Monday, May 23, 2016


I think my first show was 1976 or 77. I think it was held at McCormick place in Chicago. Since then I have attended just about every show in a exhibitor capacity for companies that I was involved with at the time.

During this period many of the shows were held in hotel ballrooms because there weren't
enough exhibits to fill the space. But over the years the show began to grow with more car wash equipment companies offering equipment and introducing new products or services. I can remember when Belanger first introduced its cloth concept. Up until that time everything used to clean vehicles were made of bristle. The list of new opportunities for the operator goes on and on.
I still go to shows in a vendor capacity. It has amazed me how the show has grown over the
decades. To really appreciate all of the changes in the industry attending a car wash show on a
regular basis is a must, particularly if one is new to the business.

As a vendor my goals and objectives may be very different from those of an operator or investor attending the show. My first goal is to introduce my product to potential customers who come by my booth. These people have different interests depending upon what they are interested in doing. I have to quickly learn what their goal is and then determine if my product is a fit. I consider myself a problem solver. If I don't have what they are looking for I can make suggestions that might help them or tell them where to go to find what they are looking for. In this capacity I am also a consultant.

Unfortunately I do not get to attend a lot of the seminars. For me the most enjoyable part of the show is getting on the floor early and walking around to see what is new in the way of equipment and what my competition is offering. This is also a good time to get catch up with other vendors and see people I haven't seen in awhile because they are generally on the floor early as well. For me it's all part of a learning curve. Since the industry is constantly changing one has to be aware of those changes.

How do I maximize my time? Since I am a vendor the majority of my time is spent in my booth. I am tied down and can only see or be aware of what is going on around me. However, when I am not busy illustrating my product I spend down time surveying the isles for people I know and would like to talk to. After show hours I try to spend my time with potential clients over dinner. This is a great time to really catch up as to what is going on and particularly learn of anything new that may have occurred on the show floor.

Because the industry is constantly changing it is important to stay on top of all of the latest developments. To be in this business one must be a student of the game. I consider myself to be a student who is still learning.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016



I am a fan of free vacuums. The reason being that if they are done correctly they will enhance the customers experience at the wash. Enhanced customer experience translates into more volume and increased revenue per car. Some who were in attendance expressed a concern about what happens if you eliminate pay vacuums and go to free. The concern was, that not only would revenue be lost but that trash would need to be taken to the dumpster more often thereby increasing labor and maintenance, that more electricity would be used and customers would come onto the site just to use the free vacuums. All legitimate concerns, however; not necessarily true.

To often I have found that in a self-service location either the vacuums don't work, or suction is poor, leaving the customer to work harder to get  the interior clean and waste more time. If the vacuum has the proper size motor, such as a 3.5hp with 65/75 lbs of lift, customer satisfaction will be increased because the vacuum provides greater suction, takes less time and creates a positive customer experience. There are vacuums on the market today that not only provide terrific suction  but also use very little power and help keep electrical costs down.

Most self-service vacuums have small dirt collection bins that require frequent emptying by an employee. When these small bins are emptied dirt must be transferred to a secondary container. When this happens dirt becomes air born and is either left on the ground for clean up or settles on a nearby customers vehicle. Lastly, air born dirt contains bacteria. This dirt can be inhaled by  nearby customers. Some of this bacteria could even contain blood contaminants. Not all that much different than breathing in bacteria found in the air on airplanes. If the dirt bin has a self contained large garbage bag to collect the dirt it can be easily removed, tied off and taken to the dumpster. This eliminates dirt gathering on the tarmac area, reduces labor time and eliminates air born contaminants. A new bag can be put into the bin, rolled back into place and ready to go. Very simple. Very easy.

Regarding the interview with Marc and Marcus we must realize that the car wash industry is a moving target. Both of these people do. Nothing stays the same for very long; especially in the car wash industry. Generally speaking there are always better ways of doing things that can make life easier, simpler and generate more revenue. After all, isn't this the name of the game. We are an industry of leaders and entrepreneurs. The operators who are quick to spot a new trend and implement that trend are the ones who make the most money. This is called insight. These are the people who can see the future and accept it for what it is. They are not afraid to try out the better mouse trap. If it doesn't work so what. At least the effort was made. Case in point is the express car wash model. When it was first introduced by Ben Alford at his Benny's car washes in Baton Rouge, LA a decade or so ago many people were skeptical of the concept. However there were many others who made the pilgrimage to Baton Rouge realized the opportunity as not only a surefire money maker but also as a way to compete against the in bay automatic market that was make significant inroads into the traditional car wash customer base. Look at what has happened to the industry since. Gosh, there really was a way to beat the competition, increase volume, generate more revenue and enhance the customer experience. What a concept.

The bottom line here is that car wash operators of all types must recognize and take advantage of change when it occurs. Are you going to sit back and wait to see how the new trend takes hold or are you going to be proactive and jump in the game?  A book by Dr. Spencer Johnson called "Who Moved MY Cheese" written many years ago, outlines what happens when one waits to long to recognize that change is taken place. In this case the "Cheese" is your MONEY.

Stuart Levy/President
Auto Glanz Solutions

Monday, January 18, 2016



In reading a vacuum article in the recent issue of Auto Laundry News by David H.
VanGorder, president of Doyle Vacuum Systems entitled, “Choosing the Right Vacuum System” I felt that Mr. VanGorder made an excellent case for the stand alone vacuum model over a central vacuum system.

In the article Mr. VanGorder states that “a single hose can generate100 percent of the airflow and 100 percent of the suction power”. This is an important feature of the Auto Glanz Solutions Pro 100 Vacuum.

The article also discusses costs. It states that the “upfront cost of installing a central vacuum system is higher than that of installing a network of individual freestanding vacuums”. The article also makes the point that the “central vacuum system is always running and that the individual freestanding vacuums only run when they are activated by the customer”. Another important feature of the AGS vacuum.

The article concludes with the belief “that the individual freestanding vacuum units offer the best overall solution in terms of performance,flexibility, costs, maintenance and reliability.

I have often said that the car wash industry is in a constant state of change. More and more I hear about the high cost of central vacuum systems. The AGS Pro 100 Vacuum meets all of the criteria illustrated above.

Looking to make some changes at your car wash. Check out the Auto Glanz Solutions Pro 100 Vacuum at Or contact me, Stuart Levy, at

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New England Car Wash Assn
Dinner Meeting
I attended the New England Car Wash Assn. dinner meeting last night. It was good to catch up with old friends.
During dinner I was having a conversation with an area operator on the subject of "Lava Foam" applications in today's car washes. His comment to me was that he couldn't see the purpose of the application even though it would increase his car washes income per car.
The featured speaker at the dinner was Clark Merrill from the Dale Carnegie Institute.  He said that when he goes to get his car washed he always gets the most expensive package. He wants everything the car wash has to offer applied. Why, because he enjoys the visual colors and the fragrance of the products. What he was really saying was that he enjoys the overall experience of getting his car washed. It makes him feel good. So there it was. The answer to the earlier conversation I was having with my car wash operator friend.
As car washers we have an obligation to give or offer the customer everything they want. If the competitor down the street is offering s feature you are not guess where he is going to go to get what he wants. Down the street. This all comes under the heading of "enhancing your customers wash experience." When your customer has a positive experience at the car wash they will return more often and tell more people.
So, the bottom line is "give your customer what they want."  Enhance their experience and make more money.     

Tuesday, November 17, 2015



Vacuum systems are in residence at virtually every carwash across America. They are lined up like robots ready to do your customers’ bidding in their attempt to give the interiors of their vehicles a fighting chance against dirt and grime. While consumers primarily use your carwash to keep the exteriors clean and shiny, they quickly take advantage of available tools, such as your vacuum system, to clean up the interior as well.
In fact, if a consumer pulls into a carwash and doesn’t spot those mighty sentinels ready to do their bidding, they may pull back into the street and continue their hunt for a carwash that has a convenient vacuum system. After all, they could vacuum their cars at home, but they don’t want to.
This makes installing reliable vacuums at your carwash a smart business practice. Although your customers may not use them each time they visit, the option keeps them coming back — as long as the actual carwash is performing as expected.


Stuart Levy is the president of Auto Glanz Solutions and owner of Clean Car Consulting. He works closely with the express carwash segment of the industry.
When choosing the vacuum system for a carwash, Levy advises clients to look at the projected volume of the wash, as the site must have enough vacuums to handle overall usage. Nothing can chase a customer away faster than being frustrated at a long line of vehicles waiting impatiently to use a vacuum.
To do this, according to D. Scott McConnell, the national accounts manager with Eurovac, look at the number of car bays and figure two hoses per bay. “And design the vacuum size to handle 75 percent in use at one time,” he adds. “No one wants poor suction — pay for the power upfront.”
Wes Taggart, a partner and CEO of Auto Vac, says it is important to carefully choose your vacuum producer when implementing a central vacuum system. “It is the heart of the central cleaning system. It must be strong, durable and dependable,” he advises. “Are there any special circumstances at the site location such as high altitude or out-of-the-ordinary debris being vacuumed?” he asks. If so, be sure to consider that information when outfitting a new carwash or refurbishing an existing carwash.
While the carwash industry is experiencing rapid growth, according to McConnell, and consumers are keeping carwashes busy, you have to build your carwash business based on a long-term outlook. “It is the physical building and outer appearance of the carwash that presents the sizzle to get customers in, but once the customer enters, it is the quality of the experience that keeps them coming back.” A modern vacuum system will give these customers reasons to return.
But, what about costs? When investigating vacuum systems, it would be smart to look at the cost of running the system in addition to initially outfitting or refurbishing the carwash.
Energy consumption is an obvious expense and concern for most carwash operators. “Many vacuum systems require high energy use,” Levy says, “and vacuum motors can range from 25 horsepower and more. These vacuums are generally left on all day regardless of usage. Stand-alone vacuum systems can be turned on and off by the user, thus reducing overall power consumption.”


Vacuum systems are mechanical and have moving parts, and that means they need proper, scheduled maintenance. And, yes, they will break down from time to time.
“The customer will suck up anything,” states McConnell. “If it clogs the main line, the whole system could be down.” Sooner or later, McConnell adds, there is going to be a clog, and now is the time to plan for how you will resolve it.
Taggart suggests the need to separate dirt and debris from the airflow before it returns to the vacuum producer. “In standard central systems, this is accomplished with a filter separator immediately before the air enters your turbine. In each separator, waste is deposited into convenient dirt containers for easy disposal,” he notes.
Another concern, according to Levy, is with pathogens. “Dirt containers that are not self-contained may have pathogens that can become airborne in the form of dust when emptied by an employee,” he explains. These pathogens can carry some form of disease that can be absorbed by an open orifice or wound, Levy warns. “A dust bin that is self-contained dramatically reduces this possibility.”
McConnell also shares that customers aren’t always observant of what’s going on around them. “Without a planned hose delivery, customers will drive over hoses, increasing clogs and reducing hose life.”
Imagine the frustrated customer visiting your carwash for the first time, enjoying the experience until they try out your vacuum that has a hole in the hose.


It’s an important question and your decision will impact the profitability of your carwash: should I charge for the use of my vacuums at my carwash?
Some carwash owners offer do-it-yourself vacuum services for free, but usually they are tied to the purchase of a carwash, such as receiving a coin or code to be used after the exterior of the vehicle is clean.
Others feel the vacuum option should be paid for, and have even raised their prices in recent years to reflect this belief. They have adjusted with the times by adding credit card payment options in addition to the traditional coin-fed systems.
“I’m in favor of not charging for vacuum services,” Levy says. “In the express carwash model, the whole concept is to bring the consumer either onto the property or to provide a valued service that will keep them coming back.”
Levy adds the free vacuum model helps to accomplish these goals and create a loyal customer base that, over the long term, will motivate customers to return to wash their cars on a more frequent basis.
“With a free vacuum, the experience is more inviting,” according to McConnell. “You make it an inviting place to visit.”
Collecting money for the use of the vacuum system, should an operator decide to charge for this self-service option, requires coin or token operations and that adds to “what can go wrong,” McConnell continues.
Taggart offers an interesting twist to the challenge of free carwashes. “It is possible to generate money with your free vac. Not simply by counting on the increase in wash sales, but by charging for your free vac. Sounds silly, but it really isn’t,” he states.
The idea, Taggart believes, goes like this. When the customer comes into the wash, offer them either a token or code in order to participate in the free vacuums offered at your site. This token or code allows the customer to vacuum for a predetermined amount of time, such as five minutes. If the customer then is not finished within the allotted time to vacuum the vehicle, they can then purchase a token for the additional time needed to complete their vehicle.
“This way, the operator is not concerned with how long they are vacuuming so long as they are now offsetting the cost,” Taggart explains, “and it stops the ‘freebie’ from coming in without having to first pay for a vacuum token.”
If that doesn’t help the situation, Taggart offers other advice. “You can monitor the time in the vacuum stall, install polite signage, a countdown timer, a ‘red’ light announcement for time up, an installed timer that stops the vacuum at that spot and directional information that first takes the customer through the wash and then into the vacuum area.”
No matter which decision you make — free or not free — having a reliable, powerful vacuum system in place is vital for the growth of your carwash. And don’t think that reliability and power are the only considerations you should have. Keeping them clean and shiny with smelly odors at bay is just as important. No consumer is going to enjoy using a sticky vacuum hose or a vacuum that discharges foul odors.
So take a moment to inspect and even use your own vacuum system. Your consumers want the best and you want to give it to them so they keep coming back again and again and again.




Stuart Levy, President of Auto Glanz Solutions has announced the introduction of the companies new AGS Pro 100 Industrial Vacuum for the express car wash market. It is a stand alone vacuum made from durable stainless steel. It uses a 3.5 horsepower motor and draws only 4.5 amps of electricity per unit. It comes with a heavy duty, pillow like filter system that filters out dust and dirt that can be washed and cleaned. In addition, the vacuum has a roll out dirt bin that holds a 25 gallon garbage bag that can easily be removed and thrown away. Secondary emptying containers are not needed, thus eliminating airborne dust.

According to Levy, “unlike other types of vacuum systems the AGS 100 low amperage keeps electrical costs down for the operator and is only on when being used. We use a soft start push button mechanism that keeps the electrical surge down when the motor is turned on as well as a timer that will turn the motor off,” says Levy. Also, the vacuums suction at the nozzle is amazing. Customers will love how quickly interior dirt is vacuumed up.

For more information contact Auto Glanz Solutions at 978-828-7712 or visit the companies web site at

Monday, November 16, 2015

Technology On The Rise

Technology on the rise
Here are some of today’sT general innovations catching carwash professionals’ attention.
By Rich DiPaolo │ Group Editorial Director/Editor in Chief

Each year Professional Carwashing & Detailing compiles information for its annual Buyers Guide, which is included for most of our readers with this December issue. This comprehensive directory — sourced from our online version found at — features a multitude of product innovations in the professional carwash market. With a healthy combination of the tried-and-true products and the new and improved innovations of today, our industry is staying ahead and offering solutions for customer satisfaction through high-end results.
In a recent Professional Carwashing & Detailing poll, 70 percent of respondents noted that they read our publication for “new product information.” But, why are the tools of the trade so important to focus on? Simply put, many of today’s manufacturers are doing their homework and offer cutting-edge solutions intended to entertain, inform, perform at a high level, enhance the customer experience or, in many cases, achieve all of the above.
We reached out to a few carwash professionals recently to find out which product innovations are catching their attention and why.

Erupt with sales
Effective, profitable carwashing is fun and entertaining. This strategy has several advantages, including more customers will remember your wash, resulting in repeat visits; and it offers an enhanced ability to upsell packages. One such product innovation that has become a source of entertainment, performance and information is lava foam applications, according to Stuart Levy, president of Auto Glanz Solutions.
In my opinion the most significant change in the carwash industry over the past few years has been the advent and development of the lava foam wax application system,” asserts Levy. “Not only do these colorful products help to generate more income per car, but [carwash operators can also benefit from] the marketing that is associated with the application. We have always been a visually oriented industry for the carwash customer. Now through the development of the lava foam application system, the overall customer experience has been greatly enhanced.”
In addition to the development of this type of application, which usually features colorfully lit arches with outstanding graphics to draw attention, Levy has also noticed the positioning of these arches change for the better as well. “The application process [in many cases] is at the entrance and not down line near the exit as has always been the case with the typical polish wax or conditioner applications. Bravo to the product manufacturers and suppliers of these wonderful arches,” he proclaims.
Darrin Baum, vice president and general manager for Zep Vehicle Care, notes that improvements in equipment and chemistry have created opportunities to build upon one of the top reasons people wash their cars, which is because it feels good. “Improving the ‘show’ with equipment applications, high-impact chemistry, lights, etc., have helped operators increase top package sales and consumer satisfaction.”

Easy money pays off
Mobile is now in our society’s DNA. Your customers are being inundated with more information and have easier access to that information more now than ever before. As a result, the business of carwashing is changing with the times, and more changes, particularly with app-based and online payment options, are ahead.
Point-of-sale technology improvements have had a huge impact on the industry,” notes Baum. “The ability to upsell [and] drive loyalty programs, all while making it more convenient for consumers, has driven growth and profit for the industry. Loyalty programs continue to help operators wash more cars. While many think of loyalty programs as a pricing strategy, the impact on convenience for consumers shouldn’t be overlooked. Gaining a loyalty club member helps connect a customer emotionally to ‘their’ wash, and removes another decision they need to make.”
The popularity of loyalty programs is gaining momentum today from the consumer side. Finding new ways to market a carwash has always been a challenge, but the Internet has certainly helped. And, with Web-based promotions and payment options, selling these loyalty programs is even easier. Still, say experts, a mix of Internet marketing and traditional methods is effective.
The development of Internet marketing, such as Groupon, Foursquare and Facebook, has really changed the way today’s modern carwasher [reaches] a new audience. However, nothing beats the development of a strong wash club program. Successful carwashes heavily promote their wash clubs. They not only use the Internet for promotion, but they also may have employees actively promoting and selling wash club memberships on-site. It is not a hard thing to do, but it does take effort,” notes Levy.

Looking ahead
More of your customers are going to take advantage of paperless transactions moving forward. Your carwash must invest in the technologies needed to accept and embrace emerging online/mobile payment methods. As more people who take advantage of technology continue to visit your wash, convenience throughout the entire carwash experience will be expected.
Creating value as well as a memorable experience should continue to be owners’ and operators’ primary objectives when procuring equipment, chemicals and supplies.
I see great opportunity over the next 10 years for our industry,” says Baum. “‘Do-it-for-me’ continues to grow, convenience is more important than ever and regulatory and environmental awareness will result in greater use of professional carwashes.”
However, adds Baum, carwash consumers will continue to be better educated and have higher expectations of quality and professionalism. “Value, convenience, quality and a positive experience will be requirements, not stand-alone characteristics. Poorly maintained facilities will lag behind, while operators that focus on a positive consumer experience, and provide fast, convenient service will win,” he says.
As you navigate through this year’s print Buyers Guide or our online directory, you will notice several innovations and reputable manufacturers that can move your business forward. It is an exciting time in the carwash industry in the area of new product development. But, as Levy concludes, “The innovation in this industry is truly amazing, but there is always something to look forward to.” What’s next?