The new IVS Power Vac

Combos are designed to

be wash owner friendly.

These new products are

easy to maintain and easy to

service combination vacuums

that allow you to sell your

customers new features while

costing you less.

• Simplified design utilizing the Dixmor

LED6 Sooper display as timer and

control, all in one.

• 2 fragrances or 1 shampoo capability.

• 2 or 3 extended brush life motors.

• Lockable cash box keeps profits

secure and out of sight.

• Heavy 12-gauge steel doors and control box

with high security plug style locks.

• Accepts coins, bills, credit cards

and mobile payments.

• No jugs or tanks to refill.

• Bottom of the unit offers ample space

for your own gallon jugs.

• Industrial, heavy-duty relays and contactors.

• Compact profile uses standard vacuum

mounting pattern for easy upgrading from

your existing vacuums.

• Lock shroud option to provide limited

access to filters and debris collector.

Domes available in

five vibrant colors

800.968.8227 IVS-VACUUM.COM

• Single or Dual Arch

• LED Lighting Standard

• Flexibility

Connects to any IVS Vacuum or

Central Vac System

• Constructed of Stainless Steel for long lasting durability

• Booms can swivel 180° or can be fixed stationary

• Free use or Pay Operation Available

Also from IVS

2 • SUMMER 2020



Designed for the automatic and self-serve markets, Hamilton’s diverse range of loyalty

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

truly unique value proposition to your customers.


Styled and named after your car wash brand, users can:

Join a Monthly Wash Club | Buy & Gift Washes | Claim Deals & Discounts

Earn Loyalty Rewards | Pay for Self-Serve Bay Time | Receive a complimentary Birthday Wash


Improve throughput, loyalty, and cashflow by offering a Monthly Wash Club program. Using RFID

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

package. Our flexible system includes custom greetings, multiple pass types, and automated billing.


Customized to your brand, our new Ecommerce site lets customers sign up for RFID plans, update

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

Single Washes & Wash Bundles.


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

Use Codes for rapid customer service responses. | | 888-723-4858

SUMMER 2020 • 3


Self Serve Snapshot ................. 6

Howard & Beverly Higginson of

Howard’s Car Wash

Fun & Games .......................... 12’s

Random Thoughts ................. 14

Is your signing sending the

wrong message?

Innovations ............................... 16

Industry Dirt ............................ 23

Extra! Extra! ............................. 26

Fill in the Blank ...................... 30

Association Calendar

& News ....................................... 32

Where's the Money ............... 36

Tricks of the Trade ............... 46

Cover Story ............................... 53

Chief Inspector is Back!

Darwin at the Carwash ....... 67

Note to Self


Well, it is day 2,000,598 of quarantine and I

am doing just great! The walls of my home are

not caving in on me at all and I have fully recovered

from trying to homeschool and teach

a 7-year-old new common core math. I mean

really! It has been fantastic (if you’re reading

this, send help). I am just joking, sort of. I am

not one of those people that took the past five

months to learn a new language or “embrace

the downtime.” Instead, I paced back and forth

and nervously plead with the world to be normal

again. Which brings me to asking, how are

all of you? I know the car wash industry has

sustained worser situations, but I still am thinking

of you all. I felt so badly for car wash convention

organizers and the hours and blood,

sweat and tears they put into putting together

massive events. I feel for grandparents trapped

in lonely homes. And, of course, I feel for small

business owners. What a mess. Towns are dotted

with “Stay Strong” and “Closed Temporarily”

signs and I pray that customers realize these

business’ worth and will spend lots of money as

soon as things are back in full swing.

Living in the state of New York has been

interesting during this quarantine. I live two

hours outside of New York City. But I also live

40 minutes from the Adirondacks. The state

is a tapestry of farmers, Wall Streeters, Yankee

fans, Mets fans, Niagara Falls, mountains,

dreamers, settlers, and celebrities, and people

A tale

by Emma Rose Curto, Age 5

like me: Lifelong upstate residents, with children

and a dog and a house in a suburb. As a

family, we made our efforts to go on road trips

and see our beautiful state and also vowed to

support small businesses. But we also are committed

to do this once Covid-19 is obliterated.

This issue’s cover story is all about my road trip

in which I visited car washes. Actually, I should

say “we” visited. Yes, my two kids and even my

beloved goldendoodle went with me to visit two

locations. One was way out there where the open

road kept going and going. My dog was happy in

the back seat, but I think I heard, “are we there

yet?” more than 100 times. I am so grateful that

this could be the cover story because I got to see

parts of the state of New York that are beautiful,

quiet and have been hit hard. I hope you enjoy

my coverage, it was fun, eye-opening and once

again, made me proud to be a part of the self

serve community in my own small way.

One more thing before I go, many of the

talks my kids had with me while on the road

were about my job as editor of Self Serve Car

Wash News. They had lots of questions and

even started to understand the way a self serve

works and why I like to write about the industry.

They then asked if they could contribute to

the magazine, and Emma wanted to include a

drawing of a self serve. So please, if you’ll bear

with me, here is what they asked me to share:

VOL. 47, NO. 3, SUMMER 2020

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 • SUMMER 2020

Once there was a car wash

Shiny as it can be

When people go in it, their cars got so

shiny they won the biggest medal

That’s it.

Praises to

Car Wash Owners

by Nathan Salvador Curto, age 7

There once was a happy place

and there was a car wash, too

With a lovely owner

And anybody who drove through

Would wash their car and their

car would win every race

And the people who drove through the

car wash would have a happy face.

Until next time,


2 billion vehicles are

washed annually in

North America, and that

number continues to rise

every year.

That’s a lot of dirty cars lining

up for a wash. It’s time to line

them up for yours. We have

over 40 years of experience

helping car wash owners

understand, enter, operate,

and thrive in the industry. Our

experts are ready to guide you

every step of the way.

From startup to success, we’ll

be the partner that steers you

in the right direction.

Our knowledge, your success.

Harrell’s Northeast

Littleton, Massachusetts


Harrell’s Mid Atlantic

Charlottesville, Virginia


Harrell’s Midwest

Indianapolis, Indiana


Harrell’s Heartland

Ankeny, Iowa


SUMMER 2020 • 5








Howard’s Car Wash


Three self serve locations


17 total bays throughout

the three locations


First year in operation was

1978 (subsequent openings

in 1980, 1982, and 1991)


Open 24/7


Flags, banners, yearly calendar,

and personalized giveaways


Tokens accepted at two locations





We started with one self-serve coin-op which had been closed

and was about to be relieved of old equipment that was still on

the premises. We rescued it for less than $2000, got the power

back on, and reopened. We know such a move is impossible

today. When you start a business not knowing very much about it

and create a system for yourself with modest modifications over

the years, and it still works, major changes aren’t necessarily a

requirement for success.

6 • SUMMER 2020


We started out at fifty cents to wash, twenty-five cents to vacuum.

We vended blue shams for twenty-five cents out of one machine.

Believe it or not, those numbers haven’t changed much at our three

locations. After opening our second wash (built and opened in

1978), nicknamed Howard’s “50Cent Quickie”, we raised the price

after a year to seventy-five cents to wash, and a year later to $1.25.

We thought customers would squawk, but only a few did. By raising

our price, we were merely keeping up with our closest competitors.

Just after Thanksgiving, we ran a special. We dropped the price

back to $1.00 to wash, intending to run that discount for the month

of December — the Christmas holiday — to the first of the new

year. It was so successful, we ran it through January. We were the

only self-serve in the area to DROP our price, and it proved a good

move. We never went back. We’re still at $1.00 for a wash today.

The Next Evolution in Car Wash Lighting:


Bay / Tunnel Light

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making a “runway”

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lights. Only seamless,

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Introducing LEDLINE-X. A light that is made to fit your

application at a price point comparable to the static,

fixed size fixtures of the past. No more cables between

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A light made for car washes. Water-tight, chemical

and UV resistant silicon housing designed to

withstand the rigors of car wash environments.

Unmatched versatility. Innovative mounting system

enables easy use in bays, tunnels, chemical arches,

vacuum arches, and building wraps.

Vac Arch Light

Delight your customers

by adding light along

the entire length of a

vac arch to maximize

light distribution inside

of cars. Fixtures

designed to fit your

arch. Why light 8ft of

your 14ft arch? Light all

14ft and let your

customers see the


Chemical Arch Light

Seamless, gapless

passageway of colorful

light for a truly

immersive effective.

Make a continuous

archway of light to

showcase chemicals.


SUMMER 2020 • 7




For the time, back in the 80’s, the addition of the long handled

foaming brush was right on time. It cut back on the number of

bucket washers (though we still have more than we like), and

having pure white foam coming forth, visible even from a distance,

was incentive for potential customers driving by. In this modern era

of self-serve washes, I would guess the inclusion of blow dryers

(though we do not have any installed) is a bottom-line booster that

has positive and negative results.




Customers who don’t heed signs. Bucket washers. Trash dumpers.

Customers who use the stalls for parking spaces. Customers!

You can’t live with them and you can’t live without them. Most

customers wash, vacuum, dry, and move out, especially on a busy

day. But there are a few bad apples who want to sit, detail their

cars in the bays, or talk on the phone even if someone is waiting

to drive in. Signage is important, but occasionally a gentle verbal

reminder is required.



What I miss most is the vitality I had, the energy of my younger

years, and the enjoyment I felt getting into the business and

watching it grow, seeing its progress, and realizing this was my

dream, and it was coming true.



Just staying with it, being there for some part of every day, being

hands-on, embracing some “innovations” while staying true

to procedures and routines that I started in the beginning. I’m

“old school” in that I still believe, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

What worked for me in the past is still working, and I credit my

dedication to being hands-on as one aspect of why I’m still making

profits and enjoying my life.



Right now, May of 2020, life in Los Angeles is like life in most of

America, stunned and at something of a standstill. I’ve heard that

some self-service car wash owners have been lucky, and we’re

included in that group. With the assist of typical California weather,

business has been very good in spite of the quarantine. My three

locations are open and all systems are in service. My sons work

with me, we observe the social distancing rules, wear our masks

and gloves, and have posted signs for customers to do the same.



As for the appearance of the rich and famous, our car washes

are located in a section of Los Angeles that is not populated by

many “celebrities.” Distance-wise, however, Hollywood is only

about 45 minutes away, but if anyone from LaLa land has come

through Howard’s Car Wash, they’ve done so incognito. I did see

a Bentley at one location, once, but he only rinsed off and I don’t

believe he was famous at all. We’ve also gotten tourists from

England, Australia, and Norway (at different times of course) who

came through in campers to our location near the airport for a final

cleanup before turning in their motor homes and heading for LAX.

They weren’t famous, but they were wide-eyed and friendly, and

their accents were delightful. And…to find out more, the book: The

Life and Times of Howard H. Higginson is now available!


This is the story of one baby boomer, born of a Catholic dayworker

mom and a dock worker dad, one of four kids growing

up in the city of the Angels at a time when black people were

still called Negroes; a boy who happened to be named after an

eccentric white celebrity with a lot of money; a child who never

acknowledged that the odds of becoming a success were against

him, who had a belief in himself that was as strong a motivator

as religious faith. His was a childhood in the early 50’s and 60’s

that could almost be described as carefree, for it was a time when

families stayed together, when neighbors knew each other, when

kids played in the street without fear, and adventure in simple

things was right around the corner. This is about a man whose

goal was to leave a mark, a man who avoided the path of least

resistance in search of his version of freedom. It took him from

the streets of Los Angeles to Vietnam, to Beverly Hills, and back.

Some biographies are about famous people. Others are stories just

wanting to be told. This is one of those.

8 • SUMMER 2020

Don’t get hosed.

Solve the problem AND maximize your profit with tokens!





SUMMER 2020 • 9

10 • SUMMER 2020

SUMMER 2020 • 11





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. Buttons on panel are missing

2. Panel is wider

3. Floor mat is larger

4. Barrel label is missing

5. Conduit is different color

6. Outlet is removed



If any of you are avid readers of Self Serve Car Wash News and happen to

remember the Fall 2008 edition, OR, if you’re a fan of 1950s crooners, maybe

you’ll recognize him. As the days of wine and roses are being long forgotten, ain’t

that a shame that great singers like this are as well? Look for the answer below.

According to former editor JJ Jakubowski, the picture is from Mark Whaley, of Mark was 17 when he was hired by the celebrity to work

at his carwash in 1966 in Burbank, California. Mark said he will never forget the

day of the grand opening when the celebrity drove his Cadillac into one of his

wash bays. Here are a few more photos, courtesy of YouTube.

Answer: It’s Pat Boone! Boone was owner of Pat Boone’s Coin-Op Carwash of Burbank, California, back in the 1960s.

12 • SUMMER 2020

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• Pump only or pump set (as pictured)

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SUMMER 2020 • 13’s

‘Random Thoughts’

Lost for Words

Is your signing sending

the wrong message?

I have been to my share of car washes. I have

toured car washes. I have made special trips just

to look at a car wash. I have helped people with

their issues at their car wash. I have taken the long

way home from trips just to stop by even more car

washes. Believe me: I have seen a lot of operations,

which means I have also seen a lot of car wash

signs. From the good to the bad to the just plain

unintelligible. I have seen it all.

Business owners need signs. Legally we are required

to have some. State tax signs, automatic

signs, changer signs, vacuum signs, and ones explaining

how everything works…. you get the idea.

But you have to admit no one, not even the owner,

reads some of these signs. I was reading a post the

other day and someone came up with their own design

for a vacuum sticker. The sticker wording really

made no sense. I said to myself, “Where did he get

this wording from?” Well, it was the original vacuum

sign, set up by some engineer that explains how

to use the vacuum. Now I understand why some

people can get confused while visiting a self serve,

because even when someone actually does read a

sign it does not make any sense, or fails to properly

explain the rules or how to use the equipment.

My point is this: Signs need to make sense for

normal people. I have read lots of signs that do not

make sense for normal people. So, these are my

rules for signs that are in a self-service bay:

RULE 1: Limit the amount: I have been to

way too many car washes that have way too many

signs. Also, no one ever reads them when there are

too many. My arbitrary number for the number of

custom signage inside a bay is 2.

RULE 2: Use illustrations: All signs should

be illustrated in some way. The standard function

picture signs are great examples.

RULE 3: Limit the chemical, manufacturer

or distributor names or branding:

Never include a chemical company name on your

signs even if they are free. For a manufacturer or

distributor, make sure no phone numbers are on

the signs. If customers get desperate enough, they

will call that number. Plus, you might switch

chemical companies at some point.

RULE 4: Watch your Font Size: I commonly

see signs have too small of a font…. But I

have seen some with too large of a font also. You

need to see the font before you print the sign.

Make sure you can read it from a fair distance.

Make sure the font isn’t too fancy and also make

sure it doesn’t “scream” at the customers.

RULE 5: Do not Cluster: The only thing

worse than too many signs are having lots of signs

bunched together. The human brain can process

just so much information at one time. I understand

that some or all of the signs are important, but

having clusters of signs will just make customers

ignore everything.

RULE 6: Edit your Credit Card Signs:

These are always confusing because even if you

purchase a new meter box, the credit card is an

add-on device. Basically, the credit card is not designed

to be there. So, you have to have instructions

to inform customers to use the swiper and at what

point to use it. The location of the swiper is important

also…. I also never understand why they still

add bill acceptors in new meter boxes…. They clutter

the boxes and seem to be irrelevant with credit

cards. But that topic is for another column.

RULE 7: Do you Need Changer/Vending

Signs? These signs in bays are debatable, I admit.

I can see how some owners might like having the

signs, but they are usually overkill. I have been to

locations where a map and legend is a good idea.

But if your location is shaped like a rectangle, they

are either in the front or the back and usually do

not require a sign.

I must admit... I have owned a car washes for

over 16 years and I do realize that I always wondered

how I could possibly get a question like,

“Where is your changer?”….while talking In front

of my changer. But instead of installing the “changer”

signs, let’s just think about this: Do you honestly

believe some individuals would notice the

“changer” sign in any of the bays, at the end of any

of the bays and on the top of the changers? This

individual is just overwhelmed and will not notice

anything. Less signage, not more, would probably

help. Let’s also remember the changer also has

signs on them and also directions which could also

overwhelm customers.

Plus, try learning from my lesson…. I was collecting

money one day in a drop safe. Someone

was spraying out the back of their truck, which

basically went directly into my face. I told the guy,

“You cannot spray out the back of your truck….

Can’t you read the sign?” I said this while pointing

at the sign. His reply was, “No, actually I cannot

read.” So, when I say you should illustrate instructions

for people that will not read the sign…. I also

mean for people who cannot read.

I would also love to see your car wash and the

signage you have at your locations…. Please send

me your car wash pictures at

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

14 • SUMMER 2020

Everything you need to Succeed

From the most trusted name in Self Serve Equipment



















D&S Carwash Equipment 800.844.3442

SUMMER 2020 • 15




Commercial Wall

Fixtures from LSI

LSI Industries has launched a new line of high-performance commercial

wall fixtures. The newoutdoor luminaires feature a sleek, modern housing

and offer multiple temperature, distribution and lumen options. Cost-competitive

and energy-efficient, the new fixtures are ideal for retail exterior applications.

“Our new commercial wall lights are among the most competitive, scalable

and affordable wall fixtures on the market,” said Mike Prachar, Chief

Marketing Officer of LSI Industries. “Not only do they deliver excellent

photometric performance, they match the aesthetics of our commercial area

lights – giving property owners the ability to create modern, attractive and

welcoming spaces.”

LSI’s new wall mount fixtures are easy to install, featuring an external box

for surface conduit, including thru-wire, as well as stub conduit for use when

a junction box is not present. The new luminaires are available in three sizes

with outputs ranging from 1,500 to 20,000 lumens. The optics can distribute

illumination in Type 3 and Forward Throw patterns at 3K, 4K and 5K color

temperatures that enhance visibility, safety and security. In addition, the new

products can be configured with photocell sensors that automatically switch

the lights off during daylight hours – conserving energy and minimizing associated

energy costs. LSI’s new wall mount product line is compliant with

DesignLights Consortium (DLC) premium standards, allowing customers to

qualify for energy rebates. The new products can also comply with California’s

Title 24 energy conservation requirements and International Dark Sky


Vehicle Sanitizer

from Fragramatics

Fragramatics new Ezee-Mist stainless steel vehicle sanitizer dispenser

helps carwash operators to profitably meet the growing demand for

quick, efficient vehicle sanitizing, according to Larry Ingram, president of

Fragramatics. “We developed this machine to deliver an application of an

EPA/FDA approved product in three minutes,” Ingram said. The machine

produces a four to five foot plume at one ounce per minute. The spray kills

viruses including COVID-19, bacteria and fungi.

With coin-op, credit card and push-button options, the machine is easily

adapted to virtually any operation requiring vehicle sanitization. Mobile

version also available.

Career Center from International

Carwash Association

The International Carwash Association has

launched the ICA Car Wash Career Center, designed

to connect employers in our industry with

candidates, job seekers, and talent. It’s never been

easier to amplify the benefits of working at your

operation or company; and it’s never been easier

to find opportunities in our business.

The Car Wash Career Center features postings

from all segments of the car wash business. Jobs

will be available at retail operators, suppliers, distributors,

and facility or ancillary services like marketing,

finance, or HR.

Employers should know that the Career Center

is distributed and promoted to ICA’s global

audience of more than 25,000 subscribers and

members. These individuals include veterans to

the industry and those from “car wash families” as

well as those brand new or seeking entry into the

industry. And between now and October 1, 2020,

all job postings to the ICA network will be FREE

to any employer.

To help protect our communities against

COVID-19 and other viruses, our disinfectant,

sanitizing and remediation sprayers are designed

for home and commercial use. Our mobile spraying

units make protecting homes and businesses,

and the people in them, easy, fast and effective.

16 • SUMMER 2020





VS57068 24 PACK

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VS50262 24 PACK

VS10262 72 PACK



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• Streamlined check out

• Improved site speed

• Improved mobile shopping

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place an order on the go!

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SUMMER 2020 • 17


Boom Assembly


Zierco’s Original Swivel and

Boom Assembly, with

New Rebuildable


• Feather light rotating action

• Twin compression springs are

tension-adjustable for a variety

of hose and gun weights

• Swivel rotates 360˚ - 12 ft.



• Temperatures to 280˚ max.,

pressure to 2000 psi

• Longer hose life as spring

prevents kinks

• Ruggedly built, satisfaction


• Proven performance with over 50 years

service in the field (Since 1962)







FAX: (414) 764-9763

107C Cartridge Features:

• Field Repairable

• 100% 304 Stainless Steel Internal

Materials Eliminate Failure Due to


• Double O-Ring Design Uses Any

Type of Grease

7355 S. 1st. Street

Oak Creek, WI 53154


VISA and Master Card accepted



18 • SUMMER 2020




Zierco’s Easy Service Swivel and

Boom Systems with

MODEL 204 and 206 FEATURES

• Twin compression springs are tension-adjustable

for a variety of hose and gun weights

• Swivel rotates 360˚ - 12 ft. diameter

• Temperatures to 280˚ max., pressure to 2000 psi

• Longer hose life as spring prevents kinks

• Ruggedly built, satisfaction guaranteed

• Optional stainless steel components

• Proven performance with over 50 years service in

the field (Since 1962)

Boom Systems with Full 360 Degree roTATIoN

Booms are Available with 3 Different Mountings





Flat Plate

Mounts directly

to the ceiling or


Easy to Use -"Feather Light" rotating action


Swivel Base

Mounts directly to

the ceiling.


OFFSET Overhead Carwash Boom

Allows for TWO Center Boom Installation


Wall Bracket

Mounts to wall and

is adjustable so

boom swings

to wall when

not in use.

Ideal for foaming brushes.







To Convert Model 203

to a 204 Assembly

Remove boom body

from hinge plate




Rotate hinge plate

counter clockwise to

remove seal elbow

Replace O-Rings

7355 S. 1st Street

Oak Creek, WI 53154

Fax: (414) 764-9763






VISA and Master Card


SUMMER 2020 • 19


*Terms and conditions apply, limited time only.

Prep Units

Simple, compact, easy to operate Prep Units. Available as a one

or two pump package. Typical prep units include high-pressure

wash only. Additional rinse can be added.

Vending Islands

We offer a wide variety of the most popular

vending products including Armor All® Wipes and

Sprays, Little Tree® Fragrance Trees, Cali Scents®

Fragrance, and various cloth towels of all sizes.

Order vending materials from us to simplify the

process or select your own vending materials


• Single electronic coin acceptor

• Greater coin capacity

• Single point of collection

• Credit card capable

• Large capacity keyed vault

• Low voltage power

• Bill acceptance available

Coleman Hanna allows

operators to customize

their wash to meet

market demands and

produce the most profit

for their location!

Single Vacuum Arch


The Blast-N-Vac System allows you to

vacuum your vehicle as well as blast

water from mirrors, door crevices,

wheels and engine compartments.

You can also blast clean floor mats,

carpets, air vents and those hard to

reach areas that a vacuum just cannot

get to.

• Stainless Steel arches

that are designed for the

single SS vacuums

Fixed SS Boom to provide

the hose near the drivers door

of the vehicle

• Vacuum boom can be ordered

to allow the hose to swing

over the vehicle

Post is 3” x 6” x 8’ tall for


fixed vac arch

Central Vacuum System

94000 Series Vacuum

The 94000 Series Vacuums are constructed of high quality, stainless

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20 • SUMMER 2020

SUMMER 2020 • 21

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22 • SUMMER 2020




OPW Thanks and Supports Local Foodbanks

OPW thanks all the local foodbanks that have

worked hard to support families in need around

the world, especially during these uncertain times,

a press release reported. With many foodbanks

reporting shortages, OPW has donated between

$500 and $1,000 (USD) to key foodbanks in communities

where OPW employees live and work.

“Many communities and industries have been

impacted by COVID 19,” OPW President Kevin

Long stated in the press release. “We recognize

the challenging times and are committed

to supporting our employees and the communities

in which we operate. OPW would like

to thank the local foodbanks that are providing

critical services for our neighbors in need.”

OPW has provided charitable donations to the

following foodbanks to help them continue to

provide meals to their neighbors in need:

3 Illinois (U.S.): Greater Chicago

Food Depository

3 Mumbai (India): Khaana Chahiye

3 New South Wales (Australia): Oz Harvest

3 North Carolina (U.S.): Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

3 North Yorkshire (U.K.): The Trussell Trust

3 Ohio (U.S.): Shared Harvest Foodbank

3 Suzhou (China): Suzhou Industrial

Park Volunteers Association

3 Wisconsin (U.S.): De Pere Christian

Outreach Food Pantry

Can you spare

me a dime? …

Or a quarter?



It seemed to start out as your basic viral rumor:

That a coin shortage was happening across the

United States. Then a few signs started appearing

on storefronts. And then, for the real clear-cut

announcement — thanks to the super sleuth and

rumor-squashing machine, —it was

made very clear that it was actually true. Pennies

and quarters were disappearing, and a nationwide

shortage was unavoidable.

On June 11, 2020, the U.S. Federal Reserve released

the following statement:

“The COVID 19 pandemic has significantly disrupted

the supply chain and normal circulation

patterns for U.S. coin. In the past few months,

coin deposits from depository institutions to the

Federal Reserve have declined significantly and

the U.S. Mint’s production of coin also decreased

due to measures put in place to protect its employees.

Federal Reserve coin orders from depository

institutions have begun to increase as regions

reopen, resulting in the Federal Reserve’s coin inventory

being reduced to below normal levels.

… The Federal Reserve is working on several

fronts to mitigate the effects of low coin inventories.

This includes managing the allocation of

existing Fed inventories, working with the Mint,

as issuing authority, to minimize coin supply constraints

and maximize coin production capacity,

and encouraging depository institutions to order

only the coin they need to meet near‐term customer


On July 23, 2020, the U.S. Mint updated the

public on the state of coinage affairs and encouraged

the public to use coins as much as possible

for purchases:

“We are asking for your help in improving this

coin supply issue…You can do so by paying for

things with exact change and by returning spare

change to circulation. Until coin circulation patterns

return to normal, it may be more difficult

for retailers and small businesses to accept cash

payments. For millions of Americans, cash is

the only form of payment and cash transactions

rely on coins to make change. We ask that the

American public start spending their coins, depositing

them, or exchanging them for currency

at financial institutions or taking them to a coin

redemption kiosk. The coin supply problem can

be solved with each of us doing our part.”



Bruce Yeoman, who owns three coin-operated

Car Wash Inn locations in and around the Cincinnati,

Ohio, area told Cincinnati Public Radio, “Our

business is run on quarters and with the coin shortage

banks don’t have the quarters to replenish. He

added that banks tell him their supplies vary week

to week. The July 10 news story said that Yeoman

is turning to friends and social media for help. “Everybody

has a coin jar at home,” he says. “I’ve asked

(friends and family) to see what they have, and

I’ve been driving around from house to house giving

them cash for their quarters.”

Yeoman said in the story that he’s getting by

thanks to that generosity, but he estimates it’s

only making up about 5% of what he would normally

use in a given week.

There have been threads on carwashforum.

com about the coin shortage. A post by Keith

Baker states, “I’ve been “salting” my dollar coin

changer with my 1-dollar tokens. About 5 to 10

per cent. It seems to have slowed down my walk

off of coins some. If someone just stops by just

to get coins, then I either get some payment for

my service or I make a customer out of them.

I’ve posted the policy on the changer and had no

complaints about it.”

A lot of forum users suggested converting

to tokens only or only giving out $1 coins as

change. Another suggestion was to put a sign

saying that the change dispensed was for paying

customers only.

As for what’s to come of the shortage, the

Federal Reserve said not to worry. “Since mid-

June, the U.S. Mint has been operating at full

production capacity, minting almost 1.6 billion

coins in June and is on track to mint 1.65 billion

coins per month for the remainder of the year…

As the economy recovers and businesses reopen,

more coins will flow back into retail and banking

channels and eventually into the Federal Reserve,

which should allow for the rebuilding of

coin inventories.”

SUMMER 2020 • 23


Spending is up since May for small businesses

A report by CNBC stated that business spending

showed some signs of green shoots in June, as manufacturers

bought more equipment and spending

shifted away from stay-at-home sectors to ones that

could rebound in a reopening economy, according

to Cortera, a software company which analyzes

business-to-business credit transactions.

But overall, June spending was still depressed,

down 10.9% from the same month last year, and up

just 2.7 percentage points from the 13.6% decline

in May year over year, according to the company.

Cortera said spending by industries that benefit

from the work-from-home trend, like internet retailers

and food and beverage stores, fell by 6 percentage

points in June from May, but is still 1.7%

above 2019 levels. “Gasoline stations and food and

beverage establishments and other sectors that

would benefit from reopening spent 7 percentage

points more in June than in May, but that is still

lower than last year.”

The report also stated that 48 states saw increases

in spending from May to June, with small

and medium-size businesses recovering at a faster

rate than large businesses, up 7 percentage points.

However, they were harder hit in March and April,

and small business spending was still down 10%

from last June.

And, now for the hurricanes!

As if Covid-19, murder hornets and lionfish

weren’t enough trouble we are now in the midst of

hurricane season and weather experts are predicting

a more troublesome season this year.

According to a July 28 National Geographic report,

states along the Atlantic coast and the Gulf

of Mexico have yet to see the worst of what’s predicted

to be an active and potentially destructive

hurricane season.

“Things are unfortunately shaping up to be an active

hurricane season in the Atlantic, which is probably

not what people are wanting to hear,” Phil Klotzbach,

a meteorologist at Colorado State University

who specializes in Atlantic Ocean hurricanes, told

National Geographic.

This year, forecasters at the National Oceanic and

Atmospheric Administration predict that anywhere

from 13 to 19 large storms could spin up, with as

many as six becoming major hurricanes.

Last year, warm September waters in the Caribbean

Sea allowed Hurricane Dorian to dump a devastating

amount of rain over the Bahamas, the story said.

Currently, Atlantic surface waters are the fourth

warmest they’ve been since NOAA began keeping

records in 1982. The only years water has been

warmer are 2005, 2010, and 2017, which bore witness

to Hurricanes Katrina and Maria, two of the

most devastating natural disasters to strike the Atlantic


The Small Business Administration is offering up

hurricane preparedness information. It has listed

what to do if a hurricane is going to impact your

small business:


When a hurricane is approaching, follow these

steps to protect your property:

3 Install windstorm shutters or plywood over

windows and doors. Doing so will help prevent

interior damage to your building.

3 Take precautions so that items outdoors will

not blow away or cause physical damage. For

example, remove all loose debris, anchor or

relocate all nonessential equipment, and secure

large cranes and other heavy equipment.

3 Have cash on hand for post-hurricane

needs. Cash may be useful for buying food and

supplies or paying employees and contractors in

case electronic payment systems are down.

As the storm strikes, your safety and your employees’

safety are what matters most. Follow any

guidelines issued by state and local officials. If you

are at your business during the storm, stay in an

interior room on the lowest level of the building.


After the hurricane passes, the following tips

can help you quickly start the recovery process

3 Carefully survey your business property for safety

hazards. This could include live wires, leaking gas or

flammable liquids, and poisonous gases. Inspect for

damage to foundations or underground piping. If you

are uncertain where to begin in this process, consult

with an expert first to ensure your own safety.

3 Begin debris removal as soon as possible to

prevent further damage. For example, cover

broken windows and torn roof coverings

immediately. You should also clean roof drains

and discard to prevent drainage problems.

3 Apply for disaster assistance if needed. Check to see if a disaster has been

declared in your area. Then, create an account and

apply for a loan on SBA’s disaster assistance website.

For help preparing your business for hurricane

season, consult with local SBA resource partners,

including Small Business Development Centers

and SCORE. Resource partners can also help businesses

apply for disaster loans and provide guidance

on how to get up and running after a hurricane

strikes. Free and low-cost business assistance is now

available remotely via phone, video chat, and email.

DRB, Suds

Creative and

Unitec launch Here

to Help initiative

DRB Systems, in conjunction with partners

Suds Creative and Unitec, launched the DRB

is Here to Help initiative to guide car wash

operators through the coronavirus outbreak.

“For over a third of a century, DRB’s journey

has been about helping entrepreneurs

discover the American dream of running and

growing a business,” DRB Systems President

Dan Pittman stated in a press release. “At

times like these, we take that job even more

seriously. That is why we’re are putting these

resources together to help car wash operators

during this time.”

Those resources include:

3 A video series providing data about

the potential impact of the coronavirus

outbreak on wash volumes, unlimited

wash plan memberships, credit card

transactions, etc.

3 Webinars focused on what operators

can do now to hit the ground running

when business starts to rebound.

3 Regular communications to DRB

customers regarding how the company

is responding and helpful tips specific to

DRB’s technology.

Information DRB had planned to share at

The Car Wash Show regarding new products

and services that can help operators plan for

the future.

DRB will also poll customers to determine

what topics and information they are looking

for as they navigate this situation.

“We love the car wash business as much

as our customers do, and we have a passion

to keep car washes up and running,” Pittman

said in the press release. “The car wash industry

is strong, and we will get through this


For more information, visit https://www., and

follow the conversation on social media with

the hashtag #DRBHeretoHelp.

24 • SUMMER 2020

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SUMMER 2020 • 25



Presenting the news stories featuring self serve car washes

Free washes were a no-brainer, says business owner

Coach Bowles and his wife Kim own two Water

U Doing CarWashes in Idabel, Oklahoma. When

the pandemic wreaked havoc across the world and

first responders became the first lines of defense and

risked their lives to stop the spread, Bowles didn’t

think twice about giving them something in return.

“My oldest son 26, is a Marine, and my youngest is 21,

and is a fireman in Fort Worth, Texas,” Bowles, who

goes by soonermajic on, told SS-

CWN. “So being able to give away free washes to first

responders, nurses and doctors was a no-brainer to

my wife and I.”

Bowles said they used their Facebook page to promote

the free carwash day which took place Monday,

April 20 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The post read:

We would like to show our appreciation with

a FREE car wash to all of our county FIRST RE-


Must have badge or ID! If you know a first responder

or health care worker please like, share or

tag them in this post!

Bowles said, “Our county has been hit pretty

good, I figured there are about 500 of them in this

town of 7500… I [thought at the time that] about

250 or more will come. As I was contacting them

all day, I was pretty impressed with how sincerely

appreciative they all were. I am a [tough] guy, not

very touchy feely, but I just felt their appreciation

and it was pretty cool.”

The car wash owner said he went by and spoke

face-to-face with the CEOs at the main county

hospital and the Indian hospital, and also with

people at home health places, ambulance services,

police and fire departments.

“We gave away 224 washes, which is pretty

amazing for our population and [a wash with]

no tunnel. We had both our IBAs going like gangbusters!

Those folks were so appreciative, it was

just awesome to see them, talk to them, meet

them and hear their stories,” said Bowles.

When asked about a photo of the 12-hour event,

Bowles said one wasn’t taken because they were

way too busy.

ModWash looks to become nation’s largest chain

A company called ModWash, is looking to roll

out 100 express wash locations by 2023 and is looking

to become one of the nation’s largest car wash

chains. The business is backed by the Chattanooga,

Tennessee-based real estate, development and investment

firm Hutton and CEO Karen Hutton said

100 car washes are slated to open next year.

“It will be state-of-the-art equipment, the most

modern out there,” Hutton told the Chattanooga

Times Free Press.

The July 12 story stated that the first location

has already opened in Lexington, North Carolina,

while another is close to completion in Thomasville,

North Carolina.

She said the Hutton company will own the land

and buildings and lease to ModWash, which is its

own operating entity. Each ModWash unit takes

about $3.5 million to $4 million to develop. Permitting

and construction typically takes about 14

months, she said.

Hutton said the company, which puts up structures

for businesses such as McDonald’s and Taco

Bell, was building car wash locations for other entities,

the story stated.

According to the story, the Hutton company

owns 75% of ModWash while Hans Weger,

a Georgia business consultant for Hutton in the

past, is the minority partner.

Weger, who also is CEO of ModWash, said the

company is founded on the concept to “make life


Weger said in the story, “We wanted to create a

company that was focused on customers and giving

back to the communities and developing people,”

he said. “We’ll make the car shine, help the

community shine and help people shine.”

Weger said if the company gets to 100 units covering

15 states by 2023, that will place it as one of

the biggest such businesses in terms of size, but

that isn’t their goal exactly.

“The goal isn’t to be the biggest, it’s to be the

best,” he said.

Locations are planned in South Carolina, Florida

and New Jersey, said Elle Welch, the company’s

marketing director.

Hutton said that plans are to give 1% of Mod-

Wash revenues back to local communities where

it will do business. Also, the company plans to put

employees in leadership and training programs,

she said.

“We want to make an impact,” Hutton said.

She said Hutton has about 65 employees, while

a construction company, Berry & Hutton, has between

80 and 100 employees. ModWash expects

to employ about 100 people by year’s end, Hutton

said in the story.

Roadhouse Car Wash serves

as art museum

Back in May, the Roadhouse Car Wash of

Davenport, Iowa, was supported by local business

sponsors, and gave children a framed canvas

and supplies to paint “whatever makes them

happy,” the Dispatch-Argus reported. The art

was hung inside the wash bays. One-third of

the proceeds from the bay went to a charity

and all of the proceeds from the vacuum went

to that same charity. The event, called Bay Art

for Charity, continue for a week to raise money.

According to the car wash’s Facebook page:

The idea is simple....we will hang art you

submit in our carwash bays, a dollar from every

wash will go towards the charity posted above

that bay. We have chosen 4 local charities that

help benefit children and families in our area.

Money raised was given to The Salvation

Army, Bethany for Children and Family Services,

Children’s Therapy Center, and The

Child Abuse Council.

26 • SUMMER 2020

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SUMMER 2020 • 27




New Washes





The Gravette Auto Wasche opened on July

3, according to the Eagle Observer. Owners

John A. Lykins, his wife Janice and their son

John opened the self service wash after several

months of extensive renovation.

“I just got tired of not having a place to clean

my vehicles,” John said in the story. “We are excited

about being able to provide this service to

the community.”

New equipment was installed in the bays and

equipment room and the wash was repainted.

The cost is only $1 for a 3-minute wash.

A large automated wash bay with a brushless

cleaning system will be in operation in a couple

of weeks, according to the story, and customers

can choose a clean costing $8, $10 or $12.

The Lykins pointed out that the property is

well-lit and surveillance cameras are in use so

customers can feel safe using the car wash both

day and night. John even went so far as to post his

phone number in the newspaper so that customers

can call him with any questions or concerns.



The Rocky Mountain Car Wash opened on

July 27, according to The Montana Standard.

Butte will be Montana’s flagship location for

Rocky Mountain Car Wash, one of Wyoming’s

largest car wash chains, the story said.

The car wash includes three automatic bays

and six self-serve bays.

Founded by Mike and Sherri Irwin, the family-owned

business got its start in 2001 in Pinedale,

Wyoming and now has eight Wyoming



IQ Car Wash opened the self serve and

in-bay wash in March, according to KMTV.

Owner Travis Barker admitted the timing

of the opening has not been ideal, thanks to

the pandemic, but he is hopeful things will

take a turn for the better. “Between weather

and people actually getting out and about,

I think some people are back in the office,”

Barker said in the story. “I think people also

became restless, and that’s something else

we found out through COVID too, was

that I had families who with mothers and

children, because they were looking for

something to do with moms being home

with the kids, and throughout automated

washers they kind of have a light show that

goes with them so it was a form of entertainment

sometimes. It was something to

go do, that was still available to people.”

Along with the self serve option, the car

wash offers touch-free and soft touch automatics.

“And those are both unique in that

they do a 3D scan of the car,” Barker said

in the story. “So the best example of what

that 3D scan allows you to do is if you have

a truck, the machine will actually come

down and wash the back window of a pickup

truck, and then move along, and wash

the tailgate, and it washes those as separate

pieces because it knows where they are.”


Butte is its new location thanks to the Irwin’s

son, Riley, who attends Montana Tech.

“Butte seemed underserved in terms of

self-service car washes,” Taylor Irwin (Riley’s

sister) said in the story. “We felt we had something

we could offer to the community.”

This will not be the only Rocky Mountain

Car Wash in Montana as plans are underway to

build another car wash in Belgrade.

Their first car wash was a bit of an impulse buy,

so Mike and Rachel Wiersema figured they might

as well do it again, the Clinton Herald reported.

The couple purchase the former Precision

Wash last February an renamed it MR Wash. A

grand reopening was held in May.

“We say MR wash because ‘Mike and Rachel’

is what it stands for,” he said in the story. “But

everyone else says ‘Mister wash.’

The two also bought a Super Wash franchise

in Fulton, in late 2018, in a spur-of-the-moment

decision. “(Rachel) went to clean out her car one

day and the owner was putting a for sale sign up,”

Mike said in the story. “She came home and said,

‘get your butt over there because it’s for sale.’”

When they saw that the Precision Wash was for

sale Mike thought, ‘Hey, I can fix that one up too.”

Their new wash features self serve and IBA

bays. Mike said it is all part of his retirement

plan. “I figured this would be something good

for retirement and a good job and business to

have the rest of the time, too. You’re always going

to have guys who want to go out and play

in the mud and want to wash their truck. Same

way with (all-terrain vehicles) and stuff like

that. It’s one of those things where your car is a

big investment, and you can keep it clean.”



Scooptown Car Wash opened in mid-May, according

to the Black Hills Pioneer.

“Everybody is really loving it,” co-owner Chris

Bergman said in the story. Bergman and his wife,

Tylea also own and operate an oilfield maintenance

company and physical therapy clinic in

Killdeer, North Dakota.

The car wash features two automatic wash

bays, three self serve bays, a pet wash and two

outside wash bays. One is a seasonal bay for cars,

pickups, and motorcycles. The outside bays are

for oversized vehicles such as RVs, campers and

boats. There is also an RV dump station on site.

28 • SUMMER 2020






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... jammed three Peso coins, two Chuck E Cheese

tokens, five pennies and a wooden nickel into a coin

slot that was clearly marked “Insert Quarters Only”.


... I watched a girl one day spray her car with spot free

rinse, then she bought an Armor All protectant pad and

scrubbed her car with it, then sprayed it with presoak

and left.

... I had a guy straddle the treadle running the left arm

across his hood, and when I went to see why the auto

hadn’t started he asked me “Why isn’t it working?”

... An old man pulled into a self-serve bay, got out and

deposited his money, then came and got me to ask why

it wasn’t washing his car. MEP001

... could not figure out how to turn the dial to get the

function they wanted. soapy

... had an older gentleman wash his car, then proceed

to cover it with tri foam. He then rinsed just the

windshield and started to leave with the car still

covered with foam. I asked him if there was a problem

with the equipment and he said “no.” Thinking he was

out of money, I offered to put time on the meter and

he said no thanks. So then I pointed out to him that

his car was still covered in soap. To which he said, “I

know. I just washed it.” And down the street he went. I

saw him do it again a few weeks later. Maybe we’ve all

missed it and have given the rinse cycle way too much

credit. Lol. Scott S

... would complain that self serve high pressure is

low. walk out and notice they are not squeezing the

trigger. STXCW

... tried to “shampoo” a large area rug from home from

home using our tri foam which is currently 2/3 polish

and 1/3 wax... I saw this on camera one night and they

were there a long time. They must have been hard

rinsing the wax out of the carpet. Dan-Ark

... I went to the wash Sunday to find “FIX YOUR

CAR WASH!!!” written on my pump room door.

Checked everything and couldn’t find a problem.

Checked the video and found that he put 4 quarters

in then punched the coin box repeatedly, then shook

it by grabbing the coin return. Wrote on my door

then pulled into another bay......put the required 6

quarters in to start and washed his car. I thought

I was going to show up once a week to pick up

quarters and take them to the bank. Well not really

but it would be nice. Green_As_a_Gourd


... I love it. Through all the hard work and

emergencies, damage, etc. I still love it. (It’s only

been a week, LOL) Nuphoenix

... is you hate your customers as much as you love

them Green_As_a_Gourd

... I like having fun with some of my customers.

Sometimes one comes up and says he put money

in something, and nothing happened. I tell them

that I found that we make more money that way.

Sometimes one comes up and asks for change

for a dollar (while standing next to the changer). I’ll

say we’re having a sale today and give them five

quarters. The look is priceless, and I know most go

home and say what a nice place it is. And that only

cost me a quarter. mac

... My customers mostly don’t speak English, or

don’t speak it well, so if they want change for a $20

they walk up to me and hand it to me usually without

saying anything. I just say thank you, stick it in my

pocket and pretend to walk away. MEP001

... is finding treasures that customers have left

behind. Last summer I found a hard top to a Mazda

Miata. Posted it as lost, hung signs up, no takers.

Sold it for $1000 on craigslist. Oh the things we find.

David Rolf

... I had a girl call me tonight who had sold a pair of

sub woofer speakers today at one of my washes. All

went well as she got her $600 and left them there

with him even though he had no car. Turns out she

was paid in counterfeit bills and they were gone

when she came back.

... I thought this looked funny driving down the street

but it became even funnier when they pulled in to

wash it in one of my wand bays. Then they came

back 2 hours later to wash it again. Soapy

... I found a sofa in one of my bays. I wouldn’t have

cared too much if they would have put it by the

dumpster but it was a hide-a-bed. Heavy as all heck. I

pushed it out of the bay with my truck and had to cut it

up with a sawzall to put it in the dumpster. 6t7gto

... I found a dead dog in one of the vac island trash

cans. I guess the funny part is some idiot thought,

“hey, let’s take it to the carwash. I buried it out back.

Some people are such dirtbags. Traveler17

... During the summer we get our trash cans filled with

cull watermelons. Makes a sticky mess. Large Farmer’s

Market nearby and the town fills up with watermelon

crews gathering melons in the area. Allen

... you quickly find out it owns you!!!! Rfreeman

... I thought I was going to show up once a week to

pick up quarters and take them to the bank. Well not

really but it would be nice. STXCW

... a percentage of the customers actually turn out

to be friendly in a sincere worthwhile way & the

next thing you know they become more than just an

acquaintance! mjwalsh

... that the more I learn, the more I realize I have yet

to learn… Waxman

If you would like to contribute your own answer, visit and do a keyword search of “fill in the blank.”

... The guy who was stealing my hanging flower

baskets, caught on video handed over to local police.

They gave the video to the four local news stations.

All four came & did live remotes from my wash for the

local evening news (my 15 min of fame). Someone

knew who he was and phoned in. Talk about being

embarrassed. This was back in ‘98 before cameras

were common in our industry. Timmb

... that it is NEVER dull!! I’ve owned my car wash for

17 years now, and I think public behavior is getting

more outrageous - especially with the homeless!

I’m glad that I have cameras and live close-by.

Recently, one of my wash bays was converted into an

overnight “bike repair” operation!

... I got a call last night from the police. Seems a lady

came to wash her Jeep. WHile she was washing she

suspects her passenger sitting inside rifled through

her purse and stole one of her credit cards. They

wanted to know if I had cameras that looked into

the car and caught video of the theft. I told them

that theft inside someone’s car is generally not what

I worry about. Turns out my cameras are not like

superman and could not see the theft. Soapy

... If you stay in the car wash business long enough

you’re going to see it all. After 38 years of being in the

business you name it I’ve seen it or had it happen.

I’ve had guy’s paint their car in the bay, brake jobs, oil

changes. I had one guy drop his gas tank to change

out his fuel pump. They all seem to think it perfectly

OK to do these kinds of things... . Randy

I had a lady come in last week and spray paint

(black) an entire patio furniture set in one of my bays.

Thankfully she bought cheap paint. KleanRide

30 • SUMMER 2020


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For more information and to register please contact:

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SUMMER 2020 • 31

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OCT 4-6, 2021

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*Dates are subject to change.

32 • SUMMER 2020



International Carwash Association ® (ICA)

Car Wash Show going back to Vegas

The ICA announced a change to the dates for

The Car Wash Show 2021. The event will still be

held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas,

NV, but will now be held June 7-9, 2021.

Since cancelling The Car Wash Show 2020 on

March 10, ICA has evaluated several different options

for providing attendees and exhibitors with the

show experience they deserve and desire, according

to a press release. This includes new considerations for

health and safety given the COVID-19 crisis. As part

of this evaluation, the 2021 event has been moved

from March to June.

“The Car Wash Show 2021 will feature all new

Dan Pecora, owner of Erie Brush & Manufacturing,

has been selected as the 2020 International Carwash

Association Hall of Fame inductee. The industry’s

highest honor, the Car Wash Hall of Fame was

created in 1962 to recognize the innovators, leaders,

and pioneers of the professional car wash industry, an

ICA press release stated.

1962 is the same year that Dan’s father, Carlo Pecora,

purchased the property in Appleton, Wisconsin

that would become one of the very first exterior-only

washes in North America. Carlo opened Automat

of Appleton in 1963, and Dan, manager of the site,

graduated from hand making brushes in the family

basement to promoting the business and drawing customers

to the conveyor-powered wash.

Innovation has been the defining quality of Dan’s

career. In 1970, he bought Erie Brush and grew it from

a two-man operation to a thriving 40 person operation.

His experience developing and running exterior

washes drove him to create products that solved real

education sessions, an expansive show floor, and the

opportunity to catch up on the incredible innovations

and resources we missed out on in 2020,” Kim Vinciguerra,

ICA Chief Experience Officer, stated in the

press release. “We can’t wait to bring our community

together again, and the move to June dates helps ensure

that we’re able to offer a safe and productive experience

that has all the value you’ve come to expect

from The Car Wash Show.”

To ensure you receive the latest information

about The Car Wash Show, including details about

registration, be sure you’re signed up for our email list

by visiting

Dan Pecora of Erie Brush named 2020 ICA Hall of Fame Recipient

Time is running out to nominate board members

There are days left, but the ICA is still accepting

applications and nominations for directors to serve a

three-year term on the Board of Directors beginning

January 1, 2021. Applications and nominations are due

Monday, August 17, 2020.

The ICA Board of Directors is comprised of 16

industry leaders who meet twice per year. In fulfilling

its fiduciary responsibilities, the Board of Directors

establishes the mission and vision of the Association,

approves its strategic plan and establishes financial


Applications and recommendations are reviewed

challenges for operators. Under Dan’s leadership, Erie

developed unique brushes for a variety of applications,

and to this day continues to carry a wide range of

brush materials for washes of all kinds. Dan’s devotion

to product led him to several patents in the industry.

Dan was honored to serve as president of the

Chicagoland Carwash Association. He won the ICA

President’s Award in 1987, and the Distinguished Service

Award in 1988, as well as numerous other awards

from regional car wash organizations.

“Dan is truly an industry pioneer,” stated ICA

President Ken Littrell in the press release. “He has dedicated

his life to this industry, and his passion for the

practice and people of car washing truly shows in his

products and in the network of customers he’s built

all around the country. We’re honored to be able to

recognize him with the Hall of Fame Award and look

forward to being able to gather in person as soon as

possible to formally induct him.”

by the Nominating Committee, a subcommittee of

the Board of Directors. The Committee decides which

candidates to propose to the membership for election

as part of the slate. Candidates under consideration can

expect to have at least two conversations with members

or representatives of the Committee, and be asked

to provide additional information in order to determine

appropriate fit. Applications for director positions usually

far surpass the number of positions available and

will be evaluated based on the candidate’s skill set and

the current needs of the Board of Directors.

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Tanks, pipe, sprayers and other large equipment are not included in this program.

Applies to Continental U.S. ground shipments only.

SUMMER 2020 • 33

Association News

International Carwash Association ®

(ICA) ... continued

The 2020 Women in Leadership program coming this November

The 2020 Women in Leadership Certificate

Program, a 100% online comprehensive leadership

training experience held this November in

partnership with the University of Notre Dame.

Participants will enter a cohort of women in business

and leadership, including fellow car washers.

“This program builds skills in strategy and

communication that are integral to the success

of every car wash leader, including the high-performing

and high-potential women the certificate

is designed for,” ICA Chief Content Officer

Claire Moore stated in a press release.

The program will span the full four weeks of

November 2020. This means the course work is

available to access on any schedule, and each week

of the month features a different theme of study.

The course will prepare participants to:

• Implement strategic leadership skills.

• Identify core values, cultivate

resilience within, and discover

how to live a fully integrated life.

• Enhance negotiation and

conflict-resolution techniques.

• Leverage networks and

build stronger relationships.

“In addition to the program’s amazing content,

we’ll be offering an additional live session,”

Moore said in the press release. “This session

will focus on how the lessons from the course

can be applied to car wash environments. Open

and candid discussion is a hallmark of our Women’s

Leadership Experiences, and we’re excited

to integrate that with the benefits of a virtual

learning environment.”

For completing the program, participants

will be awarded with a certificate from the University

of Notre Dame, as well as a digital credential

issued by International Carwash Association.

These accolades can give a real boost in a

competitive market.

Learn more about the program now, including

costs and details on how to register, at

New England Car Wash Association (NECA)

NRCC canceled

for 2020, Hard

Rock to host

2021 convention

A press release from the

Northeast Regional Carwash

Convention (NRCC)

Board of Directors, was sent

out June 1, 2020, stating

that the 2020 Convention,

that was supposed to take

place in Atlantic City in

October, was canceled.

According to a letter from Suzanne Stansbury:

The Northeast Regional Carwash Convention

(NRCC) Board of Directors, after extensive deliberation,

has decided to cancel the 2020 show, October 5-7, at the

Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, NJ.

This thoughtful decision took into consideration the numerous

unknowns with a trade show in early October as

a result of Coronavirus (COVID-19). The board felt that

this decision would be in the best interests of its exhibitors

and attendees.

“We are concerned that large venue events may not

be an option in October, there could be a resurgence of

the virus in the fall and our carwash economy will still be

recovering,” said 2021 Show Chair Dave DuGoff. “In addition,

even if allowed, will people feel comfortable traveling

and congregating? These are certainly unprecedented

times and with that caution and safety are necessary,

but it was an incredibly difficult decision.”

That being said, the 2021 show, October 4-6, will

include a reimagined education track and show floor, as

well as an elite keynote speaker, and a move to the Hard

Rock Hotel & Casino for overnight accommodations on

the city’s iconic Boardwalk. “The 2021 NRCC will have

a new look and feel but still provide our attendees with

an intimate setting in which to learn, grow and reimagine

their operations,” said DuGoff.

Southwest Car Wash Association (SCWA)

New twist to SCWA Car Wash Tours

Due to Covid-19 and the restrictions on gatherings, the SCWA

will be offering a new type of car wash tour. The first SCWA Showcase

will feature a streaming video in which several Mr. Wash locations in

Germany will be shown. In addition, car wash owner Richard Enning

will be live to narrate the videos and answer attendee questions.

The Showcase will take place Thursday, August 27, at 10 a.m.

(CST). Registration is Required.

• The Virtual Showcase is COMPLIMENTARY for current SCWA Members

• A non-member rate is $25 or FREE with SCWA Annual Membership

Announcing the 2021 President’s Award

The SCWA is proud to announce a new award recognition for 2021 -

the SCWA President’s Award. This award will honor early career car wash

managers and employees who have demonstrated strong skills and exceptional

work ethic, according to an announcement. The award encourages

continued growth in the industry and serves as an example to others of the

culture; attitude and commitment that makes the car wash industry special.

Be sure to click on this link for the criteria and the nomination form. The

Award will be presented during the 2021 SCWA Convention & Car Wash

EXPO in Fort Worth, February 17-19, 2021.

34 • SUMMER 2020

Association News

Midwest Carwash Association


President writes impassioned letter to

members regarding the Covid-19 pandemic

Women in Carwash tm

Third Women in Carwash

event to take place next January in Florida

According to Brenda Johnstone, founder of the Women in Carwash

initiative, the third conference will take place next January in Fort Lauderdale,

Florida. “In the ever-changing carwash industry, women are rapidly

emerging as some of the most forward-thinking leaders. What is also exciting

is that a growing number of men are welcoming and actively supporting

this change,” the website stated.

The 2021 conference will include three days of guest speakers, workshops

and networking opportunities. The B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale

will serve as the venue.

On May 28, 2020, MCA President Joe Chatel, sent a poignant and passionate

letter to its members regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect

on car washes within the midwestern association, including Michigan, Ohio,

Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

A portion of Chatel’s letter was as follows:

During this pandemic virus situation, the MCA has been tasked with navigating

a never before seen industry situation. I am determined to continue the

fight for our rights as operators as well as using the silver linings to make the

MCA better for its members.

...The MCA has filed legal action in the State of Michigan where legal

restrictions impacting our members have been the greatest in our region.

The majority of the other cases filed in the federal cases sought emergency

injunctive relief and lost. We could easily take the same tactic, but we would

likely lose, not because of the lack of merit in our position, but because the

standard for obtaining emergency injunctive relief is very high. This is why the

other plaintiffs in the other federal cases have had problems—when the plaintiffs

moved for immediate injunctive relief, they had the burden. The state had

no burden; and was able to easily move away from the action.

Again, our goal is to put pressure on the Governor and to try our best to

obtain a ruling that the executive orders released have been unconstitutional

under the United States Constitution. Our case is a matter of federal law, not

state law. The MCA has obtained an agreement from the State of Michigan

Assistant AG to respond to our complaint on or before June 5, 2020. As such,

the burden is now placed on the Governor to either answer our case or move

to dismiss. We have every reason to believe that the Governor will move to

dismiss our case and will ask for a speedy hearing.

...As for the Legislature’s case—this was a matter limited only to Michigan

state law—not the United States Constitution. Federal courts, in general, do

not decide matters of state law against a state or state official. We could have

filed our own “state law” claims in the Court of Claims too—but that would

have required additional costs and fees and expense to our loyal members’

dues. Spending the association’s money is something that is never taken lightly.

The Legislature conceded that Covid-19 was an emergency. Judge Stephens

sped up the hearing for a number of reasons, including mootness, and

including the Legislature’s immediate need to be included in the process. Yes,

the Legislature moved for immediate relief, which was risky, but also necessary

given the nature of the state claims, the concession of Covid-19, and the supposed

May 28, 2020 expiration of the emergency declaration. But the Legislature

also has deep pockets and it presumably has a huge budget to take its case

through the appellate courts.

Unlike the Legislature, we are not conceding the Covid-19 emergency.

That’s why we put so much work into the data. As such, I don’t believe that

we have wasted our resources with the amicus brief, especially since the Governor

has magically decided to open the northern half of the state. By filing

the amicus brief, we effectively obtained two venues and we will reap the

benefit of a favorable decision from the Court of Claims. But even if the Court

of Claims rules against the Legislature, such a ruling will not impact the legal

analysis of our federal claims. Again, by forcing the Governor to respond in the

manner that we did, gives us the best advantage in our legally guided opinion.

SUMMER 2020 • 35


Successful Car Wash

Self-Serve to Ex





Get in the trenches with Scott Oster as he describes the renovation of this existing

self-serve site that converted successfully to a 110-foot express exterior tunnel.

Scott guides you through the project’s design and permitting, as well as the technology

upgrades and marketing decisions that made this Grand Re-Opening a huge success.



5 Self-Serve Bays & 2 Inbay Automatics





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36 • SUMMER 2020


Format Conversions

press Tunnels





Go behind-the-scenes with Marcus Kittrell as he shows us how he converted a

limited, pre-existing self-serve car wash into a 80-foot express exterior tunnel now

known as MARC-1 Car Wash Palisades. Marcus is the owner of seven Marc-1 car wash

locations in the state of Alabama.



3 Self-Serve Bays & 3 Inbay Automatics





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Watch Marcus Kittrell, owner of marc-1 Car Wash

as he explains his successful conversion

Consulting College Equipment Services Vacuums Controls Marketing Signage Chemistry Parts

SUMMER 2020 • 37

Around the Wash:


Where’s the


If you feel like you’re floating out to sea,

lost in a fog with money worries, and Covid-based

nightmares, there are lifelines available, both financial and

advisory, for small businesses. But with so many different

platforms, and deadlines, and red tape, it can be challenging

to know what opportunities are right for you and your business.

Here is a breakdown of the various funding options, offered

by the Small Business Administration (SBA).


Economic Injury Disaster Loans:

On June 15, the Small Business Administration

resumed accepting new EIDL applications from

all eligible small businesses. EIDL proceeds can be

used to cover a wide array of working capital and

normal operating expenses, such as continuation

to health care benefits, rent, utilities, and fixed

debt payments.

Small business owners and qualified agricultural

businesses in all U.S. states and territories are currently

eligible to apply for a low-interest loan due

to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of July 15, 2020, 2,622,203 loans have

been approved across the United States totaling


Each applicant must review and check all the

following (If Applicant is unable to check all of

the following, applicant is not an eligible entity):

• Applicant is not engaged in any illegal activity

(as defined by Federal guidelines).

• No principal of the Applicant with a 50 percent

or greater ownership interest is more than

sixty (60) days delinquent on child support


• Applicant does not present live performances

of a prurient sexual nature or derive directly or

indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue

through the sale of products or services, or the

presentation of any depictions or displays, of a

prurient sexual nature.

• Applicant does not derive more than one-third

of gross annual revenue from legal gambling


• Applicant is not in the business of lobbying.

• Applicant cannot be a state, local, or municipal

government entity and cannot be a member of



Payroll Protection Program:

An SBA loan that helps businesses keep their

workforce employed during the Coronavirus

(COVID-19) crisis.

The SBA reopened this program in July, but the

deadline for new application is August 8, 2020.

Therefore, depending on the date of this publication,

it might be too late.

As of July 27, 2020, 5,017,603 loans have been

approved equaling $519,770,805,963.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed

to provide a direct incentive for small businesses

to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employee retention

criteria are met, and the funds are used for eligible


You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a)

lender or through any federally insured deposito-

38 • SUMMER 2020

SUMMER 2020 • 39


Got Questions?

We have Answers!

Carwash and accounting expert Pat

Shannon answers questions on everything

from PPP loans to tax forms to revenue


In the hazy maze of this financial quagmire

thanks to Covid-19, many car wash

owners are left with questions. The Small

Business Administration (sba) is offering

help, but unless you’re an expert in the

field of economics and car washes, there

are opportunities for confusion and frustration.

Thankfully, Pat Shannon fits the

bill for the aforementioned qualifications.

Shannon is a car wash owner, the President

of the Heartland Carwash Association and

an expert in small business accounting,

payroll, personal and business tax preparation.

The following are answers to questions

posted to


Why doesn’t an S-corp

qualify for the PPP loan?

Pat Shannon: Being an S-Corp

does not disqualify you from receiving

a PPP Loan and if you do not receive a

PPP loan you should explore the employee

retention credit. If your business is taxed

as an S corporation, your owner draws are

known as shareholder distributions. It’s important

to realize that these distributions

are non-taxable, which means there are

some pretty strict requirements in place to

prevent owners from taking advantage. As

an owner of an S-Corp, you are required

to pay yourself a reasonable salary through

payroll, meaning that you are remitting

payroll taxes on that amount. You are

allowed to take distributions in addition to

this salary, but it’s best practice to have a

combination of the two rather than distributions



We purchased our wash about

two years ago from the owner on

a land contract and we have about

a year left to pay it off. We updated

our equipment and rehabbed the building

using a home equity loan. Our LLC is a

partnership between my dad and me. I

have noticed that sole proprietors and

LLCs are specifically mentioned in the

stimulus package. From what I have gathered

so far it seems like we may be able

ry institution, federally insured credit union, and

Farm Credit System institution that is participating.

Other regulated lenders will be available to

make these loans once they are approved and enrolled

in the program.

The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds

are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages,

rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription,

at least 60% of the forgiven amount must have

been used for payroll).

• PPP loans have an interest rate of 1%.

• Loans issued prior to June 5 have a maturity

of 2 years. Loans issued after June 5 have a

maturity of 5 years.

• Loan payments will be deferred for six months.

• No collateral or personal guarantees are


• Neither the government nor lenders will charge

small businesses any fees.

Loan Forgiveness

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining

or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary

levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time

headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

The loan forgiveness form and instructions include

several measures to reduce compliance burdens and

simplify the process for borrowers, including:

• Options for borrowers to calculate payroll

costs using an “alternative payroll covered

period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular

payroll cycles.

• Flexibility to include eligible payroll and nonpayroll

expenses paid or incurred during the

24-week period after receiving their PPP loan.

• Step-by-step instructions on how to perform

the calculations required by the CARES Act to

confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness.

• Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory

exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction

based on rehiring by June 30.

• Addition of a new exemption from the loan

forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have

made a good-faith, written offer to rehire

workers that was declined

The following entities affected by Coronavirus

(COVID-19) may be eligible:

• Any small business concern that meets SBA’s

size standards (either the industry based sized

standard or the alternative size standard)

• Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and

self-employed persons

• Any business with a NAICS Code that begins

with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services)

that has more than one physical location and

employs less than 500 per location

• Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization,

501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal

business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small

Business Act) with the greater of:

• 500 employees, or

• That meets the SBA

industry size standard if

more than 500

EBL = SBA Express Bridge Loans:

Enables small businesses who currently have a

business relationship with an SBA Express Lender

to access up to $25,000 quickly.

These loans can provide vital economic support

to small businesses to help overcome the temporary

loss of revenue they are experiencing and can

be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while

applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster

loan. If a small business has an urgent need for

cash while waiting for decision and disbursement

on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may

qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.


• Up to $25,000

• Fast turnaround

• Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds

from the EIDL loan

EBL loans can only be made up to six months

after the date of an applicable Presidential Disaster

Declaration. For the COVID-19 Emergency

Declaration, EBL loans can be approved through

March 13, 2021.

Use of Proceeds:

• EBL loan proceeds must be used exclusively

to support the survival and/or reopening of

the small business within the eligible Primary

or Contiguous Counties. For the COVID-19

Emergency Declaration, EBL loan proceeds

must be used exclusively to support the

survival and/or reopening of the small


• Lenders must certify in the credit

memorandum that the EBL loan proceeds

will be used by the borrower to support the

survival and/or reopening of the small business

within the eligible Primary or Contiguous

Counties. For the COVID-19 Emergency

Declaration, Lenders must certify in the credit

memorandum that the EBL loan proceeds

will be used by the borrower to support

the survival and/or reopening of the small

business. This certification must be included

with any guaranty purchase request to SBA.

• EBL loan proceeds may be disbursed as

working capital, or for specific disaster-related

purposes, such as the purchase of generators,

repair or replacement of disaster-damaged

equipment or inventory, making repairs to the

business premises, etc. For the COVID-19

Emergency Declaration, EBL loan proceeds

must be disbursed as working capital.

Around the Wash Where’s The Money

40 • SUMMER 2020

Around the Wash Where’s The Money

SBA Debt Relief:

The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small

businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the coronavirus debt relief efforts, the

SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and

any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current

7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing

status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans

disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. This relief

is not available for Paycheck Protection Program

loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Borrowers

do not need to apply for this assistance. It will

be automatically provided as follows:

• For loans not on deferment, SBA will begin

making payments with the next payment

due on the loan and will make six monthly


• For loans currently on deferment, SBA will

begin making payments with the next payment

due after the deferment period has ended and

will make six monthly payments.

• For loans made after March 27, 2020 and

fully disbursed prior to September 27, 2020,

SBA will begin making payments with the first

payment due on the loan and will make six

monthly payments.

SBA has notified 7(a), 504 and Microloan Lenders

that it will pay these borrower loan payments.

Lenders have been instructed to refrain from collecting

loan payments from borrowers. If a borrower’s

payment was collected after March 27,

2020, lenders were instructed to inform the borrower

that they have the option of having the loan

payment returned by the lender or applying the

loan payment to further reduce the loan balance

after SBA’s payment.

Borrowers should contact their lender if they

have any questions regarding this payment relief.

Additional Debt Relief

For current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and

Business) Loans: If your disaster loan was in “regular

servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is

providing automatic deferments through December

31, 2020.

What does an “automatic deferral” mean to borrowers?

• Interest will continue to accrue on the loan.

• 1201 monthly payment notices will continue

to be mailed out which will reflect the loan is

deferred and no payment is due.

• The deferment will NOT cancel any established

Preauthorized Debit (PAD) or recurring

payments on your loan. Borrowers that

have established a PAD through Pay.Gov or

an OnLine Bill Pay Service are responsible

for canceling these recurring payments.

Borrowers that had SBA establish a PAD

through will have to contact their SBA

servicing office to cancel the PAD.

• Borrowers preferring to continue making

regular payments during the deferment

period may continue remitting payments

during the deferment period. SBA will apply

those payments normally as if there was no


• After this automatic deferment period,

borrowers will be required to resume making

regular principal and interest payments.

Borrowers that cancelled recurring payments

will need to reestablish the recurring payment.

If you have questions about your current loan

and whether or not your loan is automatically deferred,

please contact your Loan Servicing Office

directly using the following information:

Birmingham Disaster Loan Servicing Center:

800-736-6048 or at

El Paso Disaster Loan Servicing Center:

800-487-6019 or at





No matter your equipment,

we work with just about any

equipment on the market.


Payments are made easily

through credit or loyalty

cards, and mobile.


With one location or

hundreds, tie all your data

together to make managing

your wash a breeze.

651-439-5740 |

SUMMER 2020 • 41

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SUMMER 2020 • 43

Around the Wash Where’s The Money

to get some assistance based on the numbers

that we show as profit. Is this true?

The help you can receive depends on the program

that you are applying for. For EIDL loans

(applied for directly on the Small Business Administration

website) they are revenue based. For

PPP loans to sole proprietors and LLCs that file

taxes on Schedule C they are profit based. You

stated you were a partnership, so your 1065 and

K-1s would drive your eligibility. The 1065 would

document formal payroll and the K-1s would

document owner draws or distributions. The last

day to apply for a PPP loan is August 8th, so see

your banker right away.


Understanding the self serve business,

here we are with all of the overhead

of a small business without the

payroll. Are there any benefits available

for the self serve car wash owners who have

been affected by COVID-19? Utilities, mortgage

payments and equipment loans are the

same as any other business with payroll…so,

what is available and how do we apply?

The time to take cookies is when cookies are

being passed around. That was the advice that I

gave Heartland Carwash Association members

back on April 4, 2020, when I laid out all the

programs available to help self-serve car wash

owners. Now, four months later, many of the programs

are closed or out of money. You have until

Aug 8, 202,0 to get a PPP loan, get to your banker

ASAP for details. Otherwise the Employee

Retention Credit and the Employer Tax Deferral

programs will still be available to you.


I recently got this email: “You are

receiving this message as a notification

that your Economic Injury

Disaster Loan (EIDL) application is

currently being processed in the order it was

received. You will receive an email notification

when there is a change to your application

status” and then I found $1000 in my account.

It doesn’t say anything about it being an advance.

Should I assume that’s what it is?

Yes, EIDL Advances were deposited without

notice or explanation. Be happy that you got the

advance, as that program quickly ran out of funds

and has not been refunded leaving the SBA owing

advances to many businesses and no additional

funds look to be forthcoming.

The Paycheck Protection Plan loan

includes the self employed, so long

as you have paid taxes as a self

employed business owner. Therefore,

you should be good for 2.5 times the

monthly “payroll” as I understand this so far.

Is this true?


Yes, depending on the tax form being filed and a

few other details.


1. What is the preferred SBA loan

program that a buyer of a self serve

car wash could use? Would that be

an SBA 7a loan of some type?

2. What minimum qualifying factors, and ratios,

does a buyer (and seller) of a self serve

car wash need to meet for loan funding

when the sale of the car wash also includes

real estate?

3. What credit history or credit score does

the buyer need to have?

4. With real estate included, is the down

payment requirement 10%?

5. How long is the process of funding if the

buyer is qualified and the seller is organized

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44 • SUMMER 2020

Around the Wash Where’s The Money

with needed information?

6. What are the applicable ratios of gross income,

net, and overall debt load of the buyer?

7. Do they require the buyer to personally

guarantee the loan? 8. If the buyer has other

income, is that factored and accounted for

even if the purchase is for a self serve held

in an LLC, which is a separate legal entity?

8. When the ratios are applied, are they calculated

against EBIDTA or tax returns?

9. If the seller doesn’t produce financial

statements that include EBIDTA but merely file

tax returns, are those sufficient records for the

SBA to apply their qualification ratios against?

10. Or do you need to have an accountant

or CPA produce a financial statement showing


Great question, but the answer may be intense.

1. Yes, the SBA 7A loan program is probably

where you will wind up; the other option

right now being an EIDL loan if you qualified

for enough to cover the purchase.

2. Purchasing a car wash always involves

three parts:

a) the real estate

b) the car wash business, and

c) the personal property.

3. Each state defines the lines between these

three differently. In my state, we pay real

estate taxes on the ground and building

only, the car wash equipment is all personal

property and taxed separately. The

personal property should be listed on a

bill of sale, and separately from the real

estate purchase contract.

4. Keeping your credit score over 700 should

eliminate any problems in that area.

5. Down-payments are usually 20% on a

commercial purchase.

6. I usually close in 30 to 45 days, but that is


7. The bank will be looking for a ratio of 1.2

to 1.3 on money available to make the

loan payment from the business revenues.

8. Based upon your net worth, experience,

etc., a personal guarantee from both

principals may be required. Emphasis on

required, as banker will always ask, don’t

be afraid to balk and say no.

9. Other incomes may be considered as secondary

repayment sources. Your personal

incomes and financial strength will add to

the attractiveness of the loan to a banker.

10. What does the revenue you are being

shown reflect? Make sure you know the

answer to this question as it impacts the

value of the car wash and what you can

actually expect your revenue numbers to

look like. MANY car wash owners do not

know the proper way to record revenue

numbers. If car wash sales are taxable in

your state, then the money you receive is

part revenue and part sales tax liability.

11. For example: If you receive $500 in revenues

and owe 7% sales tax on that revenue,

you should be posting (500/1.07) =

$467.29 in income and a sales tax liability of

$32.71. The $32.71 are trust funds owed to

your State Department of Revenue and not

an asset of the car wash business. So, posting

an income of $500 and later expensing the

sales tax is not correct accounting and skews

the actual income numbers of the business.

When you go to buy a car wash always

learn how the owner is posting so you can

adjust the numbers properly.

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SUMMER 2020 • 45


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.)

Keep your paws off my claws

We’re having vac claws stolen, 3x/week. Any advice?

Police won’t help on piddly $3 items SOONERMAJIC

I took silicone caulk clear and put it on the

threads and all connections, that stopped it for


I bought an electric branding iron at a ranch

store for under $100 with the letters I needed

about 20 years ago after I had another car wash

operator stealing my vac ends. Now I brand all

my foam brush heads, vac cuffs etc. as soon as

they come in. It has really helped stop thefts.


Make sure the vacs are working well. I’ve finally

stopped the homeless from getting into the

cleanouts and leaving the doors open. People

pull the claws off when the vac doesn’t work.

I quit using the large open-end type after the

third or fourth time I had to unstick a piece

of clothing from the middle of the hose. I just

bought a second box of 50 claw nozzles in

about 18 months. MEP001

A long time ago we used 3M Yellow Gasket

adhesive if the nozzles went missing too often.

Messy to apply but holds good when it dries.

Pretty much have to cut the hose to get the

nozzle off. ALLEN

I have the same problem, Sooner. They either

steal it, or throw it in trash after they cut it off

the nozzle cuff. Most of the time it’s the people

going through the clean outs. Bought more

vac claws this year than previous 4 years combined!!


Our customers don’t like the plastic claws and

will cut them off the end of the hose, toss them

in the garbage or throw them into the vacant

lot next door, so we stopped using them. They

seem to like the VAA-20 Vac Upholstery Cuff

2’’ Hose x 1 1/2’’, they leave them alone, very

seldom do they take one off. Go figure. RANDY

I used to offer the type like Randy uses and

the plastic hose cuff. Seems people always

wanted whichever one was not on the vac they

pulled up to. Rather than move their car to a

vac with their preferred hose end they would

walk over and try to swap them but they always

left one off. I have consolidated to only

using one type of hose end now. SOAPY

Stick some strobe lights in there aiming right

at them. Those things are irritating and about

impossible to do anything if it is dark enough

outside. OURTOWN







SSCWN Editor chimes in: Strobe

lights aren’t just for discos. In fact,

they are effective ways to thwart and

temporarily disable potential robbers.

Why? According to HowStuffWorks.

com, strobe lights cause disorientation

by overloading a person’s visual system.

“The lens of your eye focuses an image

of the world on the retina, a dense

collection of light-perceiving cells

called photoreceptors. Once the image

is taken and converted to an electrical

impulse, the optic nerve transmits it to

the brain’s visual cortex, which interprets

the pictures. The brain has a limited rate

or frequency by which it can receive

and process visual information. If visual

information arrives faster than the brain

can process it, then the person becomes

temporarily incapacitated. The frequency

required to overwhelm the brain is about

7 to 15 hertz [source: Rubtsov].”

The right light sight Bay

I have the option to mount cameras on my light poles or in each bay. From

experience, would it be better to mount the cameras on the perimeter

light poles in the bays? One of my concerns about mounting cameras in

the bays is that the lens will frequently need cleaning. Additionally, if I do

mount them in the bay what is the best placement? 1CARWASH1



per bay

I have both. Two per bay on opposite corners

plus on building and light posts. You can never

have two many ... I’m a 4 s/s and 1 auto with 32

cameras. CHAZ

Don’t mount them too high up or you’ll be

seeing the tops of heads instead of faces, and you

won’t be able to see license plates.

Mine are mounted in the corners of bays and

I wipe them off maybe once every two months.

I have them pointed toward the meter boxes/

timers so I can tell if the power is on or if there

are any other issues.

Go 4K for sure. MCHAS

]Mine are up high in the corner of the bay near

the ceiling far diagonal corner from meter box.

Don’t seem to need wiping. EARL WEISS

46 • SUMMER 2020

Swivel it, just a little bit

On your high pressure guns, where are you guys installing

swivels? Between the boom end and the hose? Between the

hose end and the gun? Both locations? Neither? KLEANRIDE

End of the boom I have a 12” piece of hose

known as a swivel saver....I have one there connecting

a 12” hose to the main HP hose. Have

another connecting main HP gun hose to the gun.

Total 2 swivels in each bay. FREEMAN

I used to do the two swivels. I had two upper

ones start to leak in the span of a couple days

and didn’t have any spares, so I took them out

until my order came in. I can’t tell the difference

between the ones with two and the ones with

one swivel at the gun, and I do a lot more turning

around while cleaning bays than customers

do washing ... if I were to run just one swivel

I’d put it at the boom between the bay hose and

swivel saver. They last a lot longer there without

the wear from being pulled on sideways like they

do at the gun, plus they get really beat up and

ugly at the gun. I just use a brass Adams swivel

at the gun. There’s probably something better,

but I take the Adams apart and put marine grade

wheel bearing grease in it and they last a couple

years and swivel easily. MEP001

I run 2 swivels on EVERYTHING. @ the boom

and @ the gun/brush CAR_WASH_GUY

Off of my boom swivel we had a 7’ - 3/8” hose,

on the end of that hose we have 3/8” ball bearing

swivel with a 3/8” coupler and off of that we have

end of


At the


at the


a 12’ - 3/8” hose with another 3/8” ball bearing

swivel at the gun. The ball bearing swivels last

a long, long time, we very seldom ever have to

replace one. RANDY

Swivel at the end of boom and at the gun for

me. In the freeze states the boom swivel is the

first place to freeze and they will start to leak no

matter what brand I use. SOAPY

I have a swivel between 12” hose and main hose,

and another between hose and gun… BIGJWS



The case of the soap in the HP rinse

THE CASE: Car wash owner Davidson noticed he was getting what looked to be soap in the

HP rinse in one of his bays. What was causing this? How should it be remedied? And, why was

it just happening in one bay? The following solutions were suggested: Maybe a bad solenoid if

your soap is gravity fed into your HP line like mine is? Maybe the solenoid is hung open? NOOB

I have a multi compartment tank and found the

seal between compartments was no longer good..

If no solenoid issue and you have this setup . Fill

the rinse compartment and empty soap side and

see if any water leaks through. EARL WEISS

Take solenoid apart and use a can of air on the

components. Usually we have found a small piece

of junk inside which was the issue. ROZ

The least likely thing would be the high pressure

hose trapping some soap and releasing it on rinse.

I’ve seen that happen a number of times. MEP001




Debris in the solenoid!

Stickers begone!

Anyone have an easier way to remove the vac stickers so they

can be replaced? I have Goo Gone, gas, a heat gun, torch. Mineral

spirits and an eraser wheel for my drill. I’m about 3 hours into 1 vac

and half way to go! What’s the secret? ULTRA SHINE

Heat gun

Spray brake


Heat gun and a paint scraper with lots of spare

blades worked best for me. Then Goo Gone to

cut the residue. Then a rubdown with some diluted

Clean Wall. KLEAN RIDE

I use a propane torch to get it started and spray

brake cleaner behind the decal to loosen the glue.

The only decals I have on my vacuums are the

price decals, somehow the customers seem to be

able to find them without the decals. RANDY

It depends on the decal. Paint stripper will eat

right through a Lexan decal but not a Mylar one.

For those you pretty much have to use a heat gun

and peel or scrape it. I use 3M adhesive cleaner

to remove the residue - I find it best to wet the

adhesive with the cleaner, wait about 30 seconds

and scrape it carefully with a sharp razor blade.

If you’re careful you won’t scratch the stainless.

It’s pretty quick and the cleaner is very low fume.

You don’t have to get the adhesive completely

off, it just needs to be smooth, then use a very

mild soapy water to apply the new one. You don’t

want it so soapy that the decal slides around or it

will interfere with adhesion. MEP001

I use a heat gun to remove the vinyl part and

for the leftover glue I smear on Gojo Original

formula hand cleaner; it’s like a white jelly. Let

that sit a half hour then easily scrape glue off

with a razor blade. Wipe the razor blade clean on

a paper towel. Very easy and no harsh chemicals.

I’ve inhaled enough solvents! WAXMAN

We use a heat gun for the decal removal and

then 3M adhesive remover for the glue. The adhesive

remover works great, but it costs about

$50 for a quart can. I purchase it at an automotive

paint supply store locally. MIKEMPLS

Just tried Citristrip in aerosol. Amazing stuff.

Peeled the sticker. Then sprayed this and let it sit

for about 20 min. Took a rag with acetone and

wiped it away. ULTRA SHINE

SUMMER 2020 • 47


Open for business,

but cover your face

So I just read that our local city department of health has nearly

convinced our city council to pass a “Mandatory Mask Ordinance”.

Reason being...they think mask-wearing is so efficacious that by imposing

this on its citizenry we will spare so many from contracting COVID-19 I

guess? We aren’t given the details of this “spike in COVID-19”. We are

just to trust that these people know best but anyhow ...enough of that.

I feel as a business owner I have no right to “police” my customers as

to whether they are wearing a mask or not. (I have a dog wash room

& I can’t imagine telling a customer seeking my business services &

then telling them they can’t patronize us because they don’t want to

wear a mask!) From what I understand, we are not to provide services

to customers who are not wearing a mask? Is that how mask ordinances

work not having read what may be coming down the pike yet since this is

still just rumored to be coming soon?



sweat it

If so, I almost feel like shutting down my business again as I was forced

to do 39 days because my business was deemed “non-essential” because

for security cameras late night right now show that my

teenaged customers who love my car wash are all at the wash happily

washing away none wearing a mask and so I am going to be expected

to police them and kick them out if they don’t have a face mask on if this

ordinance is hoisted upon us?

I don’t want to lose the revenue if I shut myself down but I’m the type of

person who when an ordinance is put forth; I will comply 100% but since I

don’t agree w/ this one, is that my only option...shut myself down? (during

the 39 days lockdown I kept 100% closed whereas many self serves in town

bucked the order and stayed open...I followed the spirit of the order and

stayed closed but if in a few days the city says we are under a Mandatory

Mask Ordinance, I wonder how you would react? CARL

What I posted:

Per Order of the Mayor: FACE MASKS RE-


All employees and visitors must wear face coverings

while on the premises, except:

When alone or with members of their

household in a car wash bay

When maintaining a consistent separation

of six feet or more MEP001

You need to read the ordinance. Posting the

signs may be all you need to do. EARL WEISS

I like the signage idea. Also - if customers are

alone in the bay, which is probably a pretty good

chunk of self serve users, probably no need to enforce.

If other people wearing masks keeps ME

from getting it, I’m all for it and will participate

as well. Bit I think distance is the key here and

what you want to be clear on. WASHNSHINE

I’m not familiar with what type of wash you

There will be mud

Anyone have advice on how to get the mud to slide

out of the backend, when dumped? SOONERMAJIC

Shovel and hoe BOYWONDER

A Ford starter with an offset weight on the

shaft on the underside of the tank. MEP001

The guy I bought my Ring-O-Matic from put

a sheet of Aluminum on the bottom. 98% slides

right out! CAR_WASH_GUY

Ring-O-Matic makes an air bladder that goes

in the bottom that is supposed to break the mud

up. You can get a shaker that vibrates that will

help. Even with a trailer that lifts to almost vertical

some mud still sticks... SOAPY

48 • SUMMER 2020

operate and how often you have employees onsite.

If you are a SS and IBA site you are a vending

machine business. Is the city going to mandate

that customers wear a mask while using a soda

machine? Does the soda vending company have

to enforce this ordinance?

Put up signs and don’t worry much about it

until the EVIL code enforcement officer comes

knocking on your door ERIC H

We’ve been mandated by the state to wear

masks. We are conducting business as usual, no

masks. We are outside, we are not within 6’ of

anyone so we aren’t wearing masks and we are

usually gone by the time any customers come

in. I think the mask thing is getting a little over

blown. I have to laugh when I see people driving

on the freeway wearing a mask. RANDY

We do have a sign now but the challenge is if

[mask-wearing] customers will complain if other

customers are not wearing one. CHEESETRAP

I’ve got a 1000T that I just put in a piece of

the wall board from farmtek. It’s not perfect but

much better than before. Before this I had started

putting cheap plastic sheeting down on the floor

and everything will come out, but it’s a pain to

get it spread out by yourself. It worked great just a

pain when you have 4 or 5 loads at one wash. PCB

Get a roll of plastic from the hardware store.

Cut it to fit the bottom. Lay it on the bottom

then add the mud. Slides right out. New sheet for

each load. COPPERGLOBE

Our customers don’t read any of our other

signs, so I think we’ll skip the additional signage.

We don’t wear masks, and neither do 99% of our

customers. I (personally) think it’s silly to require/

wear them in a carwash environment. SRR5008

The majority of mine are wearing masks, mainly

when they first show up and get change, but

they’re usually off by the time they’re in a bay

washing. I put the one sign on the door by the

changer more to cover myself than anything else.

It’s just a printed sheet of paper laminated with

clear packing tape. MEP001

I have no signs up, 1 sanitizer station next to

the changer that has had the same cartridge since

march. A mandate from the governor is not a law

and not enforceable. SWAMPDONKEY








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SUMMER 2020 • 49



a Manager





The 7-bay SS that I’ve just finished renovating came with

a manager when I purchased it. In addition to mine, he

takes care of two other SS washes in our city.

In addition to trash and wash downs, he can make most

repairs and does a great job of monitoring all of the wash

functions for me. He is honest, almost to a fault, no drugs or

alcohol, communicates well and is very reliable. Problem is:

he’s just turned 60 and the 365 day a year grind is starting

to wear him down. I’m starting to see some slacking off and

attitude issues.

He’s typically at my wash 2 hours on weekdays and 2-3

hours on weekend days. He’s doing basically the same time

at the other two washes.

I’ve never had a problem giving him a day off, even

though he rarely asks, but I’m kicking around the idea of

offering him a scheduled day off in the middle of each

week when business is really slow. Either I’ll clean the wash

on that day, or I can pay someone a few bucks to do it. Is

anyone else doing this with their SS helpers? Or is anybody

doing the 7-day-a-week schedule with a week or two of vacation

every year for their helpers?

I’d hate to lose this guy and have to start over with an

unknown, so just wanted to get some ideas from the group.


I’ve been trying to give myself the same sort of

break - fortunately my job has extremely flexible

hours, and I’ve been planning to take Tuesdays

and Wednesdays off. I’ll probably have to hire a

regular clean-up person for the car wash and focus

on repairs and money handling myself. I’ve

been doing the 7-day-a-week schedule thing myself,

and it definitely gets old. MEP001

Wednesday is probably my least busy day on

average. Tuesday is probably second least. That’s

just a gut feeling. GREG PACK

Over the years, the biggest issue was someone

dumping a large object on the weekend, with

no one coming in to haul it away. But since I removed

the dumpster, that problem went away.

At least so far.

...Sort of contrary to other posts, I have someone

who cleans up the wash Mon-Fri and has

weekends off. Weekends with family are very important

to him. And he has a regular job also with

Sat/Sun off.

It works well. The wash holds up surprisingly

well even with the two busiest days having no

one come in. SEQUOIA

We have a guy that spends 1-2 hours each

morning (M-F) at our wash - strictly cleaning,

we do all of our own repairs. My brother and I

alternate each evening and spend an hour there

in the evenings. Our guy has the weekends off,

and again my brother and I alternate the morning

and evening visit(s) (Sat-Sun). If we are out of

town for a weekend, our guy covers for us and we

pay him extra (a bonus, if you will) for doing the

weekends. That seems to work well for us. Gives

him a break (he offered to work 7 days a week,

initially) and he is willing to cover for us a couple

weekends a year because he isn’t burnt out from

doing it 7 days a week. SRR5008

I would give him 2 consecutive days off , like


However, I’m not sure if you can fix a bad attitude

with a couple days off per week. He may

just be burnt out and you need someone new for

the job. Honesty is great, but keeping proper security

protocols in place is better.

I’m at my wash 6 days/week now. I worked 7

days/week for the first 10 years, then decided I

needed a day to myself. WAXMAN

Our cleanup guy works 4 days a week, Tuesday,

Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. He gets paid

$19.50 an hour. He cleans the lot, dumps the garbage

cans and hoses out the bays. If there is an

equipment problem he calls. If we want to take

a week off and go on holiday he’s always willing

to take on more hours, he’s 84 years old, but

you’d think he was only 70. We go to the wash

the days that he’s not there, pull the cash, meet

the garbage truck with all the extra garbage and

do whatever repairs that are needed.

...We get dumped on almost every day, there’s

no way we couldn’t go to the car wash every day

and clean up, the household garbage is getting

out of hand since the pandemic started. The car

wash seems to be a transfer site for the dump…


I have a father & son that work for me. Father is

a jack of all trades and son (20 yrs old) is just an

extra pair of hands for the dad and he (dad) asked

me if I could do him the favor of allowing him to

work and he has worked out pretty good. Together

they work M-F and the son works weekends

one location and my brother in law steps in at

my other location. I have 10 rental properties as

well and allocate their cost across the washes and

rental properties so it has worked out really well

for me.

Father makes $19/hr. electrician by trade but

knows plumbing, a/c, and welding. Son I pay $10/

hr. because he’s a millennial and well....enough

said haha...

At one location I always get 1 or 2 people approaching

me about helping around the lot for

extra cash and they all seem to be 60+ yrs. old

and I have my doubts if they can handle the grind

of taking out the trash on a daily basis. RFREEMAN

I have 3 part time Attendants. We have an attendant

on duty 8 a.m. till 6 p.m./7 days a week

rain or shine. WELL worth it.. no messes for over

5 minutes! CARWASHBOY

...I pay my 2 guys around $40k/yr & they work

6 days/week 9:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.(ish). They also

pull in another $15k + in tips!

Like you guys, NO WAY i could be unattended

on the weekend. If I could figure out a way to

stop the dumpers though... SOONERMAJIC

50 • SUMMER 2020








SUMMER 2020 • 51






“We’ve been advertising to car wash operators for 7 years now, and

have tried and tracked many of the different industry advertising

options. As far as online opportunities focused on the car wash

industry go, nothing has provided the consistent click-throughs at

the rate of the” JIM LANMAN, TOUCH4WASH




Editor Debra GorgOs

tours upstate Self serves

SUMMER 2020 • 53

First Stop:


Car Wash


Timm Bauldauf


Voorheesville, NY


Once known as a rural farming

village, Voorheesville was

incorporated in 1869, and is now

a thriving and quaint village.

The first thing I noticed about Advanced Car

Wash was its sheer beauty. If Main Street in

Disney World or the set of a romantic comedy

were to have a car wash, this would be it. It is

bursting with charm and perfection.

From overflowing flowering baskets succinctly

pruned, to shining signage, to even

awnings that would rival the pristineness of

old school New York City aristocracy, it’s as

if the car wash is not even real. As I pull in, I

notice the shade trees and a friendly greeter

who works at the car wash during the day.

That greeter is the owner’s nephew, Chris.

Timm, who is waiting there too, is excited for

me to tour the property because it is one of

the most beautiful times of year, thanks to the

pretty landscaping.

The car wash is in “small town America”

– in fact, it is so quaint, when a truck drove

by with a barking dog riding shotgun, Timm

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knew who the dog was from the bark alone. He

also said his favorite thing about being located in

a small town is the people appreciating your business

and they way he has taken care of it and cares

for it every day. Another draw, he added, is the minimal

amount of abuse and vandalism. “People appreciate

small businesses in small towns,” he said.

Timm, who does all of the maintenance on the

equipment himself, said his favorite thing about

owning the car wash it is watching everything

work correctly and seeing the customers enjoying

the wash. “I also like seeing their pride in their vehicle

when it’s all done,” he said.

The car wash is celebrating its 30th anniversary,

a milestone Timm is celebrating with a 30% off

deal to his loyalty customers. Timm said he recently

upgraded the car wash with new LED lighting

and new self serve equipment. It is so bright in the

bays now… I want our customers to feel safe and

secure and be able to see their clean cars.

As for his advice to others, Timm said keeping

the property clean is key. “If your car wash is not

clean, people will get the impression that their car

won’t get clean. I am happy to go to the wash every

day and clean it up. It is part of the job and I

am happy to do it.”

56 • SUMMER 2020


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SUMMER 2020 • 59

Second Stop:


Wishy Washy


Spiro Kagas


Delanson, NY


Extremely rural, Delanson was founded

in 1893, it was known as a railroad town.

Next was my stop to an even smaller town.

With roads stretched out for miles, I got to see

amber waves of grain, fields upon fields, zero

billboards and hardly a chain store or restaurant.

The Ultimate Wishy Wash sits beautifully

off the road. A pond sits to its right with cattails

and bathing birds. The owner, Spiro Kagas

is everything a hands-on owner should be. He

not only posts his personal cell phone number

on his website and wash, he also answers

his phone each and every time it rings. In fact,

when I called him and said I wanted to tour his

wash, he answered his phone while out camping

with his family. Then, a few weeks later,

when I called with some follow-up questions,

he answered his phone while he was about to

get his hair cut.

The wash is unique in that it not only has one

regular-sized self serve bay, it also has one with

14 foot high clearance for large trucks. And,

when I visited on a hot and sunny day in July,

along with noticing the large bay, I also noticed

the 80s rock music enlivening the property.

Also, with flowers flowing out of each window

box, the wash seemed like something my son

would enjoy if it were part of a Matchbox vil-

60 • SUMMER 2020

SUMMER 2020 • 61

lage. The wash also has a sparkling clean pet wash

and it also offers full service cleanings.

Spiro, who also owns a diner called Mike’s Diner

in Schenectady, seems really proud of being a car

wash owner. “I love my job,” he said. “I like the

people I meet, they seem so appreciative that I offer

them a large bay for the larger vehicles.” He

took over the diner from his parents and he credits

his work there with preparing him for owning a

car wash. “Working at and owning a diner is hard

work. And so is owning a self serve. I know it isn’t

food, but I view each car wash customer the same

way in that I would want them to have a great

meal at the diner, I also want them to have a great

car washing experience.”

Growing up with a love of cars which he would

always take to a self serve, he saw that the Ultimate

Wishy Wash was for sale back in 1977. I

thought about the fact that a lot of people out

here in the country need a good car wash, the

same kind I would want for my own vehicles, and

I felt like I could provide that for them. Spiro, who

lives about 10 minutes away from Delanson, said

the nearest competition was also 10 minutes away.

“There was a need for a wash, but I also knew it

would help bring in money, and I knew I could

handle the hard work involved.”

Spiro said over the years the car wash has been

a nice cushion as his diner was hit hard by the

recession in the last decade. However, he said he

doesn’t recommend owning a car wash if you’re

not willing to put in the hard work.

I am either at the wash all the time helping out

the customers, or watching the security cameras.

He said he doesn’t discourage “mudders” and will

never turn a customer away no matter how much

mud they need to wash off. “We are out in the

country, it goes with the territory.” He also said

he mind is constantly revolving on how he can

improve the wash. “You have to put in the money

you make if you want to make more money,”

he said. “And I am always thinking about, ‘What

would my customers like to see here? What is

something that would help them to have a good

experience at the wash?”

62 • SUMMER 2020

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SUMMER 2020 • 63


The Hoffman Family


Wynantskill, NY


With four colleges nearby,

Wynantskill, founded in the

late 18th century, now is

somewhat of a bustling town.





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My third stop on the tour was in a busier area

with suburban neighborhoods as well as retail

stores and eateries. Its location, with Siena College

and Hudson Valley Community College, nearby,

as well as the up-and-coming and also hip city of

Troy, New York, offers Hoffman Car Wash a lot

of traffic. Located off a busy road, its neighbors

are homes and office buildings, and its property is

sort of triangular shaped. As I approach the property,

I see that an employee is leaf blowing. His

name, Ethan, was given to me by Tom Hoffman

Jr., the CEO/co-owner of Hoffman Development

Corporation, a company which operates 22 Hoffman

Car Washes and 9 Jiffy Lube locations in and

around upstate New York. His family has been in

the car washing business since 1965, and when I

asked Tom if he had a good self serve for me to

visit, he said the one in Wynantskill was his first

choice. The wash was purchased in 1981 and at

the time was a four-bay self serve. “We added two

more bays in ‘81 and then in the ‘90’s converted

two bays to in-bay automatics.” Recent $1m plus

renovations to the self serve were done in 2017.”

Today it has a beautiful upstairs above the self

serve bays which could honestly be rented out as

an apartment. Dormer windows adorn the second

floor giving the wash an overall neighborhood feel.

In fact, the whole establishment, complete with a

wooden picket fence and horizontal, and shingle

and shake siding make the car wash feel as if it

is one of the homes on Whiteview Road. “This is

one of our most rural locations and has long been

my father’s favorite. The landscaping at all of our

locations is our trademark. Curb appeal is so important

and that’s why we invest so much and so

often in our facilities to keep them up to date,”

Tom said. “Attractive facilities will bring customers

in and quality equipment, friendly staff and a great

experience will keep them coming back.”

Ethan says he enjoys working at a Hoffman’s

having spent years at a dairy farm, he knows about

hard work and appreciates the fact that his hard

work is appreciated. I get a tour of the premises

and notice the brick inside of the bays right away.

In fact, right below the menu in Bay 2 there is a

portion of brick jutting out to almost resemble a

fireplace— another nod to that at-home feeling.

The wash is also pristine, the trashcans are empty,

and customers are vacuuming their cars out.

As I go to leave, Ethan goes to check out one of

the vacuum stations. I cannot help but notice the

attention to detail with the landscaping. According

to Tom, that is something they are passionate about

at all of their facilities. “Attractive facilities will bring

customers in and quality equipment, friendly staff

and a great experience will keep them coming back.”



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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.

Well, if being a terrible driver is

a crime, then this guy should be

locked up for life.

Business owner Eric Rice said he never saw anything

like it when on June 6 a crew cab Dodge

diesel pickup was pulling in and he was clearly

having some trouble, he told Central Oregonian.

“We could see he was getting his tire up on the

guide rail and bouncing around a little bit.”

Meanwhile, according to surveillance footage, a

Ford pickup that had just exited the car wash had

parked in front of the exit at an angle. The driver,

the story stated, had gotten out to fold the rearview

mirrors back out and examine his freshly washed rig.

Meanwhile, behind the Dodge, a Jeep had pulled up

and was waiting its turn to enter the car wash.

“Something happened,” Rice said in the story. “I

don’t know if (the man with the Dodge) lost his

cool or had a medical issue, but he ended up putting

it in reverse and full throttle – and we know it

was full throttle because the truck moved very fast

and the tires were peeling out.”

Then, the Dodge slammed into the Jeep and

started pushing the vehicle backward, even

though its brakes were locked, and moved it

about 6 to 8 feet. “Then all of the sudden, the

Dodge (driver) puts it in drive and is peeling out

like he is power braking it,” he said in the story.

“He must have had one foot on the brake and one

foot on the throttle. Now, his tires are peeling out

going forward, smoke is coming off the tires —

and he lets off the brakes and the truck just takes

off forward into the building.”

That impact still failed to stop the Dodge which

rolled over the curb and onto the street where it

t-boned a passing Ford flatbed truck. Now there

are three damaged vehicles!

“By the time I got there, the Ford (in front of the

car wash exit) and the Jeep were gone,” Rice said,

“and the Dodge and the Ford were getting towed.”

Sgt. James Peterson said in the story that the driver

of the Dodge was not believed to be impaired in

Does anyone know what Justin Bieber was

doing during the early morning hours of July 23?

Or if he was anywhere near Ault, Colorado. Of course, I am just

kidding and Justin if you’re reading this, please don’t be mad.

You have to admit that the person pictured here does look a lot

like the Baby, baby, baby singer.

According to The Greeley Tribune, Ault police are seeking the

public’s help to identify a suspect in an overnight burglary at a

carwash. Around 1 a.m., a suspect or suspects damaged the

car wash building, as well as equipment inside the building.

An undisclosed amount of money was also stolen. A security

camera captured images of a suspect and a suspect vehicle,

which appears to be a Honda Odyssey.

any way or intoxicated at the time of the incident.

He was cited for careless driving. That’s it?

The car wash was totaled, though and Rice said

that the insurance funds will take a few months.

Two kids who apparently can’t get

a job, thought they could get away

with stealing from a woman’s

parked car.

In Prairie Grove, Arkansas, police received a call

from a woman on June 3 who said someone had

broken into her vehicle and stole folding chairs,

DVDs, and a gym bag filled with medicine and

equipment. There were also some soda cans left on

the ground (note that this last part comes into play

in solving the crime). Now, what does this have to

do with car washing? Well, it turns out that sometime

during the night, a police officer recalled seeing

two males at a nearby car wash, according to

the Washington County Enterprise-Leader.

According to the police report, the surveillance

video from the car wash showed two males stumbling

around at the car wash and showed they

purchased two Sprites and a Coca-Cola drink

from the vending machine, which (a ha!) were

the same type of soda cans found at the victim’s

house, the story said. Police were able to identify

the suspects in the car wash video as Charles

Edwards, 19, and Kayden Williamson, 19. Apparently

high-sugar sodas aren’t the only thing they

were ingesting, because when police questioned

both suspects separately they admitted to not remembering

much that night due to drugs and/or

alcohol, the story stated.

It’s not just the name of the town,

but also a state of being for a woman

who dodged a kidnapping in Liberty,

Missouri, back in June according to Fox 4 News.

A 61-year-old woman said she was abducted

while at the Dr. Spotless Car Wash around 3

p.m. on June 17. She said, according to the story,

that she was taken by vehicle to a second location

where she was assaulted. She was then dropped

back off at the car wash.

Thanks to surveillance footage, the man was

SUMMER 2020 • 67


caught! Police released photos of the suspect and

vehicle they were searching for in connection to

the incident. Just over an hour later, the department

said they had their man, later identified

as Terry E. Campbell, in custody, the story said.

Campbell, 35, was charged with first-degree kidnapping,

first-degree robbery, first-degree sexual

abuse, first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle

and two counts of armed criminal action.

I thought the two teens leaving

behind soda cans with their DNA

were the winners of the Dumbest

Criminals Award for this issue,

but no, these two men instead have earned that

honor. According to a June 8 Champion Newspaper

story, two men suspected of burglarizing and

vandalizing a car wash in Yucaipa, California, were

arrested in the parking lot of the Home Depot

store in Chino by the Chino Police Department.

Zachary Thomas Dunmore, 34, and Paul Michael

Kolacki, 31, were booked into the West Valley Detention

Center in Rancho Cucamonga on charges

of commercial burglary, conspiracy and vandalism.

“It was discovered that on Wednesday, June 3, between

3:43 a.m. and 4:17 a.m., a 2003 black Chevy

Tahoe arrived at the car wash,” Deputy M. Miller

said in the story. “Video surveillance footage revealed

that two males attempted to pry open the steel door

to the business using a tow bar, causing damage to

the door but were unsuccessful in gaining entry.”

The two same two men returned to the car wash

at 3:49 a.m. the next day in the same vehicle, but

had a ramming device attached to a rear trailer

hitch. Surveillance video showed the Tahoe ramming

the steel door, and two men stealing $2,000

in coins and disabling the surveillance system prior

to driving away, according to the story.

When police noticed a vehicle in the parking

lot of a nearby Home Depot, they knew they had

their suspects. Why? Well, for one, it was odd that

a vehicle was parked at a Home Depot at 3:30 a.m.

in the morning. And, two, the vehicle still had the

ramming device attached to the rear trailer hitch.

Okay, I take back the accolade I

gave to the criminals in the earlier

story with the Tahoe. Instead, I bequeath

this next guy with the title

of “Dumbest Criminal.”

Let’s start with the fact that his getaway stealthiness

was more Mr. Magoo than the Fast and the

Furious. In fact, his attempt to flee the crime scene

was so extremely short-lived, it earned this amazing

headline in The Age out of Brisbane, Australia: $320k

Porsche gone in 60 seconds, caught in 500 metres.

Last May in Brisbane, an opportunistic thief

was arrested just one-third of a mile from a West

68 • SUMMER 2020

Melbourne car wash where he allegedly stole a

$320,000 Porsche 911 GTS, the story said. The

vehicle “has a top speed of 310km/h but barely

got out of second gear during a bungled getaway.”

The owner of the Porsche said he was drinking

coffee while the folks at the full serve Magic Hand

car wash were doing their magic. A car wash employee

was apparently confused and handed the

keys to the alleged thief after complimenting him

on the luxury sports car, the story said. “Not lacking

in self-confidence, the man allegedly told the

attendant, ‘If you work hard, you could have a car

like this,’ before turning left onto the street.

Wow, way to be way too arrogant. I would also

like to make an editor’s note that this has never happened

with my 2015 Town and Country minivan

with toys spilling out of the door jambs. What gives?

Police immediately saw the gleaming red

Porsche just three blocks away, the story said. The

alleged thief rammed several cars in a desperate

bid to escape. But, it didn’t work. Police were able

to catch the driver and arrest him on charges of

driving while disqualified, driving under the influence

of drugs and two counts of drug possession.

The incident is understood to have been captured

by closed-circuit cameras at the car wash,

the story said.

Meanwhile, the Porsche owner says the repair

bill for his car is expected to exceed $100,000

Officers in Woodland, California, were able to

stop a burglary in progress at the Sundance Car

Wash last May. According to the Sacramento Bee,

officers received notice that a burglary alarm had

been tripped at the Sundance Car Wash around 11

p.m. Video surveillance at the car wash caught two

intruders on camera, one was up on the roof and

the other was inside.

Officers soon arrived on the scene

and surrounded the car wash.

Li Ming, 55, was uncooperative with officers and

was subsequently arrested for obstruction and Anthony

Winger, 33, was arrested and later booked on

suspicion of burglary. It is unclear which one was

on the roof, but police believe Winger was the one

who cut camera cables (apparently not the right cables)

and ransacked the inside of the car wash as he

searched for items to steal, the story said.

They are both booked at the Yolo County Jail,

giving an ironic new twist to the viral acronym

in that yes, You Only Live Once, but how about:

OYGCYSFARG? Which stands for: Once You Get

Caught You Should Find A Real Job.

Move it or lose it I will lose it!

In a case of spoiled-adult-syndrome, a man in

Palm Beach, Florida, made it very clear that he

didn’t learn about being patient in kindergarten.

According to The Palm Beach Post, while fueling

his work truck at a gas station, a man said he was

involved in a physical altercation. He said the trailer

on his truck was blocking the exit to a gas station’s

car wash. A motorist had just gone through the car

wash and asked the man to move. The victim said

he told the motorist that he’d move as soon as his

vehicle was fueled, the story said. This apparently

did not go over well with the motorist who then

began cursing and demanding he move. “Having

reached his verbal vs. physical threshold,” the story

said, “the motorist punched the man in the face.”

The man then moved his truck and let the motorist

pass. The incident was caught on camera and police

were able to get the assailant’s license plate number.

Welp, at least they’re being honest.

After a couple were caught red-handed robbing a

car wash, they pleaded that they needed the money

for food and for their drug addiction. Don’t these

cops understand that drugs are expensive nowadays?

Geesh. According to the Times Herald, investigators

believe they have caught at least two people

responsible for a number of car wash robberies

in the Fairview Township, Pennsylvania, area.

Justin William Kline, 30, has been accused of

smashing open coin machines at the Community

Car Wash back in February. And Amy Jo Kemmerer,

33, and a third person named “Jay,” were caught

on surveillance cameras parking a 2005 Ford Focus

during the robbery, which was missing a rear driver

side hubcap. They all then smashed open coin

machines between 2:34 a.m. and 3:09 a.m.

Fairview Township police investigated the theft

and damages and found that police in Butler Township

had a photograph of a Ford missing a rear

driver side hubcap that was taken weeks earlier

due to a drug overdose incident. A few weeks later

on March 7, police in Old Forge stopped the Ford,

operated by Kemmerer. Police ran the vehicle and

found that Kemmerer and Kline were wanted by

Hanover Township police for a different coin machine

break-in, which this time took place at the

Sans Souci Car Wash on March 5.

After they were jailed, Kemmerer told investigators

they needed money to, “support their drug

addictions and food, and Kline claimed he did not

remember, only admitting to stealing ‘pennies’

from car washes,” the complaint says.

Kline and Kemmerer are facing related charges

in county court for the alleged theft at the car

wash and they are facing open charges for the car

wash thefts in Wright Township. No word on the

third suspect named “Jay.”




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MAY & JUNE 2020

SUMMER 2020 • 69

This guy is either really dumb, or

has extremely bad luck.

Or both. The owner of the Grand Prix Car Wash

in Johnston County, North Carolina, reported that

someone spray painted graffiti in a wash bay and

on a trash can on the morning of June 22, 2020,

according to the Johnston County Report. Security

cameras at the car wash captured the 3:32 a.m. incident

and also the suspect who allegedly stole copper

wiring valued at $10. Cameras also captured

the license plate number on the suspect’s car.

Now, here’s where it gets ridiculous. “While

deputies were on the scene taking a report about

the 26-day-old incident, the suspect happened to

return to the car wash driving the same vehicle

with the same license plate number captured in

the security camera video.”

You cannot make this stuff up.

Deputies, according to the story, approached

Christian Hunter Sandridge who allegedly denied

any involvement and requested to see the security

video with his own two eyes. Maybe he was buying

some time while thinking of a getaway plan? But,

nope, he just kept digging a larger and larger hole of

criminal behavior. Instead of asking for a lawyer, he

asked if he could go to his car and get a bottle of water

before watching the incriminating video footage.

Officers reportedly carefully watched Sandridge

who proceeded to go to his car and retrieve a plastic

bag which he then tossed in the trash. Thinking

things were a bit fishy, deputies retrieved the bag

and inside they found a small amount of suspected

methamphetamines and marijuana.

Sandridge was then handcuffed and transported

to the Johnston County Jail where he was charged

with possession of methamphetamines, possession

of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia,

misdemeanor larceny and injury to property.

I am no criminal expert, but maybe

it was the blue hair that made

him easy to catch and identify?

Trevon Charles Brooks, 27, of Lusby, Maryland,

was arrested for the shooting of two people at the

Extreme Clean Car Wash, according to Southern

Maryland News Net.

The story said that on June 14, 2020, at approximately

10:25 a.m., police, fire and rescue personnel

responded to the report of a shooting at the car wash.

Police determined that two male victims, ages

21 and 31 years old, had been shot while at the car

wash. A witness who was in the parking lot of the

car wash at the time of the shooting told police

that prior to the shooting “an unknown male approached

him and began to argue with him about

gang affiliations due to the fact he (the witness)

was in possession of a red bandana.” Following

the argument, the male then left the area driving

a white Nissan Sentra, which had been parked in

the parking lot of the car wash, the story said.

The witness described the male as an African

American with blue hair. About 25 minutes later,

the same blue-haired male returned to the area in

his vehicle, reached out of the front driver’s side

window and began to shoot at a crowd of people.

Thankfully, the incident was captured by video

security cameras at the car wash, and a sheriff’s

deputy who was familiar with the male identified

him as Trevon Charles Brooks. Brooks as it turns

out, had quite the rap sheet.

Police located the same white Nissan Sentra

described by the witness in the parking lot of A

to Z/Hertz Car Rentals. The owner of the rental

business told police he rented the Nissan Sentra to

a Jessica Rivers. The car rental owner said he was

familiar with Jessica and her boyfriend, Tre, due to

the fact they had rented vehicles from him previously

and that Tre had blue hair.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

Brooks, was charged with attempted 1st degree

murder (2 counts), assault 1st degree (2 counts),

assault 2nd degree (2 counts), reckless endangerment

(2 counts), handgun in a vehicle, loaded

handgun on a person and use of a firearm in the

commission of a felony/crime of violence.

And, from the land of Facebook, we have some happy endings!

Car wash owners were able to capture images of criminals in action and the criminals were apprehended

and arrested. From Not A Spot Car Wash in Longview, Texas and Beacon Car & Pet Wash Eureka,

Eureka, Missouri.

70 • SUMMER 2020



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SUMMER 2020 • 71

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SSCWN_CarolinaPrideFullPgSummer2020_SelfServeSystems.indd 1

7/21/2020 3:10:35 PM

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