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

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