. • Soil, water, waste and air testing.
JUNE 9-11, 2021
This decision was made after careful consideration of the current COVID situation and evaluating the FORT WORTH CONVENTION CENTER factors that will exist over the next 60-90 days. The SCWA Board believes that getting through the winter months; the flu season; and rollout of the vaccine; will provide a safer and larger attended event for everyone to enjoy. The SCWA Board based their decision on feedback from prospective attendees, exhibitors, information from other events during the same time frame; and Legends, a company providing COVID protocols for many professional sports teams. In addition, the Board asked the SCWA Exhibitor Council for guidance. The Council, comprised of over 30 exhibiting companies, unanimously recommended SCWA move to the June dates during their December Zoom meeting. According to SCWA President Jeff Blansit, “We are excited that moving the Convention & EXPO dates to June 9-11 will still make SCWA the first BIG Car Wash Show of the Year and deliver the opportunity for exhibitors and car wash owners to connect in a safe and comfortable environment. The popular SCWA Experience is very well known and we want to make sure that unique experience is available to an even larger car wash community.”
make sure the move to the new dates is as easy as possible for you – all current registrations will remain in place for the June 9-11 dates. If you would like to alter your current registration please contact the SCWA Headquarters 1-800-440-0644.
today Cal l us al i for spec g. ricin p A W C S
note: All current hotel reservations made under the SCWA block with the provided website link will be automatically canceled. Updated information links can be found on the SCWA website – swcarwash.org
• All the education programming and the keynote
speaker Steve Forbes have agreed to move to the June dates.
INTEGR TY testing
If you have any questions please contact the SCWA Headquarters (800) 440-0644 or John Moriarty, EXPO Manager, (347) 709-1530. Thank you for your continued support of SCWA. We look forward to seeing you in Fort Worth June 9-11.
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APPLYING FOR AN SBA 7(A) LOAN
unning a small business isn't always easy. As rewarding as it often is,
there are times where you might need extra cash to buy new equipment, expand your shop, or replenish your inventory. However, finding loans can sometimes be challenging, especially if you're a new or nontraditional business owner. That can hamper your efforts to secure small business loans through conventional financial institutions. To help ease the path, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has created various loan programs for small business owners. The most popular is the SBA 7(a) loan program. If you're a small business owner trying to secure a small business loan -- from a microloan to millions of dollars -- keep this one on your radar. Here's what you need to know.
Overview: What is an SBA 7(a) loan?
The SBA 7(a) loan is the administration's most popular loan program. There's not just one type of SBA 7(a) loan; eight different loans are available within the program designed to cover a variety of needs. What makes this SBA loan so popular among small business owners is that between 50 and 85% of the loans are guaranteed. For more traditional lenders, such as banks and credit unions, having a government guarantee to cover a loan helps reduce the risk of lending to people who might not usually get approved.
Who is eligible for an SBA 7(a) loan?
The SBA's loan programs often target small business owners who might struggle to get traditional financing. However, that doesn't mean there aren't some SBA loan requirements you need to meet to qualify. For-profit The SBA requires you to operate a for-profit business. Located in the United States Your business must also be located and do business within the U.S. (or territories), though that doesn't mean you can't also sell goods or services outside it. Have owner equity As the small business owner, the SBA wants you to invest your time and funds into the business.
SBA ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONNAIRE FOR STANDARD 7(a) GUARANTY
This questionnaire is a tool to assist lenders in making basic eligibility determinations. For more information on loan eligibility, please refer to SOP 50 10 5(D). If eligibility is questionable, please contact the Standard 7(a) Loan Guaranty Processing Center (LGPC) at (877) 475-2435 or email@example.com. Please note: All final eligibility determinations are made by SBA, not the lender.
Applied for other funding The SBA doesn't want it to be your first choice for Applicant Name funding. It requires you to have already used your Lender Name Describe Type of Business own funds or applied for other sources of money Purpose of Loan before coming to them. TRUE FALSE The products and/or services of the applicant business are available to thethe general public. While most small businesses meet qualifications This loan will benefit the small business. applicant does not discriminate with respect to goods, services, or accommodations forThe an SBA 7(a) loan, certain types of companies offered based on race, color, religion, sex, marital status, handicap or national origin of a person or fail or refuse to accept a person on a non-segregated basis as a customer. aren't eligible.
If any statement below is checked “False”, the loan is ineligible or requires additional information and clarification. I.
General Information -- Complete the following:
Ineligible Businesses -- Certain business types are ineligible for SBA assistance.
A non-profit business Primarily engaged in lending A passive business owned by developers or landlords that do not actively use or occupy the assets acquired or improved with the loan proceeds that is not an Eligible Passive Company discussed below (e.g. shopping center) A life insurance company (life insurance agents, however, may be eligible) Located in a foreign country or owned by undocumented aliens Selling through a pyramid or multi-level sales distribution plan Deriving more than one-third of gross annual revenue from legal gambling activities Engaged in any illegal activity Restrict patronage for reason other than capacity A government-owned entity (a small business owned or controlled by a Native American tribe may be eligible if the business is a legal entity separate from the tribe) Principally engaged in teaching, instructing, counseling, or indoctrinating religion or religious beliefs A consumer or marketing cooperative (producer cooperatives may be eligible) Earning more than 1/3 of its gross annual revenue from packaging SBA loans Business with an associate who is incarcerated, on probation, on parole, or has been indicted for a felony or a crime of moral turpitude Business in which the Lender or any of its associates owns an equity interest Business which presents live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derives more than 5 percent of its gross revenue from the sale of products or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays of a prurient sexual nature Business that has defaulted, or has a principal who has defaulted, on a Federal loan or Federally-assisted financing resulting in the Federal government sustaining a loss, (unless waived by SBA for good cause) Primarily engaged in political or lobbying activities Speculative in nature (such as a shopping center developer, oil wildcatting, or primarily engaged in R&D)
The Small Business Applicant is not one of the above ineligible business types. If “False”, the loan is ineligible.
A document from SBA.gov showing a list of businesses not eligible for SBA 7(a) loans.
How an SBA 7(a) loan works
Version 50 10 5(D) – Revised 11-1-2011
As with the other loan programs it offers, the SBA doesn't directly provide funds to small business owners. Instead, the SBA works with pre-approved lenders to help facilitate the process. For you, the process is relatively straightforward. If you meet the qualifications, the first thing to do is find a pre-approved lender. Lenders range from traditional banks to credit unions and private lenders, providing a range of options. Once you have identified your lender, you can start working on your SBA loan application. SBA loan terms, including funding limits, interest rates, fees, and how the funds can be used, are pre-set. Generally, you can use the funds for the following: • Real estate: including buying new land or new facilities, upgrading or building a new facility, or improving a property that you currently lease. • Capital needed to run your business: including buying inventory, hiring new employees,
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accounts payable, and other types of ordinary operating expenses. operators can appreciate the simplicity convenience • Startup costs: the costs related toand starting your of credit card payments. While some operators may object to company, including business improvement transaction fees or monthly maintenance charges by banks efforts, and equipment purchases. or processors, these fees are outweighed by the increased Once approved, the turnaround time for funding revenue. Adding a credit card system to a bay will more is quick, usually between five and ten business days. than pay for the investment in the short term. ForCustomers SBA 7(a) will Express youwashing can gettheir funding in spendLoans, more time vehicles as little as 36 hours. Depending on the type of loan after this upgrade, as most credit card systems utilize you get, the termsdown” are typically a “count up” repayment versus a “count chargingbetween method. 10 andstates 25 years. Walter that with standard cash payment equipment,
the self-serve bay timer will start counting down once the minimum payment is met. Typically, there is a “last minute” alert horn that goes off as time is running down. With a credit card payment, the system starts counting up once the transaction has been authorized. Once the wash is completed, the customer is instructed to push a stop button to end the transaction and determine the final charge. “This method keeps the customer from rushing to finish,” Walter says. “There is no ‘alert’ horn to instinctively hurry them up. Some operators have seen average wash tickets increase by 50% versus using cash.” McCarty notes that years ago self-serve carwashes were called “quarter carwashes” simply because that was the only payment option available. At first, self-serve sites would have a bill changer, and eventually many operators began adding tokens. These token dispensers could process A table from SBA.gov the interest rates for fixed-rateway SBA 7(a) credit cards, so it showing provided an economical to loans. accept credit card payments at a self-serve carwash.
ADVANTAGE The 8 types of SBA 7(a) loans
You might not know that the 7(a) loan program Eventually, bill acceptors were added to the meter bay is an umbrella term for eight distinct types of loans. door and then credit card readers. Since some of the first You might find that your needs are best met with one credit card readers were “a little pricey,” some operators kind loan yourtoresearch into wouldofopt forover onlyanother, one or so twodobays accept credit the available loans beforeOperators you dig into themonitor process.the cards, McCarty explains. would 1. Standard 7(a) performance and hold down associated costs. With new, This iscredit the card mostacceptance commonsystems, loan. Many small affordable operators can businesses meetcard theacceptance qualifications for the economically will add credit to their self-serve standard 7(a)machines, loan, and it covers bays, vending vacuums, etc.the widest range of needs. It allows you to borrow up to $5 million EVEN and can MORE be used ADD-ONS to fund a variety of needs, from real The most popular add-on service equipment for selfestate to startup costs. serve locations is tire shiners and air dryers, according to 2. 7(a) Small Loan McCarty. Tire shiner equipment can be added in a bay or The small business loan offers the same features on a vacuum station. One reason tire shine is a popular as the standard loan, except the maximum loan limit add-on service is because the results are immediately is $350,000. Lenders also prescreen these loans based visible. There is nothing like rubbing the pad on the on your business's financial documents. If you pass, tires and seeing that rich, dark finish; it truly accents your application will get expedited. a clean vehicle. Air dryers in the bay are increasing in 3. SBA Express popularity because they finally give self-serve customers you needtoaairquick the theIfopportunity dry a turnaround, vehicle. Dryersconsider have proven Express loan. You'll have within 36 hours. hugely popular in areas witha adecision lot of motorcycles. TheWith maximum loan is $350,000. SBA only the advancement in credit cardThe technology, gift guarantees up to 50% of this loan, the lowest of the cards and loyalty programs are new options available 7(a) program. for bay washes, Walter says. The credit card systems that utilize loyalty or gift card options offer customers payment flexibility. They can use these loyalty or gift cards in many different ways and on multiple pieces of equipment at the
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4. Export Express This loan offers a line of credit up to $500,000 for export businesses. As with the standard Express loan, it also provides a quick turnaround on funding. 5. Export Working Capital The Export Working Capital loan is another for export businesses. With this loan, the SBA allows companies to borrow up to $5 million for working capital to facilitate more export sales. 6. International Trade The International Trade loan is a long-term loan for businesses trying to improve to compete with foreign organizations. The maximum loan is $5 million. 7. Veterans Advantage The VA small business loan is for businesses with at least 51% veteran ownership. An eligible company can apply for any SBA 7(a) loan and have the Veteran Advantage benefits, including lower fees, applied. 8. CAPLines The CAPLines program offers lines of credit up to $5 million to qualified small businesses. It's designed to meet short-term, seasonal, or cyclical needs.
Tips for getting an SBA 7(a) loans
If you're considering applying for an SBA 7(a) loan, keep these tips in mind before you start. They can help improve your chances.
1. Make sure you qualify While you'll need to meet the main requirements set by the SBA, you'll also want to check the specifications set by your lender. Lenders look at some basic criteria, including your credit score, fiscal projections, business plan, and revenue. Some might also ask about collateral, which can help improve your application. 2. Start with your current lender If you're already banking with a financial institution, it's a good idea to find out if you can get an SBA through it. Discuss your needs with the small business lending department. You might find your relationship can help during the application process since the bank is already familiar with you and your business. That can help smooth the path if your application runs into any bumps along the way. 3. Get your documents in order Before you apply for an SBA loan, have all the required documentation in order. Many lenders will want a lot of paperwork to complete your loan, ranging from formal financial statements to your business plan and incorporating documents. Prepare that ahead of time to help keep the process rolling.
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Another advantage controllers enable is to-the-inch application of chemicals. This precise application means operators can effectively control with their washes’ chemical Explore your options costs. When set up correctly, equipment only sprays SBA 7(a) loansproperly, wash site. If designed operators can Davy put the gift the vehicle, not the gap between vehicles, notes. As a small business owner, you're probably card in theapplication bays, on vacuums, vending machines, air This swipes to-the-inch continues through the entire already familiar with and the ups and downs of keeping machines, mat cleaners other compatible equipment. tunnel and applies to such services as ceramic coatings, your gives company going.the When theretocomes a time you This customers flexibility use any piece of wax applications and other necessary chemistry. This need extra help or the funds to keep your business equipment on the not property with aon single card. costs, but it universal control only saves chemistry growing, don't forget to explore thea SBA's options. “If a customer has to choose between site with swipes also provides customers a better wash experience. You might find a 7(a) loan that fits the on billall forpieces exactly only in the bay versus a site with them of Energy efficiency can be another advantage. “Your what your business needs. equipment, I think wehelps all know where they are tunnel controller also you save electricity by going,” driving - Lizsays. Froment, MSN.com Walter “Keep in mind, customers choose a wash for each piece of machinery in the tunnel, activating your many reasons, but two of the top reasons are speed and vehicle frequency-driven devices and controlling signage convenience. of these achievedDavy with the aboveand lightingBoth around yourarefacility,” continues. mentioned flexible “Additionally, yourpayment tunnel options.” controller can help conserve energy by leaving your dryers on when multiple cars CREATING PROFITABILITY areToinpush the profitability tunnel, avoiding costly start-ups of the dryer on a self-serve site, Walter suggests system. Without wasting chemical or electricity, you that operators find ways to keep customers happy andare in better able to control your per-car costs and make each the bay longer. Self-serve owners should remember that service they aremore in theprofitable.” business of selling time. Bath points to efficient look-ahead features in a carwash Walter shares some questions operators should consider: tunnel that can include the controller keeping the blowers • Are the bays clean and well-lit? running for the following vehicle. Again, this step saves • Does the gun or wand leak all over the customer? energy and creates cost savings. “There are many features • Do you have good pressure, soap, wax and presoak that can help operators save power, water, etc. When you in the bay? understand all these modern-day features, your process • How do the chemicals smell and look on the vehicle? will benefit as well as your cost savings,” Bath says. • As an operator, how would you rate the experience in the bay?
off devices. This can prevent too much soap from being dumped into the truck bed or turn off blowers so they will not blow debris out of the bed onto other vehicles.
• Does the wash have doors on the bay, and are they closed on cold days? Once a customer is relatively comfortable in the bay, other additional profit opportunities can be evaluated, Walter notes. Outside of the basic meter box functions, offering carnauba-based waxes, air dryers or ceramicinfused products can help keep customers in the bay longer. As previously mentioned, offering multiple forms of payment can increase revenue and maximize profitability. McCarty explains that there are several ways for operators to push a site’s profitability. Wash appearance is the first consideration, and operators should: • Make sure carwash bays are clean • Make sure trash cans are emptied • Make sure no weeds are growing around or in the wash. “You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make sure the carwash facility is nice, clean and inviting,” McCarty says. Inside the bay, operators should make certain that the functions are working as they should and that the equipment is delivering plenty of chemical for each, McCarty recommends. This ensures a wash is giving customers their money’s worth. Next, ask the chemical provider for products with vibrant colors and great smells. Customers will spend more time in the bay spraying on chemical products that look like they are “painting the 21
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CAR WASH DESIGNSCWA MEMBERS IN THE NEWS AND SUPPORT FROM BRUSH MANUFACTURERS SCWA is continuing to identify resources that will help members and the greater car wash community rebound stronger than ever. We believe there are opportunities to be found even in times like now. This effort will lead into the 2021 Convention & EXPO and beyond. SCWA is developing plans to expand many of these efforts in a broader and expanded role over the next several years. The SCWA website provides resources and links as we all continue to navigate this unprecedented time – pecialized brush experience, www.swcarwash.org ordering, quick Here simplified are just a few of the actions SCWAand undertook:
response areTexas a competitive advantage. • Worked with Governor Abbott to have car
With new carwashes being businesses” built across North washing confirmed as “essential in Texas. joining approximately •America Worked with SCWAthe members in many other 80,000 states, professional car wash locations already in existence, such as: Colorado, New Mexico, Hawaii, Kansas, according from information the International Maryland to and estimates Ohio; by providing as to the Carwash consulting firms that design essentialAssociation, business nature of car washing. remodel carmany washes in county demand. •andWorked with cityare and officials to give These companies essentially as businesses resellers car washes the option to open as serve essential forincarwash tunnel equipment. But Fort on top of local communities such as Dallas; Worth; that, they provide expert consultation services for Greenville; Houston; Albuquerque. According to President Blansit, “I have been very owners building new car Jeff washes as well as necessary proud of the and role SCWA has played trying tolocations. keep the installation maintenance for inexisting car wash community working as an “essential business”. This includes helping to implement best practices We readyinvolving to continuearchitects, our efforts engineers, on behalf of and our andstand designs members and theprofessionals. car wash community”. other industry
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Periodically SCWA members are featured in national publications. Recently SCWA member The Wash Tub’s employee was highlighted in Professional Carwashing & Detailing.
30 and Under RisingOPERATIONS Stars: To do this, the consulting firms not only Austin Mitchan design and specify the original equipment in new We are proud to recognize today's rising young star construction, but also the equipment for remodels player, Austin Mitchan. and upgrades. In this they workTub with Austin Mitchan works as regard, a manager foroften The Wash in specific manufacturers of tunnel wash equipment San Antonio. According to his nominator, Area Director as well as suppliers replacements parts suchage. as Mike Mireles, Mitchan isof making an impact at a young dedicated manufacturers the brushes – cloth, Thank you, Austin, for makingofour industry better. foam, tire/wheel brushes and detailing brushes. Name: Austin Mitchan Spurring interest in such services is the fact that Age: 24 Title: manyManager existing locations, built decades ago, are aging Workplace: Theof Wash Tub, S.E. Military Sanup Antonio and in need upgrade. Failinglocation, to keep with Impact: Austin Mitchan hasadvances been withinevitably The Wash Tub for technology and industry means almost years and has impacted the business falling two further behind thegreatly competition. in that short amount of time. washes Mitchan are is from the San “Owners of established competing Antonio community and graduated from Highlands with a growing number of new competitors so High they School. Following high school, he was accepted to the need to refresh their operations and sometimes Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, where even rebrand,” says Dennis O’Connell, President he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in business.
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remodels car washes. “Tunnel wash technology has also improved dramatically so cars can get cleaner, shinier, and drier than previously possible.” O’Connell adds that a major factor in the car wash industry is the current trend toward promoting club memberships, which often drive retrofits and the implementation of modern technology. The extent of a remodel depends on the age of the equipment, number of car washes, and the budget. In some cases, small incremental improvements can be made. In others, all new equipment may be required. However, since providing a good, efficient cleaning is the heart of any carwash operation, “one of the first things that gets replaced are the brushes, such as cloth or foam, which is very noticeable to customers,” says O’Connell.
“Changing out the cloth or foam is one of the easiest ways to spruce up the look of a carwash.” The visual upgrade is all the more striking when all the items are changed at the same time, which can give customers the impression that you have invested in brand new equipment to enhance the wash. Even if this means switching out some materials before they are fully worn out, the cost is nominal in comparison to the benefits which can include new customers, return visits and more club memberships. When this the case, the choice is to purchase cloth and foam from the manufacturer of the tunnel wash equipment, or to purchase it from dedicated brush suppliers in the industry. In selecting a dedicated brush supplier, O’Connell looks for deep industry knowledge, quality, ample options, reasonable costs, and quick response. “We need a brush manufacturer who understands the equipment, how the brushes fit the equipment. We rely on them to get it right because we are not necessarily the cloth experts. So, they need to be available to look at the installation even if through photos because sometimes these are very old units. And they need to make it simple for us to order,” says O’Connell. Because the carwash equipment and consumable supply industry continues to innovate and evolve, O’Connell looks for deep product expertise in a brush partner than can help to improve cleaning and operational efficiency. “There are a lot of new products out there. With a company like Erie Brush with decades of expertise, we can talk about the different types of cloth, different patterns and material compositions
that result in better performance for our carwash customers. That is the kind of support we need,” can attest to the exponential increase of technology inside says O’Connell. facilities since the dawn of professional carwashing. From Of course, cost plays an important role in any automated pay stations to modern wash media to effective decision. drying systems, the pace of technical advancement has “Ifastounding. you examine the costs, you also have to figure been in This your continued time. If Idevelopment call a brushhas supplier, them created give across-thean equipment andindustry. ask forSpeed the appropriate board change in model, the car care is king, and cloth and they say, ‘This is what you and this wash cycle speeds have surged as daily need vehicle counts is the cost,’ I’m finished. I want a quick, simple have climbed. But, this process of acceleration also ushered transaction,” says of O’Connell. in the expectation new services and improved wash “On the other hand, I haveand to make the same call results. Now, both tight iftiming effective operation and spend time working with the supplier to figure have become important for every wash cycle performed. outToexactly the pace right in type cloth that is muchmarket, more maintain thisofhyper-competitive costly owner than a single phone call transaction,” he adds. every must stay current on the capabilities of Finally, O’Connell seeks immediate responsiveness today’s carwash control systems. Often called the “brain” in a supplier so he can respond kind to connect his car of the modern carwash, these carwashincontrollers washdifferent customers. the phases of automated operation. Wash “If I needbusiness something, I place call, sendand an email equipment, systems, HRa functions more or text, I want my supplier to get back to me quickly. communicate and share information. Only by learning We arethis competing for and business, so if it takes us three about technology implementing industry best days to get to a customer instead of one day, we practices canback a carwash owner hope to ensure dependable could lose theoperation. sale. So, working with a supplier that and profitable responds quickly is a competitive advantage that can KEEP IT MOVING win us more business,” concludes O’Connell. Brian Bath with Innovative Control Systems notes - Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, that the newest carwash controllers allow vehicles to be California processed faster than ever before. High-volume express
ADVANTAGE washes depend on functional speed and accuracy, and these important factors are generated by the best integrated controller and management systems. The list of ways a controller keeps a carwash moving is impressive. Model controllers across the industry have very efficient abilities that allow bumper-to-bumper washing while providing precise results. Bath points out that new controllers do this by allowing different types of automation, like raising the roller, to maintain a regular flow of vehicles. Today, car-per-hour conveyor speeds currently vary in the industry — speeds of 150 cars per hour up to even 220 cars per hour are common across the express world, Bath reveals. The large tunnel properties where operators have 20-plus vacuum spaces have really pushed up speeds and profits across the board. Overall, carwash tunnel controllers help operators dial in their profits and provide a clean, dry and shiny vehicle, according to Todd Davy, senior vice president of sales for DRB Systems. Other advances that modern technology allows are integration of a controller and a point-of-sale (POS) system. To this end, the controller communicates with the POS system to make sure every customer receives the wash services for which he or she paid. Time-wasting and costly rewashes can become a problem if a vehicle receives the wrong services. Modern controllers work with other systems to address this issue.
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19 ADVANTAGE 19
Todd Klismet Independent Carwash Owner Waupaca, WI
I have a sp otless reputation. Running a car wash isn’t easy. I’ve got picky customers, competitors trying to undercut me–and don’t get me started on the weather. So yeah, sometimes I can get a little stressed. It comes with the territory. But one thing I know for sure: my customers keep coming back to my PDQ-equipped car wash because it’s the best in town. All they care about is getting the cleanest car possible, and my wash delivers, week after week. And that puts a smile on their faces and mine.
DRIVE | CLEAN.
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IN MEMORY car with product.” Owners should also ask the chemical MARKETING JOHN BENNET
provider to fine-tune products and equipment so that maximum clean is delivered at the best operating cost. Outside the bay, operators should make sure the vacuums operate properly and do a great job. The vacuums Long time John Francis 1975, the Federal Communications Commission areIn often the firstSCWA or last member impression a customer hasXavier about Bennett, away unexpectedly October 19, (FCC) athem largely overlooked ruling that allowed a wash,issued so61, winpassed over at the vacuums, McCarty states. Additionally, make sure vending machines are full and earth-orbiting antennas — satellites — to be used for 2020. John was the owner of Sun Country Car Wash operating in properly, andHe make sure all areas. signs are clean, fresh broadcasting over large Around that Systems Eltelevision Paso. came from a large family & and not faded or peeling. same time, a little-known regional broadcasting network devoted his life to loving and caring for them. He called Office (HBO) took notice, and brother decided was aHome lovingBox husband, father, grandfather, UPGRADE KNOWLEDGE to use the FCC’s landmark decision to begin distributing notes lived that his there several avenues for & Walter uncle. John lifeare to the fullest and was its own programming via satellite. operators to learn more about equipment options, and he kind and generous to a fault. His lust for life and HBO’s innovative move would have a ripple effect recommends a lot of research prior to making any wash infectious laughter was felt by all who came in that would spillany over onto the landscape of on marketing. upgrade. With doubling research contact with him upgrade, especially on the down golf course and Soon, satellite networks proliferated, and with them, will surely end up paying off for an owner. was the famous “marshmallow man” during the There are several media in outlets review, marketers’ ability to target waystothat were online never chat preSCWA Golf Classics. rooms, possible. websites and print media/trade magazines for viously continued learning, Walter Contacting a local Since time, there hascontinues. been much technological He isthat preceded in death by so his parents, Joan & distributor or self-serve equipment manufacturers canHe be innovation that marketers are faced with choices beyond Jules Bennett, and his sister Mary Ann Bennett. beneficial, can share hotbewildering market trends give measure. Itsince can be and forand anyone is survived bythey hisblinding wife, Jeannie, his children Bailey referenceswith for operators thatmarketing have already upgraded. When charged allocating dollars on behalf Villarreal (Alejandro), Megan and his granddaughter reviewing options, the more data points considered, the better. of a business. his And, this very issue is what (James has caused Alessandra, siblings Ave Mayfield T.), “Make sure to talk to operators using any upgrade marketers to go (Cheryl awry. This is an age of Thad unprecedented Jules Bennett Diane), and Bennett you are considering prior to buying,” Walter suggests. “If communications, and yet many still struggle to connect (Anne) nieces nephews. possible,and takenumerous a ride and test out and the new features. As they with one another. say, try before you buy.” But this problem is not the real problem.
Marketing - What has Changed in the Last 100 Years?
THE REAL PROBLEM Staying on top of new developments in the carwash
The true problem that too many marketers have industry is the key to issuccess, and self-serve operators that only one thing has changed in failed to recognize have several sources of information they can use to marketing the past 100 years: technology. Yes, stay on theincutting edge, McCarty states. HeThat’s agreesit.that you now have social media and tweets and followers publications, online groups and carwashing forums and are apps places and branding and re-marketing analytics and and great for operators to learn more, and ask questions focus information groups and with ROI others. and CRM and customer personas share and“Finally, digital and so on. It’s all certainly true. But, what has there are your local carwash equipment enabled nearlyMcCarty every bit concludes. of it is technology. distributors,” “These individuals prolificyou is the rolegreat of technology in marketing canSo provide with insights, and many of that theseit has become for some an alluring distraction. Panic and peer distributors operate washes themselves, so they have firstpressure set in, and hand knowledge of organizations what works.” pursue the latest and the greatest technology-based marketing tactics without taking By contributor, Phil Ashland, Professional consider a strategic approach. As thefreelance time to thoughtfully Carwashing & Detailing. legendary philosopher and strategist, Sun Tzu once put it, “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Marketing must ultimately get the product or service into the hands of the customer — a real person. Marketers need to realize that it is way too easy to distract ourselves (via technology) away from what is centrally important in marketing: generating a sale to a real person and, TUNNEL CONTROLLERS CONNECT ALL hopefully, repeating that process again and again to her PHASES OF OPERATION WITH A FULL or his delight. Marketing strategy is not so much about a LINEUP FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES plan, but aOF system. Build your marketing (including the For customers and those outside the industry, the sale) around a strategically based, customer-centric sysamount of equipment and automation utilized in the typical tem, then technology becomes a true and valuable tool, tunnel wash can come as a surprise. Established operators and not a distraction.
The Capabilities of Tunnel Controllers
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43 ADVANTAGE 2117
2020 SCWA WADE WELCH MEMORIAL GOLF CLASSIC A new record 146 golfers recently gathered for the 2020 edition of the Wade Welch Memorial Golf Classic. Usually held in June, this year the pandemic delayed the event to October and was played at the famous Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Texas.
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SPONSORS (To Date)
DIAMOND SPONSOR DRB Lone Star Car Wash Systems KEYNOTE ADDRESS Pro-Tech BADGE HOLDER Lone Star Car Wash Systems HOTEL KEY CARD ChemQuest CSI/Lustra Elektrim Motor City Wash Works ATTENDEE BAG SPONSOR Auto Vac Huron Valley Sales BAG SPONSOR Blendco Systems CELEBRATE SCWA EVENT Gallop Brush Company Sonny's CEO FORUM Innovative Control Systems Kleen-Rite EXPO RECEPTION WEDNESDAY Coleman Hanna Car Wash Systems Qual Chem ATTENDEE LUNCH WITH EXHIBITORS Hamilton Manufacturing Scotch Plaid Chemical THURSDAY ATTENDEE LUNCH Micrologic Associates Velocity Water Works EXPO FOYER DIGITAL ADVERTISING National Carwash Solutions DIGITAL ADVERTISING Twin Distributing REFRESHMENT BREAK Midlothian Insurance Agency Auto Wash Services â€“ Wash Sales EVENT SPONSORS American Lube Supply Con-Serv Stinger Chemical Swypit
EXHIBITORS (To Date)
Acquire Video 204 Aerodry Systems 101 Airlift Doors 925 Allied Powers 338 All Paws Pet Wash 112 American Changer 736 American Lube Supply 651 AP Formulators 141 A Plus Design Group 505 Arcadian Services 541 Ardent Advisory Group 449 Arimitsu Pumps 140 Ascentium Capital 437 Attlee Realty 324 AutoBrite Company 247 Auto Vac 525 Auto Wash Services 427 AV Carwash / AUTEC 727 Baker Equipment & Supply 517 Belanger 605 Big Man Washes 305 Blair Ceramics 813 Blendco 535 Brink Results 308 Carolina Pride 445 Car Wash Advisors 223 Carwash Boilers 110 Car Wash Buildings 225 Car Wash Kingdom.com 739 Car Wash Superstore 823 Carwashworld.com 235 Cat Pumps 220 C B Chemical 810 ChemQuest 824 C K Enterprises 608 Clean World Distribution 917 Coast Commercial Credit 601 Coinless 841 Coleman Hanna 319 Commercial Plus 905 Complete Signs 548 Con-Serv Manufacturing 328 Cooper General 216 CryptoPay 108 CSI/Lustra Car Care 635 Dealer Industries 713 Dencar 137 Diamond H2O 647 Dixmor 124 DRB 805 D&S Carwash Equipment 705 Elektrim Motors 436 Erie Brush & Manufacturing 334 Etowah Valley Equipment 935 Ever Wash 621 Extreme Signs and Lighting 540 Extrutech Plastics 911 First Insurance Services 650 Fluidlytix 440 Gallop Brush Company 401 General Pump 923 Genesis Modular 117 G & G Industrial Lighting 345 GinSan/Industrial Vacuum 231 GS Light Systems 241 Hamilton Manufacturing 109 Hilton Displays 441 Huron Valley Sales 130 Hydra-Flex 729 IDX 701 Innovative Control Systems 123
International Drying 745 Istobal 820 Jasco Construction 849 JBS Industries 337 JE Adams Industries 245 Jolt Software 636 Kleen-Rite 118 KLOPP 439 KO Manufacturing 735 Kwik Industries 637 Laguna Industries 226 L&D Distributing 711 Lone Star Car Wash 511 Micrologic Associates 845 Midlothian Insurance 335 Mile High LED Systems 134 Miracle Real Estate 909 Motor City Wash Works 419 N1 Buying Group 827 National Carwash Solutions 325 New Horizon 114 Nuform Building 740 Oasis Car Wash Systems 135 Octaform 947 OptSpot 931 Parker Engineering & Mfg. 126 PDQ Manufacturing 625 PECO Car Wash Systems 717 Premier Companies 105 Promo Car Care 546 PROTO-VEST Inc. 205 Qual Chem 817 Rug Beater by Dralco 116 Scotch Plaid Chemical 217 SCWA 104 Simoniz USA, Inc. 209 SoBrite Technologies 229 Sonny's 405 STI Conveyor Systems 227 Stinger Chemicals 435 Suds Creative 900 Superior Auto Extras 119 Sutra Innovations 447 SWYPIT 551 Synergy Solutions 100 TAVACON 322 Texas Microfiber 509 The Insurancenter 721 Transchem Group 537 Tri-State Car Wash Supplies 136 Turtle Wax Pro 536 Twin Distributing 723 Valvoline 128 Velocity Water Works 829 Ver-tech Labs 237 WashCard Systems 127 Washing Equipment of Texas 645 Washlink Systems 835 Wash Mechanics 347 Washmore Media 737 Wash Solutions 213 Washworld, Inc. 113 Welcomemat Wash Solutions 825 Wheel-eez/Cork Industries 725 Windtrax 236 Zep Vehicle Care 649 Auto Laundry News International Carwash Association International Detailing Association Professional Car Washing & Detailing Self-Serve Carwash News
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7 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT FACE MASKS
s the world opens up from quarantine, questions about the best use of face masks—many millions of
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Best cloth fabrics to protect against spreading the coronavirus. A paper published in ACS Nano
tested the effectiveness of different fabrics in a laboratory and determined that high-thread-count cotton does very well—600-threads-per-inch cotton filters out 79% of particles smaller than 0.3 microns. (Particles of SARS-CoV-2, the scientific name of the new coronavirus, are 0.125 microns in diameter). But the study also found that a mask that combines a layer of high-thread-count cotton with either a layer of flannel—the study looked at a polyestercotton blend of flannel—or two layers of natural silk or chiffon does much better…even though flannel, silk and chiffon are not especially effective mask
PERSONAL materials on their own. These “hybrid” masks filter out 94% to 97% of sub-0.3-micron particles. The fabrics supplement cotton well because they filter in a different way. While high-thread-count cotton literally blocks tiny particles, flannel, natural silk and chiffon provide “electrostatic” filtration—tiny particles stick to them as if to a magnet. Check with manufacturers or suppliers about materials. What doesn’t work: A mask made from a single layer of low-thread-count cotton will be largely ineffective. The study found that 80-threads-per-inch cotton filters out less than 10% of sub-0.3-micron particles. Also, never use a HEPA filter, such as the filter from a vacuum cleaner bag, in a face mask. Those are extremely effective, but they contain chemicals and are made with microscopic glass or acrylic fibers that are harmful to lungs if inhaled. Never wash your mask in bleach. Wash it in hot water using detergent, but do not use bleach. Bleach can damage the fabric of a face mask,
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reducing its ability to block small particles. Also, Continued from pg. 31 breathing bleach can damage the respiratory tract.
have income that arrives by check, explain where it comes The effectiveness from, when it should arrive of and single-use what to do if itmasks. doesn't Choose disposable masks that have at least threeyour and arrive. Example: If you have a rental property, preferably four layers…three pleats to enable a good tenants or property management company might send fit around the nose mouth…and a metal strip to you paper checks eachand month. Recurring payments — including mortgage/rent, secure the top of the mask snugly around the bridge utilities, taxes (estimated income taxes and property of the nose. taxes), premiums… payments made toApersonal Theinsurance importance of eye covering. metaor household assistance providers… and other bills that analysis of SARS-CoV-2 research published in The recur on a regular basis. Search your checking account and Lancet suggests that wearing some form of eye credit card transactions histories to make sure you haven't protection, asFor a face a visor your or goggles, missed any ofsuch these. each shield, listing, provide account in addition to a face mask could reduce infection risk number, password/PIN and the company's contact phone by moreorthan half.as well as a brief description of when number website andEffectiveness how it is paid. of Indicate youN95s, wire acurrently check or N95 where masks. have set upprimarily automatic for payments from an account. reserved medical workers, seal very Any payments made annually or semiannually tightly to the face, which allows them to filterdeserve out at special attention —the less often a recurring bill isI paid, the least 95% of particles 0.3 microns in size. suspect greaterwill the odds that yourto financial agent within will overlook it N95s be available consumers a year. when reviewing your finances. The is common with longThe only problem is that it’s not always easy to term-care insurance, home/auto insurance and property breathe through them—some people feel like they’re taxes. Highlight the dates these are due, and add a suffocating. an N95 mask at home, and warning that Practice this datewith is important. Example: A woman don’t onefacility in public until can do so without was inwear a rehab when heryou long-term-care policy's feeling an urge to pull it off. Choose different bill arrived. The deadline passed beforeashe or her mask loved for workouts. onescardio realized anything was amiss. The insurer fused to reinstate the policy.
ADVANTAGE Helpful: Man insurers allow you to name a third party, such as a friend or family member, to be notified if the policy is behind in payments. Bank, investment and credit card accounts. Include each institutions's name and contact phone number, account number and passwords/PINs. Financial professionals you work with. This could include a tax preparer, estate attorney, financial planner, investment adviser and/or trust officer. Provide phone numbers and e-mail addresses. These pros might be able to help the agent answer questions about your finances— though likely only questions related to their specialties. In addition to keeping this list with your plan, give it to loves ones so if all else fails, these people can piece together your financial activity. Your personal information. yourThe full KN95 name, Effectiveness of KN95Provide masks. mailing email address and equivalent phone number(s), filtrationaddress, standard is the C hinese of the date of birth, Social Security number and mother's maiden US N95 standard. The two are very similar—both name. If you were widowed within the past five years, require the filtration of at least 95% particles 0.3 include your late spouse's personal info,oftoo. Photocopy microns or larger. The concern would be whether your driver's license and health insurance/Medicare card and attach these your financial guide. masks made byto obscure companies and sold as KN95
achieve this FURTHER standard. For a list of FDA-authorized PROVIDE GUIDANCE brands of KN95 masks, go to guide bit.ly/2Z5bM0w. Confirm that your financial is understood and properly stored. When you hand your guide to your - Dasantila Golemi-Kotra, PhD, York University financial agent, ask him to read it in your presence so
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CARWASH CUSTOMER RETENTION POLICY OPERATIONS
his policy example can help your business gain lifelong customers.
I wrote the following Customer Retention Policy for my managers and thought it would be beneficial to share it with other operators. The most valuable person at the carwash is the customer. All businesses need customers to be profitable, and it is imperative to keep as many customers as possible for life. The carwash should always be motivated to improve quality and customer experience. Every interaction with customers should be energetic, polite and professional. All interactions with customers should begin with positive greetings and end with a “thank you.” Customers should always be comfortable and have a hassle-free, positive experience. When a customer has a negative experience, that is an opportunity to satisfy the customer and make sure they keep returning and generating revenue for the carwash.
Customer satisfaction guarantee
If a customer is not satisfied with the carwash experience, they can redo the service they paid for at their convenience. If a customer paid for the incorrect service to satisfy expectations, the manager can recommend the correct service and subtract the total they paid from the recommended service at the customer’s convenience.
No refunds on used services. If a customer did not receive the correct service, the manager can issue a partial or full refund. If the customer does not use the unlimited plan, the manager can offer a free first month when they return, prepaid washes or — if necessary — a refund within three months or a combination of incentives. If a customer is not satisfied with the outcome of the unlimited wash plan, they can contest up to three months with their credit card company, and the carwash will lose money and the customer.
The safety of employees and customers is most important at the carwash. When there is an accident, the first response is to check the health of anyone involved. It is vital that anyone involved in a workplace accident get the medical attention they need, which, depending on the severity, may include
emergency services. Once everyone is safe, the manager must investigate the incident and save any camera footage and report to the proper insurance company. Accidents should be prevented before they occur, and all OSHA regulations must be strictly adhered to at the carwash.
If the carwash is liable for a customer’s car damage, the carwash will return any damage to the prior condition at an approved carwash repair shop. No insurance can be used for any damages under $10,000. Any injuries must be reported to the carwash’s insurance. The manager must make an incident report and take pictures of any damage caused by the carwash.
False or disputed damage claims
If a customer claims damage is caused by the carwash, the manager should investigate. If the manager determines the carwash is not liable for the customer’s damage, it is imperative that the manager makes a positive effort to satisfy the customer. The manager should not take liability, deny liability or place blame on the customer for the damage claim. The manager should listen to the customer and empathize with the customer’s situation. How would you like to pay for a service and then deal with damage you were unaware of? A customer’s car is their most or second-most valuable asset after their home, and they came to the carwash to maintain their asset. The manager can use carwash services to satisfy the customer, including prepaid carwashes, buffing or fixing damage. The manager cannot use carwash money to fix a false or disputed claim. Without denying liability, the manager can explain how the carwash cannot take liability for damage but should never accuse
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a customer of intentionally making a false claim. The manager can further help a customer by using carwash-approved repair shops to have the damage fixed at the customer’s expense at the lowest cost possible. If the customer is not satisfied with the outcome of the damage claim, they can report to their insurance, and we will lose the customer. If the manager cannot satisfy a customer claim, the customer can be referred to the carwash website and write an email to the owner. If the customer is satisfied with the carwash’s response to the damage claim, they will trust the carwash and potentially become a lifelong customer.
A positive online reputation can attract new customers searching for carwash services. However, a negative online reputation can cause potential customers to choose another carwash. If a customer has a negative experience, they should be directed to the website to write an email to the owner, so that the owner can attempt to satisfy the customer. It is better to deal with a customer through email than publicly online, and extra effort should be made to satisfy those who email. All reviews should be responded to, so the customer and online reputation are retained. Not all customers will be satisfied, but it is imperative that potential customers see positive responses to negative reviews to assure them that the carwash cares about the customer’s experiences.
All customers are valuable, but some customers can be bad. Bad customers don’t pay for their services, treat employees and managers with disrespect, yell and curse, and/or make negative experiences for other customers. Bad customers must be treated with respect while quickly and quietly encouraged to exit the carwash. A bad customer will write a negative review, which gives the carwash a chance to respond appropriately and obtain closure. Sometimes, a good customer will not be satisfied and criticize the carwash and be vocal to the manager about their negative experience, but as long as they are respectful, every effort should be made to satisfy their criticism and retain them. Customer retention is a team effort. The vacuum attendant, detailer, service advisor, cashier, manager and owner must all take great care with customers. One bad experience can cost a lifelong customer and the revenue they generate. A bad experience turned positive can strengthen the bond between customer and carwash and generate years of revenue and growth. - Greg Paul, Professional Carwashing & Detailing
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BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS BEYOND CURB APPEAL analysis for all employers when determining whether they qualify as "retail or service" establishments for purposes of an exemption from overtime pay applicable to commission-based employees. Section 7(i) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides an exemption fromfeatures the FLSA's can overtime pay ensory carwash make requirement for certain employees experiences. of retail or service or break customers’ establishments paid primarily on a commission At the heart of every carwash business modelbasis. is a Today's rule withdraws two provisions from WHD's focus on customers and providing area-leading car regulations. The results. first withdrawn provision listed care and cleaning On paper, it is a simplified industries that WHDevery viewed as having "no provides retail concept" plan; but in reality, wash a location will and thus categorically ineligible to claim the section result in were two distinct outcomes: repeat or lost future business. Each and rolling onto a carwash’s 7(i) exemption. The every secondcar withdrawn provision listed property that, represents either missed opportunity industries in WHD's view,a "may be recognized as or, with proper investments in the retail" and thus wereplanning potentiallyand eligible for the exemption. industry’s latest technologies, a chance for customer As the rule explains, some courts have questioned whether retention. Today, as competition tightens around the these lists lack any rational basis. country, appealing to customers’ senses is becoming As a result of the withdrawal of these two lists, a powerful customer retention tool. establishments in industries that had been on the non“Good or bad,” notes Marcus McLaughlin, retail list may now assert that they have a retail concept, marketing manager at Belanger Inc., “every trip and if theyameet the existing definitionexperience.” of retail and other through carwash is a sensory The criteria, may qualify to use the exemption. other question, he adds, is whether or not that These experience criteria include paying a regular ratevisit at least one and a half will make customers want to again or never times the minimum wage and providing commissions return. “The sights and sounds in the wash baythat all comprise than half the employee's affect the more customers’ perception of value,compensation influencing howa much they areperiod. willingSome to pay and how often for representative establishments on (or the whether) they come back,” withdrawn non-retail list maycontinues have beenMcLaughlin. deterred from
availing themselves of the exemption and its compensation flexibilities. If establishments on the withdrawn non-retail list now qualify for the exemption, they have added flexibility regarding commission-based pay arrangements OPERATIONS with their workers. For these employers and workers, they While still whether, important, customers today could consider for carwash instance, more commissionare looking beyond clean car results. They expect based pay is sensible. more out of the businesses they patronize. Bright, Establishments in industries that had been on the "may tidy and modern locations are emerging over dark, be" retail list may continue to assert that they have a retail old and unkempt carwashes. Incorporating new concept. Moving forward, WHD will apply the same analysis wash technologies and emphasizing cleanliness to all professionalism establishments to determine they can haveelevate a retail and with staffwhether members concept and qualify as retail or service establishments, customer experiences and produce profits for the promoting greater for employers and workers alike. competitive yearsclarity ahead. WHD is issuing this rule without notice and comment, Light appeal equals heavy impact and it will take effect immediately. Notice and comment Carwash professionals are embracing the use of and delaying thediode effective date features are not required because light-emitting (LED) on equipment both lists being withdrawn were part of WHD's interpretive and signage. In addition to this emerging technology’s regulations originally issued in 1961 without benefits in and the were variety of costs, colors and shapes, notice and comment or a delay. 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 Retirees can skip required minimum distributions to customers. (RMDs) theireye retirement accounts yearthings: under “The from human is wired to seethis three alights, provision themotion. coronavirus stabilization colorofand So, ifeconomic you want to get a package signed into law in March. meansmoving retirees customer’s attention and keep it,That colored, lights arethe a great way tothat do they it,” notes McLaughlin. can avoid tax payments normally would face
DID YOU KNOW -TIPS
41 ADVANTAGE 37
ADVANTAGE “Customers understand precision make sure theyintuitively are true water restorationthe systems. One engineering involved with LED-lighted wash wheels, recommendation is talking to other operators using the [as an example], which is why they’re so captivated same brand systems and asking about their experiences. by them.” Choosing a closed-loop system is all about selecting a Customers’ intense sense of curiosity, continues knowledgeable and experienced waterasolutions McLaughlin, helps actively market carwashpartner, in real states the NWI customers team. With off a closed-loop system, is time, “pulling the street and into itthe always important to have support from an experienced wash bay, and then tremendously enhancing their professional to ensure site upgrades, plumbing design experience once theythe enter. The lighted wash wheels and installation go smoothly and are executed in way can (and should) be left cycling multiple colorsa 24/7, [year-round]. This actively markets the This site support before, that will result in successful water treatment. during anda after and helps everydowntime customer find will help washhours avoid long delays, and the wash maintenance again through a phenomenon psychologists increased needs. callAthe effect.’” site’s‘beacon water quality is another factor to consider. The supply Even during this information-packed eraequipment in which water can have a big impact on the closed-loop customers are inundated with marketing messages, needed for top quality washing, the NWI team notes. If curiosity and impulse visits are steering traffic to the fresh water supply is not of sufficient quality to use directly your site. Simply put, customers want their cars for a final rinse, to the list of needed equipment and cleaned first that andadds foremost, but an emphasis on makes it morevalue difficult to achieve a zero-discharge balance. presenting and elevating their experience is “Everytosite have its own challenges. Typically, coming themay forefront. However, while LEDs and the volume of cars washed a bigdrive factorbusiness along with other modern features canishelp in, wash equipment,” explains the NWI team. “Knowing the defects and lack of functionality can push customers away. components and how they wash the car can determine the bright,equipment clean [and] signs size“Having and/or support thatwell-lit will allow the in sitethe to tunnel that tell the customers exactly what service become closed-loop.” they receiving is a does positive,” explains Theare installation process not involve much Matt more Hord, training consultant for Brink Results LLC. than installing standard carwash components or systems, “However having those same signs, but the lights but the setup and working with the chemical provider don’t work and the sign [faces are] dirty, is a are key, the NWI team continues. Making sure the wash negative. Bright LED lights and scented soaps, as provides a clean vehicle with athe very minimum amount of examples, positively impact customer experience, fresh water remains the biggest hurdle. whereas a dark tunnel with unscented soaps doesn’t project thatSUGGESTIONS feeling of clean and impacts negatively UPKEEP
on What customers.” upkeep steps should an owner expect after Experts say the benefits of investing in and installation? A closed-loop system will clean more maintaining modern equipment with advanced particulates out of washand water, and this materials, means the features, such as the LEDs improved reclaim tanking will needreturns to be pumped out more often, can result in positive on investments. But, notes the NWI team. The reclaim tanks will fill with dirt building up customers’ sensory experiences in these faster in a closed-loop system. To save on costs, an owner ways requires a carwash and its staff to constantly should the dirt level the tank when inspectcheck equipment, fix inissues asmonthly, neededand and be proactive, rather than the first tank reaches 1.5reactive. feet of solids at the bottom, an operator should have thecarwashing tanks pumped out. Do not disturb Most of the system is it still needs Put yourself in your automated, customers’ but shoes. A car is to be monitored and regularly maintained. The NWI a family’s second biggest investment, just behind team recommends maintenance or upkeep on a the purchase of a that house, for many customers. You, closed-loop be done viaare time increments: playing thereclaim part ofsystem your customer, proud of this investment and want to protect it.and Now, imagine that weekly, monthly, semiannually biennially. The you take your second biggest investment your weekly maintenance for a closed-loop system willtorequire local carwash.30As you go the steps tunnel approximately minutes, andthrough the monthly willloud take noises emerge, and your precious entity is about 45 minutes. The biannual maintenance willbeing take smacked aroundfour to the point youand wonder if damage longer at around to five hours, the maintenance is occurring. Would you return? at two years will take approximately six hours. “Noise is a big factor for a lot of customers. If a The NWI team further suggests that operators make customer is going through the tunnel and hears a lot sure all plumbing and first linesreaction to the system installed of noise, [his or her] is thatare something properly. Chemistry and water quality must be monitored is wrong with the equipment or that the equipment
is old. The newer materials used for mitters and
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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 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.
Not only is today’s advanced equipment reducing noise levels, but cleaning performance is also being improved. 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 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 Associate Publisher – Editorial of Professional Carwashing & Detailing magazine
FIRST BIG CAR WASH SHOW OF THE YEAR!
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DID YOU KNOW... ...some banks are paying for coins?
Coins are not circulating through the economy much because of the recession, and because people are using more digital and contactless payment options. This hurts small businesses whose customers want to pay cash but do not have exact change. So some banks are paying people to bring in coins. Example: Community State Bank in Wisconsin is offering a $5 bonus for every $100 in coins brought in by anyone, not just customers. That 5% bonus is far higher than current bank-account interest rates anywhere in the US. Call banks in your area to find out whether they are offering a premium for coins.
...some foods may contain unlisted ingredients? The Food and Drug Administration
is temporarily allowing manufacturers to substitute alternative ingredients in packaged foods without changing the foods' labels. The rule is in effect because of supply-chain distributions caused by the pandemic, and no end date for the rule has been set. The FDA says no substituted ingredient can be one of the top eight food allergens unless that substitution is disclosed to consumers. Companies are asked but not required to inform consumers of any temporary formulation changes through their websites or point-of-sale labeling.
...rising temperatures will be responsible for more deaths annually
than all infectious diseases combined by the end of this century? Such deaths likely will come from heat stroke, heart attacks and organ failures among people with underlying medical conditions.
...a newly discovered animal uses no oxygen? It is a parasite that infect salmon. Until now, it was thought that all plants and animals require oxygen for cell processes. But Henneguya salminicola, related to jellyfish, has apparently lost the ability to breathe oxygen.
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www.swcarwash.org THE ADVANTAGE is the official publication of the Southwest Car Wash Association. It is published four times each calendar year by SCWA, 4600 Spicewood Springs Rd., #103, Austin, Texas 78759. The officers, directors and members of the Southwest Car Wash Association, as well as The Advantage editors, in accepting advertising for this publication, make no independent investigation concerning the services or products advertised and neither endorse nor recommend or make any claims as to the accuracy and therefore assume no liability thereof. The opinions expressed in the articles are not necessarily the opinions of SCWA and its publisher and therefore makes no warranties and assumes no responsibility for accuracy or completeness of the information herein. (512) 343-9023.
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