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2 • WINTER 2020

WINTER 2020 • 3


Selling Self Serve .....................................8

SS’s Biggest Fan Explains

Why He’s So Sold on SS

Arround the Wash

Going Plastic? ........................................ 14

Experts give inside to some of the

biggest credit card caonundrums

Self Serves in 2020 ................................ 18

Tricks of the Trade .............................. 24’s

‘Random Thoughts’ ............................. 33

Why would I use my cell phone

as an alarm clock?

Quick Tips ............................................... 36

Association Calendar & News ........ 38

Innovations .............................................. 47

Industry Dirt ........................................... 48

Extra! Extra! ............................................ 52

Fun & Games ......................................... 60

Fill in the Blank ..................................... 61

Cover Story .............................................. 63

Going the Distance

Darwin at the Carwash ...................... 75

VOL. 47, NO. 1, WINTER 2020

Note to Self


Well, it’s a new year, a new decade and, in the

Chinese zodiac paradigm, the year of the rat.

And, while the word “rat” might not incite earnest

enthusiasm, we cannot immediately discount

the symbolism of the slink-tailed rodent, because

upon further investigation into my Eastern philosophical

resources, it appears as if the rat symbolizes

great fortune! So, those born in 1924, 1936,

1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, we salute

you. And, now that we know that we can dismiss

the predictions of famed soothsayer Nostradamus

who predicted economic turmoil in 2020.

But, what does he know? I am much more confident

in the predictions symbolized by Asian folklore…no,

make that fact-lore. Those born in other

years…. Well, you can dwell in the predictions of

that Debbie Downer Nostradamus or you can

turn to famed psychic Judy Hevenly. According

to Hevenly (what? You don’t think that’s her real

last name?) the economy will be fine and dandy.

“A US recession is not imminent despite a

warning sign from the bond market, but possibly

just a slight slow down in the economy, overall

a good year,” she predicts. I could tell you more,

but she charges $75 for 15 minutes and I need to

hang onto every penny incase she is wrong.

In other news, Self Serve Car Wash News has

now been around for five decades. Starting in the

1970s, that’s a pretty impressive tenure. I was also

born in the 70s and constantly impressed with my

own longevity. Together, we will both hopefully

continue to grow and age. I have the pleasure of

having a library of issues here at the ready. I have

gone through every single one — cover to cover

Letters to the Editor

Hi Debra,

Just picked up the latest issue of SSCWN and found the article about

MY Car Wash! So very exciting! Thank you so much for taking an interest

in me and my car wash!! As always, it’s another GREAT issue and I look

forward to reading all the articles. You really have a knack for mixing it up,

covering the timely topics, and keeping it interesting. CONGRATULATIONS


Wishing a Happy Holidays to you and your family!


— loving the fact that it is made of flippable pages.

I have yet to read a book or magazine on a tablet

or reader—in fact, I don’t even know if that’s

what they are called. This magazine has outlasted

many publications, including Self Magazine which

debuted around the same time. It’s really remarkable.

And, speaking of historical greatness, this issue

contains a contribution from former editor JJ

Jakubowski. I’m not going to lie, when JJ contacts

me, I get nervous. Nervous I am shaming the shoes

I have been betrothed to wear. But, thankfully,

that has not happened. He instead reached out

around the holidays with an article to share. Written

with finesse and JJ-esque language, the article

is a welcome addition to this issue. Thank you, JJ!

As for 2020 some of my goals are to tour self

serve car washes, à la JJ’s On the Road again

coverage. I also want to cover security issues as

well as what the heck is happening with minimum

wage increases, and governmental regulations

and taxes that are affecting car wash owners.

And, also, how self serves have integrated

new and unique features.

Also, may I please take a moment to give a big

“hurrah” for the unscientific, but still reliable findings

of a poll on the self serve thread of

The poll asked if 2019 was a successful

year (financially speaking) and, praise the car wash

gods, a majority of the votes were “Yes”.

So, onward and upward and best of luck, and

don’t give any heed to that Nostradamus, he

also predicted that in 2020 humans would be

living on the moon.

Until next time,


[patting myself on the

back while talking into a

pretend microphone]

Kimberly, the pleasure

is all mine. Your car wash

is impeccably run, and

you deserve the coverage.

I would like to thank

you for your support

and kind words.

Publisher Jackson Vahaly

Editor Debra Gorgos

Design Katy Barret-Alley

Editor Emeritus Jarret J. Jakubowski

Editor Posthumous Joseph J. Campbell

Editor Posthumous Julia E. Campbell

Self Serve Carwash News is published 4 times

per year and is independently owned by Jackson

Vahaly. Web address is

All inquiries should be directed to:

Self Serve Car Wash News

110 Childs Ln., Franklin, TN 37067

Copyright 2019. 2 Dollar Enterprises/SSCWN. All Rights Reserved

4 • WINTER 2020

Thought you might find this interesting.

A Mfg. Name from the past.

This is from my first SS wash that I bought in

1978 and mounted on a stainless holding tank

used to supply both soap and rinse water to a

hydro spray and 3 self serv bays and a 6’ wide

equipment room.

Like working in a submarine, I guess. The whole

place ran on [2] John Bean pumps with 20 hp

each. I could change the piston cups like an Indy

pit stop [worker]. And when they failed, well let’s

say there was a ton of water blowing out.

The wash was built in 1964 or thereabouts.

The washed has expanded and changed over

the years, but this tank is still used today.

I have received SSCWN for years …

Tim Littman

Hello, Tim,

and thank you

for your continued

readership! I do

find it interesting

and we love getting

pictures from back

in the day. Feel

free to send

more pictures.

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WINTER 2020 • 7



SS’s Biggest Fan Explains Why He’s So “Sold” on SS

and Begins To Explore Ways To Create New Fans Again!

By Jarret J. Jakubowski

First off, I

confess that this

article — my intrusion

— into

this issue is definitely


I was motivated

(in part) by recent


made to me about

my own automobile. I’ll explain that

deeper into this piece. But apart from

that little “reveal”, I’ll start with some

bemusing Q & A. Namely —

Question: What do Self Serve

CarWashing, dearly departed comedian

Rodney Dangerfield and Aretha

Franklin all have in common?

Answer: As was spelled out by

the Queen of Soul — “R-E-S-P-E-C-T

... or lack thereof.

Allow me to explain.

When I retired from the helm of

SSCWN in 2011 I left too many loose

ends dangling. But, ahh, the siren call of

a monthly Social Security check was too

irresistable. Among the topics I really

had wanted to get into (in a personal

way) was my vehicular romances and

their entwinement with SS.

Hey, I love my cars. From my

first ‘57 Chevy, then a fast ’66 fastback

Mustang back in the day to my CTS

today — I get emotionally attached to

my wheels. Directly related to such a

“love affair” is the reason I so relished

my having been Publisher/Editor of

the SSCWN for almost 30 years. I

always was and always will be SS

CarWashing’s biggest fan. I always

wash my cars at a SS wand wash. Well,

okay, okay, apart from a rare DIY power

8 • WINTER 2020

wash in my driveway (mea culpa). And

when I take my vehicles into a dealer for

repair or maintenance, I emphatically

instruct the staff to NOT to provide the

complimentary mechanical wash they

give customers. Thank you, but I prefer

to wash my car myself at a SS. I would

assume that all astute automobile afficianados

would feel pretty much the

same. Not so.

Before my retirement got in the

way, I had wanted to do an amusing

little article on how some automobile

elitists were soooo shocked to see super

pricey, elitist cars being washed

at “those cheap quarter carwashes”.

There’s a website called “JalopNik”

where all matter of car related topics

are discussed. A couple articles really


Well, in a word — NOTHING ...

not a darn thing! That’s despite

the “shock” of two automotive

eltists expressed at seeing a

$2+ million Bugatti Veyron and

then a Porche Carrera next to

a BMW M3 — all washing at

“cheap quarter carwashes”!

The SSCWN sees those 3

customers as guys smart

enough to get more (a lot

more!) than what they paid

for. And that is - absolutely

safe and thorough cleaning

of their pricey cars in a way

that is, incidentally, quite

inexpensive too.

snagged my attention ... and attitude.

The first one was headlined:

“Cheap Bugatti Owner Takes

Veyron to Coin-Op Car Wash”

The blogger was shocked to see

the owner of a Bugatti Veyron “feeding

quarters - QUARTERS!” into a SS coin

box in Southern California so he could

wash his $2,000,000+ status symbol.

He referred to the Veyron as “the pinnacle

of automotive engineering!” To

make his point (or unwittingly undercut

it) he said tires on this Bugatti are supposed

to be replaced every 2,500 miles

in France at a cost of $10,000 per tire

— yes, a whopping $40,000 for a set of

tires! Oh by the way, this oh so cool car

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has 10 radiators, and “routine” maintenance/service

runs about $19,000!

The blurb was tagged with a gratutitously

snarky comment about how the

owner after driving out of the bay was

“probably heading to the nearest ‘Dollar

Store’ to buy Ramen Noodles.” The

writer’s point was that the Bugatti’s

owner was a dumb dolt and “cheap

skate” for using a SS.

Then my trolling took me to yet

another photo (see previous page) and

more commentary. This autophile elitist

was also “shocked” and wrote:

“When I saw this Carerra S and M3 side-byside

at a coin-op carwash, I just had to go

the middle of the street to take a picture!”

Wow — deja vu all over again!

It amazed me to see examples of

guys who really should know better get

it so very wrong. Just because someone

buys SS wash services with half a handful

of quarters, that does NOT make

‘em “cheap skates”! Fact is, someone

with enough smarts to acquire enough

wealth to purchase a multi-million dollar

car — is, more likely than not, smart

enough to know how to best clean and

maintain it.

And that, my friends, brings me

back to the main point of this article.

Namely, self serve carwash owner/operators

have something of an “embarrassment

of riches” when it comes to

their product and services. There are

a number of distinct advantages to not

“just’ take pride in but special selling

points worthy of marketing and more

aggressively “selling” to the public.

Shortly before I passed the SSCWN

torch in 2011, there was a stimulating

exchange in the “LETTERS” section

that dovetails perfectly into this topic.

The back ‘n forth was headlined —

“So What Makes

Self Serve So Special?!!”

I’m relatively new to the self serve

carwash business. When I tell people

that I own and operate a SS, I explain

Jay Leno says his love affair with cars began with

his first “real job” — power and hand washing

very valuable vehicles at a

Mercedes Benz dealership.

(Any resemblence to a self

serve wand wash here is

purely intentional ...

and legit.)

Professional carwashing is “complicated” by its segments’ diverse overlap ... sometimes right

within one operation/location. The questions become — can you aggressively sell/market SS

without “selling out” the other modes of pro carwashing?!!

Can you (should you) even attempt to “thread that needle”?

Lets begin to look for answers.

to them that there are a number of advantages

and benefits when they use a

professional SS wash. I emphasize how

my type of carwash is so much more

environmentally friendly than washing

in the driveway. They’re impressed and

surprised and say, “hey, that’s cool!” But

I’d like to take it a step further.

I want to provide customers and

potential customers with a simple one

sheet summary — a mini brochure

— that outlines why self serve is the

best way to wash a car. Stressing the

environmental benefits is essenial. But

more importantly (for me), I need to differentiate

SS from my full serve tunnel

and exterior express competitors ... as

well as home washing. I want to promote

the benefits and advantages that

are unique to SS — what makes this

technique of washing special and better

than the rest from home to tunnel. Has

the SSCWN done such an article?

Bart Bouchein

Savoy Carwash

St. Louis, Missouri

Thanks for posing such an “interesting”

question and challenge, Bart.

Exactly why and how is SS carwashing

better than other forms of carwashing be

they commercial or residential ... paying

particular attention to the environment?

This is “interesting” because that question

would have been much, much easier

to honestly resolve a couple decades ago.

Over those years, however, the profile

of the commercial carwash industry

changed ... a lot! “Back in the day” the

great majority of self serves were wand

only operations. But by the 90’s, SS began

to energetically diversify and broaden

its market appeal by adding in-bay automatics

— mostly touchless/no friction

units. And that trend led to many SS

operators getting into exterior tunnels.

Plus, many full serve/conveyor operators

diversified their operations with SS bays

— adding them to a site, and buying or

building other SS locations.

So carwash owners “evolved” into

an era that was no longer a clear “us

versus them” dynamic. Nowadays there

are far fewer SS wand wash “purist”

operations. Consequently, most operators

are reluctant to slam one segment

of their vested interests while promoting

another. Regardless, for many years I

was guilty of slipping in editorial comments

and “zingers” that had been overtly

pro professional SS/wand washing. I

believed I was compelled to acknowledge

the fact that SS truly does have unique

“selling points” and notable advantages

over all the other forms of commercial

carwashing. In a nutshell and for several

decades, I had proudly held this

Truth to be Self Evident:

Self Serve wand washing is the most safe,

most thorough, most eco-friendly and most

economical way to clean a car ... bar none!

There, I said it — yet again!

Before any diplomatic qualifying or

mitigating of that aggressive assertion,

lets honestly consider the following:

SAFE - Other commercial wash facilities

obviously have the advantage when it

comes to “convenience”. Nothing could

be easier than just sitting back and having

your car washed for you. But when it

comes to potential problems with “surface

disturbances” (hazing, swirl marks,

scratches, etcetera) and possible physical

damage beyond painted surfaces (molding,

mirrors, etcetera) — your customers

need not worry if they use the services

properly in a SS wand bay. Their cars

will get as clean as they want and as safely

as is possible. Yes, “automated” washes

(both touch free and friction) have gotten

better and safer over the years. BUT

in this context of weighing potential for

damage and surface disturbances — SS

wand washing can, quite frankly, be

considered THE best and safest. C’mon

— it really is self evident.

(Continued On A Following Page)

10 • WINTER 2020

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(Continued from Previous Page)

THOROUGH - Another great advantage

found in a SS wand bay (versus other professional

carwashes) is the total control

it provides. Not only can the customer

precisely focus on especially dirty (or

delicate) areas, he can make the decision

to “luxuriate” with (or minimize) his use of

functions such as PreSoak, Foam Brush,

and Triple Foam Wax/Protectants.

ECO FRIENDLY - Hands on SS wand

washing is also the hands down winner

when it comes to the environment. ICA

studies have verified that other commercial

washes can use 4 times as much

water to clean a car. And home washing

can use several times more than a tunnel!

And, of course, home washing and

parking charity events not only waste a

lot of water, that effluent also makes it

way to our lakes and rivers through the

storm sewer and imperils aquatic life.

TIME - Another thing about home

washing worth mentioning — it not “only”

wastes water and harms the environment,

washing in the driveway wastes time too.

It only requires about 10 minutes or so

to wash in a SS bay. But when you add

it all up (hauling hoses, buckets, soaps,

etcetera and then putting it all away), it

can easily take 4 times as long to wash

in a driveway. Before home washers assume

they’re saving money washing in the

driveway, they need to ask, “how much is

30-40 more minutes of my time worth?!!”

ECONOMICAL - I must acknowledge the

reality of competitive carwash pricing

within the context of the Exterior Express

phenomenon which took off like a rocket

about a dozen years ago. Those EE’s offer

a fast, convenient basic wash for about

$5 or even less. And that low level of price

certainly used to be the exclusive domain

of the SS wand bays. The thing is, that

“below market” price is tantamount to a

Exterior Express’

$5 (or less) “come

on” street sign

prices and Free

Vacs have lured

a swath of the

price prioritized

public away from

self serve wand

washing. But, as

we shall see, there

are ways for SS to

“skin that (cost)

cat”, as well as

tactics to offset

the “convenience”

factor of EE.

The author’s 12 year

old Caddy has aged

as well as his lovely

wife, Colleen. JJ

insists that is in no

small part because

of his devoted use

of self serve/coinop

washes — for his

ol’ CTS, not

his wife.

“teaser”, because the majority of EE customers

feel they need to choose a level of

wash that costs on average $2 more than

that touted street sign price.

Note: the following comments are an update.

Originally, this “Letters” column referred to

keeping my 12 year old Chrysler Concorde

mint via SS washing. But that car was

totalled in a bad accident in 2010 — “forcing”

me to buy the CTS. But apart from the

two testimonials being separated in time,

they are exactly same-o same-o!

Personally, I see the bottom line

every time I proudly walk towards my

own car. I drive a 2008 CTS that looks

virtually showroom new. In fact, this

Fall my son-in-laws’ parents came from

out of state to visit us for the first time.

When they walked into our home (thru

the garage) they had a double-take reaction

and said “WOW, you have a brand

new Cadillac!” When I said, “Uh, no.

It’s actually almost 12 years old.” They

did another “WOW!”

Admittedly, that awed reaction is

due in part to the CTS body style not having

changed all that much since it was

revamped way back in 2008. Regardless,

dark cars in general and red paint in

particular (as is mine) are markedly more

susceptible to surface disturbances. So I

know my exclusive and regular use of SS

wand bays definitely has played a big part

in its ageless-ness. I only wax it once a

year. But judging by how well it has held

up (even with Michigan’s salty roads in

winter), I bet I could get another 10 good

looking years outta this vehicle!

Around And Around

And so we go-around/come-around to

why and how this article began — expressing

our shock that any knowledgeable car

lovcr would be shocked to see very expensive

cars being washed at coin-op carwashes. It

seems that the SS may be remiss in driving

home — MARKETING! — the special, totally

legit selling points of its own segment of the

professional carwash industry.

Yes, carwashing’s competitive climate

has changed. (Don’t get me started on alleged

man-made Climate-Climate Change.

Hmmm, well, unless you’re marketing SS to

environmentalists ... and we will definitely get

into that in Part 2 of this article.) But I hope

that owner/operators would strive to educate

the public — enabling everyone to really appreciate

all the values and value to be found

at a professional self serve carwash.

Speaking of “what goes-around/comes

around”. Nowadays, one might get a sense

that SS is once again the “lowly step-sister”

to tunnel/exterior washes. But prior to the

turn of the century and for several decades,

Self Serve was verified by ICA surveys to be

“America’s Most Popular CarWash” — exactly

as the SSCWN’s original masthead slogan

so proclaimed! In that light, consider this


In the 80’s CD’s were first sold to the

public and audiophiles as THE technical

plateau of recorded music. Then - sonuvva gun

- decades later, we realized that “old fashion”,

analog vinyl platters were, are and probably

will long be the truest, “cleanest” — THE best!

Sooo, in a way, SS is to CarWashing what

Vinyl LP’s are to CD’s ... IMHO.

And, oh yeah, I do get it. The industry

is “complicated” in its overlapping diversity

of vested interests. However, there are ways

for SS to vigorously assert itself and “thread

that needle” without pricking fellow professional

carwashers too, too badly. And so,

in the sequel to this article, I would like to

produce what Bart Bouchein had requested

some years ago ... and more:

• Templates for a mini-brochure

that could be used as a hand out, direct

mail, on a website, or whatever.

• A variety of marketing tips.

• And a slew of graphics that can be

personalized for ads and POS signage.

BTW and in closing — did you notice

the slogan on my baseball cap? Some of ya’ll

(for more reasons than one) will take issue

with that. Is it tongue in cheek? Sure. But its

puckish point of wanting to “Make SS Great

Again” ain’t all for laughs. Stay tuned.


12 • WINTER 2020

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Around the Wash

Going Plastic?

Experts give insight to some of the

biggest credit card conundrums

As we embark on a new decade, there are not Jetson-like

flying cars, pet orbitties, or even glass orbs

that transport people to and fro, but there has been

a significant shift in the way goods and services are

purchased. Cash is not carried by all and it seems as

if cashless payments are becoming the norm. Credit

cards are nothing new, in fact the first official credit

card was used in the 1950s (although historians

argue they have been around since 9000 B.C.). But

cashless transactions have evolved even further

thanks to chip readers, applePay, digital currencies,

and app-based payment transactions. Car washes

have evolved as well — from digitized loyalty programs

to remote monitoring, etc. and self serves are

now offering dryers to LED lighting. Such improvements

are not just “wow” factors, but expected by

customers, especially millennials who are unfamiliar

with the 20th century self serve model. A visit

to a self serve includes user-friendly, safe and convenient

equipment and these days, thanks to credit

card machines, customers are not carrying cash.

And, since everything from vending machines, to

even farmer’s markets are accepting credit cards,

not all self serves are on board. The reasons vary,

between not wanting to install the equipment, to

keeping things the way they’ve always been. However,

the reasons self serves decided to accept credit

cards include: An increase in sales, to customer

appreciation and the ability to tracking data and


As for customer demand, credit cards are no longer

just for the middle- to upper-class demographics.

You don’t even need to have “good credit” to carry

a credit card anymore. According to data released

April 26, 2018, by the American Banking Association,

there were 364 million open credit card accounts

in the United States as of the end of 2017.

According to a 2019 CNBC report, fewer and

fewer adults are using printed or minted U.S. currency

at all. “About 3 in 10 Americans said they

make no purchases with cash in a typical week,

up from a quarter in 2015, according to the Pew

Research Center. Modernization is As we enter a

new decade, and technology.”

Amy Olson of WashCard Systems, which is a longtime

hardware, software, and marketing solutions

provider based out of Minnesota, “The car wash industry

has seen its fair share of change over the last

10 years and credit card acceptance has been one of

them. Operators who have credit card acceptance

see a rise in their income because there are more

payment options available for their customers.”

Olson said they have over 600 customers with

over 1,000 locations as car wash customers, with


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about half of them being self serve customers,

all of which have credit card acceptance and

loyalty options for their wash.

If a car wash is looking to join the trend, Olson

offers up the top five things to consider if you’re

on the fence about credit card acceptance.

1. What about the fees? While credit card

fees are involved, the ability for customers

to use credit cards outweighs those costs.

Having more payment options available also

brings in more customers and allows them to

spend more than what they normally would.

With credit cards, customers are not limited

to the change in their pocket.

2. Reliability: Credit cards also give some accountability

to the customer. Every once in

a while, hardware can fail. When that happens,

customers want their money back.

With cash or coins, it’s hard to prove a customer

was even at the wash spending money

unless you have newer hardware that

gives you those capabilities.

3. Trackability: With a credit card, you are

able to see when the customer was at the

wash, how much they spent, and you are

able to credit them back, or even start a

new wash for them remotely in another bay.

4. Less Labor: Unattended car washes can

be tough to manage. Beyond ensuring it’s

clean, there are chemicals stocked, equipment

is working properly, there’s the tiring

task of collecting, drying, rolling, and bringing

in coins to the bank. A task no self serve

operator has ever said is fun. With credit

cards, this task becomes less of a hassle.

There will always be those few customers

who “like” using coins, but most customers

will eventually switch over to credit card

use when it becomes available.

5. Tricky technology? Hardware costs are

also a concern for operators. Adding credit

card readers can be expensive. And with

changing technology, many operators are

concerned about chip readers or tap and

pay. However, with the way technology is

moving, this concern may be a thing of the

past for operators. Mobile apps are becoming

more and more popular for operators

who have not yet added card readers to their

bays. With mobile app options also growing,

it’s important to consider the features of the

app, how long the company has been in the

industry, how often updates are made, etc.

As technology and the credit card industry

change, operators should stay up to date

with what updates there are and how it affects

their business.



Ryan Davis is the owner of Wild Water Car Wash

and Pet Wash in Ames, Iowa. The wash offers two

Laserwash automatics, seven self serve bays, one

large vehicle bay, two self serve pet washes, and

eight vacuums. Wild Water has been around for 44


“Originally we started accepting credit cards for

our automatics in 1998. Credit cards in the self serve

bays and vacuums came around in 2008.”

Davis’s advice for others thinking about accepting

credit cards is, “Do it.”

“You’re just wasting money until you do. Originally,

when we started installing the credit cards in the bay,

we had people waiting for those bays that had credit

card acceptance.”

Davis said security and his customers’ trust are

some of his biggest concerns. “Security is a huge importance

to me. Our customers expect our very best

every time. If they are going to spend their money with

me, they are putting their trust in me not only to produce

a clean car, but to keep their information safe.”

Aligning with a company that is not only PCI Compliant,

but one that is PCI validated as well, is extremely

important, suggests Davis. “Your customers

won’t care whether you are PCI compliant or validated,

unless something happens. But it makes me

sleep better at night knowing I am protected as best I

can be. Security is nothing to be cheap on.

Davis added that they also offer mobile pay and

they are looking forward to releasing their own app

in the upcoming months.

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WINTER 2020 • 15

16 • WINTER 2020

WINTER 2020 • 17





What’s trending? What’s changing?

Expert Steve Gaudreau weighs in.

Steve Gaudreau knows a thing or two about

car washing. To put it plainly, he has served as a

national consultant to the industry for over 30

years. He was the first-ever president of Car Wash

College and has also authored two best-selling industry-related

books. Currently, Gaudreau serves

as president of Brink Results, LLC. — a training

and consulting firm serving the car wash industry

that provides online video training, on site management

training and organizational consulting.

As for the self serve car wash industry, Gaudreau

has weathered many years of car wash trends and

paradigm shifts. What he has recently noticed are

changes that have to do with speeding up services

and managing customers’ needs and expectations.

The following are the top six implementations he

says to look for more and more.


1 Adding on Express


Many self serve operators are converting a self

serve bay into a shorter express exterior tunnel.

Anywhere from 30’ to 50’ bays are now exterior

washes and sometimes, considering the location

and geographical elements, the blowers are located

outside of the bay. This caters to a self serve

operator being able to use an already established

structure. Express exteriors are nothing new. Benny

Alford of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pioneered

automated “modern day express car washing,” according

to a Baton Rouge Business Report. “After

visiting Germany in the ’90s, the Alfords [including

Benny and his sons Justin and Jason] brought

home the idea of free self-service vacuums and

wanted to use gas pumps as pay stations. They approached

a company about making an unattended

machine, which they discovered already existed,

and added their own gate idea to keep cars in order

for custom washes.” Today, exteriors are more

commonplace and ideal for the on-the-go and

penny-pinching customer. Also, self serves and the

express exterior are mildly similar in that both

do not require multiple onsite employees, which

brings us to #2…

18 • WINTER 2020








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Self Serves in 2020

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2 Onsite Attendants

It used to be that most self serve washes

were not staffed throughout the day, but now,

many washes have at least one employee on hand.

Of course, with this, the car wash owner must train

and monitor the individual, especially if there is

an automatic wash on site. The plus side? It has

been reported that some washes have seen their

revenues double after adding on an attendant. This

might be because such car washes are perceived as

safe, reliable and user-friendly.


3 Multi-bay Washes

There really aren’t too many self-serve-only

washes. Any new washes being built will have

various types of bays. Along with self serves, there

are also some sort of automatic washes included

which allow a wash business to serve multiple customers

at once.


4 More Touchless


Back in the day, friction-based car washes were

more prevalent. Today, more customers seem to

know what the word “touchless” means and the

word is used more and more in signage and advertisements.

Friction washes are still selling, and

ideally, a car wash will offer both: A friction and

touchless wash to attract different customers.


5 Free Vacuums

Some self serves are now offering up free vacuums

to compete with the free vacs offered at express

exterior washes. This offering brings in more

volume which makes a car wash look popular. It is

considered that some customers will choose any

type of wash if a free vacuuming is included so

self serves are jumping on the bandwagon. Also,

If one is looking for self serve inspiration, look no further than Jack Anthony III. Anthony

currently serves as CEO of 7 Flags Car Wash, a California-based chain which includes

three full-service car wash and detail centers, seven self serve carwashes, two express exterior

washes with free vacuums, and one express oil change facility. His father, Jack Jr., founded 7

Flags back in the 1960s, and he, along with his wife Margaret, are responsible for bringing the

first self serve car wash to Northern California.

Having had successful self serve operations for years and years, in the mid-90s Jack Anthony

III decided to change things up and offer a flat free self serve deal. Wash as Long as You Want

was a concept he heard about from another friend in the industry. “He had excellent results. So,

I thought, ‘Let’s give it a try.’” How did others in the industry react? They said he was crazy. But,

customers on the other hand thought it was brilliant.

It works like this: Customers get anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to use the self serve bay (a

car will “trip” a loop detector so that multiple cars cannot be washed in the allotted timeframe)

and they can also use that time to use the vacuums as well. This way they have enough time to

comfortably wash their cars as well as vacuum. The flat fee varies, and If the allotted time is not

enough (it rarely is not enough time) they can add more money.

Anthony said it has been extremely successful and their self serves continue to be a contributing

part of their overall revenue.

And, although such a concept is still not the norm, the idea of not rushing a customer has

its merits. And, if you want to get all new-agey, feeling rushed has been known to cause anxiety

(allegedly). According to, Cardiologists Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman

coined the term “hurry sickness” after noticing that many of their patients suffered from a “harrying

sense of time urgency.” So, flat fee self serves are good for your health. The website adds,

“Hurry sickness increases your body’s output of the stress hormone cortisol, which can cause

long-term health problems, such as depression. It can affect your personal relationships, too.”

F-R-E-E is always an attention grabber. Some car

washes will also offer “free” vacs that are given

with the purchase of a wash, or if they are part of

a flat fee purchase for a site visit. Which brings us

to number 6…..


6 Unlimited time

for a flat fee

As mentioned in #5, some self serves have found

success in offering some sort of unlimited or even

free service. This is not seen a lot in the self serve

industry, and some might think the idea sounds

crazy. However, Jack Anthony of 7 Flags Car Wash

has found success in offering a flat fee (see sidebar).

In not trying to beat the clock, customers can

find comfort in having an unlimited amount of time

to wash their vehicle, or figure out the settings, or

stop to chat on the phone, or… you get the idea.

The plus side is that it will bring in more customers.

The downside is people can hog the bays. However,

with vacuums also being part of the deal, a bay or

vacuum would ideally be empty.


7 More Marketing

More and more self serve and in-bay automatics

are offering monthly plans with unlimited

wash clubs. This is something that is done via signage

or through social media. And, with the prominence

of cell phones, apps and QR codes a visit is

that much easier. Memberships and monthly deals

are also being promoted at attended sites (see #2)

where an employee can offer the customer the

deal in person and/or help a customer figure out a

promotion via a terminal or pay station.

WINTER 2020 • 21


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WINTER 2020 • 23


Presenting some of the best discussions from the Self Serve, IBA and General Discussions sections of To view more

posts discussing some interesting and common problems, as well as some of the best and brightest solutions, visit

(Note: Some posts feature minor edits for readability.)

Boom, there it isn’t!

Does anyone have a suggestion on how to stop customers from leaving the bay hose hanging

right across their vehicles and driving off snagging the hose and pulling it down from the boom?

... I need some way to ensure that the customer pulls the hose out of the way. WENDY’S WASH

I’m assuming you have a 360° center mount

boom. The problem is that it’s not swinging back

to the wall. Shim the mounting points so that the

side you want the boom to swing to is lowest. With

a little trial and error, you can get it to come to rest

about anywhere you want it. I use washers with a

chunk cut out so I can just slip them in or out without

having to take the bolt all of the way out. You

might want to have some longer bolts on hand as

well. They could be changed out one at a time so

you’re not wrestling an awkward boom on top of a


I “home” the booms so they swing to the opposite

end of the bay from where the wand holder is. The

weight of the hose will pull the boom tight to the

wall. If the boom swings itself to where the meter

and hanger are, the boom will always be 45° or

more away from the wall instead of 90° from where

the vehicles enter. MEP001

Do as mentioned above. It might also be a good

idea to put a J hook on the wall that you want

the boom to swing to. Some customers will take

the time to place hose in the J hook to keep it

against the wall even closer than just having the

boom swing correctly. Place the J hook several

feet away from the wand holder, so the hose

has to stay against the wall when in place. SOAPY

Hard to fathom... but a percentage of customers

unwittingly force the hose on to the J hook that is

meant for one of the center Z-booms. Of course,

“Home the




the mounting


they just created a problem for the next customer.

Simultaneous use by 2 people of both the main

center boom & center-mounted brush (no foam) is

another irritation ... especially when the final result

is hose entanglement. MJWALSH

All is right again. Sprayed WD-40 at center of

boom and installed half inch washers on the side

where the wand holder is. Now all six bay hoses

swing right to the side where the wand holder is.


Lower fees, please!

In our ongoing commitment to reduce expenses, can anyone

recommend how to reduce credit card fees. Seventy (70) percent

of our sales is from credit cards? LB60605

Besides partnering with the right processor

to get the best rates, incorporating options

to raise your average ticket would be

next. The fixed costs get diluted the higher

the ticket. If like most, you should notice

that there are flat transaction fees, meaning

no matter how large the purchase, you pay

a flat fee to process. The higher the sale, the

more diluted these flat fees become therefore

reducing the percentage impact on

that transaction. Things like fleet accounts,

memberships, etc... can help raise your average

ticket. At least this has been what we

have seen… JLANMAN

I had GREAT success using a website

called I’m not connected

with them in any way...except as a

happy user.

Cardfellow solicits bids from various

merchant account providers. If you use one

of their “bids” (for your business), the merchant

provider.... not you as the merchant....

pays Cardfellow a small percentage.

The provider they found for me has

been outstanding. CF also provides an auditing

function. Once or twice a year...I

ask them to make sure I’m paying the best

price. They also make sure that the merchant

services provider is charging you

only what was quoted. RUDY

If you are close to Kentucky, you need to

talk to Merchants Pact. They are located in

Louisville. ...Also monitor monthly statements

for fees that have been added that

you shouldn’t be paying for. DAKOTA HOSKINS




“Use a




According to the Glossary of

Terms, an interchange fee, which is also called

a discount rate or swipe fee, “is the sum paid

by merchants to the credit card

processor as a fee for accepting

credit cards. The amount of the rate

will vary depending on the type of

transaction, but averages about 2

percent of the purchase amount. The

interchange fee is typically higher for

online purchases than for in-person

purchases, because in the latter,

the card is physically present and

available for inspection.”

24 • WINTER 2020


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WINTER 2020 • 25


Making cents…

“Charge what

you want”

I have read numerous threads about pricing and since you guys have been such a great

help, I wanted to kick around an idea. So, there are two other car washes in town. None of

which have a better location than me. The biggest competitor in town is $1.00 for 4:00. I have matched

that, but it seems way too long of time for $1.00 the other one in town is $1.25 for 4:00. I was thinking about

going .50 to start and .45 seconds per quarter. Do you guys think I will still compete at being .50 to start even

being a full 1 minute less per dollar?

“Try 50 cents”


customers first”

…My biggest issue is that my car wash has been closed for 3 years so I am trying to get the word out that it has opened. I might drop to 50

cents just to get the word out that I’m open and to gain traffic and then raise it to at least match the other wash in town later on. FASTLANECARWASH

If you’re the best in town, you can charge appropriately

for it. 50¢ to start might be a good grand

re-opening price, but you’ll be the one getting the

worst customers that make the biggest messes if

you plan to run it that way. I’m $1.50 for 3 minutes

- my nearest competition was $1.00 for 2:40,

he raised his price to match mine, the other day his

worker said his customers are now saying they prefer

my wash, but they go back to his because mine

is too busy to get in. MEP001

I’d rather wash fewer cars and make more money

doing it. This is almost 2020.... $1 for four minutes.

May as well get a job with eves and weekends off

and no worries.... likely make more $. Please don’t

tell me you are also offering free vacs?!

My s/s is $3 for 4 min. Vac $2 for 6 min. Auto $8,

$10, $12, and $14. CHAZ

It’s a hard call whether or not to raise your prices.

On January 1st the minimum wage in Washington

state is going up to $13.50 an hour. Most

of the car washes have or are raising their prices.

I’m planning on going to $2.75 for 4 minutes in

the S/S bays, of that $2.75, 28 cents is Washington

state sales tax that we have to pay. At $2.75 I’ll be

one of the least expensive car washes, most are in

the $3.00 - $3.50 range. RANDY

Car washing is discretionary. Charge as much as

you can get away with. No one is being robbed.

They can go to the competition if they think you’re

charging too much. I.B.WASHINCARS

I’m down here in Texas and if you read on,

we are cheaper than most members

on here. I think your real issue is that it sounds

like you just reopened this wash and you want to

get the word out and business back. I was in the

same position with my first wash 4 years ago and I

actually started at .25 to start and that gave you 1

min & 30 secs.... BUT I didn’t stay there long. I was

basically living at the wash on the weekends meeting

and greeting EVERYONE as I raised the prices

and I didn’t really hear many complaints because

we have great soaps, pressure, everything is always

working or fixed immediately and so forth. In summary,

I would lower your price and have a re-grand

opening with balloons, feather flags, etc. etc. then

work your way up as much as you can. RFREEMAN

I have customers who say I’m overpriced at

$3.50 for 5 mins but we are now 1 of 2 self serve

left in our area, we get a lot of vehicles that cannot

go through a tunnel or auto so I control that

aspect of the market. But the monthly membership

trend has been nipping at me as well but

that’s a whole other thread. DIAMONDWASH

In my opinion, if you want to get the word out do

the same thing tunnels do and offer FREE washes

for a week or two. Get people in the door to see how

good you are and let them see what a great operation

you have and what the regular price will be - same or

slightly more than competition - but for better stuff.

I did this once by simply pulling the coin boxes and

vaults and making stickers that said insert quarter -

retrieve below. Got people used to the system/price.

Kept stuff going by timers. EARL WEISS

I’m about $1/1 minute. $3 start. 2/1 ss/iba. Fully

staffed, used car lot, detail shop on site. Free towel

dry station. CC acceptance, air shammies in bays,

mat brusher, vending galore, 4 vacs, air machine for

tires. Be all you can be to the customer and charge

whatever the market will bear. It’s not a moral issue,

it’s business. WAXMAN

High pressure problems…

I have a self serve bay and the high pressure functions are not

working, but all of the low pressure functions are working. …In

the equipment room inside the control panels (probably not the

correct term) there is a button I can push that turns on the motor

that drives the high pressure pump and when I push that button

the motor comes on and drives the pump.

My two other bays work fine so the issue is localized to this bay.

I am not an electrician, but it is weird to me that all three high

pressure functions (rinse, wax, soap) would quit at the same time,

unless there is a fuse someplace that I am unaware of.


Check power from the rotary switch. It should

have two layers of outputs, one for each individual

function’s solenoid, the other just for power to the

motor. MEP001

Could also be the thermal overload - that would

be one of those “little fuses someplace that you

don’t know about.” Press the little blue reset button,

see if that solves it. It would be attached to

the motor starter, which is that “button I can push

that turns on the motor that drives the high-pressure


Once when I replaced a rotary switch, I forgot to

remove the metal jumper from the old switch and

put it on the new switch. The result of that was

the same - no high pressure. SEQUOIA

MEP001 was correct, the “motor” wire to the rotary

switch had corroded and there wasn’t a connection

anymore. Thank you for all of the help,

probably save me several frustrating hours this


Owning and knowing how to use a good voltmeter

is a carwash owner’s best friend. I don’t know

how anyone can get by without one. You could

have quickly discovered you weren’t getting power

to the motor starter coil...Then worked back to

the terminal strip and then the bay rotary.... Glad

you found the problem! 2BIZ

26 • WINTER 2020






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Hot water,

does it matter?



A customer discussed with me his concern about our SS using non-heated water for high

pressure rinses because he said it freezes on his car by the time he goes to dry it. Temps

were around 10 degrees F at that time. We have four high pressure functions (soap, wax,

clear coat, and rinse) and only the HP rinse is non-heated. I told him no chemical is injected

so it doesn’t need heat, but really that’s just the way my place was when I bought it. I don’t

think I need heated water for the wax or clear coat, but I never changed it. It got me thinking

though, would it be wise to switch to heated water for all HP functions during cold temps

(maybe 20 degrees or colder F)? I don’t think it would make much difference and this has

been the only customer to ask me about it. ACBRUNO

“Throttle back

the valves”

I have my HP rinse setup to automatically switch

to hot water at 30 degrees. Customers do notice

and appreciate it as the temps get colder. They notice

it the most when they go to another wash and

the rinse is cold.

Does it increase costs? YES! Does it wash better?

NO! Does it increase customer satisfaction? ABSO-


I see no need for a hot rinse at my location; my

competitors can’t keep up as it is, and I don’t like to

see grown men cry........ WAXMAN

Assuming your setup has cold water solenoids

that bypass the hot water tank on rinse, you could

throttle back the ball valves in the winter to warm

up the rinse, but not have it be full-on hot. Either

that or put doors on the bays and heat them, seems

like closing a valve would be easier. MEP001

I tend to be a little careful about reacting to customers

who want some specific feature, after I look

into it a little bit it almost never appears to be a

profitable change, just an entitled customer who

wants something. I checked the video after the last

person told me they paid for this wash and were

entitled to hot water (5 years ago), and they were

cleaning snow off their car, not washing.

Yes, I know ice is an issue when it gets really cold,

but do a quick spreadsheet - how many cars at what

ambient temp? How much to heat the water? How

many lost customers if you don’t, etc?

Speaking just for my wash, I believe hot water

rinse is a money loser, not a money maker.

I’ll also admit that I do use warm water on rare

occasions - like those rare 10-degree sunny Saturdays

with dry salty roads. But that’s MY decision

for specific reasons, not a reaction to one customer’s


I have hot and cold-water lines T’d into the tanks.

That way I can open and close them to increase

temps as needed. He is correct that at 10 degrees

he may end up with a block of ice if he uses cold


In some climates where the temperature of the

surfaces on the vehicle can be way below zero Fahrenheit

... I would think that hot could even crack

the glass???

On the flip side ... it is true that even with our

tempered water (lukewarm) (on soap only) sometimes

a customer will seek us out pointing out ice

formed as they were spraying initially. That customer’s

“lack of understanding” tends to be a rare

exception as most will just spend a bit more until

the surfaces gradually warm up albeit with more


Summertime ... a motorcycle guy “stays in bay

not washing” to let engine cool down. Same guy in

winter “stays in bay not washing” with his vehicle

saying it needs to warm up????? MJWALSH

I operate tunnels and have washed plenty of cars

in below zero weather. I do not know how hot water

is by the time it hits the vehicles, but glass does not

crack although prior cracks will “grow”. It is the same

when cold water hits hot glass on a summer day.

As far as the motorcycle goes, the hot engine

getting hit with cold water should not be an issue

otherwise it would happen to a hot engine when it

rains. Depending on the age and technology some

(like my ‘95) may still have manual chokes and will

run better after warming up a couple of minutes.


28 • WINTER 2020

WINTER 2020 • 29


Voltage variables

I have an odd question for you guys. I have 3 phase service and currently getting 211

volts to all my equipment and electrical panels from the street. I did amp draws on all

my motors and there is little high amperage and there’s no telling how many years it has

been like this. All my motors are rated at 230 volts not 208 - my power company says they

came out this morning and checked their stuff and said it’s correct and there is no room

for them to adjust it to 230 volts. Is this correct? I just want to make sure there not too lazy

to change the transformer at the street or jerking me around. TDLCONCEPTSLLC



“24+ volts”


leg 3 phase”

Usually from what I see, if a motor is rated for

let’s say 230v that would typically mean the max

voltage. 208-volt systems will work no problem

with motors with 230v rating. once you step up

into the 240v range then you will probably have

to consider other options such as buck boost transformer

or something of that nature. CHEVYGUY09

I’ve had the opposite issue when doing new construction.

We would install Belanger automatic

equipment which called for 208 voltage but sometimes

the city didn’t want to pay to put up a third

transformer. Your power may be different, here

there’s either two transformers on the pole giving

120/120/277 and 240V 3 phase or three transformers

giving 120/120/120 and 208V 3 phase. It took a

lot of arguing to get 208 in and we were successful

every time but one, where we ended up installing

a transformer the size of a washing machine in the

room. MEP001

I just looked up at our pole & it has 3 transformers

& a wild leg thingy with its 240VAC 3 phase. I

tend to measure over 240VAC & the amp draw is

consistently the same on each of the 3 wires to all

my 3 phase motors. I was told that Delta Wild Leg

is very common across the country even though

if you have a lot of 120VAC internal whatever in

the facility ... balancing the total individual circuit

breakers complicates the main panel a bit. Our local

utility based on experience tends to leave a monitoring

device interfacing with the outdoor meter

for at least a day ... if there is any suspicion whatsoever

of a problem with their distribution. MJWALSH

How are you checking voltage? Each leg to

ground? Or across two phases? My guess is you have

the wild leg three phase like I have. Checking each

leg to ground you have 120v,208v,120v. Checking

across any two legs gives you 240v. The cycle timing

of the 208v leg is such you get 240v when checking

either of the 120v legs with the 208v leg. You have

to Google search “Wild Leg 3 Phase” to see what I

am talking about.

I have 3 phases that comes from the street transformer

and splits off at the mast to (2) separate meters

and then to (2) separate panels. One panel is

3 phase 240v and the other panel is single phase

30 • WINTER 2020

240v all fed from the 3 wires coming from the

street transformer.

The system was developed years ago to supply

businesses with 3 phase, single phase, and also a

high voltage leg to run 208v lighting circuits. You

ever take apart the old mercury vapor light fixtures

and notice there was a 208v tap on the transformer?

Hardly anyone uses the 208v leg by itself anymore,

but this type of 3 phase still works for setups

like a carwash. 2BIZ

My power is delivered by our city. They own

the utility and supply 208 to most businesses. One

thing to look at is any small transformer within your

wash that supplies power to solenoids, coin techs

etc. Most transformers are setup to convert 240 to

24 volt but if supplied with 208 you get around 22

volts and that will cause problems. Be sure you have

24+ volts out of your transformers. SOAPY

Unless your motors are fully loaded (carwash

motors are typically not fully loaded) 208 will work

fine. You get less horsepower, but the pumps don’t

know the difference because they will turn the

same rpm. The motors will use a little less power

with lower voltage. WASH4ME

Pretty much right, except that you won’t get

less horsepower... The amperage would increase by

the same proportion that the voltage is decreased.

Example: [(240-208)/240 = 7.5% less voltage. So,

amperage would be 7.5% higher. This doesn’t make

any problem until the amperage exceeds the nameplate

rating. Then you start getting into the service

factor. If you exceed the service factor (typically

10%) then you will start to overheat the motor and

cause early failures. I would check the current at

each of these motors and see if the amp draw is less

than the nameplate. If it is, drink a beer. If it is much

more... drink several more beers. JGINTHER

Running 208v on a 230v motor is fine usually but

you get a higher amp draw. It’s also a good idea to

do an amp test annually. If you notice it creeping up

it’s a sign the motor is going (doesn’t mean it will

die immediately but is toward end of life). MC3033

The horsepower of the motor is lowered when

voltage is lowered. Since the car wash pumps rarely

use the full horsepower of the motor it becomes

irrelevant. For example, if a 5 hp motor would put

out 5 hp at 240 V and if you were to try to get the 5

hp out of it at 200 V it would overheat from higher

amps and decrease its service life. If you study the

charts in the pump information, it will tell you at

a particular pressure and RPM what horsepower is

required. If it were me and the motors are replaced,

I would replace them with a 208-230-volt motors

because they are rated to run the full hp at 208

volts. I am not saying you need to replace the motors…

just if one burns up replace it with a 208-

230-volt motor. WASH4ME

3-phase motors are usually rated to run +/- 10%

voltage. Running a 230v motor on 208V is within

that 10%, so no harm will come to the motor, and

you don’t need to limit the horsepower use to prevent


It shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve only seen issues

with VFD systems that needed a more accurate

voltage, and with 240 to 24-volt transformers running

208 and having an extremely long wire run.

Voltage drop was too much, and even that was

fixed by doubling up the power and motor starter

wires with spares. MEP001


A scientist by the name of Alessandro

Volta (1745-1827) of Milan, Italy,

invented the electric battery which

at the time was named a voltaic pile.

According to Battery University (yes,

there is such a thing), “Volta discovered

in 1800 that certain fluids would

generate a continuous flow of electrical

power when used as a conductor.

This discovery led to the invention

of the first voltaic cell, more

commonly known as battery.

Volta learned further that

the voltage would increase

when voltaic cells were

stacked on top of

each other.”

WINTER 2020 • 31

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32 • WINTER 2020’s

‘Random Thoughts’

Why would I use

my cell phone

as an

alarm clock?

By Eric Wilson

Over time things change. Why have a dedicated

old alarm clock when you have Alexa or your cell

phone to wake you up every day? Sure, old-school

people get into a routine with a dedicated alarm

clock and a dedicated alarm clock seems better in

a lot of ways. The clock is always there and really

integrated into everyday life, but only if you were

brought up that way. Society evolves over time, so

why not use your phone as your alarm clock?

How does this process of replacing basic items

in everyday life affect you? I received the Yellowpages

two days ago. For people that do not know

what the Yellowpages are…. It is an alphabetical

listing of business names along with their contact

information. Businesses also advertise in the book

and, at one time, if you wanted to stay in business

it was a necessity. Now, I throw the book in

the garbage can while never touching it. The Yellowpages

have been replaced by a far better list,

which is updated almost to the minute. But, like

the Yellowpages, with the Internet you have to

spend money to advertise, maintain the website

and manage social media correctly.

The topic I would like to discuss in this issue is

search engines— but mainly the map application

and how customers use their phone or car navigation

systems to find your company.

There are many changes with new car technology.

I remember when navigation systems in your

car was an add-on, requiring you to buy a new

disk whenever you wanted updated information/

maps. Now, many cars have a built-in navigation

system that connects and draws information directly

from your phone. My wife’s car included an

Android or iPhone integrated navigated system. It

works much better than my built-in voice command

on my car and both are constantly updated.

It is better for everyone.

So how is this important to you and your

business? What is important with your customers?

How do customers find you? Let’s start

with going over the most common three types of


1) Flip phones (you know who you are)

2) Androids

3) iPhones

According to a Q1 2019 report,

Android has 60% of the North American market

share with 40% going to Apple. Android dominates

more globally, but that is not really our concern,

but could probably be a trend?

Eric Wilson is a self-serve car wash owner who also blogs online on the popular and very funny website,

WINTER 2020 • 33




Do you have a funny

story from the bay?’s ‘Random Thoughts’

Why would I use my cell phone as an alarm clock?

Apple used to use Google maps, which as a business

owner you should prefer. Apple decided to

change and uses along with

Yelp. Therefore, you need to make sure your information

is available to customers on both Android

and Apple phone platforms.

Google is pretty easy if you have a Gmail account.

Just find or create a location and enter in

your information. Then I recommend adding pictures

and adding your website. I would get a website

even with minimum information on it. This

helps customers search and get information directly

from their maps app and also when you ask

Google a question.

Apple devices are equally as easily if you have

an Apple ID. Find the location, enter the information

and you can enter multiple social media links.

Really, the only difference to business owners is

you have to “verify” your business and you have to

manage your business through Yelp. I have no issue

with Yelp and honesty reviews are always great,

but I just feel quicker responses from a community

rather than going through a company would

be preferred as a business owner. Either way you

should enter your information in Yelp also.

Maybe an inspiring

tale from the wash?

Try something

new that worked well?

“You won’t believe what this

Darwin did at my wash…”

“The best decision I ever made

for my business was…”

“On rainy days, I like to…”

Here’s some additional information about Google

maps: I am a Google Local Guide, so I am

allowed to add, edit and fact check Google Map

entries. This is actually better than the Better

Business Bureau, Yelp, etc. Google entries are fact

checked by Local Guides or users and Google does

not use the extortion method other companies use

to remove or add reviews. This is unfortunately a

method a lot of business know about from phone

calls or letters.

Another reason to enter your information is

for mobile browsing. These additions are important

with Google Chrome (preinstall on Android

phones) which has 65% of mobile browsing. When

Safari (preinstall on iPhones) has 16%. Also, Google

Assistant and Apple Siri are important optimizations.

(Both Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari

can be installed on Android or Apple devices.)

So how did both map applications do? Which

one scored better? Well it honestly does not matter

as you should support both Android and Apple

platforms. But you can tell by the list if they say

the business is “Closing Soon” or “Closed” it is not

a “Self Service Car Wash.” I like how the Android

mapping application did find my closest self service

washes and including expresses and full services

like a fine cross promotion? But let’s also all

be honest: We would all hope Apple could do the

same. But I was looking for a small subsection. Another

factor is the large amount of expresses and

full services around me!

Reach out to Editor Debra Gorgos to share

your story with our readers.

34 • WINTER 2020

Everything you need to Succeed

From the most trusted name in Self Serve Equipment



















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WINTER 2020 • 35



Other customers

are out there...

A major benefit of being a self serve owner is that you can usually accommodate

larger and recreation vehicles in your bays. Large trucks, RVs, boats, jet skis, snowmobiles,

and motorcycles are not in-bay automatic or conveyor customers and are ideally

washed inside of a self serve bay.

Knowing this, if you can take in these kinds of vehicles, market the heck out of it!

Put up signs, post on social media, scream it from your rooftops, well, maybe not that.

But getting the message out there is your first challenge when it comes to this side

of the self serve business. Don’t be afraid to dive in though. These things can bring in

big tickets for you.

Also, don’t forget to market your services to business owners who use trucks, and

some of the other aforementioned larger modes of transportation. There are many

vehicles in the fleet world that can’t be washed in an automatic or tunnel wash. Think

about some of the businesses you see driving around your wash. From landscapers, to

box trucks, delivery vehicles, and more, there is a plethora of vehicles out there that

are business based, and need to be able to wash their vehicle, and be able to receive

automated monthly statements instead of individual receipts for every transaction

they do at the wash. This alone brings in big, consistent bucks for you and your wash.

This tip was provided by WashCard Systems.


Protecting your


Cameras that are mounted on the wash structure and looking out at outlying

areas need to be the large type in the traditional outdoor housings. This is for

several reasons. First, since the lighting tends to be dimmer the farther you get

away from the bays, the lens surface area needs to be larger so that the camera

can gather more light. Secondly, the large camera housings are more visible and

tend to be a deterrent to criminals. Color cameras are fine for looking toward

well-lit areas such as vacuum islands, but when pointing the camera toward

darker areas, or when using the camera to pick up license tags, a day/night version

that will switch to a black and white picture is really valuable since it

can see better under dim lighting conditions. Infrared cameras are also a good

choice, especially if it has very bright infrared LEDs to throw the lighting out to

dimly lit areas at night. Pay attention to the distance the specs say that the infrareds

can reach at night. It is a good idea to half this figure to see if the camera

will still give you enough light at the distance you need to see. The distance spec

the camera manufacturer lists, is under ideal conditions on a moonless night. A

bright night or your own perimeter lighting can effectively halve the lighting

distance you will get from an infrared camera.

This tip was writing by Allen Spears, a car wash owner and the chief engineer of Car-


Sound the Alarm!

The following is a Fire Protection checklist from OSHA (the Occupational

Safety and Health Administration)


• Is your local fire department familiar with your facility,

its location and specific hazards?

• If you have a fire alarm system, is it certified as

required and tested annually?

• If you have interior standpipes and valves, are they

inspected regularly?

• If you have outside private fire hydrants, are they

flushed at least once a year and on a routine

preventive maintenance schedule?

• Are fire doors and shutters in good operating


• Are fire doors and shutters unobstructed and

protected against obstructions, including their


• Are fire door and shutter fusible links in place?

• Are automatic sprinkler system water control valves, air

and water pressure checked periodically as required?

• Is the maintenance of automatic sprinkler systems

assigned to responsible persons or to a sprinkler


• Are sprinkler heads protected by metal guards if

exposed to potential physical damage?

• Is proper clearance maintained below sprinkler


• Are portable fire extinguishers provided in adequate

number and type and mounted in readily accessible


• Are extinguishers free from obstructions or blockage?

• Are all extinguishers serviced, maintained and tagged

at intervals not to exceed one year?

• Are fire extinguishers recharged regularly with the

noted on the inspection tag?

• “Are fire extinguishers selected and provided for the

types of materials in the areas where they are to be


• Class A - Ordinary combustible material fires.

• Class B - Flammable liquid, gas or grease fires.

• Class C - Energized-electrical equipment fires. “

• Are appropriate fire extinguishers mounted within

75 feet (22.86 meters) of outside areas containing

flammable liquids and within 10 feet (3.048 meters) of

any inside storage area for such materials?

• Are all extinguishers fully charged and in their

designated places?

• Are employees periodically instructed in the use of fire

extinguishers and fire protection procedures?

36 • WINTER 2020



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38 • WINTER 2020





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Association News

International Carwash Association ® (ICA)

Keynote Speaker Announced

for Car Wash Show

Ben Nemtin has been named the keynote

speaker for the 2020 Car Wash Show, taking place

in San Antonio from April 6-8. The ICA made the

announcement in early January, stating, “Ben Nemtin

is on a mission to achieve the unthinkable. From

playing basketball with President Obama to dashing

down a soccer field, from raising over $400,000 for

charity to placing a record-breaking $250,000 bet on

roulette—Ben’s bucket list quest has inspired millions

to strive for greatness.”

The ICA stated that Nemtin is a #1 New York

Times bestselling author thanks to his book, What Do

You Want To Do Before You Die? He is also the star of

the MTV show The Buried Life and the co-founder of

The Buried Life movement. He has appeared on The

Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, FOX,

ABC, CBS, NBC News, and more. Oprah Winfrey

called Ben’s life work “truly inspiring.”

Ben weaves the compelling story of how The

Buried Life grew from 100 impossible dreams scribbled

on a piece of paper into a global movement of

millions and skillfully connects his story to the fabric

of our daily lives, states the ICA.

Ben’s message of radical possibility combined

with his ‘5 Steps to Make the Impossible Possible’

leaves audiences not only inspired but also equipped

to tackle the seemingly insurmountable. Ben’s system

of achieving any impossible goal demystifies

daunting tasks and turns “dreams” into “projects” by

creating a digestible pathway to success. Mediocre is

crowded. Raise your bar and surprise yourself.

Past 10 Keynote Speakers

In case anyone was wondering, the past ten

Car Wash Shows (called the Car Care World Expo)

have hosted impressive keynote speakers (My personal

favorite was Magic Johnson. He got up into

the crowd, was humorous and engaging).

2019: Author and leading expert on happiness and

success, Shawn Achor,

2018: NFL Hall of Famer Howie Long

2017: Tom Ridge, first Secretary of Homeland Security,

former governor

2016: Navy SEAL Rear Admiral Scott Moore

2015: NCAA basketball coach Rick Pitino

2014: Daymond John and Robert Herjavec from

ABC’s hit series, Shark Tank.

2013: NBA star Magic Johnson

2012: NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka

2011: NFL quarterback Joe Theismann

Registration now Open

In other ICA news, registration is now open for

The Car Wash Show 2020, the largest U.S. gathering

of car wash owners, managers and decision makers.

From April 6-8, more than 8,000 attendees will

gather in San Antonio, Texas, to discover new products

and technologies, enhance business strategies,

and connect with a range of car care experts—including

car washers, fast lube professionals, detailers,

and more—from around the world.

“The Car Wash Show is the place where the

entire industry gathers to grow business strategies,

collaborate with peers, and share creative tactics

to create memorable experiences for customers,”

said Kim Vinciguerra, Vice President of Events at

International Carwash Association. “With all-new

programming, hundreds of exhibitors showcasing a

full-range of car care needs, and endless networking,

The Car Wash Show 2020 is the best opportunity

industry professionals have all year to gain knowledge

and discover resources to build the best car

wash businesses in the world.”

With brand new education sessions, The Car

Wash Show 2020 will provide industry veterans and

first-time attendees with actionable skills and strategies

needed to stay competitive. The 2020 Show

will feature two options for passes that will allow

attendees to customize their experience to fit their

needs and gain fresh perspectives from professional

speakers, fellow operators, and suppliers.

With the Basic Pass, attendees will get first-hand

product knowledge in 20-minute Quick Hits and

product demonstrations in the Partner Solution Sessions.

Attendees will also have the

opportunity to talk shop with colleagues during

Peer Sessions. And of course, they have access to the

trade show floor for all three days.

With the Premium Pass, attendees will be able to

attend everything included in the Basic Pass as well as

exclusive access to the Premium Education Program.

Here, they will deep dive into one of five areas:

1. Technology

2. Business Strategy

3. Marketing

4. Talent Management

5. Fast Lube.

Each area features an impact session followed by

focused courses to mix and match.

With the Premium Pass, attendees will also gain

industry insights and inspiration at the State of the

Industry and Keynote Address.

The Show will also provide many opportunities

for attendees to network with peers in the car wash,

fast lube, and detailing arenas. During the Opening

Night Party, Booth Crawls, and other engaging

events, all attendees will have a platform to renew

and develop relationships with peers to build a global

network and address any challenges they are facing.

The 180,000-square-foot trade show floor will

grant attendees access to more than 400 exhibition

companies showcasing the latest technology

and products to help streamline business, increase

efficiency, and improve the bottom line. Attendees

will find exhibits in categories spanning the car care

industry, from solutions, product updates and live

updates, and one-on-one discussions that will help

them take business to the next level.

For those who want to further enhance their

show experience, attendees can also register for one

of the preconference seminars on Sunday, April 5.

Attendees can choose from a full-day course in Management

Fundamentals, the New Investor Seminar,

or the Certified Detailer Exam from the International

Detailing Association (IDA).

The Car Wash Show 2020 is presented by International

Carwash Association (ICA), the

Automotive Oil Change Association (AOCA),

and the Western Carwash Association (WCA). For

more information and to register visit:

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WINTER 2020 • 39

Do Your Self-Serve

a Favor...

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visit our website for details

Learn more at:

40 • WINTER 2020

What You Need to Know.

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WINTER 2020 • 41

42 • WINTER 2020

Association News

New England Carwash Association (NECA)

You Make It Happen award

given to Dave Ellard

On November 12th, the NECA presented

its, “You Make It Happen” award to Dave Ellard

of Triple Play Car Wash in Attleboro, Massachusetts.

This award recognizes exceptional service

to NECA and the New England industry, a press

release stated. The honoree did not know he was

receiving the award, therefore information was secretly

gathered from family, colleagues and friends

before the presentation.

According to the NECA website: Dave grew

up in Dorchester and started out at St. Peter’s

School, but as can be expected for a really bright

Boston area kid, moved on to Boston Latin. When

we asked his brother if he was involved in sports,

he described his brother as more of an Eagle Scout,

Junior Achievement kind of kid. He earned his undergraduate

degree at Stonehill College, an MBA

at the University of Southern NH, and has never

stopped learning. While earning his MBA, he

worked in the accounting department of a small

company, Boston Insulated Wire and Cable. He

moved on to Stop and Shop where he held different

accounting, finance and managerial positions.

Then, he moved further up the corporate ladder,

transitioning from accounting to the C-suite, at

Boston Scientific and eventually EMC.

According to the NECA:

After retiring early from EMC, Dave started

looking for his next career, which lucky for us,

turned out to be in the car wash industry. He was

researching getting into the business when he ran

into Terrance Elder. Dave and Terrance knew each

other through mutual friends, and Dave knew that

Triple Play was already permitted and ready to be

built. He asked Terrance if he was looking for a

partner, and through a process of meetings, Terrance

concluded that Dave would be a strong asset

and good partner. They became co-owners and Triple

Play Car Wash opened in 2008.

Although new to the industry, he learned

quickly and was soon noticed by NECA. After just

one year as an Operator Director, he was invited to

serve as Treasurer and to move up the leadership

ranks, eventually serving as President from 2015

through 2016. We all know Dave as a passionate,

driven individual who, when he gets involved,

gives 100%. He can see the big picture, envision

the future and chart a path to get there. This was

apparent from the moment he joined the NECA

leadership team.

During his Presidency, with his vision and

business skills, NECA chartered a new strategic

course. His facilitation skills enabled us to move

forward with the plan more effectively than ever.

In everything he has done, he has provided the focus

and leadership necessary to get things done.

Even as a past president, he is always present and

willing to assist.

Dave’s enthusiasm for the industry and learning

all he can has not lagged, even while on vacation.

While visiting his son who was studying in

Amsterdam, his son’s roommate wanted to know

why they kept washing the rental car.

Dave loves his brown liquors and fitness routine,

but his personal passion is cars and racing.

Last, but not least, he is the proud dad of three

grown children, 2 daughters and a son.

Australian Car Wash

Association (ACWA)

We are thinking of you, Australia

We here at Self Serve Car Wash News are

thinking of our friends in Australia with the recent

devastating bushfires. There has not been an

official statement from the ACWA, or the ICA

and it is unclear if any car washes have been affected.

However, water restrictions have played

a significant role in car wash operations. Back

in November, the ACWA released a statement

indicating that things were generally going well

for the car washes and had benefited from the

hotter-than-usual and rainier-than-usual weather.

“It is difficult to ever describe a Victorian

weather event as extraordinary,” wrote ACWA

Business Manager Doug Cross. “Still, last Thursday’s

40-degree scorcher really was one out of

the box…even for Melbourne! As the city baked

through its equal-hottest November day this

century, fierce winds swept across the State, uprooting

trees and creating dust storms throughout

Melbourne suburbs. Then, just minutes

later, light rain, thunderstorms and a 20-degree

temperature drop. But what may have been uncomfortable

for the city’s residents, produced an

absolute boon for car wash sites with many operators

are still reporting queues and record wash

numbers a week later.”

Cross went on to thank the 40 or so members

who attended the ACWA State meeting in

November. President Neil Fox outlined ACWA’s

involvement in some of the key issues and opportunities

confronting the car wash industry around

the country including the water crisis facing the

industry in NSW and Queensland. “Neil outlined

the work ACWA has been undertaking in

both States to ensure car washing continues under

water restriction conditions. He highlighted

that despite Sydney Water announcing Level 2

Restrictions from 10 December, car washing will

continue,” Cross stated.

“The new restrictions state you can wash

your car, truck, van, using a bucket and sponge

or at a commercial car wash,” said Neil. He went

on to say, “this commendation and recognition of

commercial car washing is carried across Sydney

Water’s communications and website and will

encourage consumers to use our services.”

Level 2 Water Restrictions were enforced in

Sydney in December as the area faced its harshest

water restrictions in more than a decade.

Last June, and for the first time since the

Millennium Drought in 2003, Sydney was

placed on Level 1 Restrictions, stated the

ACWA. However, rainfall in catchment areas

since June has been minimal, forcing the NSW

State Government to announce the introduction

of Level 2 Restrictions.

Restrictions had impacted all car wash operators

in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains and

The Illawarra.

Car Wash Operators

of New Jersey


Scholarship applications due April 3

CWONJ Scholarship Chairman Dan Saidel

posted they are now seeking applicants for 2020


Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to

CWONJ-member employees in 2020. “It is important

to note that this award can be used for a

two- or four-year education, be it full or part time.

Applicants will be evaluated based on their high

school standing, leadership capabilities, community

involvement, strength of character, personal

achievement, plan of study and future goals. The

scholarship will be awarded to individuals who,

through their work in the community and at your

business, have demonstrated excellence and a genuine

desire to expand their knowledge.”

To be eligible an applicant must:

• Be an employee or direct family member

of an employee of any CWONJ member

• Have been an employee, full or part

time, for at least 1 year

• Have graduated high school or have the


• Be enrolled or plan to enroll at an

accredited two- or four-year college or

university, and

• Not be an owner, or direct family member

of an owner of a carwash facility, manufacturer

or retail supplier to the carwash


WINTER 2020 • 43

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Car owners rely on you to keep their cars like new during all of life’s moments, from

the everyday to the extraordinary. You count on us for the education, networking, and

technology to create memorable customer experiences. Learn how the latest innovations

empower your customers to find more joy, wherever their clean cars take them.


SINCE 1987

46 • WINTER 2020




Edge-lit LED panel from LSI

LSI Industries has launched an enhanced version of its edge-lit LED panel.

The new luminaire features an innovative upgrade that enhances its versatility

across numerous indoor applications.

“Our enhanced, edge-lit LED panels fill a void in the marketplace,” said Mike

Prachar, Chief Marketing Officer of LSI Industries. “They give customers significant

flexibility to customize, and optimize the use of light in different areas

throughout their facilities.”

Customers can select up to three different options for both color temperature

and wattage, giving them a total of nine different light settings from a single fixture.

This gives facility managers, and others responsible for the property, significant

flexibility to customize and enhance employee workspaces, increase safety

and conserve energy.

LSI’s enhanced LED product produces light from the sides, not the back. This

makes them extremely thin and lightweight, which allows them to be mounted

in a variety of applications. Panels are easy to install and available in multiple

sizes, including 1x4, 2x2 and 2x4 feet.

Ceramic innovation

from Sonny’s

Sonny’s Chemistry by Diamond Shine introduces the next level of premium

chemistry with CERAMIC X3, a 3-step ceramic-infused process applied

after surface contaminants have been removed in the wash, prime and rinse

steps. The layering process provides superior hydrophobic water repellency and

self-cleaning properties that turns the car’s exterior into a virtually impermeable

surface with strong chemical bonds and a longer-lasting shine. Kati Pierce, Senior

Vice President of Sonny’s commented, “We’re excited to expand our chemistry

product offering with the addition of Ceramic X3. It’s a product line extension

that offers our customers a higher per ticket premium wash option and offers

more protection per vehicle.”

CERAMIC X3 is easily incorporated into the FUSION® process online application

to create a premium wash package.The car receives the standard Fusion

Bath, Fusion Prime and Fusion Rinse. CERAMIC X3 is then applied using

an additional applicator in the Fusion Seal, Fusion Wax and an added Drying

stage. In the final step, Fusion Rain Repel is applied to the glass surfaces.

Bonding at a molecular level, CERAMIC X3 forms a durable shield that is

resistant to dirt, bugs, bird droppings, contaminants and water. The water encapsulates

dirt and rolls off in larger size beads creating a long-lasting, self-cleaning

effect that is visibly noticeable to customers.

New website unveiled

by Kleen-Rite

Columbia, PA-based Kleen-Rite Corp. announced the launch of its improved

e-commerce website in December 2019.

The property,, includes new and redesigned features

to optimize the user experience, save time shopping, and place orders

quickly. Web pages will load faster than before on all devices.

“Our customers want shopping to be quick and easy,” stated Kleen-Rite

vice president Keith Lutz. “The new site will have industry leading speed

and be easier than ever to use. Whether you’re at your desk or on your

phone, we want the customer experience to be exceptional.”

Customers can now log in to their accounts on phones using a thumbprint

or facial recognition. Once logged in, it’s easy to create a “favorites” list

of products, and move some or all products into the shopping cart with a

click of a button once ready to buy.

Adding personal information, order notes, and PO #s into the shopping

cart is easier than before for a

streamlined checkout process. The

improved “order summary” section

comprehensively breaks down

costs before buying.

Be sure to sign up for the new

Kleen-Rite Rewards Club to earn

rewards points on every purchase,

and redeem points for Kleen

Kash discounts and free

shipping offers.

Alkaline cleaner and polish

from CSI

Cleaning Systems, Inc. (CSI) introduces two new and improved products

that have been reformulated to provide customers with an opportunity to

remove those tenacious soils and ensure an exceptionally clean, drier and

shiny car.

New & Improved #1905 LiftOff® is a non-caustic alkaline cleaner for a

wide range of applications including wheel cleaning and presoak applications.

It was reformulated with increased alkalinity and a specialty additive

that targets brake dust and rust for increased soil penetration and removal.

This product is safe to clean all types of wheels and vehicle surfaces. The

key benefits include:

● Highest level of sodium metasilicate in any

concentrated liquid product on the market.

● Improved product performance for more than tire

and wheel cleaning.

● Great non-caustic presoak.

The new and improved UF314 Polish Cherry White is an ultra-concentrated

high foaming polish that was completely reformulated as a low pH

product with higher foam volume and better protective properties. The

newly formulated UF314 produces rich foam and appealing cherry scent. It

is best used in low-pressure polish applications in car washes. The outcome

also reduces cost per car, while removing foam with less water, and providing

a drier car.

According to Dave Krause, President and CEO of CSI, “both products

went through a protocol of testing requirements compliant with ISO 9000

standards. We are very pleased that the outcome of each reformulation provides

our customers with improved product performance while reducing

cost per car and using less water.”

WINTER 2020 • 47




Honoring Billy Lee Reynolds

We here at Self Serve Car Wash News were saddened

to hear of the passing of Billy Lee Reynolds,

founder of Carolina Pride Carwash, Inc. The Reynolds

family has been an amazing friend to the magazine

and the car washing industry in general. Our thoughts

are with his son, Dale, and his beloved family. The following

press release was sent out by the family.

Billy Reynolds passed away peacefully at the

Hock Family Pavilion in Durham, North Carolina,

on December 1, 2019. After a battle with cancer

and heart disease over the last twelve years,

he maintained a positive attitude. He was born in

Hollywood, Virginia, and moved to Person County

when he was a young boy. He grew up in Roxboro

and remained there his entire life. He was a very

hard worker with an entrepreneurial spirit. Billy

began his first business as Reynolds Refrigeration

Service. He also developed and started many other

businesses including Carolina Pride Carwash, Inc.

His car wash business has existed for over 53 years

and is still operated by his son Dale Reynolds.

Billy greatly loved his family and friends. He loved

many close friends and enjoyed telling stories and

jokes. He encouraged people to push themselves to

do their best and to pursue their dreams. He never

met a stranger and enjoyed meeting people wherever

he went. Many people experienced his generosity

and big heart. He will be greatly missed.

Billy is survived by the love of his life and Wife

for 63 years Kay Lee Perkins Reynolds, daughter

Sherry Reynolds, son Dale Reynolds and his wife

Lorraine. Grandsons Harrison Tyler Reynolds, and

Lee Thomas Reynolds.

Memorial donations to the charity of one’s choice

or to My Life Matters ( and/or

Patrick Henry Family Services (

Billy Lee Reynolds

12/19/1935 – 12/1/2019

D&S promotes Kenneth

Underhill, adds two new


On January 10, D&S Carwash Equipment of

High Ridge, Missouri, announced the promotion

of Kenneth Underhill to the newly formed

position of Director of Marketing. In this new

position Underhill will be responsible for all

marketing functionsfor the company, including

strategic planning, advertising, promotions,

trade shows, market research and public relations.

In addition, he will oversee all on-line and digital media marketing,

encompassing website, email and social media. Underhill will continue

to have significant input in product development.

Underhill joined D&S in 2017 as Marketing and Communications

Manager and was instrumental in enhancing the firm’s on-line presence

and new business development processes. Spanning a forty-year

career in business, Underhill has held numerous positions in marketing

and sales across a wide spectrum of industries.

The company also announced the addition of two new firms to

its nationwide network of factory authorized distributors. Central

Service Inc. of Bend, Oregon, and Air & Lube Systems Inc. based

in Sacramento, California, with facilities in San Diego, Los Angeles

and Tulare, California, will provide sales, installation, maintenance

and service functions for much of the West Coast.

Central Service is a leader in the construction and service industry

for retail petroleum clients in the northwest United States. Air

& Lube Systems Inc.’s core business is sales, installation and service

of automotive maintenance equipment throughout California. Their

clients include auto dealers, truck and auto fleet firms and government


D&S Western Regional Manager, Brian Merz stated in a press release,

“We’re very pleased to partner with two reputable firms with

excellent track records serving two of our core market industries,

c-stores and auto dealers. In addition, we have gained a much stronger

position in terms of geographic coverage in the western US.”

Sonny’s Acquires SLAM

Sonny’s The Car Wash Factory has announced the acquisition of SLAM, a highly

specialized full-service marketing agency with deep roots in the car wash industry.

According to a press release, SLAM’s services include branding, web design, digital

and traditional advertising, social media services, content creation, sales training,

marketing consulting, business listing and localization search, and unlimited campaign


Mike Berlin, Vice President of SLAM stated in the press release, “In 2001, when

our parent company BCLIP Production was just getting started, Sonny’s was the first

customer to give us a real project. 18 years later, we have a few more projects under

us and a lot more knowledge. We’re looking forward to being a part of Sonny’s and

continuing to help operators succeed.”

Car washes such as Zips, Sparkling Image, Eager Beaver, Benny’s Car Wash, Delta

Sonic, and Mike’s Car Wash have all trusted Mike and Bubba Berlin for sales, marketing,

and training services.

Paul Fazio, CEO of Sonny’s commented, “SLAM is a partner we have known for

years and what excites me most is the reputation Mike and Bubba Berlin have established,

which is largely attributed to their agency delivering results.”

“For a wash to win today, operators need to think and deliver across the entire

spectrum of marketing from branding to web design to digital marketing,” said Kati

Pierce, Senior Vice President at Sonny’s. “To provide a solution to our customers,

SLAM is a natural fit given their persistent delivery of meaningful, ROI driven marketing

and training programs.”

LSI Industries announces

executive promotions

LSI Industries, a manufacturer of LED technologies, announced on January 16 that

the following executives have been promoted, effective immediately:

Mike Prachar has been named Chief Marketing Officer. He will be responsible for

LSI’s commercial marketing, product management, technical design services, and

communications and public relations functions. He will report to Jim Clark, President

and CEO of LSI Industries.

Brian Vincent has been named Chief Support Officer. Vincent will be responsible

for sourcing, purchasing, quality and facilities, and he will be managing a portion of

LSI’s Customer Service organization.

48 • WINTER 2020

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50 • WINTER 2020

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WINTER 2020 • 51



Presenting the news stories featuring

self serve car washes

7 Flags Car Wash is adding on two locations

Jack Anthony Industries, which currently operates

13 full serve, self serve and oil change, locations

throughout California, is adding on two

more 7 Flags Car Wash locations. According to

Jason Anthony, whose grandfather, John Anthony,

founded the car wash chain, “We are building two

more washes: one in Fairfield and one in Vallejo.

We hope to have them built in the next 20


Jason has been president of the family business

for eight years after previously playing on the Canadian

Golf Tour. One of the greatest parts of his

job is hearing stories about how his grandfather

influenced the car washing industry.

“Grandfather was the ultimate entrepreneur,”

Anthony said, noting how his grandfather shifted

the family’s fortunes from the grocer business,

the Tennessee Market in Vallejo, over to the car

wash business, according to the Daily Republic.

Eleven of the car washes are in Solano County:

two self-service in Vallejo; a self-service in Benicia;

two self-serve, a full-service and an express

exterior-only station in Vacaville; and the 7 Flags

in Fairfield. The company also operates a car wash

in Martinez and one in Citrus Heights.

The story states that Jason’s younger brother,

Kyle, is also involved in the business, as is his

mother, Cathleen, who serves as chief financial

officer. His uncle Mark, who is getting ready to

retire, has been on the maintenance side of the

business. His grandmother was still involved until

she was 90, when she finally retired about three

years ago.

Jason added that their general manager has

been with the company for 31 years and the firm

has had a number of managers who have been

with the company 10 or more years.

“We treat our employees like they are part of

the family, and we treat our customers like family,”

Anthony said in the story.

Michigan self serve

gets an update

The Soapy Bucket Car Wash in Howell, Michigan

is getting a makeover, according to The Livingston

Daily. The story said the owners, “have

embraced technology and upgraded their car

wash to accommodate more customers.” The

car wash just offered self serve bays before the

remodeling which took over a year. The re-opening

of the wash took place in January.

Co-owners Russ and Monique Springborn, of

Howell, said the biggest changes are technological

in nature, according to the story.

“One bay is fully-automated,” owner Russ

Springborn said. “You can program it on how it

washes your car and it has a new dryer system.

When you pull in, you don’t need an attendant.

This does all of that automated. There’s no tipping


The four self serve bays have been upgraded

with more offerings, including triple foam cleaner

and spot free rinse. The wash now also accepts

credit cards.

Springborn said a new app is another way he

and his wife are embracing technology.

New car wash water usage tax has one owner scratching his head

State Sen. Gary Stubblefield, R-Branch, called

a House and Senate City, County and Local Affairs

committee meeting in early January after a

car wash owner called him about “the new tax on

water usage in car washes,” the Arkansas Democrat

Gazette reported.

Legislative changes approved earlier this year regarding

the taxation of some types of car washes

now have lawmakers questioning the decision.

“The changes were tucked into a state law with

other tax provisions, including some that drew

more attention -- sales and use taxes collected by

out-of-state online sellers from in-state purchasers

and cuts in the state’s top corporate income tax

rate,” the story said.

“There is a situation where some of these car

wash owners had other businesses such as a [public

laundry] or a convenience store hooked up

with the same meter,” Stubblefield said.

“In my opinion, there is no way to accurately

determine or estimate the water usage in these car

washes when you have that type of situation, other

than putting in a separate meter.”

Wade Dunn, who owns the Eastside convenience

store, laundry, deli and car wash in Glenwood,

Arkansas, and the Charleston Superstop gas

station and convenience store in Charleston, said

there was some confusion about it because it was

tied to the internet sales tax.

Act 822 changed the taxation of car washes

as “a tax fairness issue for some members of the

[Legislature’s tax overhaul] task force,” noted Paul

Gehring, an assistant revenue commissioner for

the state, in the story. “You had a certain type of

car wash that wasn’t subject to the sales tax and

another was,” he said.

Gehring said Act 822 imposed monthly water

usage fees on tunnel and automatic car washes, but

not self-service bays.

Dunn said on November 21 he heard from the

state Department of Finance and Administration

that recommended he have one water meter for

the automatic car wash, and a separate meter for

the rest of his business.

But Dunn said that isn’t really viable.

“Inside the car wash, you have a water softener,

[and] in that water softener, they are sending water

over here to the manual bay and sending water

over here to the automatic bay. You also have a

reverse osmosis system that is sending water over

here to the automatic bay and sending water over

to the manual bay, so it is not simply putting a

water meter on one pipe, a $200 water meter on a

pipe,” Dunn said in the story.

Dunn said he hasn’t paid the fees, but would

gladly do so, if someone would tell him what to


Finance department officials estimated that the

state would collect about $1.5 million a year in

water usage fees from car wash tunnels and automatic

car washes, Gehring said in the story.

Gehring added that car wash operators have

submitted about 86 reports for one month of water

usage and about $49,000 was collected from

the fee in November.

Stubblefield said he plans to propose legislation

changing the taxation of car washes in the 2021

regular legislative session.

52 • WINTER 2020


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This is a dream

come true, says new

self serve owner

A car wash owned by Christina and Jeremy

VanDergrift opened at the end of the year.

Tioga Car Wash includes four-bays including

two self serves. Being a car wash owner

has been a dream come true for Christina

ever since she met a car wash owner from

Corning, New York, during a road trip back

in 2015.

“I traveled 2,000 miles looking at the back

of Jeremy’s head thinking, ‘I have got to

build a car wash,’” she told the Wellsboro


When they returned from their road trip,

she approached Jim Stager, the owner of the

lot across from Mountain Valley Realty. He

declined to sell it, “but in my gut I felt like

it would happen someday,” she said in the


She then started buying books about designing,

building and operating a car wash.

Three years went by and in March 2018, her

gut urged her to pick up the phone and call

Stager again. This time, he said yes.

The road-tripping friend from Corning

was also helpful, providing information on

what products to install and planning the

business, the story said.

The wash has two self serve bays including

a dryer and the other two are automatics.

The exterior self-serve bay can accommodate

larger vehicles, trailers, motorhomes,

even boats.

OSHA inspections on the rise

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational

Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) fiscal

year (FY) 2019 final statistics show a significant

increase in the number of inspections and a

record amount of compliance assistance to further

the mission of ensuring that employers provide

workplaces free of hazards.

According to an official statement, OSHA’s

enforcement activities reflect the Department’s

continued focus on worker safety. Federal OSHA

conducted 33,401 inspections—more inspections

than the previous three years –addressing violations

related to trenching, falls, chemical exposure,

silica and other hazards.

In FY19, OSHA provided a record 1,392,611

workers with training on safety and health requirements

through the Agency’s various education

programs, including the OSHA Training

Institute Education Centers, Outreach Training

Program and Susan Harwood Training Grant Program.

OSHA’s compliance assistance programs

have helped small businesses address safety and

Penalty levels go up due to inflation

Below are the maximum penalty amounts, with

the annual adjustment for inflation, that may be

assessed after Jan. 15, 2020.

Type of Violation



$13,494 per violation

Other-Than-Serious Posting Requirements

Failure to Abate

$13,494 per day

beyond the abatement date

Willful or Repeated

$134,937 per violation

health hazards in their workplaces. In FY19, OS-

HA’s no-cost On-Site Consultation Program identified

137,885 workplace hazards and protected

3.2 million workers from potential harm.

“OSHA’s efforts – rulemaking, enforcement,

compliance assistance and training – are tools to

accomplish our mission of safety and health for

every worker,” Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary

of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

Loren Sweatt said in a statement. “I am proud of

the diligent, hard work of all OSHA personnel

who contributed to a memorable year of protecting

our nation’s workers.”

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act

of 1970, employers are responsible for providing

safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.

OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for

America’s working men and women by setting

and enforcing standards, and providing training,

education and assistance. For more information,


State Plan States

States that operate their own Occupational

Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt

maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective

as Federal OSHA’s.

OSHA also has compliance assistance specialists

in most of their 85 Area Offices across the nation

who provide robust outreach and education

programs for employers and workers.

International Car Wash Group continues to grow and grow and grow….

Major car wash buying juggernaut, The International

Car Wash Group (ICWG), continues to

expand with the recent acquisition of Baird Brothers

Express Car Wash, The Wash Factory, Your Express

and TLC Xpress Carwash.

In Waco, Texas, Baird Brothers Express Car Wash

has four locations. The Wash Factory includes

seven locations including five in the Dallas-Fort

Worth, Texas metro area and two in the suburbs

of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Your Express brings

four sites also in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

These 15 sites will be a tremendous addition to

the current seven Texas sites already in operation

under ICWG’s Car Wash USA Express brand, a

press release states. ICWG also has several greenfield

sites under construction and development

in the Texas market. According to Jeff Maize,

ICWG’s Senior Vice President, Acquisitions, “We

were looking to significantly grow our presence in

the Texas market and are fortunate to have struck

deals to acquire these three important operators

to give us a larger base for continued growth and

expansion in both Texas and Oklahoma.”

Baird Brothers Express Car Wash has been a

family owned business for 10+ years and their

customer service and quality wash facilities in the

Waco market made for an attractive addition to

the ICWG portfolio. “ICWG’s professionalism and

attention to details in this deal gave us confidence

that our car washes and employees would be in

good hands,” stated Bill Baird, President of Baird

Brothers Express Car Wash.

Your Express’s four sites and the Wash Factory’s

five give ICWG the opportunity to establish a significant

presence in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

Brad Mann, President of The Wash Factory, has

joined the ICWG team and will help lead the continued

expansion in this region.

The Wash Factory’s two sites in Norman and

Edmond, Oklahoma are the first ICWG locations

in the state.

As for the east coast, all TLC Xpress sites will be

rebranded as Car Wash USA Express, one of the

largest express car wash businesses in the South

and growing rapidly.

“North Carolina has been on the radar for quite

some time. We are very excited to bring these seven

car wash sites into the ICWG family,” said Jeff

Maize in a press release. “The owners, a mother

and son team, have built a very strong brand and

we are proud that they have selected ICWG to

keep their legacy alive.”

“I have known ICWG for some time and always

liked the way they do business. If how they put our

deal together is any indication of what lies ahead, we

know our customers are in great hands. ICWG was

flexible, fast and fair,” said Thomas Deering of TLC.

Headquartered in Centennial, Colorado, ICWG,

collectively cleans more than 40 million cars a year.

It operates over 900 locations in 14 countries across

the United States, Europe and Australia. The Company

was founded in Germany in 1965 under the

IMO brand, the name still used at its non-US locations.

ICWG entered the US market in 2015 and

operates under the Car Wash USA Express, Goo-

Goo Express, and Supersonic Car Wash brands.

54 • WINTER 2020

WINTER 2020 • 55


DOL sends out New Wage and Hour opinion letters

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced

three new opinion letters that address

compliance issues related to the Fair Labor Standards

Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical

Leave Act (FMLA), according to a press release.

An opinion letter is an official, written opinion

by the department’s Wage and Hour Division

(WHD) on how a particular law applies in specific

circumstances presented by the person or entity

that requested the letter.

The opinion letters issued today are:

• FLSA2020-1: Addressing calculating overtime

pay for a non-discretionary lump sum bonus

paid at the end of a multi-week training period.

• FMLA2020-1-A: Addressing whether a combined

general health district must count the

employees of the county in which the health

district is located for the purpose of determining

FMLA eligibility for its employees.

• FLSA2020-2: Addressing whether per-project

payments satisfy the salary basis test for exemption.

The public can search for existing opinion letters

by keyword, year, topic and a variety of other filters

on the department’s website found at https:// The department also encourages

the public to submit requests for opinion letters

to WHD to obtain an opinion or to determine

whether existing guidance already addresses their

questions. The division exercises its discretion in

determining whether and how it will respond to

each request.

These are the 51st, 52nd and 53rd opinion letters

issued by WHD since January 20, 2017 states

the press release.

WHD’s mission is to promote and achieve compliance

with labor standards to protect and enhance

the welfare of the nation’s workforce. WHD

enforces Federal minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping

and child labor requirements of the

FLSA. WHD also enforces the Migrant and Seasonal

Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Employee

Polygraph Protection Act, the FMLA, wage

garnishment provisions of the Consumer Credit

Protection Act, and a number of employment

standards and worker protections as provided in

several immigration related statutes. Additionally,

WHD administers and enforces the prevailing

wage requirements of the Davis Bacon Act and the

Service Contract Act and other statutes applicable

to federal contracts for construction and for the

provision of goods and services.

Final rule makes it easier

to offer ‘perks’ to workers

In other DOL news, the agency announced a final

rule that will allow employers to more easily

offer perks and benefits to their employees.

The rule released in December 2019 marks the

first significant update to the regulations governing

regular rate requirements under the Fair Labor

Standards Act (FLSA) in over 50 years. Those

requirements define what forms of payment employers

include and exclude in the FLSA’s “time

and one-half” calculation when determining overtime


The previous regulatory landscape left employers

uncertain about the role that perks and benefits

play when calculating the regular rate of pay,

states the DOL. The new rule clarifies which perks

and benefits must be included in the regular rate

of pay, as well as which perks and benefits an employer

may provide without including them in the

regular rate of pay.

“This final rule encourages employers to invest

in the American workforce, to the benefit of their

employees,” U.S. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia

said in the press release. “In a robust economy

with a million more open jobs than job seekers, we

must allow employers to offer perks and benefits

that will attract talent for open jobs and compensate

employees for their hard work. This rule is an

important step in that direction.”

“The regular rate final rule provides clarity that

allows employers to provide more benefits to their

employees without unknown overtime consequences

or litigation,” said Cheryl M. Stanton, Administrator

for the Department’s Wage and Hour

Division. “Allowing employers to offer more perks

at work provides a positive path forward for employers

and employees alike.”

Specifically, the final rule clarifies that employers

may offer the following perks and benefits to

employees without risk of additional overtime


• The cost of providing certain parking benefits,

wellness programs, onsite specialist treatment,

gym access and fitness classes, employee discounts

on retail goods and services, certain tuition

benefits (whether paid to an employee, an

education provider, or a student-loan program),

and adoption assistance;

• Payments for unused paid leave, including paid

sick leave or paid time off;

• Payments of certain penalties required under

state and local scheduling laws;

• Reimbursed expenses including cellphone

plans, credentialing exam fees, organization

membership dues, and travel, even if not incurred

“solely” for the employer’s benefit; and

clarifies that reimbursements that do not exceed

the maximum travel reimbursement under

the Federal Travel Regulation System or the

optional IRS substantiation amounts for travel

expenses are per se “reasonable payments”;

• Certain sign-on bonuses and certain longevity


• The cost of office coffee and snacks to employees

as gifts;

• Discretionary bonuses, by clarifying that the label

given a bonus does not determine whether

it is discretionary and providing additional examples


• Contributions to benefit plans for accident,

unemployment, legal services, or other events

that could cause future financial hardship or


The final rule also includes additional clarification

about other forms of compensation, including

payment for meal periods and “call back” pay. It

can be viewed here and will take effect 30 days

after its publication in the Federal Register.

More information about the final rule, including

FAQs and a Fact Sheet, is available on the DOL


Grace for Vets awards 350,525

free washes to veterans

The non-profit organization Grace for Vets

helped give away 350,525 free washes to veterans

on November 11, 2019, in honor of Veterans Day.

Over 1,651 car wash and detail shops throughout

the United States, Canada, New Zealand and

Australia participated. In total, over 2,690,031

million free washes have been handed out since

the program’s inception in 2009.

National Small

Business Week starts

May 3

For more than 50 years, the President of the

United States has issued a proclamation announcing

National Small Business Week, which

recognizes the critical contributions of America’s

entrepreneurs and small business owners.

This year, the week will take place from May 3

- May 9, 2020.

According to the Small Business Association

(SBA), As part of National Small Business Week,

the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the

opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding

entrepreneurs, small business owners, and

others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every

day, they’re working to grow small businesses,

create 21st century jobs, drive innovation,

and increase America’s global competitiveness.

More than half of Americans either own or work

for a small business, and they create about two

out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.

56 • WINTER 2020

15% OFF



SEPT 15, 2019

WINTER 2020 • 57


SBA modifies method

for calculating

annual revenues for

small businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration

(SBA) published in the Federal Register a final

rule to modify its method for calculating annual

revenues used to prescribe size standards

for small businesses. The final rule became effective

January 6, 2020.

The SBA changed its regulations on the

calculation of annual revenues from a threeyear

averaging period to a five-year averaging

period, outside of the SBA Business Loan and

Disaster Loan Programs, according to an official

statement. The change in the averaging

period for calculating annual average revenues

from three years to five years may result

in firms regaining or retaining their small

business status. To assist small businesses with

this change, the SBA is providing a two-year

transition period while firms subject to the

change may choose either a three-year averaging

period or a five-year averaging period.

This final rule implements the Small Business

Runway Extension Act of 2018, Public

Law No.115-324, which changed the requirements

for proposed size standards prescribed

by an agency without separate statutory authority

to issue size standards. The intent of

the law was to allow small business government

contractors more time to prepare for the

transition to the full and open market after

they exceed the size standard.

While the law changed the averaging period

for calculating annual revenues of businesses

in services industries from three years to five

years, the law did not address the averaging

period for calculating the size of other businesses.

To promote consistency, the SBA is

adopting a five-year averaging period for all of

the SBA’s and other agencies’ revenue-based

size standards, regardless of whether the industry

is for services.

As noted above, this change will not apply

to the SBA Business Loan and Disaster

Loan Programs. The SBA will seek comment,

through a separate rulemaking, on the appropriate

averaging period for the SBA Business

Loan and Disaster Loan Programs.

NBC announces new show featuring

old school car wash owner

Details are still emerging, but it seems as if

NBC’s new streaming service will feature a show

about a car wash owner. An announcement from

NBCUniversal included the names of six scripted

shows coming to the new Netflix-like on-demand

streaming platform. One of those shows is called

Clean Slate. Famed television captain of industry

Norman Lear, is one of the producers. Lear, famous

for producing cutting edge shows such as All in the

Family, The Jeffersons, and Maude, is known for

taking on heavy subjects with humor and applause.

The announcement included the following description

of the show, which is set to debut this spring:

Clean Slate

Old-school car wash owner Henry (George Wallace) is

thrilled that his estranged child is returning to Alabama

after 17 years. However, Henry has a lot of soul searching

to do when the child he thought was a son returns as the

determined, proud, trans woman Desiree (Laverne Cox).

Writer/executive producers: Dan Ewen, Laverne Cox,

George Wallace

Executive producers: Norman Lear, Brent Miller

Producer: Paul Hilepo

Studio: Sony Pictures Television

Small Business Person of the Year Award

Nominees from each of the 50 states, the District

of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands

and Guam will compete for the title of the National

Small Business Person of the Year, SBA’s signature

award. Nominees must demonstrate success

in business as well as contributions to their local

communities. Previous award winners include Superstition

Meadery, Landmark Pest Management,

Maui Brewing Company, Equator Coffee & Teas,

Pacifica, and Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Who is eligible to be nominated for this


Nominees for this award must meet both of the

following eligibility requirements. Consult your

nearest SBA district office if you have questions.

1) Any legal resident of the United States or its

Territories who owns and operates or who bears

principal responsibility for operating a small business

for a minimum of three years prior to being

nominated may be nominated. Partners who

jointly own and operate a small business may be

nominated as a “team” so long as the number of individuals

in the team nomination does not exceed

four (4); and 2) Individuals who have received at

least one type of SBA assistance such as, but not

limited to, an SBA loan, SCORE counseling, Small

Business Development Center (SBDC) assistance,

Veteran’s Business Outreach Center (VBOC) assistance,

Women’s Business Center (WBC) assistance,

government contracting assistance, disaster

assistance, Emerging Leaders Initiative, or Boots to

Business training.

What is the evaluation/selection criteria?

In evaluating the nomination packages, the

judges will look at the following criteria:

1. Staying power - a substantiated history as an

established business; including but not limited

to expansion, exporting, addition of territories,

or growth in square footage occupied.

2. Growth in number of employees -

Increases over the three years must be in

excess of growth in Gross Domestic Product

as determined by the Bureau of Economic

Analysis (

3. Increase in sales, net profit, and net worth

for the three prior calendar years, that is,

2016, 2017 and 2018.

4. Response to adversity - examples of

problems faced in the nominee’s business and

the methods used to solve them.

5. Contributions to community-oriented

projects - evidence of the use of his/

her personal time and resources towards

community-oriented projects.

To learn more about Small Business Week, or to

submit a nomination, visit

Considering a new car wash theme?

And, finally, in news that doesn’t exactly have

to do with traditional car washing, but is still interesting

and so darn cute, maybe you all would

appreciate it (also, this could be used as small

talk at a party, when people ask you, “So, tell me

something fascinating about something that isn’t

quite related to your job, but is slightly connected,

but not really.”) And, that brings us to this tidbit:

Marine biologists have discovered that the green

sea turtle regularly cleans itself in a self serve shell

cleaning station. According to The Garden Island,

the “Hawaiian green sea turtle goes on a regular

basis to a “turtle cleaning station” just like we may

go to a car wash! These turtle cleaning stations are

just magical to watch as often there will be two

to eight large sea turtles just laying motionless in

the water column with their flippers outstretched.

This odd looking sea turtle behavior signals the local

reef fish that they want to be cleaned.”

58 • WINTER 2020



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programs, pay stations, and bay timers can help differentiate your car wash and bring a

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technology, a unique windshield tag on the customers vehicle is read before vending their chosen

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credit card information, purchase gift cards, check gift card balances, add new balance, and buy

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All Hamilton loyalty programs are managed through a single cloud-based system for ease of use.

Hosted Solutions also provides multi-site data reporting, a site status diagnostic tool, and Single

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WINTER 2020 • 59





Think these two pictures

taken at a self serve car

wash are the same?

Think again!

There are six differences.

Can you spot them all?

1. “Clearance” is missing

2. Stop and Go are flipped

3. Lines of blocks are missing

4. Lisence plate is different

5. Color green is now blue

6. Vending machine is lower


Want to be a hit at your next party? Bring along a flipbook! The images below were taken

from a Twitter post by news reporter Evan Gorman of 14 News, Indiana.

In the video, which is now a GIF, a gentleman is seen washing his car with grace and

efficiency—think the When You’re a Jet number from West Side Story. If you want to see

the video, visit Twitter and go to Gorman’s account at @Evan14news. If you want to make a

flipbook, here are the steps:

1. Read the ad and/or article on the next page as it will soon be cut up.

2. Cut out each image.

3. Keep them in order as they appear.

4. Fasten together each of the images on the left side.

5. And, then, flip away!

60 • WINTER 2020




...Cleaner Customers wyatt

...A white road Xmas - so long as the white is road salt

...sunny skies Earl Weiss

...We closed early at 5 PM on the eve & all day yesterday

Christmas Day. That was somewhat of a gift of Christianity

... maybe not financially ... but oh ... the peace & quiet! No

alarms or phone notifications .... true happy go lucky state

of nirvana-moksha??? mjwalsh

...Fewer car wash criminals for all. soapy


...No express tunnels nearby DiamondWash





THINKING _______________________________

How long will I go before my automatic breaks down? Billbo

“...”nickels, nickels, nickels! There’s no better sound than the sound of plinking nickels ~!!!” ( I’ve been

watching ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ too much). Waxman

...How long it’ll be before the homeless rifle through the trash and vacs again. MEP001

...I am usually thinking What did I forget to do or check? kentadel

...Did I set the alarm? KleanRide

...What I’m going to have for breakfast. Because we go to the car wash before most people are up...


...I wonder what’s for dinner. OurTown


Not good. - Chicago had the rainiest 6 months Jan -

June since the started keeping records and the Snow /

Salt wasn’t much either. Earl Weiss

I’m pleased with some disappointment. I set some

goals, specifically a car count and gross income, that

I just pulled out of mid air. Both goals were nice round

numbers that I simply hoped to reach. I did meet the

gross income goal but I will miss the car count goal by

about 200 cars. There are 2 days left in the year but

there is an ice storm coming in so I don’t expect to

wash another 200 over the next 2 days.

I am disappointed that I’ll miss the car count goal but it

is only an increase of 3.71% and the income increase

was 5.9%. If I had been more cerebral about setting the

goals I think I would have hoped for a 7% increase.

The weather here has been terrible since September.

If I set my goal at 7% I would have missed the mark

completely but looking back Idid set the mark too low.

By the way, I should add that I didn’t do anything

differently this past year, I kept the same pricing,

chemicals, etc. I didn’t do any marketing of any kind.

I simply kept the property clean, machinery working

properly, and producing clean cars. I put in ZERO

additional effort into achieving my goals which I hope to

change for 2020. Eric H

2019 WAS ...

Was 2019 a good year for your car wash,

financially speaking? (Overall profits)

Revenue went up a little despite some negative

one-time events. May is usually strong. I lost

all revenue for that month since there was 5” of

rainfall-- whereas average is about half an inch.

In Fall, I lost two weeks of usually strong income

due to “public safety” power shutoffs. My power

was shut off intentionally by the utility. I’m pleased

revenue was up despite losing about 6 weeks total

during good revenue periods.

In October, I added credit card acceptance, and

raised prices. My prediction for 2020 is a positive bump

in revenue. And net. I removed my dumpster in October.

At $250/mo for trash service, that reduces expenses

$3,000 annually. sequoia

Our revenue is slightly up. Explanation it seems could

be the effects of brand new competition with brand new

everything (including CC acceptance) from the previous

year possibly is starting to fade a bit. I agree about

the effects of the timing of weather ... extended deep

freezes &/or extended blizzards ... oh I’m sorry .... y’all in

milder climates possibly can’t relate.

I voted no because ... it still does not meet my

definition of success (net income) considering that I

might spend a lot more on payroll than many of you. Us

old fogies are a bit too fragile to try to go it alone quite

as much as we used to! mjwalsh





We had a good year. Overall profit was up a small

amount, which was very surprising as we are going

through a complete remodel of the exterior, interior, and

equipment, while also adding an addition to this wash.


Despite enduring ‘’Sewer-Gate 2019” ( where I was

closed for a month while I tore into my sewer system for

repairs ), I had a good year financially. I raised all of my

pricing; self serve at $3 start / 3.0 min. Vacs $2 for

5 min. IBA $10, 12, 13, 15. ( 65% of customers are

buying top pkg ). Detail pricing is up 20%.

I sold a decent number of used cars, too; nothing the

big dealerships would get excited about, but decent for

a little 2/1 car wash in rural MA. Waxman

11% increase in sales. Louisiana Damoni88

Down 4.9%. Wet, wet spring. copperglobe

WINTER 2020 • 61




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62 • WINTER 2020

My advice to you is to start


Going the


Learn from those who

have been in the self serve

industry for 20, 30, 40 and

50 years or more.

Whether you’re new to

owning or managing a self

serve car wash, or you’re years

deep, but looking for inspiration

to help secure longevity and

prosperity, look no further than

the following interviews with

those who have been in the

business for decades.

continued ...

WINTER 2020 • 63

64 • WINTER 2020

WINTER 2020 • 65

Mike Walsh King Koin | Bismarck, North Dakota



Q. What was the exact year you

entered the car washing industry?

My dad and his partner were their own general

contractors back in the summer of 1968. It was the

summer before my senior year in high school. My

dad’s business partner starting about 1960 at the

time and he really did not speak that great of English

(being a POW from Germany 15 years earlier).

One thing he was was an excellent bricklayer.

It was during the initial month or so of construction

that I was the mortar mixer mud person for

the 2 brick layer crew. [I helped build the car wash

with my dad’s partner (foreman of the project).

Q. Why did you enter the industry?

My folks were both getting closer to retirement

... I seemed to have an independent streak in me

when it came to settling into college-university life

back in ‘69- ‘70. My dad’s partner also was leaning

towards getting out of the laundry/car wash

biz and was focusing more and more on building

apartment houses, etc. I will be honest, I was pretty

pathetic when it came to electrical-mechanical

so there was definitely a transition.

Q. What were things like for your self

serve when you first started out (what

were your prices, etc.)?

Five minutes per quarter. Coin meter was the more

primitive style with the plastic AirPax & plastic

cams similar to the time accumulators on our original

Coin Op Laundromat Dryers. It was a lot more

physical back then with the required clean up, etc.

Less than 600 PSI pumps and no deicer system, etc.

The original bays were smartly designed with more

slope than most bays which helped. I remember an

all nighter with my dad getting the original Canadian

made (Bronco???) pumps that had grease zerks

on them, etc. to work for what we know was going

to an extremely busy following day.

Q. How have things changed since then?

Mucho lotta changes. Cat 430s ... still much lower

pressure than our 1500 psi Cat 310s that came

in 1987. In 1979 I was my own general and hired

a bricklayer to complete and totally enclose our

third bay into a Truck-RV Bay which just had an

8-foot wall prior to 1979. What allowed us to do

that was I had to prove to the then city building

inspector that the block wall was filled with con-

crete which my dad’s partner did back in 1968.

In 1980 came our homemade translucent dividers

with canopy and deicer ... see

website for pics. That made for 6 bays total albeit

tandem style. A two-stall dog wash was added

in 2009. A lady during one of the bible studies

I participated in said that had there been a dog

wash back in the day ... her first marriage probably

would not have ever broken up as most of their

arguments about who would wash the dog were

apparently more serious than some may think!

Q. What kinds of car wash/industry changes

or developments over the past 50 years

have impressed you the most?

The Dixmor LED 7s that fellow

members and Self Serve Car Wash News steered me

towards. I was blessed with PLC-Touchscreen programming

help on our (very proud of height positioning)

dog wash tubs. The tubs started out as

a cardboard model that I showed my dakta (phd

touting) somewhat girlfriend during that admittedly

fragile development time. She was not interested

in the least bit ... not sure if that is why she kind of

sorta steered away from yours truly from then on!?

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66 • WINTER 2020

Astromatic Softgloss 3-375x4-875 ad PRINT 011818

Kent A Adelson Central Car Wash | Central City, Nebraska



Q. Name of car wash(es)

and location(s)?

To answer your questions, I will talk about my first

wash, Central Car Wash, in Central City, Nebraska.

Q. When did you start out?

1989, December.

Q. Why did you enter the industry?

I grew up in a small town, Polk, Nebraska, with a

population of 350. A block down our street a family

friend built a self service car wash, consisting of

2 inside bays and 1 outside bay. (Incidentally, this

same wash closed its doors a couple weeks ago. It

had never been updated in any way). My mother

still lives a block away.

This was when I was probably around 12 years old,

or mid-1970s. I remember seeing cars lined up on

Saturday mornings, and seeing people from nearby

towns in those lines. This was a very big deal

back then! Everyone, including my family, used

the wash regularly!

When I was in my twenties, I noticed that Central

City, which was 12 miles away, with then a population

of 2,600, only had one car wash, with an

old brush in-bay automatic, and one self-service

bay. I thought the town could use another. After

some creative financials, which involved short

term shareholders, I purchased a prime lot, drew

up plans, and had it built! Windtrax was the company

for all equipment.

Q. What were things like for your self

serve when you first started out (what

were your prices, etc.)?

We were very busy right from the start in the self

service bays. I am pretty sure we priced it at 4

quarters for 5 minutes. Not charging enough as I

look back. We had tire cleaner, engine cleaner, presoak,

soap, foam brush, rinse, wax, and spot free. It

was a nice system, and I am still using the same self

service pump stands today.

Q. How have things

changed since then?

I saw a bit of a decline in use on the self service

side in the early 2000s. I am happy to say that

started turning back around after 5 or 6 years and

has steadily grown back. I am as busy now as I

have ever been at this wash. We added Rapid Dry

and updated meter boxes in the bays, and added

automated product vending. In 2010 we updated

to Etowah Valley meter boxes and elected to

charge $2 for 4 minutes.

Q. What kinds of car wash/industry changes

over the past 30 years have impressed

you the most?

I think the variety and ease of how we accept payment

and our customers payment options have

impressed me the most. Self service was quarters-only

forever. Now we accept bills, credit cards,

Apple and Samsung pay, etc.

We also can personalize the wash for our customers,

recognizing and tailoring wash packages to

their needs. The ability to offer fleet accounts and

loyalty discounts are also nice changes.

Remote monitoring is great!

Q. What kinds of changes have

disappointed you the most?

The changes that have disappointed me the most


The industry technology and target shift to the

tunnel market, while leaving little focus on the improvement

of equipment for car washes in towns,

suburbs or communities that fall below the population

and traffic numbers required for the tunnel


The car wash investment groups that are over

building into too competitive areas.

The difficulty in finding good and reliable employees.

Q. What does the future hold

for you and your car wash(es)?

We are renovating our wash in Central City. This

will include adding an additional automatic bay,

new building roof, exterior and interior walls, doors,

all new lighting, reconditioned meter boxes, bay

equipment, and adding a new vacuum area. Also

new in bay equipment we have designed and built.

Q. What do you think a self serve car wash

will look like in another 30 years?

Debra, as you know, there are still many areas

where a person can own or manage a very profitable

car wash, washing a high volume of vehicles

per hour, with few or no employees. This includes

the self service wash. In areas like mine there will

always be a need for a car wash. Gravel roads, mud,

snow, ice and bugs are all a part of rural America

and will be in the future.

If I had to make a crazy guess about a self service

wash in 30 years I would envision a customer in a

bay using a wand that was applying a very small

volume of water, or maybe even something other

than water, to clean their vehicle.

WINTER 2020 • 67

Frank Scott Gray

Soapy’s Auto Washes | Idaho Falls, Idaho

Q. What year did you start out?

I built my first wash in 1994, one auto bay with a

second auto bay prebuilt, but fitted with self serves

until the business grew into a 2nd automatic. I

owned the land and used it for collateral and borrowed

400K to build the wash.

In 1995 I purchased a wash that had been closed

due to retirement. Three self serve bays. 110K for

the land and building and did a completely new

equipment upgrade.

In 1998 I built my third wash which was had

three self serve bays and one auto bay that later added

a second auto bay 600K to build with only one

auto. Land was 75K for 1 acre.

In 2003 I built my fourth wash. Two auto bays

and four self serve bays. Land price of 200K and

800K in building and equipment. The first wash I

built was sold in 2005 for the land value.

Q. Why did you enter the industry?

I was in the family tire business and my brothers

and I had taken over in the 1980s. We had a

buyer come to us with a good offer and we continued

to work for the new owner. We sold in 1993.

I soon found out I would not be happy working

for someone else. I always hated the large inventory

and accounts receivable we had to carry in this



business and the self serve car wash business was a

good answer for me since it had neither.

Q. What were things like for your self

serve when you first started out (what

were your prices, etc.)?

My self serve prices started at $1.25 and $3,

$4, $5, and $6 dollars for automatics. I now am

at $3 for self serve bays and $5, $8, $10, and $12

for auto washes. I was the first car wash in the

market that combined self serves with automatic

bays. I always bought large properties of around 1

acre located on corners. I always planned that the

property would always be in high demand if I ever

needed to sell them. All locations except the last

one were within a 1/4 mile of a McDonald’s.

Q. How have things changed since then?

The biggest changes I have seen are the rise of

the express wash and the expense to build. I cannot

see how you can build a good self serve/auto

wash for under $1.5 to $2 million now. Express

washes average 5 million now to build according

to the latest surveys. In eight years, I have seen seven

express washes come into a market with 60,000

people. One has already closed its door, but the pie

is too small for all of them to last. I have seen a

big upswing in self serve bay usage while my auto

bays have seen a decrease of about 25%. There are

a lot of things that can’t be washed in a tunnel.

If you live in area with lots of outdoor activities

more things like side by sides, ATVs and motorcycles,

you can keep your self serve bays busy. Credit

cards are a huge plus for the self serve bays. My

sales are typically double that of a cash sale.

We have always offered free drying towels, and

now offer a free vacuum with automatic washes.

We have also added extra dryers in the auto bays.

Q. What does the future hold for you

and your car wash(es)?

My son was in the Navy until two years ago and

now is in the process of taking over the carwashes

from me. He grew up in them and I guess he

liked them enough to make it a full career. He was

trained as a combat flight engineer, so the car wash

equipment is pretty easy for him now.





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WINTER 2020 • 69

Randy Nix Eagle Car Wash | Seattle-Tacoma, Washington area



Q. When and where did your self serve wash open?

We opened in June of 1982 in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

Q. How has your car wash changed since then?

Since 1982 we have added, foam brush, presoak – tire cleaner, new coin boxes, multi-coin coin acceptors,

Dixmor timers, a Hamilton bill changer, vacuums, security alarm system, a video/camera system, and

LED lighting.



Earl Weiss

Pres. | Speedy Car Wash Co.,

Niles Car Wash Co., Fast Car Wash Co.

and c/o of Uptown Service Station, Inc.

Q. How has your self

serve car wash changed

over the past 20 years?

The advent of affordable credit card processing

equipment with count up has allowed for

customers to more easily spend more money.

Q. How has pricing changed?

There was only one increase and that was from

a $2 to $2.50 start as well as a $3 start for super

bays, and that was a few years ago. I have a

first-rate competitor with better exposure and

access about a mile and a half from me and I

do not care to be pricier than that competition.

Credit card/count up pricing is a benefit.

Q. What has been the best


For me it was the addition of credit cards

and bill acceptors in the bays, and credit card

acceptors on some vacuums. Handheld inbay

blowers/dryers seem to be an added source

of usage.

Q. What has been the biggest

“problem” for self serves over

the past 20 years?

I don’t know that the issues have changed at all.

Still the same with attempted theft/vandalism,

thankfully not a lot, and people who could be

a little more thoughtful about the extent of

the mess they leave behind.

Q. Are you surprised you have

been doing this for 2 decades?


Q. How has pricing changed?

When we opened in 1982 our price point was .50 for 5 minutes in the bays and .50 for 4 minutes on the

vacuums. Today we are at $2.75 for 4 minutes in the bays and $1.50 for 3.5 minutes on the vacuums.

Q. What has been the best innovation/advancement?

It’s hard to put a finger on the best innovation/advancement. They’ve all been good. I’d have to say better

chemical, better and more reliable equipment, payment systems.

Q. What has been the biggest “problem” for self serves over the past 38 years?

Crime! Theft, vandalism, illegal dumping and the homeless. We have the police on speed dial.

Q. Are you surprised you have been doing this for 38 years?

I’d have to say I’m very surprised. Back in 1982 I would have never thought that I’d still be in the car

wash business. Even though I complain about the car wash business it’s been pretty good to us. I’m 69

years old, someday I’d like to retire but the car wash business gets into your blood and it’d hard to let go.

In our area land values are so high that it’s almost impossible to sell a car wash as a car wash. Most that

have been sold are torn down and the property is used for something else, retail, apartments or condos.

Q. And, what do you think is the secret to your longevity (car wash ownership-wise)?

A strong relationship with my partner/wife, I could have not been in the car wash business without her

support. Also, having trusted employees. We take very good care of our employees paying them more

than the Washington state minimum wage of $13.50 an hour. We have a very low turnover rate.

Craig Sooter Sooters Car Wash | Halstead, Kansas

Q. When and where did your self serve wash open?

Sooters Car Wash Inc. opened in 1965 in Halstead, Kansas, population 1,800. I am the son of George

Sooter the creator of Sooters Car Wash. I took over the wash in 1989.

Q. How has your car wash changed since it first started in 1965?

When it opened in 1965, it was a two-bay operation. A large truck bay was opened in 1970.

Q. How has pricing changed?

The wash was 25¢ for 5 minutes in 1965. Today, $2.25 for 3:30.



Q. What has been the best innovation/advancement?

Over the years, pumps have gone

through a great improvement. Since 1989 we have been using Cat Pumps. Prior to that, 6 styles of pumps

had their try. Our credit card readers have helped our income and have added convenience for customers.

Q. What has been the biggest “problem” for self serves over the past 55 years?

Great question. Americans for the most part have become lazy. The drive-thrus have pulled our market

down. I don’t like to bash them because…they have their place. However, it is not the same wash. I myself

use them for lite duty, fast cleaning. Our area is rural-country life, much more demanding. Getting a

quality wash costs time, many skimp on this for speed.

Q. Are you surprised you have been doing this for 21 years?

When I took over my dad’s operation, I was going to set the world on fire! I admit, our community was different.

We had a sense of “Shop Local” pride as did the community. Today, our town has faced our local hospital

closing, which has had a big impact on all merchants. Luckily, my livelihood does not depend on my wash.

Q. And, what do you think is the secret to your longevity (car wash ownership-wise)?

Community commitment, family commitment. My kids growing up, HATED CHORES at the wash. They

did learn about running a business in small town America. My wife is the backbone along with a good friend

who loves taking care of the car wash. If it were not for those two, I would be closed.

70 • WINTER 2020

WINTER 2020 • 71




Former owner of The Car Pool | Bardstown, Kentucky

Q. What were things like for your self

serve when you first started out (what

were your prices, etc.)

Back in 1969 (when my Dad’s first wash was

built), the price was 25¢ for five minutes and the

lone vacuum was a dime.

This wash was attached to the back of his Shell

gas station and was three pull-in, back-out bays.

One of them was an open bay for larger vehicles.

His second wash was built in 1973 (the one

that I became half owner of in 1985).

Q. How have things changed since then?

50 years ago, the choices in the bay were

1-OFF, 2-Water with some soap, 3-Water without

soap. We didn’t even have soft water. Now there

are as many as 11 selections on the dial and multiple

payment options.

Options on vacuums were very little as well.

We didn’t even have trigger guns back then.

If the customer wasn’t holding the gun when the

money was deposited, the wand would go flying if

the selector switch wasn’t in the “off” position. Oh,

how we laughed our butts off watching customers

chase those things, sometimes taking a shower and a

beating in the process. It’s definitely not funny now.

Bucket washing was a huge issue back then,

until foaming brushes arrived on the scene in the

late ‘70s.

Playing in the mud with lifted 4WD trucks was

the craze back then, with a truck easily holding

multiple wheelbarrow loads of mud. Those that

whine about someone washing an ATV, I look at

as big &$#@!*&^?>.

We seldom see outside bays anymore. They attract

more mess and less money. Just not worth it.

There are a lot more options with vending.

There’s not that much money in vending, but a

few items are kind of necessary.

Q. What are your prices now?

$2-4 minutes. I was prepared to raise it to $3-5

minutes but hadn’t yet. I strongly recommended

the new owner do it (Car wash had just been sold

at the time of interview). Maybe by print time

they will.



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Q. What kinds of car wash/industry

changes over the past 25 years have

impressed you the most?

The growth of the IBA segment in the early ‘90s

was a game changer for me. They are a great fit for

the rural central Kentucky towns that I serve. It got

done to death when the economy was good, and

they were popping up everywhere. Many rookies

thought it was a gravy train and the carcasses of

their mistakes still decorate many small towns.

Q. What kinds of changes have disappointed

you the most?

Express washes...hands down. They have taken

a service that operators were getting a fair price

for and devalued it by selling it for nearly nothing

(mainly $3 guys), and giving away free stuff to boot

(vacuums, towels, mat cleaner). If the product is superior

(in many of their minds), why do they have

to use cutthroat pricing to sell it. From a customer

standpoint, free this, free that, reeks of desperation

and makes me wonder why their service can’t stand

on its own merits. They are popping up like Dollar

General stores and I think within the next five years,

there will be a lot of those giant scrubber tubes sitting

vacant, with only weeds occupying their lots.

Q. What do you think self serves will be

like in another 50 years?

That’s a tough one. I feel there will always be a

segment of the population that will want to wash

their own cars. How large it will be, who knows?

Will environmentalists jump in and come up

with some crazy regulations that make them less



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The investment in security cameras pays off for carwash operators (and the readers of SSCWN)

with these mostly frustrating, sometimes funny -- and always cautionary -- stories of Darwins Caught on

Camera. Images of these criminals and/or their vehicles were given to police and the press. Many have been

caught thanks to the prowess of security cameras.

If Hollywood execs are looking

for the next Columbo, then they

should not use this man as inspiration.

In Casper, Wyoming, a man was arrested for

suspicion of aggravated burglary, petty larceny,

possession of methamphetamine and possession

of burglar’s tools, according to the Casper Star


When questioned by police, Adam W. Barelle,

29, said was looking “for clues.”

According to police, Barelle was found inside

a Nissan of Casper dealership after breaking in

through the backdoor. An employee spotted him

trying to open a locked toolbox. After the employee

tried to apprehend Barelle, he ran to the

nearby Let ‘Er Buck car wash. There, in a swift

move of stealthy criminality, he changed his coat,

taking one that belonged to a car wash employee.

He was then spotted, first by a car wash employee

and later by the pursuing dealership worker while

he was he was rummaging through the car wash

employee’s Jeep-- first he takes the guy’s coat,

and now he is messing up his Jeep?

When the car wash employee questioned Barelle,

he was “looking for something he lost.”

An officer soon arrived and was able to apprehend


Surveillance footage from inside the car wash

showed Barelle entering the business wearing a

black leather jacket and then leaving wearing the

employee’s red coat, according to the story.

Barelle allegedly told police that he didn’t

break into the dealership, but was there “to look

for clues.” He refused to elaborate. Good luck with

that defense, Columb-no.

Only in Florida are golf carts also

the get-away car. A man was caught

on camera stealing a gas-powered

golf cart from a

Cape Coral, Florida, car wash over the holidays.

Now, I did a bit of research and it looks like

golf carts typically go as fast as 19.9 mph. So, it

is unclear if the man was seen driving off with

the golf cart (as it could not have been going

that fast). However, this did take place in Florida

where golf carts are as common as taxicabs

in New York CIty (well, before Ubers, that is) so

maybe no one noticed?

According to NBC 6, surveillance footage got

a clear picture of the thief,

They say couples who can survive

a life-threatening event together,

can survive anything.

If that’s the case, then this couple is set

for life. Two people had to be rescued

after a truck landed on top of their car

that was parked inside a self serve bay.

This all took place in early January.

According to a cbs story, the incident

took place at the Prestige Car Wash in

Taunton, Massachusetts. “Surveillance

video shows the 2019 GMC Sierra

speeding through the parking lot in

reverse, eventually crashing into a selfservice

bay and stopping on top of a

car. The crash left a Middleboro teenage

woman pinned in the back seat of a 2013

Ford Focus.A woman and her boyfriend

were in the red car. The woman was

taken to the hospital with a concussion,

but both are expected to be okay.”

WINTER 2020 • 75


Now, unlike the second story,

this crash was no accident.

In the Lifetime-movie-worthy story of this

issue, last November, in Chesterfield,

Michigan, a minivan driver was caught

on camera hiding out across the street

of a car wash. Then, footage shows the

van purposely ramming into a car wash.

Why was the driver mad at the employee?

Because he was dating his ex-girlfriend.

Hey dude, she’s just not that into you.

A video shows the driver of the minivan

flooring it and aiming directly for the


“The driver,” according to a Carscoops,

“brakes before impact, but the minivan still

hits the man who falls onto the hood before

being thrown from the vehicle. The driver

quickly reverses and flees the scene.”

While this is normally where things would

end, the story states that the driver returns

to confront the man he just attacked. But,

this time, the victim is ready for battle.

Having grabbed a shovel, the victim is able

to thwart the driver before police arrived.

There is also a woman seen in the footage

hitting the scorned lover. No word if that is

the lady in this sad love triangle. However,

according to WXYZ, 25-year-old Roy

Kowalski was upset that his ex-girlfriend

started dating a co-worker at the car wash.

Prosecutor Eric Smith said the employee

is in the clear as he was defending himself,

but as for the attacker, Smith said, “It’s a

terrible idea to hit someone with your car

… [and] it’s even worse to come back.”

I don’t want to come across as

crass or insensitive, but I think the

real crime in this story is the fact that

the stolen van was priced at $2,795! In at Times

Herald story, it was reported that three people

of Port Huron, Michigan, have pleaded guilty to

charges of stealing this van:

Now, before we question the mental well-being

of three people who deemed this vehicle

“theftable” -- I should also note that they also set

the van on fire. It is unclear, though, if this picture

was taken before or after the van was set ablaze.

The Herald story reports that last Thanksgiving

a 63-year-old woman, a 22-year-old man and

a 19-year-old teenager, broke into the Michigan

Corvette & Classics AutoMaxx and stole the 2005

Dodge Caravan. The van was listed for $2795.

They then apparently drove the van to a

nearby car wash. Security cameras show all three

suspects inside a bay along with the van. It is unclear

why they went to the car wash. Maybe they

wanted it to look nice before torching it?

Police were able to identify and locate the

three suspects. It turns out two of them worked

for the AutoMaxx store owner when he ran his

Execuride Limousine and Acme Cab business.

Smoke if u got ‘em, even if time is

of the essence and you’re in the

middle of a robbery. Actually, don’t

smoke. Smoking is bad for you. In Sand Springs,

Oklahoma, two people were caught on camera

trying to break into a car wash over a three-hour

period. According to News on 6, surveillance

video given by the owner, shows two suspects

driving into a self serve car wash bay in a silver

Chevrolet truck. As one of the men gets out (and

lights a cigarette) another man uses bolt cutters

to try to break into the cash machine.

There were able to break open two padlocks,

but were unable to get the money out of the machine.

They left, but came back three hours later.

One must wonder what they did for those three

hours? They certainly didn’t go and get better

“break-in” tools, because all they came back with

was some sort of metal bar. Video shows the men

trying to use the bolt cutters again, but end up

putting it back in the truck. They then pull out

the large metal bar, which they use to successfully

pry the first lock off the machine, the story

states. The men then repeatedly try to break

open the second lock but are unsuccessful and

leave before Sand Springs police show up.

And, ding, ding, ding! We have a winner here,

folks! Cameras got a nice, clear view of the truck’s

license plate: GIJ-953. I did a Google deep drive

search trying to see if the license plate had to do

with G.I. Joe, but came up with nothing.

In a case where yelling is actually

a good thing, one mama bear

protected her kids from an unsuccessful

kidnapper, thanks to good set of pipes.

Last December, in Elkhart, Indiana, a man driving

a late 1990s model tan GMC Safari van tried

to kidnap two children while their mother was

washing her car at a car wash, WSBT reported.

The man tried to lull the kids with candy. Video

shows the man pulling up next to the mom’s

vehicle and holding out an arm. He drove away

when the mother yelled at him.

Looking a bit like the aforementioned

golf cart thief, police are looking

for this suspect accused of robbing a Jiffy

Stop in Barry, Illinois. According to the Belleville

News-Democrat, last fall, a masked man

dressed in all black entered the Jiffi Stop and

displayed a handgun. The man demanded money,

cigarettes and lottery tickets. The man was

also wearing gloves.

Upon investigation, police determined the

man had parked his car across the street from the

Jiffi Stop in a carwash bay, a news release stated.

Surveillance cameras captured images of the car

and of the man’s face.

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Would you stick around and wash

your car after a shooting? One customer

did because he has God on his

side, according to My San Antonio. A man in his

20s was taken to University Hospital in critical

condition after he was shot at the Pumphouse Car

Wash on January 15, according to the San Antonio

Police Department.

Shortly after 10 a.m. police received several

calls about a shooting in progress at the car wash.

When officers arrived, they found the man with

gunshot wounds standing next to his car.

The man had been shot once in the stomach, and

was alert enough to provide some information to police.

He told police that he didn’t know the shooter,

but saw that he drove off in a gray Ford Taurus.

Police said they are reviewing the wash’s surveillance


Crime scene tape cordoned off much of the car

wash, but some bays remained open. And, apparently,

a drive-by shooting didn’t stop John Cano

from washing his car. Speaking with a reported,

as he wiped his windshield with soap and water,

he said he has lived in the area for years and never

seen anything like the incident, but he also was

not worried.

“As long as you have God in your heart, that’s

it,” he said in the story.

Police in Laurel County, Kentucky,

are looking for three suspects who

robbed a car wash on American Greeting

Card Road. Now, I have been with this publication

for three years now, so if anyone knows me, they

must know the name of the road is going to catch

my attention. Now, with it being such a distinct

name, you would think that the American Greeting

Card Company was located in Laurel County.

But, NOPE. It’s in Cleveland, Ohio. Hallmark

Cards however started in Kansas City, Missouri,

but that is almost 700 miles away, and, also, that

would be a really bad marketing move. But, after

a good 25 minutes of Internet sleuthing, and an

almost phone call to the Laurel County historian,

it looks as if there used to be an American Greeting

Card factory located in Corbin, Kentucky, on

American Greeting Card Road. Sadly, the factory

has now closed. Now, getting back to the crime

story: It looks as if three people were caught on

camera at the Ultra Shine Car Wash in January. It

is unclear if they actually stole anything, but the

owner is offering a $250 reward for information.

I wonder if they get caught , will they send the

owner an apology card? Too soon?


A fine was set for the man caught

illegally dumping concrete in car

wash bay last year.

The Fall 2019 issue of Self Serve Car Wash

News, covered the original story of how a

man in Kansas City, Missouri, was caught on

camera dumping concrete onto a bay floor

at the Soft Touch Car Wash. According to

KDAF-TV, car wash owner Dennis Nash, who

has owned South Touch for 16 years has

video showing the driver wash out the mixer

and then dump wet concrete mix, the rest of


The second thug has been found

and arrested in Cape Coral, Florida, according

to nbc-2, after he, along with another

man, were spotted with a stolen vehicle at a

car wash. In the original story, posted in the

Winter 2019 issue of Self Serve Car Wash

News, a car thief and his accomplice left a

stolen SUV in a self-service car wash bay.

And, not only were they caught on camera,

the accomplice was caught after the two

of them took off into a nearby open field. A

lone officer who had spotted the stolen vehicle

in the bay had noticed the two men and

what was in the mixer, onto the floor of the

car wash bay.

After surveillance images of the truck and

mixer appeared on FOX4, a tipster called

the city’s 513-DUMP hotline with a license

plate number that led investigators to Melvin


According to a November 1 update by

FOX4, the man was ordered to pay $1,000.

However, Nash said he asked for Jordan to

help clean up the mess.

chased after them into the field and was able

to catch the accomplice on foot. The other

guy got away along with a credit card stolen

from the SUV. However, he has since been

found and arrested. Now, how was he caught

you might be asking? This man, who’s intelligence

can only be compared to that of a box

of rocks, used the stolen credit card to buy

items online, and had them shipped to his

own address.

Maybe police should ask the two men if

they know the guy who stole the golf cart?

(see earlier story).

78 • WINTER 2020


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WINTER 2020 • 79


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