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2 • WINTER 2021
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WINTER 2021 • 3
& News ......................................... 5
Note to Self
BY DEBRA GORGOS, EDITOR
Self Serve Snapshot ............... 10
Tips .............................................. 14
Around the Wash:
Over Ice ..................................... 18
Tricks of the Trade ............... 20
Small Business News
You Can Use .............................. 28
Industry Dirt ............................ 37
Extra! Extra! ............................. 40
Innovations ............................... 46
Fun & Games .......................... 48
Fill in the Blank ...................... 50
Cover Story ............................... 52
Darwin ........................................ 59
VOL. 49, NO. 1, WINTER 2021
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 www.sscwn.com.
All inquiries should be directed to:
Self Serve Car Wash News
110 Childs Ln., Franklin, TN 37067
2021 has already been one heck of a year, hasn’t it? It’s only been
a few weeks and I already feel like putting on an eye mask and
sleeping until 2022. People are still angry, people are tired and some
miss the good old days of…2019.
Are you all sick of talking about politics? I feel as if our nation is
hurting and the days of sitting around the dinner table discussing
the news is over in a lot of households. I live in a house that is divided
politically and the past year has been interesting, to say the
least. After the holidays, I was in a post-festivities malaise, so my
family and I sort of looked around the table at each other, and we
impulsively decided to head down to New York City. We were able
to book a room right in Times Square, got in the minivan and drove
two hours into the Big Apple. It was January 1 so there was still
confetti on the streets. But other than colorful slips of tissue paper
lining the streets there were otherwise bare. Empty. Grey. Dark.
Stores were shuttered.
There were no lines. Broadway marquees
were stygian. We got right into
the Empire State Building and right
into the Museum of Natural History.
We were able to buzz right through
the mazed rope lines. But all in all it
was sad. It was a real wake-up call for
how much people and businesses are
struggling. It left me feeling sort of
“blah.” I have known for as long as I
could shop and order food the importance
of small businesses.
There was no wake-up call about how we
have to support small businesses now more than ever, but it really
hit home seeing the once bustling streets of New York City quiet,
empty and barren. In my first issue of Self Serve Car Wash News, the
cover story headline was, Are Self Serves Recession Proof? But who
the heck knew a pandemic was on its way? If the pandemic has not
affected you at all, then good for you! I have had sick family members
and friends who have been infected, and also lost their jobs.
The mental toll has been numbing. Here in New York some schools
are open, but so many things are closed. I am happy the car washes
are open and running. It is a resilient business industry that has survived
recessions and now a global-wide pandemic. I truly hope our
beautiful nation survives, too.
Thankfully, it looks like this pandemic is on its way out. Let’s slam
the door on it and tell it to never darken our doors again. A friend
of ours tested positive and she is not doing well. A schoolteacher,
who worked hard every day to give her students normalcy. It is sad.
I am sad.
Copyright 2021. 2 Dollar Enterprises/SSCWN. All Rights Reserved
4 • WINTER 2021
Note to Self
BY DEBRA GORGOS, EDITOR
Enough doom and gloom, anyone have any
good news to share?
Here’s a positive story out of Corsicana,
Texas. Jimmy Bates served as a submariner in
the Navy for almost 10 years. Then he got a
Bachelor of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering
and got a job as a reliability engineer.
Bates told the Corsicana Daily Sun, “My career
was really taking a toll on me and my
family and I was gone all the time. I wanted
to start my own business locally and wanted
to create something unique in Corsicana.”
Bates took a year off and planned out his
small business: A flex-serve car wash including
a self serve and full-service option. His
business opened in January 2020, and then,
before the paint was fully dry, the pandemic
hit and with it, Bates’s plans, dreams and
income were stalled. But he didn’t give up.
Instead, he got smart.
“I was forced to be shut down for a short
period toward the end of March and I almost
lost my business before I could even get a
sign out front,” he said in the story. “It’s been
an uphill battle ever since. I went from having
a plan of aggressive growth and expansion
to just ‘surviving on the fly’ every night
while watching the news. I had to remind
myself that my business goals and milestones
couldn’t change. I just had to adjust timing
and get creative.”
And Jimmy’s Car Wash not only survived a
year of unrest and unknowns, he is now back
on track and looking to add improvements
to his wash. He said a lot of his business’s
success came down to the mission to serve
“Basically, at Jimmy’s Car Wash, we aim to
suit every customer’s need. And if a customer
has a need we can’t meet, we gladly recommend
someone who can, even if it’s one
of our competitors,” he told the local newspaper.
“Of course, all the improvements have
occurred slower than originally planned because
of the times, but I’ll get there.”
That’s the attitude, Jimmy! And, welcome
to the self serve car washing family.
And, before I sign off, here’s a picture of
the family and I in front of an Empire State
Until next time,
BRIGHT BAY. HAPPY CUSTOMER.
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WINTER 4/15/192021 9:05 AM • 5
This is normally the place
where we would list all of the
upcoming car wash events.
Considering everything is
so up in the air due to the
pandemic, we decided to
replace this section with
something that will put a smile
on your face.
Here’s a picture found
on Twitter of a
dog washing a car:
And here’s an old
newspaper ad from a
September 24, 1964,
issue of The Call of
International Carwash Association
The ICA remembers Hall of Famer Red Lewis
William “Red” Lewis left this world peacefully at
his home in the Town of Lawrence, Wisconsin, in the
early morning of January 7, 2021, at the age of 78, the
Red Lewis started with nothing and turned hard
work into a true American success story, according to
his obituary. “A sales/delivery job at Green Bay Auto
Parts followed by a service writer position at Jepson
Chevrolet, along with driving a tow truck at night for
extra money, laid the foundation for Red’s amazing
‘Soggy Rags to Riches’ story. A timely introduction
from a co-worker created an opportunity at the local
PDQ Car Wash in Green Bay and by 1967 Red had
worked his way up to manager.”
In 1974 he purchased PDQ Car Wash and fueled
with innovative ideas and a passion for customer service,
Red seemingly worked without sleep and grew
his company to eight full-service car wash locations
in Northeastern Wisconsin, ranking PDQ in the top
20 car wash operations in the U.S. What was success
by any definition was merely a starting point for Red
Lewis, the obituary stated.
Red founded PDQ Manufacturing, Inc. in 1984
specializing in manufacturing touchless car washes
which spurred the acquisition of Pacifica, Inc. in 1989,
a New Zealand-based vehicle wash equipment manufacturing
company that shared Red’s vision for the
future. The invention of the Laserwash 4000 followed
and soon PDQ Manufacturing grew to become the
world’s largest touchless car wash manufacturer with
clients in more than 30 countries.
“The International Carwash Association bestowed
Red Lewis with the ultimate honor with his induction
into the Car Wash Hall of Fame in 2000. Many other
awards followed including the prestigious Free Enterprise
Award in 2017 presented by the Rotary Club of
Green Bay, celebrating Red’s innovation and extensive
philanthropy in the Green Bay area. However, the
award that touched Red the most was receiving the
Founders Award presented by Notre Dame de La Baie
Academy, formerly Premontre High School, in 2010.”
The obituary also stated that success never went to
Red Lewis’s head, instead he made sure it went to others.
He rewarded employees for helping to build PDQ
Manufacturing and gave generously and anonymously
to countless charities including our country’s veterans,
his alma mater Notre Dame del la Baie Academy,
Green Bay Boys & Girls Club, the Lac Baie Girl Scout
Council, Catholic Charities, Manna for Life Ministries,
NEW Zoo and St. Willebroad Parish to name but a few.
His special bond with young people will remain one
of his greatest achievements. More than 20,000 young
people owe their first job to Red Lewis and PDQ.
William “Red” Lewis is survived by his three children:
Becky (Pat) Lewis-Verheyden, Kelly Lewis and
Jon Lewis; his grandchildren, Kyle and Katy Verheyden;
sister, Durleen (Peter) Braasch; brother, Marlin
Lewis and sister, Shirley Fischer; numerous nieces and
nephews and their families. Red also leaves behind
thousands of close friends and business associates.
ICA announces new Pitch initiative.
“Get ready for their best pitch,” carwash.org
states, “Sit back, and let the game come to you!”
Pitch is bringing together some of the best
minds and most experienced leaders in the car
wash industry to bring forth new ideas for growing
your business and solving your toughest problems,
states it ICA.
With Pitch, hear from up to eight different
supplier experts in an online meeting with up
to 25 other car wash operators. ICA staff keeps
the meeting moving, allowing you to get a new
solution every ten minutes. Set aside just 90 minutes
for the meeting, and attend from anywhere
your screen allows, according to a statement.
Access is limited to qualified car wash operators.
ICA members receive preferred access. Complete
the form to request a seat for our next Pitch.
The next meeting is slated for February 23,
2021, from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Central.
Topics will cover:
• How can you effectively differentiate your car wash and promote your products?
• What products are customers responding to currently?
• How can you increase your revenues on a per-visit basis?
In case you missed it...
The ICA announced new dates for The Car Wash Show️ 2021.
The event will remain in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention
Center but will move to show dates of 15-17 November 2021.
The Westgate and Renaissance will remain the host hotels.
6 • WINTER 2021
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WINTER 2021 • 7
Southwest Car Wash Association
SCWA announces 2021 Convention date change, CEO forum speaker
The SCWA announced the Board of
Directors voted to move the 2021 SCWA
Convention & Car Wash EXPO to June
9-11, 2021 at the Fort Worth Convention
Center.This decision to move the
dates from February 17-19 was made
after careful consideration of the current
COVID situation and evaluating the factors
that will exist over the next 60-90 days.
The SCWA Board believes that getting through the
winter months; the flu season; and rollout of the vaccine;
will provide a safer and larger attended event
for everyone to enjoy. See you in June!
Steve Forbes, Chairman of the Forbes media
empire will still be the 2021 keynote
speaker for the event.
Michael Dominguez, President
& CEO Associated Luxury Hotels
International (ALHI) Dominguez,
will serve as the CEO Forum speaker.
Dominguez brings an outstanding reputation
for helping companies and small
businesses achieve amazing customer service
and branding, the SCWA stated. “As the President
& CEO for Associated Luxury Hotels International
(ALHI), he leads a team of nearly 80 professionals
located among 26 offices across North America and
Europe, ALHI’s serves a membership group of hotels
that are Independent Hotels & Independent Brands
that are an exclusive luxury collection. Prior to joining
ALHI, Michael served in executive sales leadership
roles with MGM Resorts, Loews Hotels, Hyatt
Hotels, Starwood Hotels and many more.”
Michael will help us move forward together in
the car wash industry as we begin a new year and focus
on all the opportunities before us, according to the
The CEO Forum will take place on June 9.
Last year, Arthur Greeno, the owner/operator
of two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma,
served as the CEO forum speaker.
for the HCA
2021 Product &
The Heartland Carwash Association
is inviting your organization to exhibit
at its Annual Product and Equipment
Industry Trade Show. The Annual Product
Show is taking place on Monday,
October 18th, and Tuesday, October
19th at The Prairie Meadows Events and
Conference Center in Altoona, Iowa (a
suburb of Des Moines), a press release
reported. “The Product Show is a great
way to showcase your business to a targeted
audience of current and potential
carwash owners, operators, and other
professionals. If you are looking to sell
more products or services, grow your
business, and network with other industry
executives, the HCA Product Show
is the ideal event for your organization.
We bring buyers directly to you, giving
you the opportunity to generate new
leads and cultivate new sales,” according
to the press release.
With last year’s Product Show being
canceled due to Covid-19, the HCA said
it is looking forward to bringing everyone
back for a great show. “The theme
this year is Powering Forward with educational
guest speakers and roundtable
discussions motivating you to grow your
business. We will also be hosting one of
our more popular events, the Carwash
Tour, once again this year.”
The Heartland Carwash Association
represents carwash owners, operators and
service provider associates in Iowa, Minnesota,
Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri,
Kansas, North Dakota and South Dakota.
8 • WINTER 2021
New England Carwash Association
NECA names You
Make It Happen
Al West received the You Make It Happen
award. West is a lifelong car wash guy, according to
a press release. “It all started in Marlborough, MA,
where his wife noted that ‘he was the man’: handsome,
athletic, popular and with his motorcycle and
leather vest, ‘very cool.’” He worked for Scrubadub
Car Wash for 10 years, rising to manager. “He now
is the Simoniz Northeast Sales Manager, directly supervising
the sales team from Maine to Buffalo, and
down to Southern New Jersey. Simoniz is like an
extended family for him, and he has enthusiastically
brought that family into New England Car Wash
Association. He has served on the NECA Board of
Directors and was actively involved in starting our
annual golf NECA outing,” the press release noted.
Throughout the pandemic, West has been instrumental
in supporting our NECA Board with the
lobbying efforts to reopen all carwashes that were
shut down by governors due to COVID, the press
release said. “He checked in regularly with both myself
and NECA President, Mat Paisner, to provide
meaningful and scientific documentation that ensured
our lobbyists were able to get car washes reopened
in Phase 1 in Massachusetts and Maine. Al
worked hard to make sure our Association had the
correct information to fight science with science.”
NECA said it was honored to recognize West
who is always coaching and helping motivate others
to do better. “He sends inspiring quotes to his customers
while also finding time to volunteer in his
community, in the schools and as a coach. He is the
proud father of Connor, a 27 year old high school
English teacher, and Callie, a 19 year old sophomore
at Stonehill College who was recruited to play field
hockey. He also is devoted to his third child, his dog
Bradley Cooper. Al and his very active family, who
until recently lived in Westborough, are building
a home in Osterville so that they can live near the
beach when they retire.”
Mat Paisner is a sitting Board member and President
of the NECA, and was honored by the Association
for his tireless work during the unprecedented
“When this pandemic hit, Massachusetts started
classifying businesses as either essential or non-essential,
and car washes were deemed non-essential,
triggering closings for many of us. Mat immediately
called an emergency meeting of the NECA Board
which quickly formed a committee,” a press release
stated. “It was all hands on-deck as we networked with
as many influential connections as possible to correct
this misclassification. Because of the generosity of
many NECA members, NECA was able to hire an influential
lobby group who had direct access to those
in Governor Baker’s administration responsible for
which businesses were classified as essential in MA.”
Paisner spent all hours, too many to count, making
phone calls, scheduling conference calls, video calls
and texts, with our members, state and local boards
of health, government officials, law enforcement, the
lobbyists, the Governor’s office and the list goes on,
the press release stated. “During this uncertain time
and chaos, we had the right person, at the right time,
doing what is best for our industry. Mat maintained a
high level of professionalism and composure, taking
on the huge task of compiling all the information sent
to him by many of us, disseminating the information,
arguing, debating, calling on local officials and with
the lobby group. Ultimately Governor Baker’s administration
was convinced that car washes are essential.”
The NECA Board is very happy we were successful
in reopening the car wash industry in Phase 1, with
only three other industries, and we have been assured
that we will remain open throughout this pandemic
by Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito.
Mat was given a beautiful clock, with an engraved
plate that reads: Presented in recognition and appreciation
to Mathew Paisner for his tireless efforts on
behalf of the car wash industry. November 10, 2020
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WINTER 2021 • 9
GETTING TO KNOW
TUCSON SELF WASH
HOURS OF OPERATION:
We are open 24 hours a
day seven days a week.
TYPE OF CAR WASH:
Six-bay Self Serve
DO YOU HAVE ANY
There are three car washes
within 5 miles of us … two of them
are self-serve washes like ours.
10 • WINTER 2021
WINTER 2021 • 11
SELF SERVE SNAPSHOT
WHAT SEPARATES YOUR WASH
FROM THE COMPETITION?
The biggest advantage that we have is
that we keep our car wash spotless. It
may be old, but everything works and
if it is broken it is fixed immediately so
there’s not a bunch of signage all over
that says “broken machines.” As far
as the tunnel that is close to us, we
have a different clientele. The people
who come to use our wash want
to make sure their vehicles are not
scratched and want to make sure that
they put their final touches on them.
We get comments all the time from
people driving across town to use our
wash because it’s the cleanest and
OUR CAR WASH STORY (AS
TOLD BY TAYLOR PANNO):
My wife and I (married for almost seven
years) and we have three beautiful
children, also have owned a Hot tub
business for almost 15 years. Right
next-door to us is self-serve car
wash that had been owned by the
same owner for 40 years and it was
put up for sale last year. We had A
family meeting and we decided to go
ahead and purchase it with the idea
that all of us will have to work it. My
13-year-old son comes in and empties
all the vacuums and stocks all the
vending once a week. My six-year-old
son keeps the bays clean, helps with
repairs, sorts tokens and hands out our
free dash wipes to all the customers
vacuuming out their cars. My beautiful
wife does all the books and sorts
tokens and my baby girl who is five
helps anyway she can and dances a lot
while at the wash to all the music, but
she’s also not afraid to get her hands
dirty! We are truly a family-owned and
operated car wash and we believe we
have the cleanest wash in town!
12 • WINTER 2021
HOW TO HAVE A
These are stressful times, to put it mildly. If
you’re experiencing any level of anxiety or depression,
don’t hesitate to call one of the many
NAMI (NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON
Call 800-273-TALK (8255)
Also, the NAMI HelpLine, 800-950-NAMI (6264),
M-F 10 a.m.-6 p.m., est. is a free, nationwide peersupport
service providing information, resource
referrals and support to people living with a mental
health conditions, their family members and
caregivers, mental health providers and the public.
Text CONNECT to 741741
or visit www.crisistextline.org
to chat with a counselor
Reach out for help for depression.
Free, 24/7 crisis counseling.
is a 24/7, 365-days-a-year
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration Disaster Distress Helpline provides
24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and
support to people experiencing emotional distress
related to natural or human-caused disasters.
1-800-273-8255 or text 838255
The Veterans Crisis Line is operated by the
Department of Veterans Affairs and is available
for veterans and their families.
Does your car wash have an Instagram
account? If you do not, it
is something to consider. It is not
only free to use but can also serve a
wonderful marketing tool. Described
as mostly a photo-sharing platform,
Instagram offers businesses its own set
of tools to help businesses grow, market
and interact with their customers. There
is a lot of lingo, trends and fancy bells and
whistles that can overwhelm the average
user (ahem, such as yours truly), but an Instagram
page can be kept simple and impressive with some
pretty pictures and regular postings.
It is an easy way to reach out to the masses, and
especially the “younger” generations, and according
to Hootsuite, 81% of users use Instagram to research
a product or service.
If this is enough to convince you to give it a try,
here are some prominent tips and suggestions for
business users, and also some big mistakes to avoid.
3 Make sure you set up your page as a
Professional account—this will allow for you
to list your business name, address, website,
hours etc. Instagram also offers special tools
for business owners on how to best use the
platform. Also, be sure to use a business email,
not your personal one, so that it will not link to
your personal Facebook account. (Instagram is
fun by Facebook). Therefore, while signing up,
be sure to go to settings, and choose: “Switch
to Business Account.”
3 Find or take pictures that showcase your
business. This might sound obvious, but
make sure you’re checking the background
for anything off-putting. Use natural lighting as
much as possible. Sunset photos are also great.
3 For your profile picture, use a picture of your
sign, or your logo.
When you first set up your business page, you’ll have two choices for creating
your account — Log in with Facebook or Sign Up with Phone or Email.
Be sure to sign up with a business email so your Instagram profile isn’t
linked to your personal Facebook account. Tip from HubSpot.com
Instagram currently has over 1 billion people using it each month.
Users spent an average of 30 minutes per day on the platform last year,
according to Hootsuite.com, which is a 13.8% jump from 2019.
3 Do not make your page “live” until a few good
photos are posted first. According to the Social
Media Marketing website OutBoundEngine.
com, “It’s a best practice to have a photo or
two posted to your account before you start
following people. There isn’t much incentive for
people to follow an account with no content.
Find a couple of photos you think would be
3 As for frequency, there is no exact formula for
how often you should post a picture. But what is
important is that you post regularly.
3 A great feature of Instagram is the Highlights
section found under your profile name. Here
you can post a collection of photos or videos
and label each one with its own name. As a self
serve car wash owner, this would be a good
place to have a series of “How To” sections.
Characters are limited, so you could title them,
How To, or Using a Brush, Wash Options, etc.
3 Post “Instagram Live” stories which will go out
to all of your followers. Post videos promoting
your wash or offering a special discount.
3 Also, be sure to use the Instagram Business
tools. According to Instagram, with a business
page you can have access to real-time metrics
on how your stories and promoted posts
perform throughout the day. Get insights into
your followers and how they interact with your
posts and stories.
ADVICE FROM A KAZILLIONAIRE
“The best investment you can make is in your own abilities. Anything you can
do to develop your own abilities or business is likely to be more productive.”
— Warren Buffett, an American investor with a net worth of over $85.6 billion as of December 2020
14 • WINTER 2021
WINTER 2021 • 15
Zierco’s Original Swivel and
Boom Assembly, with
• Feather light rotating action
• Twin compression springs are
tension-adjustable for a variety
of hose and gun weights
• Swivel rotates 360˚ - 12 ft.
MODEL 203 FEATURES
• Temperatures to 280˚ max.,
pressure to 2000 psi
• Longer hose life as spring
• 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
DISTRIBUTOR INQUIRIES INVITED
QUALITY PRODUCTS SINCE 1937
16 • WINTER 2021
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
ENHANCE YOUR SELF SERVING
to the ceiling or
Easy to Use -"Feather Light" rotating action
Mounts directly to
OFFSET Overhead Carwash Boom
Allows for TWO Center Boom Installation
Mounts to wall and
is adjustable so
to wall when
not in use.
Ideal for foaming brushes.
To Convert Model 203
to a 204 Assembly
Remove boom body
from hinge plate
EASY 3 STEP PROCEDURE
TO CHANGE SEALS.
NO TOOLS REQUIRED.
Rotate hinge plate
counter clockwise to
remove seal elbow
7355 S. 1st Street
Oak Creek, WI 53154
Fax: (414) 764-9763
QUALITY PRODUCTS SINCE 1937
VISA and Master Card
WINTER 2021 • 17
Around the Wash
Wintertime is full of beauty… and pain, if you slip on ice, or your pipes
freeze up. And, while looking at a glass half full has its merits, it’s when
you see the potential hazards, that you are more prepared, especially when
it comes to running a business and having the proper insurance. We have
already seen snow in Texas this winter. As for the rest of the nation, according
to the Farmer’s Almanac, snowfall will be greater than normal in
the Northeast, Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, the High Plains, and northern
Alaska. As for insurance measures, it seems as if there is a lot of information
out there—from contractors’ insurance policies to knowing how to
protect your business from a major lawsuit. Thankfully, Nate Perry, an insurance
auditor with Quinton Insurance – Car Wash Protection Program,
is here to help. The following are some of the common self serve car wash
owner questions along with his answers. If you have a question you would
like to ask Nate, please submit it to Editor Debra Gorgos at debrag@sscwn.
com, and he will answer your question in an upcoming issue.
Self serve car wash customers can often “miss” the mark and
drive into a bay wall, or damage the equipment, can you tell us a
little bit about garage liability?
NATE PERRY: Any property damages to a business owner’s building, property,
or premises would be covered under the individual customer’s personal auto
policy under property damage. Make sure that if a loss occurs, you:
• Contact the police to
obtain a police report
• Exchange contact information
with the customer, and
• Exchange insurance coverage
information with your customer.
This way, you can contact the customer’s personal auto insurance carrier
first to submit the loss and they can properly investigate it.
Wintertime at a car wash can mean property accidents due to
ice, snowfall, and slips and falls by people self washing their
cars. What advice do you have for car wash owners in regard to
NATE PERRY: Hire the best snow removal contractor you can buy that will
not only properly salt and remove the snow from your premises, but also
provide you with proof of insurance coverage on a certificate of insurance
and list your company as an additional insured. This way, if there is any
claim from a slip and fall that pertains to the premises, your snow removal
contractor’s insurance policy will be primary and will always pay first.
If a customer were to slip and fall at a car wash during a
snowstorm, what kind of protection would the car wash owner
have from a major lawsuit?
NATE PERRY: If the business owner requests to be added onto the snow removal
contractor’s insurance as an additional insured, the business owner
would be able to submit the loss under the contractor’s insurance policy and
it would be paid on a primary basis before they could touch the business
Fires, unfortunately, can occur at car washes, in equipment
rooms especially, thanks to all of the chemicals -- what do
car wash owners need to do to make sure they are properly
NATE PERRY: Make sure they have adequate contents and that any equipment
purchased or present is accounted for on their insurance policies. Also,
it is advised to have a central fire system installed in the building that goes
back to a monitoring company. In the event of a fire, this will reduce the
time on the fire department showing up and mitigating the loss.
18 • WINTER 2021
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Around the Wash: Insurance Issues Over Ice
PAST STORIES INVOLVING CAR WASHES AND LAWSUITS
Court Rules in Favor of Car Wash
Back on February 21, 2013, in Pontiac, Michigan,
the Michigan appeals court ruled in favor of a Pontiac
car wash in a lawsuit by a customer who fell
when he got out of his car to adjust the mirrors.
According to an Associated Press story, “Eugene
Rogers blamed Ultimate Auto Wash for the
black ice. He said he was ‘violently thrown to the
ground’ without warning when he stepped out of
his vehicle after it was washed.”
The appeals court said that Rogers could have driven
a short distance and adjusted his mirrors or simply
rolled down the windows and stayed in the car.
“The court said anyone with ‘ordinary intelligence’
would know that water running off vehicles
at a car wash would likely form ice.”
St. Albans man awarded
$634,000 in slip and fall case
On May 25, 2006, in Charleston, West Virginia,
a St. Albans man was awarded nearly $634,000 after
slipping and falling on black ice at a car wash in
2001, the West Virginia Record stated.
Danny K. Whittington broke his hip when he fell
in a car wash bay at Toad’s Car Wash Inc. in St. Albans
on Jan. 9, 2001, the story said. “Whittington,
who was 46 at the time of the incident, filed his
lawsuit in 2002. After two days of testimony before
Judge Irene Berger, the six-member Kanawha Circuit
Court jury returned its verdict in a little over
an hour, according to attorney Charles Hughes.”
Apparently the ruling all came down to the car
wash’s floor radiant heating system. Hughes, who
works for the Daniels Law Firm in Charleston,
said Toad’s ran four car washes then, and the St.
Albans location was the only one with this floor
“They tried to show the system was working
properly,” Hughes said in the story. “Yes, it was
working properly mechanically. But it wasn’t
Hughes said the defense tried to show that because
the temperature was 19 degrees, people
need to be careful when washing a vehicle.
“You can only be so careful around black ice,”
he said in the story. “Our point was if you’re going
to be open and running a car wash in 19-degree
weather, you have to protect your customers. Danny
exercised care. He looked around. We had independent
third-party testimony about the black
ice. It was a film. You could see right through it. It
wasn’t immediately visible.”
Whittington, who was a mail carrier, broke his
left hip when he slipped and fell on the black ice.
“He didn’t have health insurance,” Hughes said in
the story. “He had about $22,000 in medical bills
in just a few months, and he knew he couldn’t pay
for it. He was making $9 per hour. So, he stopped
treating it. He didn’t have prescriptions or physical
therapy. He rehabilitated himself over the summer.
Then, the Postal Service wouldn’t take him back.
They said they couldn’t take the risk on him.”
As for the verdict, the jury awarded $22,829.94
to Whittington for medical expenses to date,
$11,000 for lost wages to date, $200,000 for mental
and physical pain and suffering, $300,000 for
annoyance and inconvenience and 100,000 for
loss of enjoyment of life.
WINTER 2021 • 19
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TRICKS OF THE
Presenting some of the best discussions from the Self Serve, IBA and General Discussions sections of CarwashForum.com. To view more
posts discussing some interesting and common problems, as well as some of the best and brightest solutions, visit CarwashForum.com
(Note: Some posts feature minor edits for readability.)
Third time’s a charm for EMV deadline
Anyone got advice on this? I was told EMV compliance by April or else your card reader
will not work. Does anyone in the industry care to comment? ZAL
I do not believe anything is going to stop working
in April as there are too many firms with old CC
readers. You may find in 2021 that you are charged
a fee for non-compliance with respect to CC processing
- perhaps more than you want to pay. - ROZ
They’ve been saying that for 15 years. First everything
was supposed to move to chip/PIN “by the
end of the year” with swipe not being supported,
and we’re all still doing swipe. Who fed you this
line? - MEP001
On the manufacturer side, this is just one of the
reasons we walked away from having our own
credit card system. Constant moving targets. We
were told at least 6 years ago that mag stripes were
going to be obsolete in 6 months. - DAN KAMSICKAS
So, what I was told - the gas station lobby got extensions
every year. They are now compliant and
will not lobby for more extensions. We don’t have
the clout or numbers to be a concern. - ZAL
The EMV deadline at the pump is April 2021. Fuel
station operators have till then to comply with the
EMV standard for paying at the pump or assume
the liability for payment card fraud that happens
at their facility. I think everything will continue
to work, you will just assume the liability which I
think we already have been. - APW
This is what I was thinking has been the case since
2015 when the other retailers were forced to. -
We’ve already been assuming the liability. Any
chargebacks for lost/stolen cards already say no
remedy, no chip reader used. - SLASH007
Cards will still be processed via mag stripe readers
beyond April, but the liability will be 100%
on the merchant as it has been since 2015. This
3 Chargebacks initiated by customers (we’ve
had a few merchants who said their customers
know they can dispute charges when they
use non-EMV readers, and have exploited this)
3 Bank fees/penalties to ‘cover’ their time for
the chargeback request
3 Fees/charges from the banks that issue cards
(I’ve read some cases where issuing banks
have levied fees on a merchant for every transaction
that was not processed via chip read)
3 We’ve never tried to fear-monger at Hamilton
with EMV to encourage new hardware
purchases, but in the past year EMV has
surpassed mag as the credit card solution on
all of our new kiosks. We’ve seen a fairly big
uptick in retrofit kits for existing units too.
So much also depends on the market a wash is
in. Higher-income areas tend to have less issues,
whereas lower-income areas seem to be more susceptible
to the customer-initiated chargebacks.
I’m not sure if processors will levy
additional fees in April for non-EMV
processing, I haven’t heard anything,
but I would imagine they’d be notifying
customers now if they were planning
to. - EXPAT
If I update my Htk and goldline
to EMV will it be one
device for tap and chip?
Yep! We use the iUC285 by Ingenico, which is a
3-in-1 reader (chip, tap, swipe). It mounts directly
into the existing bolt holes on the HTK and GL, so
you don’t need to do any quirky drilling or cutting.
Processing is through Worldpay.
Right now, it can only process chip and mag but
Worldpay is making a software update for us in
January (I believe) to enable tap. - EXPAT
EMV compliant is important, if a customer disputes
a charge and you were not EMV compliment,
a fine of up to $1000 plus the chargeback
fee and amount the transaction will be
pulled or billed to your account. I have a
good processor who keeps EMV compliment
with POS terminals and good rates
and zero credit card process fee options
for transactions. - ALLAN
SSCWN EDITOR CHIMES IN: EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard and
Visa and refers to the, “Global standard for cards equipped with computer chips
and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions,” according to
creditcards.com. The original deadline for retailers to accept chip-based credit
cards was October 1, 2015, but it was extended to October 2020 when it seemed
as if retailers were not making enough effort to adapt to the new credit card
feature. However, with Covid-19 it became even more evident that retailers were
struggling even more and unable to meet the Autumn deadline. Now, there is
the new deadline of April 17, 2021. According to a sponsored article by SageNet
which appeared in CSP magazine, while traditional payment cards store data in
magnetic strips that can be copied and counterfeited, EMV cards use computer
chips to create a unique, one-time code for each transaction. That code is useless
to a criminal if stolen because it can’t be used again. …While the move to EMV is
not mandatory, card issuers have given merchants an incentive to replace their
point-of-sale (PoS) systems with EMV-compliant equipment. For example, liability
for purchases made with a compromised card shifts from the card issuer to the
party that is the least EMV-compliant. In other words, the cost of fraud will be the
responsibility of the non-compliant merchant.”
SageNet also states, “EMV does not eliminate the need to maintain compliance
with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). EMV is
concerned with preventing fraud in card-present transactions, while PCI DSS
focuses on securing cardholder data. Fuel retailers must ensure that they remain
PCI DSS compliant as they upgrade their PoS systems and software.”
20 • WINTER 2021
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WINTER 2021 • 21
TRICKS OF THE
I was rinsing down a bay.... when the pump just stopped.
I went into the equipment room and found the circuit
breaker to the pump stand tripped. When I reset it ...
BANG! Smoke came out of the motor starter. (BTW ... I
hate it when the smoke comes out of electrical things ...
it’s VERY difficult to get the smoke back in ... )
When I opened up the motor starter ... the wire from
the main panel was fried. About 1.5 inches of wire was
obviously heating, and had finally melted, broken, and
touched the metal case. It turns out that the screw that
holds this wire had loosened over the years. The loose
contact caused the wire to heat ... and trouble ensued.
Here’s the moral to the story: I checked the other
“contacts” in the rest of the car wash motor starters.
About 1/4 of them needed some degree of tightening!
You may want to check yours ... RUDY
It is generally the simple things that get us. I used to
check this even on new machines. MAC
If you have a thermal camera for checking your floor
heat, it might be wise to run that over ALL of your
electrical connection points over time. It can save
you quite a bit of headache and money in the long
run. We used to have this performed annually to all
cabinets and disconnects at the amusement park I
worked at. They paid thousands per visit, but probably
saved us millions in down time. PRECISIONPYRO
I bought a FlirOne Pro for my Android phone. It’s a
thermal camera attachment. It’s allowed me to locate
the heat loops in my floor heat. RUDY
Won’t hurt to double check them every once in a
while now though. Glad you didn’t get nailed by
finding it with your fingers. It’s always better letting
the smoke out of devices, rather than humans.
Those screws have to be really tight. I can’t tell
you how many times I’ve gone through almost
new equipment and found them so loose I could
turn them by gripping the screwdriver shaft. I
tighten them until I can feel the joints in my wrist
I just checked ours and although I definitely wouldn’t
call them loose, they were not as tight as they should
be. For some reason the ones at the top where the
power comes in, I could barely get them any tighter.
The ones at the bottom going out to the motor I was
able to tighten at least 1/4 turn and some were closer
to 1/2. Good tip. OURTOWN
The pump stand is constantly vibrating, and these
should be checked at least once a month. Make sure
to turn the breaker off when checking them and re
I received an odd call today. Local Food Truck start-up is looking for a
location to dump gray water at the end of the day. Has anyone run into
this type of request?
My initial inclination is to not allow. Not sure how I would determine a
fair contract cost if I allowed. I was surprised to find the municipal water
division was in support of allowing this ... GEORGE361
Your drains are going to the sanitary sewer (unless
your wash is really old) so I can see why the city is
allowing it. I’m with you though on not allowing
As long as there is no oil or chunks it could be
worth it. If your sewer isn’t metered and there are
no chunks it wouldn’t cost you anything. I would
just require them to buy bay time to clean up after
(assuming this is a SS). If there is potential for a
lot of oil or waste, I doubt it would be worth your
time for what they can pay. MC3033
I don’t allow any dumping. The carpet cleaners
leave the bay smelling like a wet dog, the food
carts dump their utensil washing water and it
starts to smell like rotten food, and then they start
getting bold and dumping grease. You can probably
imagine what an RV sewage dump smells like.
There’s also liability to worry about if you allow it
or charge for it. MEP001
I wouldn’t allow it for the reasons posted above,
plus who is going to monitor the process? Would
you meet them there to oversee the process? How
do they pay? What is the rate? The car wash is designed
for dirt from the roadway, not food waste.
NO DEAL! WAXMAN
Years ago, I had a food truck dumping their gray
wastewater at the car wash at night. What greasy
stinking mess they’d leave, then a carpet cleaner
saw them dumping their wastewater and he
thought it was ok to dump his wastewater, so he
had his guys start dumping at night. It took a while,
but we caught them, and it got ugly real fast. They
saw no problem in dumping their wastewater. The
carpet guy really pissed me off when he said: “It’s
just a car wash” and then he said where are we
supposed to dump our wastewater at?... like it’s
my problem. Needless to say, they aren’t customers
of mine and I’ve never seen them since. If you
let one dump be prepared for many more. RANDY
No way I’d allow it, the business and legal risks are
sky high compared to the few bucks received. (Yes,
I’ve chased them off.) PAULLOVESJAMIE
Hell no. Anything they dump at your becomes
your problem. AXXLROD
Thanks all. You have affirmed my concerns and I
can’t see there being monetary benefits outweighing
the headache. I will not be proceeding with
The only possible way I would consider it is through
a cleanout with a strainer attached. I wouldn’t want
that water sitting in my pits. GREG PACK
Exactly, let them go to an RV waste facility and
pay them. MEP001
22 • WINTER 2021
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WINTER 2021 • 23
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24 • WINTER 2021
TRICKS OF THE
We work hard for the money!
I am interested in buying a location that is about 17 years old but looks well maintained.
It has 4 SS and 2 IBA bays. Location is quite busy. How much time a week would you guys
think it would take for normal operations? I’m not expecting to include repairs/malfunctions/
emergencies. I’m just looking for ballpark ideas. 30-50 hours? 60-80 hours? WORKIN_IKE
That depends on you and the systems you put in
place and the overall maintained level the wash is
at. Some operators here spend the equivalent to a
F/T job plus OT here. They’re married to the operation
or they just love being there (I do enjoy hanging
around at my washes – it’s my hobby and many
times I just go to hang out).
I have relatively new equipment and it’s well maintained.
I have 4 guys that cover 9-5 every day. I tell
them to call me if something breaks. If I’m in town,
I’ll fix it. If I’m away I call in a tech.
With that said, I’d say I’m at my site as little as 0
hours (If I’m away) and as much as 35 hours (my
office is there). I’d say for a small operation and an
owner/operator 2-3 hours/day would be the average
for a nicely run place. CAR_WASH_GUY
Busy location means high traffic which means high
probability for trash. Excluding what you mentioned
going by daily to clean up and check everything
I would estimate 2 hours. If the customers
basically use the place as a dump well then could
be more. In 2 hours, I would think you would be
able to check vacs, check vending, wash down bays
and clean up and get out of there. Fundamentals of
a car wash.... make sure it’s clean and everything is
working properly. RFREEMAN
I have a very busy 6-bay SS and spend at least an
hour a day cleaning every evening, plus I have a guy
who comes in every afternoon and spends an hour.
Add to that four or five more hours a week here and
there cleaning out the vacs, cleaning walls, pulling
coins and restocking the changer, etc. You say you
aren’t expecting to include repairs, do you plan to
have a service company do them? Because you’ll
basically be working for them, especially with two
IBAs. Depends on the machine, but some need a lot
of preventive maintenance, and the bays can get really
nasty in warm months with algae growth. MEP001
I’m not saying that I don’t expect to do repairs. I’m
just saying I am not including that amount of time
as part of the routine. Because I know a repair or
maintenance can’t be estimated due to skill level, severity
of work required, frequency of repairs. I’m just
looking for a normal routine week. And yes, I plan on
doing my own maintenance and repairs. WORKIN_IKE
We have a 3-bay SS and 1 IBA. I would say plan on
devoting 20-25 hours a week to the car wash. Keep
in mind all of the after-hours phone calls, handling
of refunds, researching things you need to learn and
handling/depositing money. BERT79
I put in between 30 and 45 hours a week at my car
wash. My situation is a little different because we
have a standalone detail shop that is open six days
per week, and a used car lot attached to the wash
too. I have cut back on my hours in the last couple
of years to try and have more of a life as I get older.
When the economy got tough, I was working seven
days a week to try to make everything earn enough.
Once I install my new touch free, I’m hoping for
even a little bit more freedom and flexibility with
my hours. I have other business interests besides
this one which also take up some time during the
work week. WAXMAN
We have a car wash that has five self-serves and
two touch-free IBAS. Before 2016, we would put
in 3 hours a day Monday through Thursday. Fridays
were five-hour days. Saturdays were 5.5 hours. Sundays
were 6. What changed when 2016 arrived was
we started our membership program. We needed to
be attending regularly to sell memberships and do
membership odds and ends. WASH4LIFE
Basically, the more time you can be there the better.
Shoot for the busy times each day. Cameras help a
lot here. MAC
Too Cold to Handle
What is everyone’s policy on opening/closing due to
weather (i.e., rain/snow/ice)? JENNGAMBLE
Right now, we keep the self-serves open 24/7/365. Our
IBA is 15 years old with unreliable doors, so I close at
5 p.m. and re-open the bay at 8 a.m. when it’s below
freezing. Once I have my new equipment installed, the
IBA will be open 24/7/365 as well. WAXMAN
When it dips into single digits and below, we usually
close. Our IBA doors sometimes freeze in the open position
in those temps, and we have problems with our
SS weep not keeping up if there is any kind of wind
chill in addition to those temps. SRR5008
We’re a 24/7 car wash with touch-free IBAs, vacuums
and self-serve. If it’s below 20, we will close. WASH4LIFE
I have my IBAs set to shutdown automatically at -10F.
I have Airlift vinyl doors and floor heat. I do NOT have
any supplemental heat or heated rails etc. Self Serve
bays stay open 24/7. I’ve only shut down overnight a
handful of times when the temp was predicted to drop
to -30. I’ve had some of my best days when the temp
didn’t get over 15F! ERIC H
Ha ha, Southern wash here. No floor heat. We close the
autos when they predict a hard freeze. Not a big deal as
most cold spells are just a day or two and it’s slow then
anyway. I don’t see much business when it’s in the 30s.
Most people just wait a couple of days for it to warm
up, the average winter day high is around 50. GREG PACK
Below zero we close automatics at night. Open in as
bays always. SOAPY
In recent years we only close when it is blizzard/
non-travel conditions ... when my manpower (employees)
become less available then I tend to be closed
much more often ... We sometimes dread super sloppy
weather immediately followed by a horrific below 0° F
long lasting cold spell! MJWALSH
CHIMES IN: Want to talk
about cold!? We all know it
gets beyond freezing in Alaska,
and all the way down to the
Northern half of the United
States. But did you know it was
once -2 degrees F in Florida?
According to data was sourced
from the Nautical Oceanic
and Atmospheric Association
in an expose by USA Today,
the below 0 weather took
place in Tallahassee, Florida
on February 13, 1899. In
Huntsville, Alabama, it was
-27 degrees F on January 30,
1966. In Corinth, Mississippi, it
was once -19 degrees F back
on January 30, 1966. And even
in Hawaii, it was once only 12
degrees F in the town of Hilo,
back on May 17, 1979.
WINTER 2021 • 25
TRICKS OF THE
I smell a Rat.com!
Because I have my wash up on Google, we do postings to our website. I
get emails from them saying something like 120 people viewed our latest
posting. I smell a rat. I just can’t imagine that many people are bored enough
to look at a web site about a car wash ... Anyone else experience this? MAC
Do you have a funny
story from the bay?
Maybe an inspiring
tale from the wash?
new that worked well?
“You won’t believe what this
Darwin did at my wash…”
26 • WINTER 2021
“The best decision I ever made
for my business was…”
“On rainy days, I like to…”
Reach out to Editor Debra Gorgos
email@example.com to share
your story with our readers.
Mac, I will say this that it appears Google is making
the same mistake with robo-call coordinated with
3rd party sellers ... as the monopolistic telephone
companies used to do. We have a publicly posted
phone number for our facility & the logistic of that
nonsense “you are not listed pitch” trying to get their
“foot in the door spoofed calling” can actually become
When computer industry people brag a bit too
much about their Artificial Intelligence Algorithms
... IMHO people all over the world should consider
“hanging onto their hat” & making a “run for their
life”! MJ WALSH
The important stats to look at are how many looked
up your phone number or asked for directions to
your wash. OURTOWN
Why smell a rat? It’s the WORLD WIDE WEB!
There’s a lot of bored people out there, esp. nowadays!
Do you have any idea how many folks spend
countless hours looking at Facebook? The stats are
believable once you broaden your perspective a bit.
IMHO ... We should be looking forward to the
day when Google, Facebook, & Twitter alternatives
are more dominant than the current situation!!!
I realize that Google wants me to buy their advertising.
That part I get. All the other things they mention
though I have no way of telling if it is true. Yes, they
say many asked for directions and also called. I have
an answering machine at the wash that almost never
gets a recording. MAC
Instead of being suspicious of the results that are
claimed by Google, why not go in the opposite direction
and put in an effort to make your Google
business page more appealing to customers? Add
photos of the wash and all your services offered.
Create posts about interesting things to do with the
car wash. I use it as a promotional tool like it was designed.
It’s a low-cost way to improve your business.
Google is the preferred ad spot due to integration
into phone searches. You don’t necessarily have to
spend money with them, but when someone searches
on their phone for a car wash this is most likely
where the information is coming from. The higher
your ratings, the higher your ranking will be, but to
get to the top page you’re probably going to need to
spend money in a larger market. Personally, I’m old
school and don’t bother buying ads or actively managing
a page with any social media sites (Facebook,
etc.), but that is a personal opinion. It just seems like
too much work for the return. I would not interact
with Yelp at all, I’ve seen many people complain that
Yelp turns into an extortion racket. Same with BBB.
Oh, you can also get a Google voice number just for
your carwash. You can forward, have it ring multiple
phones, etc. and it will send an email transcription
if someone leaves a voicemail. It’s free, if you don’t
mind the invasion of privacy. GREG PACK
This is huge. Especially for car washes. This isn’t
thought of as the most professional business so having
a nice page and pictures is huge. If someone isn’t
already familiar with your business this might get
them to come or not.
I think the Google phone call stat is believable. Just
compare to your missed calls. I would imagine few
if any calls you get come from a source other than
I can see valid points in all the posts above. Google
My Business is a great place to describe your process
and services. People love looking at pictures, so I add
lots. You can easily post videos, too.
It doesn’t take much time to add content to your
page. Some of my biggest hits were on pics of things
I thought we’re not going to get many views, such
as a can of graffiti remover, pics of my detail equipment,
etc. All of these little things add up to set you
apart from competitors. If nothing else, you are providing
the customer with more knowledge of your
car wash. WAXMAN
I just went to the Yelp page for my wash, and it
seems to be broken. Despite the hours listed as
24/7 it shows it as closed, and I can’t change it as a
business owner. It seems useless anyway since Yelp
shows 39 people have visited the page 39 times this
year, where the Google page shows 15,000 just this
If I’m within five miles of my wash and search “car
wash near me” on my phone, my Google listing
comes up first even if there’s a car wash between.
Highly recommend you ask Yelp to take down your
page. Yelp is useless and the only people who use it
are the ones who are specifically leaving a bad review.
The Power Pack self-service
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The modular stainless steel
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SMALL BUSINESS NEWS
SBA Re-Opens Paycheck Protection Program
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation
with the U.S. Treasury Department, reopened
the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
loan portal to PPP-eligible lenders with $1 billion
or less in assets for First and Second Draw applications
on Friday, January 15, 2021.
SBA granted dedicated PPP access to Community
Financial Institutions (CFIs) which include
Community Development Financial Institutions
(CDFIs), Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs),
Certified Development Companies (CDCs), and
Microloan Intermediaries as part of the agency’s
ongoing efforts to reach underserved and minority
The SBA will continue its emphasis on reaching
smaller lenders and businesses by opening to approximately
5,000 more lenders, including community
banks, credit unions, and farm credit institutions.
Moreover, the agency also plans to have
dedicated service hours for these smaller lenders
after the portal fully re-opens next week.
“A second round of PPP could not have come at
a better time, and the SBA is making every effort
to ensure small businesses have the emergency
financial support they need to continuing weathering
this time of uncertainty,” said SBA Administrator
Jovita Carranza in a press release. “SBA has
worked expeditiously to ensure our policies and
systems are re-launched so that this vital small
business aid helps communities hardest hit by the
pandemic. I strongly encourage America’s entrepreneurs
needing financial assistance to apply for a
First or Second Draw PPP loan.”
“We are pleased to have opened PPP loans to
CDFIs, MDIs, CDCs, and Microloan Intermediaries.
The PPP is already providing America’s small
businesses hardest hit by the pandemic with vital
economic relief,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven
T. Mnuchin stated in the press release. “As the Program
re-opens for all First and Second Draw borrowers
next week, the PPP will allow small businesses
to keep workers on payroll and connected
to their health insurance.”
First Draw PPP Loans are for those borrowers
who have not received a PPP loan before August
8, 2020. The first round of the PPP, which ran
from March to August 2020, was a historic success
helping 5.2 million small businesses keep 51 million
American workers employed.
28 • FALL 2020
Second Draw PPP Loans are for eligible small
businesses with 300 employees or less, that previously
received a First Draw PPP Loan and will
use or have used the full amount only for authorized
uses, and that can demonstrate at least a
25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable
quarters in 2019 and 2020. The maximum
amount of a Second Draw PPP loan is $2 million.
How and When to Apply
You can apply for a Second Draw PPP
Loan from January 13, 2021, until March
31, 2021. SBA is currently accepting Second
Draw PPP loan applications from participating
lenders. Lender Match (Lender
Match is a free online tool that connects
small businesses with SBA-approved lenders.
Do not use if looking for an SBA EIDL
loan) can help connect you with a lender.
All Second Draw PPP Loans will have the
same terms regardless of lender or borrower.
Updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and
resources are available at www.sba.gov/ppp
60,000 PPP loans
approved in first week
In its first week since reopening, the SBA announced
that it has approved approximately
60,000 PPP loan applications submitted by nearly
3,000 lenders, for over $5 billion. In early January,
the PPP provided dedicated access to community
financial institutions that specialize in serving
underserved communities, including minority-,
women- and veteran-owned small businesses.
“The SBA continues to help small businesses across
the nation access vital funds through the Paycheck
Protection Program. Data from our first week, which
first allowed hundreds of community financial institutions
to submit applications, then opened wider to
small banks, demonstrate that we have helped tens
of thousands of businesses,” said SBA Administrator
Jovita Carranza in a press release.
“The PPP is off to another great start helping our
nation’s economy. With PPP re-opening today for
all First and Second Draw loan applications, the
SBA remains committed to keeping small business
workers on payroll and their doors open during
this challenging time. Moreover, the SBA over-performed
operationally, issuing guidance and rules in
advance and in alignment with the new law’s requirements,”
$1.1 million PPP loans
forgiven so far totaling
over $100 billion
The SBA has already forgiven more than 1.1
million PPP loans for over $100 billion, providing
an extraordinary amount of critical relief to
America’s small businesses just 3 months since the
earliest PPP borrowers’ covered periods ended, according
to a January 12 press release.
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza stated in the
press release, “For any eligible small business continuing
to struggle due to the coronavirus pandemic,
the Program has re-opened for new and certain
existing PPP borrowers, and we encourage you to
take advantage of the PPP to keep your workers on
payroll, regardless of any local economic restrictions
on your operations. SBA is continuing to work
around the clock to forgive existing PPP loans and
implement the next phase of this vital Program.”
The SBA has so far received 1,346,125 forgiveness
applications for approximately $170.5 billion.
SBA has made payment on nearly 85% of
the applications, forgiving over $100 billion. For
the smallest borrowers with loans up to $50,000,
88% have been approved for forgiveness.
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and to maintain their deterrent effect. Under
the Act, agencies are required to publish “catch-up”
rules that adjust the level of civil monetary penalties
and make subsequent annual adjustments for
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30 • FALL 2020
SMALL BUSINESS NEWS YOU CAN USE
OSHA's maximum penalties for serious and
other-than-serious violations will increase from
$13,494 per violation to $13,653 per violation.
The maximum penalty for willful or repeated
violations will increase from $134,937 per violation
to $136,532 per violation.
The Department of Labor Federal Civil Penalties
Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustments
for 2021 final rule became effective January 15,
2021, and the increased penalty levels apply to
any penalties assessed after January 15, 2021.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act
of 1970, employers are responsible for providing
safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
OSHA's role is to help ensure these conditions
for America's working men and women by
setting and enforcing standards, and providing
training, education and assistance.
Employers can withhold,
make payments of deferred
Social Security taxes from 2020
The Internal Revenue Service today released
Notice 2021-11 addressing how employers who
elected to defer certain employees' taxes can withhold
and pay the deferred taxes throughout 2021
instead of just the first four months of the year,
according to a January 19 press release.
In response to a presidential memorandum
signed August 8, 2020, Notice 2020-65 was issued
on August 28, 2020, giving employers the option to
defer certain employees' Social Security taxes from
September 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020. This
applied to employees paid less than $4,000 every
two weeks, or an equivalent amount for other pay
periods, with each pay period considered separately.
The taxes, which are technically called Old Age,
Survivors and Disability Insurance, or OASDI, are
calculated at 6.2% of employees' wages.
Any taxes deferred under Notice 2020-65 are
withheld and paid ratably from employee wages
between January 1, 2021, until April 30, 2021.
However, the Consolidated Appropriations Act,
2021, signed into law December 27, extended
the period that the deferred taxes are withheld
and paid ratably. The period is now for the entire
year − from January 1, 2021, through December
31, 2021. Notice 2021-11
makes changes to Notice
2020-65 to reflect
period. Payments made by January 3, 2022, will
be considered timely because December 31, 2021,
is a legal holiday. Penalties, interest and additions
to tax will now start to apply on January 1, 2022,
for any unpaid balances.
Employees could see their deferred taxes being
collected immediately. Employees should check
with their organization's payroll point of contact
on what their collection schedule will be.
Additional tax relief related to the COVID-19
pandemic can be found on IRS.gov.
Security Summit urges
businesses to tighten security
to protect against identity theft
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies
and the tax industry urged businesses to be on
guard as thieves try to use their stolen names and
data to file fraudulent tax returns.
The partners, operating cooperatively as the Security
Summit to fight identity theft, marked the
fourth day of National Tax Security Awareness
Week with a warning to businesses to enact the
strongest measures possible to protect their data
and systems. The IRS also is planning additional
MYTHS vs. FACTS
MYTH #1: PPP is wrought with
waste, fraud, and abuse.
MYTH #2: PPP only supported large
corporations, not small businesses.
regarding PPP loans
PPP did not support workers.
FACT: The vast majority of PPP funds supported
American small businesses and their hardworking
employees in dire need of economic relief. To
ensure all program rules were followed, all loans are
undergoing an automated review, and all loans of $2
million or more will undergo a manual review. In addition,
any loan may be selected for a manual review.
SBA has a robust process for ensuring PPP funds
were used as intended. SBA is committed to rooting
out fraudulent activity; any abuser of this important
program will be held appropriately accountable. A
borrower listed in the data release doesn’t mean that
SBA has made an affirmative declaration that a borrower
is eligible or that it will receive loan forgiveness.
SBA has a process for review and that is ongoing.
FACT: The PPP was deployed to help keep
small businesses afloat and employees on payroll
through the coronavirus pandemic. Of those
businesses that received PPP loans, 75 percent
have nine or fewer employees. In addition, 87% of
all loans, or nine out of ten, were $150,000 or less.
Not a single eligible independent contractor, sole
proprietor, or small business that applied for a PPP
loan and was approved before the PPP closed—
whether it employed hundreds of workers or a single
individual—was precluded from receiving one
due to lack of funding. The PPP closed in August
with more than $130 billion in available funding
that went unclaimed.
FACT: Every facet of PPP was designed to keep
Americans employed. The PPP has succeeded.
To date, PPP has supported more than 51 million
American jobs, and account for more than 80%
of small business payroll in the United States. By
requiring at least 60% of PPP funds to cover payroll
costs, the Administration ensured Americans’
paychecks were protected. The PPP directly contributed
to the historic economic recovery we are
currently experiencing, keeping unemployment far
lower than expected at the peak of the pandemic. In
addition, the unemployment rate is currently 6.7%,
a rate not expected to be achieved by many outside
experts until the fourth quarter of 2021.
MYTH #4: PPP funds did not reach historically underserved communities.
FACT: Since enactment of the CARES Act, SBA
and Treasury worked closely with Congress, borrowers,
and lenders of all sizes—including regional
and community banks, Community Development Financial
Institutions (CDFIs), and Minority Depository
Institutions (MDIs)—to make certain the broadest
possible segment of small businesses could access
the PPP. To ensure funds began flowing as rapidly
as possible to all small businesses, particularly
those in underserved communities, SBA and
Treasury worked closely with lenders that were
positioned to reach borrowers who had had less
well-established traditional banking relationships.
Through our actions, we increased the number of
participating lenders from the 1,700 that participated
in SBA 7(a) lending in 2019 to nearly 5,500 lenders
participating in the PPP. SBA and Treasury executed
an aggressive outreach campaign to ensure
PPP participation by CDFIs, MDIs, and minority,
women, veteran, or military-owned lenders due to
their unmatched ability to reach underserved communities.
The data shows that SBA and Treasury’s
outreach campaign worked. As of August 8, 2020,
when the PPP closed to new loan applications, 432
MDIs and CDFIs had participated from across the
country, providing over 221,000 loans for more than
$16.4 billion. PPP delivered $133 billion of loans to
businesses in Historically Underutilized Business
Zones, accounting for more than 25 percent of all
PPP funding. Additionally, a review of census tracts
indicates 28 percent of the U.S. population lives in
low and moderate income census tracts, and when
matched against the distribution of PPP loans, 27
percent of the PPP funds went to low and moderate
income communities, which is in line with their
representation in the population.
FALL 2020 • 31
SMALL BUSINESS NEWS YOU CAN USE
steps to help businesses combat cybercriminals
trying to steal their data.
"As the IRS and our partners have strengthened
our security standards, identity thieves have
looked for new ways to find sources of information,
and businesses need to stay alert," said IRS
Commissioner Charles Rettig. "Businesses, just
like individuals, can be victims of identity theft.
Thieves may steal enough information to file a
business tax return for refund or use other scams
using the company's identity."
More than 70% of cyberattacks are aimed at businesses
with 100 or fewer employees. Thieves may be
targeting credit card information, the business identity
information or employee identity information.
Businesses are encouraged to follow best practices
from the Federal Trade Commission include:
• Set your security software to update
• Back up important files
• Require strong passwords for all devices
• Encrypt devices
• Use multi-factor authentication
More information is available at FTC's Cybersecurity
for Small Businesses.
Businesses should especially be alert to any
COVID-19 or tax-related phishing email scams
that attempt to trick employees into opening embedded
links or attachments. IRS related scams
may be sent to email@example.com.
Starting back on December 13, 2020, the IRS
began masking sensitive information from business
tax transcripts, the summary of corporate tax
returns, to help prevent thieves from obtaining
identifiable information that would allow them to
file fake business tax returns.
Only financial entries are fully visible. All other
information has varying masking rules. For example,
only the first four letters of each first and last
name – of individuals and businesses – are displayed.
Only the last four digits of the Employer
Identification Number are visible.
The IRS also has publicly launched the Form
14039-B, Business Identity Theft Affidavit that
allows companies to proactively report possible
identity theft to the IRS when, for example, the
e-filed tax return is rejected.
Businesses should file the Form 14039-B if they
• Rejection notice for an electronically
filed return because a return already
is on file for that same period.
• Notice about a tax return
that the entity didn't file.
• Notice about Forms W-2 filed
with the Social Security
Administration that the entity didn't file.
• Notice of a balance due that is not owed.
This form enables the IRS to respond to the
business much faster than in the past and work to
resolve issues created by a fraudulent tax return.
Businesses should not use the form if they experience
a data breach but see no tax-related impact.
For more information, see Identity Theft Central's
Although the tax scams can come and go, all
employers should remain alert to Form W-2 theft
schemes. In the most common version, a thief
poses as a high-ranking company executive who
emails payroll employees and asks for a list of
employees and their W-2s. Businesses often don't
know they've been scammed until a fraudulent return
shows up in employees' names.
There is a special reporting procedure for employers
who experience the W-2 scam. It also may be
found at Identity Theft Central's Business section.
Finally, Security Summit partners urge businesses
to keep their EIN application information
current. Changes of address or responsible party
may be reported using Form 8822-B. Reminder:
Changes in the responsible party must be reported
to the IRS within 60 days. Current information
can help the IRS find a point of contact to resolve
identity theft and other issues.
SBA extends COVID-19 EIDL
deadline to Dec 31, 2021
The SBA announced on December 30, 2020,
that the deadline to apply for the Economic Injury
Disaster Loan (EIDL) program for the COVID-19
Pandemic disaster declaration is extended to Dec.
31, 2021. The deadline extension comes as a result
of the recent bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill
passed by Congress and enacted by former President
Trump on Dec. 27, 2020.
To date, the SBA has approved $197 billion in
low-interest loans which provide working capital
funds to small businesses, non-profits and agricultural
businesses to make it through this challenging
“Following the President’s declaration of the
COVID-19 Pandemic, the SBA has approved over
3.6 million loans through our Economic Injury
Disaster Loan program nationwide,” Carranza
stated in the press release. “The EIDL program
has assisted millions of small businesses, including
non-profit organizations, sole proprietors and
independent contractors, from a wide array of industries
and business sectors, to survive this very
difficult economic environment.”
EIDL loan applications will continue to be accepted
through December 2021, pending the
availability of funds. Loans are offered at very
affordable terms, with a 3.75% interest rate for
small businesses and 2.75% interest rate for nonprofit
organizations, a 30-year maturity, and an
automatic deferment of one year before monthly
payments begin. Every eligible small business and
nonprofit are encouraged to apply to get the resources
Small business owner burnout is
real – here’s what you can do
Rest, Reframe, Rejuvenate
In an article by content marketing expert Susan
Guillory that appeared in Forbes magazine last
November, advice is given to small business owners
on how to deal with the burnout feeling you
can experience with everything going on.
“It's been a hell of a year, hasn't it? Between the
pandemic and politics—not to mention the dayto-day
stressors the average small business has —
it's been challenging to keep our heads above water,
let alone think about the future.
But as things slow down a bit around this holiday
season, I invite you to do three
things: Rest, reframe, and rejuvenate.
Trust me, both you and your business
will be better for it,” Guillory wrote.
The following are her tips on how to accomplish
the three Rs.
Entrepreneurs desperately need time to
disconnect and unwind. Starting and running a
business understandably requires more work and
causes more stress: 61% of entrepreneurs have
32 • FALL 2020
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SMALL BUSINESS NEWS YOU CAN USE
higher stress levels than when they started
their businesses, and 60% struggle to take
time off, the article stated.
“Even if you can't go on your annual ski
vacation this year, find time for rest. That
might mean taking a Friday off now and
then (a practice I highly recommend!) or
spending a long weekend in a cabin in the
woods. Heck, it could just be getting a massage
or turning off your phone after work
hours if that's the best you can do. But I
encourage you not to devalue the importance
of being well rested. A brain that isn't
stressed and overtaxed can come up with
The biggest takeaway from 2020 is that
we can't rely on how we used to conduct
our businesses, Guillory wrote.
“You may struggle now to attract business
the way you used to, either because of the
economic climate making consumers gunshy
about spending money or because the
market has changed. The worst thing you
can do is continue doing ‘business as usual.’
These are not usual times, and even when
things level off, we will need to have a permanent
plan in place for what our businesses
will look like moving forward.”
Guillory suggested revisiting your business
plan and giving it an update. “Where you
find customers, what you sell, and your longterm
strategy may have shifted, so put those
changes in writing; your business is there to
remind you of how you might need to pivot
Find your passion again
“I occasionally go through extreme burnout
in my business and lose passion for what
I do,” Guillory wrote. “It can be tough to do
the same thing for years. But when I feel like
I can't go on another day, I step back. I rest. I
take time away from my business and don't
even think about it for days or weeks. Inevitably,
when I return, I feel better.”
If that does not work, Guillory suggests
trying something else such as coming up
with a new product or service, or finding
different industries to work with. You might
learn a new skill. Or hire help to take some
of the pressure off of you.
“Don't let your passion die or running
your small business will consume your soul.”
And if these rejuvenation ideas don't work,
she advised, consider that it might be time to
call it quits. “Again, just like in a relationship,
sometimes there's a shelf life for your business,
and denying that will only make you
unhappy. Find an exit path and make room
for something new to light you up.”
CDC offers job stress tips
Whether you are going into work or working
from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has probably
changed the way you work, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC). “Fear and anxiety about this new disease
and other strong emotions can be overwhelming,
and workplace stress can lead to burnout. How
The CDC said to recognize the following
symptoms of stress you may be experiencing.
• Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial
• Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
• Lacking motivation
• Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
• Feeling sad or depressed
• Having trouble sleeping
• Having trouble concentrating
And here are the common work-related
factors that can add to stress during a
pandemic, according to the CDC:
• Concern about the risk of being exposed to
the virus at work
• Taking care of personal and family
needs while working
• Managing a different workload
• Lack of access to the tools and equipment
needed to perform your job
• Feelings that you are not contributing enough
to work or guilt about not being on the
• Uncertainty about the future of your
workplace and/or employment
• Learning new communication tools and
dealing with technical difficulties
• Adapting to a different workspace and/or
The CDC said to follow these tips to build resilience
and manage job stress:
• Communicate with your coworkers, supervisors,
and employees about job stress while
maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet).
• Identify things that cause stress and work
together to identify solutions.
• Talk openly with employers, employees,
and unions about how the pandemic is
affecting work. Expectations should be
communicated clearly by everyone.
• Ask about how to access mental health
resources in your workplace.
• Identify those things which you do not have
control over and do the best you can with the
resources available to you.
• Increase your sense of control by developing
a consistent daily routine when possible —
ideally one that is similar to your schedule
before the pandemic.
you cope with these emotions and stress can affect
your well-being, the well-being of the people you
care about, your workplace, and your community.
During this pandemic, it is critical that you recognize
what stress looks like, take steps to build your
resilience and manage job stress, and know where
to go if you need help.”
• Keep a regular sleep schedule.
• Take breaks from work to stretch,
exercise, or check in with your supportive
colleagues, coworkers, family, and
• Spend time outdoors, either being
physically active or relaxing.
• If you work from home, set a regular time
to end your work for the day, if possible.
• Practice mindfulness techniques.
• Do things you enjoy during non-work
• Know the facts about COVID-19. Be informed
about how to protect yourself and others.
Understanding the risk and sharing accurate
information with people you care about
can reduce stress and help you make a
connection with others.
• Remind yourself that each of us has a crucial
role in fighting this pandemic.
• Remind yourself that everyone is in an
unusual situation with limited resources.
• Take breaks from watching, reading, or
listening to news stories, including social
media. Hearing about the pandemic
repeatedly can be upsetting and mentally
• Connect with others. Talk with people you
trust about your concerns, how you are
feeling, or how the COVID-19 pandemic is
• Connect with others through phone calls,
email, text messages, mailing letters or
cards, video chat, and social media.
• Check on others. Helping others improves
your sense of control, belonging, and
self-esteem. Look for safe ways to offer
social support to others, especially if
they are showing signs of stress, such
as depression and anxiety.
• If you feel you may be misusing alcohol or
other drugs (including prescription drugs) as a
means of coping, reach out for help.
• If you are being treated for a mental health
condition, continue with your treatment and
be aware of any new or worsening symptoms.
FALL 2020 • 35
A LEADING MANUFACTURER OF CONTROLS,
INCLUDING DIGITAL TIMERS FOR THE CAR WASH INDUSTRY.
36 • FALL 2020
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HAPPENINGS IN & AROUND
THE SELF SERVE CARWASHING
Car Wash Owners Network
partners with Okie Express
Car Wash Owners Network (CWON), a portfolio
company of Baltimore, Maryland-based Access
Holdings, today announced it has closed its investment
in Okie Express Auto Wash, the largest car
wash operator in the Oklahoma City market, a press
release reported. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Founded in 2008, Okie owns and operates 11
premier express car wash locations known across
Oklahoma City for their superior customer service,
convenient locations, exceptional wash quality
and speed. Okie washes more than one million
cars annually and supports multiple local charities.
CWON is partnering with Okie CEO Mike
North and COO Steve Holcomb to support the
company’s next stage of accelerated growth.
Kevin McAllister, Managing Partner and Founder
of Access Holdings, said in the press release,
“We are excited to partner with Mike and Steve,
who’ve built Okie into the #1 car wash operation
in the Oklahoma City market. During our investment
process, we developed a shared view of future
growth opportunities and a compelling vision
for the business we want to build together.”
Dover and OPW acquire
Innovative Control Systems ® (ICS)
Dover, and its OPW business unit, of De Pere,
Wisconsin, announced on January 6, 2021, that
it has acquired Innovative Control Systems, Inc.
(ICS), an industry-leading provider of technology
solutions for the car wash industry, based in
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. ICS will now become
part of OPW’s Vehicle Wash Solutions platform of
brands, which includes PDQ and Belanger.
“We are thrilled to bring ICS into OPW’s Vehicle
Wash Solutions group to provide customers state-ofthe-art
payment terminals and point-of-sale management
solutions, wash site management software and
other wash equipment technologies as part of a complete
vehicle wash solutions package,” Gary Campbell,
vice president and general manager for OPW
Vehicle Wash Solutions, stated in a press release.
Happy 80th birthday, Warsaw Chemical!
2021 marks the 80th year anniversary for Warsaw
Chemical. The company, which is based in Warsaw,
Indiana, has grown from a small manufacturer of
toilet bowl cleaners and mechanics hand soaps, into
a nationally recognized supplier of more than 300
cleaners, soaps, disinfectants, protectants, lubricants
and specialty products, a press release stated.
Warsaw Chemical was founded in 1941 and has
always been privately owned. Currently, about 70
people are employed by the company. “We are proud
of the fact that Warsaw Chemical has been a part of
the Warsaw Community for eight decades. We have
a team of highly talented people that have championed
the success of the company. We will continue
North added, “We had several options to consider
when looking for a growth partner, but Access
Holdings and CWON clearly distinguished themselves
by their knowledge of the industry and relationship-oriented
approach to crafting the right
deal. Their team focused on finding solutions that
were right for us and our business.”
Okie is CWON’s second investment in a car
wash operator. In January 2020, CWON partnered
with the ownership team of Cobblestone Auto
Spa, the premier car wash operator in Phoenix and
Denver. CWON’s affiliated network now includes
42 locations with additional locations planned to
open by the end of 2021. “We want to partner with
operators in attractive markets and accelerate their
expansion. Okie is another great example of this,
and we’re excited about our new partnership,” said
Jason Cellura, CWON’s Chief Development Officer,
stated in the press release.
CWON is executing a purposeful growth strategy
by partnering with express car wash operators in attractive
markets, the press release stated.
Both Vehicle Wash Solutions and ICS have previously
partnered to develop a retrofit kit for PDQ’s
installed base of Access payment terminals at inbay
automatic sites to ensure those customers have
access to EMV payment solutions and ongoing Payment
Card Industry compliance. This joint product
will be ready to launch in early 2021.
“By joining OPW, ICS can continue to expand its
customer base and partner with the Vehicle Wash
Solutions brands to bring innovative new products
to market. Those ICS customers who do not use
VWS equipment will continue to see our same focus
on innovation and dedicated customer support.
This is a great development for our business,” said
Kevin Detrick, founder and president of ICS.
to build on our history of creating and manufacturing
products that carry value and contribute to the
success of our clients,” Troy Gamble, CEO and partner
of Warsaw Chemical, stated in the press release.
Warsaw Chemical is a high-quality chemical
manufacturing business that produces a diversified
line of Warsaw Chemical Branded and Private Label
products distributed in four different markets:
Janitorial Cleaning Products, Disinfectants and
Hand Soaps; Car Wash Chemicals (our Car Choice
line) for self-serve systems, touchless automatics
and tunnel/conveyor washes; Tire Mounting Lubricants,
and Agrochemical Adjuvants.
DRB ® Adds
DRB, a leading provider of software and hardware
innovations to the car wash industry and
based in Akron, Ohio, announced on December
3, 2020, that EverWash, Inc., is now a DRB Certified
Interface. This new integration allows critical
information to flow between EverWash’s mobile
applications and DRB In-Bay Solutions’ Unitec®
brand of pay stations, a press release reported.
With the DRB Certified Interface, EverWash
can provide a mobile app to in-bay automatic
(IBA) car washes that utilize Unitec pay stations.
The app allows customers to purchase unlimited
plans on the app and redeem them by scanning a
code at the pay station, creating an easy, contactless
This allows IBA washes to take advantage of the
recurring revenue that unlimited wash plans offer.
“We’re passionate about helping car wash operators
grow and get the most out of their assets,”
Dan Pittman, president and CEO of DRB, said
in the press release. “The EverWash integration
opens up new paths for unattended car wash operators
to generate revenue and consumer loyalty.
The ability to offer unlimited wash plans via
a mobile application is a game-changer for this
segment of the car wash industry.”
The DRB Certified Interface also enhances
EverWash’s ability to help car wash operators
grow their businesses and manage consumer behavior
in the face of growing competition, Scott
Pashley, EverWash’s Chief Revenue Officer stated
in the press release.
“This integration will provide the contactless
solution so many consumers are looking for now
while also streamlining the experience for hundreds
of our wash partners and tens of thousands
of members,” Pashley said in the press release. “We
are extremely excited to partner with DRB In-Bay
Solutions to grow our wash partner's profits."
"EverWash's DRB Certified Interface is a huge
win," said Jerry Sinner, general manager at Orlando's
Market and Carwash. "This made for a
straightforward EverWash implementation at
my location, and an effortless membership experience
for our customers. We look forward to
growing our membership thanks to the technology
offered by both EverWash and DRB In-Bay
Solutions moving forward."
The DRB Certified Interface program provides
a platform for the secure exchange of data
between DRB and third-party companies with
which car wash owners do business. DRB requires
vendors to complete a certification process which
helps ensure secure access to car wash data. DRB
supports its approved vendors with technical assistance
and system updates.
FALL 2020 • 37
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38 • FALL 2020
Sonny’s makes multiple acquisitions;
says more acquisitions are in the near future
Sonny’s, of Tamarac, Florida, the
world’s leading manufacturer of
conveyorized car wash equipment,
parts, and supplies, announced on
December 4, 2021, that it entered into a definitive
agreement to acquire Lone Star Car Wash Systems
based in Texas.
“Our proposal to acquire Lone Star was an easy decision
because it allows us to scale up our ability to
service clients in Texas faster than ever before,” Paul
Fazio, CEO of Sonny’s, stated in a press release. “We
believe this will be a game changer in Sonny’s helping
Texas car wash owners gain their unfair share.”
Through this acquisition, Sonny’s CarWash Services
of Texas has plans to expand quickly throughout
Texas servicing all stages of a car wash project and
business, the press release stated. Current car wash
owners and potential investors will have a local team
to rely on for help with everything from equipment
and chemistry, to site and management consulting,
maintenance, and repair.
“Creating Sonny’s CarWash Services of Texas provides
our clients incredible growth opportunities and
the best equipment, chemistry, controls and servicing
in the industry. We are grateful for Sonny’s partnership
and are eager to see what we can continue to achieve
together," Clay Wilson, owner and CEO of Lone Star
Car Wash Services, stated in a press release.
On December 16, in another press release, Sonny’s
hinted of future plans for additional acquisitions
“To service our current customers better and to
reach new customers, we intend to hire big,” Paul
Fazio, CEO of Sonny’s, stated in the December 15
press release. “We’re more than just a car wash equipment
manufacturer; we’re service people here to
service car wash owners every day of the year, at all
hours of the day.”
Sonny’s hosted a job fair for multiple positions
in Dallas, Texas, on December 16th. Qualified candidates
will have opportunities from all sides of the
industry including commissioned sales reps, district
managers, car wash service technicians, and drivers.
In other Sonny’s news, back on November 2, 2020,
the company announced the acquisition of Florida
Florida CarWash Services is a full line car wash
equipment and supply distributor primarily serving
the Centraland Northeast Florida market. Headquartered
in Apopka, Florida, just outside of Orlando,
CarWash Services is a family-owned company that
offers professional assistance to conveyor, in-bay and
self serve carwash operators.
“I’m pleased to share the news that Sonny’s has
acquired Florida CarWash Services,” Fazio stated in
the press release. “They have been a Sonny’s distributor
for over 8 years and are known for providing
superior service and support in Florida and helping
car wash owners maximize revenues. We couldn’t
be any more excited to form this new business relationship
“Everyone at Florida CarWash Services is very excited
about this new partnership with Sonny’s and
all that we’ll be able to offer our customers,” Harold
Chenoweth, President and CEO of Florida CarWash
Services, stated in the press
release. “Our companies share
the same core values of service
to our customers. Being
a part of Sonny’s strengthens our ability to provide
the best service and solutions to help our customers
be more successful.”
Florida CarWash Services will continue to be led
by the same management team for the thousands of
clients it serves.
In an October 23, 2020, press release, Sonny’s announced
the acquisition of Harrell’s Car Wash Systems
based in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Harrell’s is the leading distributor of carwash systems
and supplies in the Midwest, Northeast and
MidAtlantic regions. Founded over 40 years ago as
a carwash, Harrell’s has grown into a full service distributor
that provides site evaluation, design and development
assistance, equipment solutions and a full
line of chemical and parts.
“Our partnership with Harrell’s represents an opportunity
to service our customers better locally,”
Fazio stated in the press release. “When I look back
at the humble beginnings of both companies and the
growth we’ve experienced, the passion and commitment
to customers is what made Sonny’s and Harrell’s
the companies we are today. Sharing this value
is what makes this partnership possible.”
"Our commitment to helping in-bay and tunnel car
wash investors succeed is about finding ways to create
a competitive edge for their business,” said Chad
Tearman, president of Harrell’s, in the press release.
“With Harrell’s becoming part of Sonny’s CarWash
Services, our localized knowledge combined with
Sonny’s leadership position in carwash innovation
and manufacturing will only elevate the solutions we
deliver to all our customers on a local level to make
them more profitable.”
Harrell’s will continue to be led by the same management
team for the thousands of clients it serves.
And, last but not least, Sonny’s also announced the
acquisition of GoToKiosk, a manufacturer of custom pay
stations and kiosks, including hardware and software.
A December 4, 2020, press release stated that
GoToKiosks engineering excellence in factory direct
product and product mix, software innovations, and
marketing solutions provides Sonny’s clients with a
higher level of operational efficiency and profitability.
“Bringing together the technical strengths of our
two companies accelerates our ability to create new
car wash controls solutions, as well as marketing and
business management solutions that deliver more value
for our clients and partners,” Fazio stated in the
press release. “Evan Timmons and his team are well
known for high-quality products, technical expertise
and innovative systems. This is a great addition to our
Controls and Marketing solutions and a huge benefit
for our clients.”
“The combination of our products and Sonny’s
world-class Controls technology offers tremendous
benefit for car wash owners and the industry. We’re
proud to become a part of Sonny’s and we look forward
to creating more cutting-edge technology for
the carwash industry,” Evan Timmons, General Manager
of GoToKiosk, stated in the press release.
FALL 2020 • 39
Belanger’s Cube® Soft-Touch In-Bay Automatic Wash System
wins Best New Product Contest
Belanger, of De Pere, Wisconsin, a leading manufacturer
of tunnel and in-bay automatic vehicle
wash systems, and a product brand of OPW Vehicle
Wash Solutions, is proud to announce its Cube®
Soft-Touch In-Bay Automatic Wash System has
been named the winner in the Car Wash/Forecourt
category of CSP magazine’s 17th Annual Retailer
Choice Best New Product Contest. According to
a November 2, 2020, press release, the winners of
the contest, which honors the convenience-store
industry’s most successful product launches from
the past year, are chosen via an online poll of c-store
retailers. The Cube’s victory was celebrated during
a Virtual Best New Product Happy Hour that was
hosted by CSP on Oct. 14, and it was honored in
print in the December issue of CSP magazine.
“We were incredibly excited to learn that our
Cube vehicle wash system had been chosen as the
winner of CSP’s contest by the retailers,” Gary
Campbell, General Manager for OPW Vehicle
Wash Solutions, stated in the press release. “The
needs of any vehicle-wash customer are simple –
provide customers with a cleaner car and do so
efficiently. But the Cube’s capabilities go well beyond
that. The Cube is a truly unique IBA wash
system, one that checks every box for a high-quality,
reliable, cost-effective, safe and enjoyable vehicle-washing
In addition to providing a cleaner vehicle, the
Cube does its job quietly and without the commotion
that can come from brushes beating against
the surfaces of the vehicle. The Cube utilizes
slow-spinning friction wheels and Belanger’s ShineMitt
foam media to reduce noise levels and thoroughly
clean the vehicle with gentle brush passes.
The Cube also features a host of “smart” technology
systems, allowing it to be precise, intuitive and
flexible while providing the best possible cleaning
result for each customer.
The Cube also offers remote-access capabilities,
patented LED-enhanced wheels and spray arms
that cycle through six colors to provide Active
Site Marketing, and an innovative scissor-arm
top wheel that precisely lowers to the vehicle and
covers more area along the front, top and rear of
the vehicle. The Cube’s LED lights also provide
navigational assistance to move customers in and
out of the bay quickly, increasing throughput.
Presenting the news stories
featuring self serve car washes
New wash opens in Iowa
JQS Deluxe Car Wash of Vinton,
Iowa, is open for business.
A November Iowa News story
quoted owner John Ketchen who
said the new car wash features two
self-service bays, a brush automatic
bay, and a brushless automatic--with
each offering the option to pay with cash, credit,
or by app.
“All machines [are] able to scan your phone for
payment. [We offer] a mobile app with push notifications,
discounts, and club promotions,” Ketchen said.
The cement in and around the car wash is heated,
including the exits. Ketchen said in the story, “Snow
and ice should never get in the exits and freeze the
bay doors...The boiler continually pumps all the
water under the heated cement and in storage.”
Ketchen contracted with Washworld for the car
wash system itself but used local contractors for
everything else. Ketchen has owned and operated
John’s Qwik Stop since purchasing the business
from John and Bev Anderson in the fall of 1995,
the story said.
Ketchen estimated that between the convenience
store construction in 2016 and the car wash this
year, JQS has spent more than $2.5 million locally.
His Vinton store employs 35 full- and part-time
employees, one of whom will be present at the car
wash to answer questions and keep the bays clean a
majority of the time, Ketchen said in the story.
Daytona business tycoon hopes car wash will revitalize area
Back in 2004, businessman Chuck Duva transformed
the LPGA Boulevard of Daytona, Florida,
from a sleepy rural road into a magnet for commercial
development, according to a January 24, 2021,
Daytona Beach News-Journal story.
Now Duva hopes to help spark the revitalization
of the "Gateway to the World's Most Famous
Beach" on the city's beachside that leads to the Atlantic
Ocean, by including new businesses including
a self serve car wash.
40 • FALL 2020
Duva recently paid approximately $1.4 million
to acquire three commercial properties with a goal
is to redevelop them, starting with renovating the
5,000-square-foot former Shell gas station/convenience
store/car wash. The car wash is a much
needed amenity that is currently lacking on Daytona
Beach's beachside, Duva said in the story.
The Shell station and car wash closed more than a
decade ago and are surrounded by a chain link fence
with "No Trespassing" signs on it. The property has become
an eyesore on a
stretch of road that
Duva describes as
and one of the most visible examples
of blight because of its prime location along the
city's busiest east-west corridor, the story said.
Duva said he currently expects to spend at least
$3.5 million to $4 million on improvements to his
newly purchased properties.
FALL 2020 • 41
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42 • FALL 2020
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FALL 2020 • 43
Here’s some sweet news!
While washing his wife’s car at the Running
Clean Car Wash in Fredericksburg, Texas, Anthony
Ware felt his Aggie Class of ’94 ring slip off his finger.
According to the Fredericksburg Standard, the
ring had been loosened by soap and water, and fell
into the drain under a wash bay on Saturday, January
23. When he realized it was gone, the former
college basketball player lifted the heavy grate and
got down on his knees to search for it.
It was more than just a ring Ware, it was a representation
of his journey.
He told the Standard he had a rough childhood
in Chicago where his parents could sometimes not
afford heat, his fridge was never full and he never
had a Christmas tree. “She broke it down. There is
no Santa. There is no Easter bunny. No such thing
as magic,” Ware said in the story. “We are poor.”
As he grew older, he understood his future was
limited. So, all Ware wanted was a basketball, he
said in the story. “I figured nothing in this neighborhood
is going to get me out of here except
maybe playing a sport, and going to college, or
going into the military.” Ware found a basketball
with a hole in it and wrapped it in duct tape.
Ware eventually got into Texas A&M University
for his basketball skills. It was there at college
where Ware finally felt like his life took a turn. He
had support, friends and the future seemed bright.
Getting the ring meant a lot to him and he had
been wearing it proudly since graduating over 25
years ago. Even before losing it at the car wash, he
had discovered a man selling an Aggie ring that did
not belong to him. Ware paid him $100 and posted
about the find online in search of the owner,
the story said.
As for him losing it at the car wash, Ware was
determined to find it and after an hour of trying to
fish it from the sludge, attendant Alonso Castillo
came to the bay to help.
“The two worked together trying to find the
ring. Soon after, the Stroeher and Son, Inc. general
manager Steve Olfers joined the hunt and Ware
told the men why the ring was so important to
him. Both of Olfers’ daughters attended Texas
A&M University, so he knew the old tradition tied
to the lost piece of jewelry,” the story said.
Olfers and Castillo continued the search even
after Ware had to leave.
“I admire him and his tenacity,” Olfers said, in
The next day, Duane Neffendorf joined the two
men in search of the ring. Using a metal detector
didn’t work so the men ended up resorting to
shoveling and sifting through the mud.
‘Don’t play with
me, Steve. My
emotions are fragile
right now. I’m an
eggshell and I’ve
got a piano hanging
over my head’
Later that Sunday, Neffendorf found the ring.
They were able to track down Ware’s address so
that they could tell him the good news.
“When Steve showed up at the door, I said
‘Don’t play with me, Steve. My emotions are fragile
right now. I’m an eggshell and I’ve got a piano
hanging over my head,’” Ware said in the story.
Olfers showed Ware the ring safely locked up in
his office. According to the story, Offers said, “You
couldn’t imagine the joy in his face.”
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44 • FALL 2020
Self serve coming to Southington, Connecticut
Plans for a self serve car wash have been submitted
to town officials in Meriden, Connecticut,
according to a Record-Journal story.
The January 22, 2021, story said Michael Riccio,
Michael Fasulo and David Carabetta own three
parcels of land and when they bought the property
about seven years ago, they had intended to
market it to a drug store chain but those companies
began to slow their growth around that time.
“We had a lot of interest from drug stores and
gas stations and all kinds of stuff, but nothing ever
came to fruition,” Riccio said in the story. “When
the drug stores started pulling back, it shrunk our
pool of potential buyers.”
Carabetta already owns Class Act Auto Wash
in Meriden, Connecticut, which is a self-service
car wash with a 1950s theme.
Construction will hopefully start in the Spring.
“We are beyond excited to finally clean it up,” Riccio
said in the story. “We know it’s been an eyesore
for a long time. It was a product of the market.”
Plans are for there to be five wash stations including
automatic wash, truck and self-service areas.
Sharon Blanchette, a resident who lives next to
the proposed car wash, said having a car wash next
door would not bother her.
“Right now, the way it looks, it’s just an eyesore,”
Blanchette said in the story. “I’m glad they ’re going
to put something there.”
Car wash wants to add on meat cutting and packing facility
In Andover, Hampshire, England, a car wash that
was raided by police for illegally operating as a
meat processing plant is now applying for a permit
to allow for it to legally pack mean. In November
2020, over 5,200 pounds of meat was seized after
council officers stormed the site, finding beef, goat
and lamb in “poor conditions”.
A planning application for the site was submitted
on January 28, according to the Andover Advertiser.
“The new facility will have a covered van delivery
and dispatch area for the meat facility, with a car
wash area being maintained the other side of the
former petrol station’s steel columns nearer to the
road. The hours of its opening are not yet known.”
If approved, the application would allow for the
legitimate packing and cutting of meat at the site,
the story said, following a prohibition of such activity
at the site following a council enforcement raid.
Another similar raid took place in Devizes, England,
back in October, where fresh meat was being
cut in “grossly unhygienic” conditions at a car wash.
The facility’s operator, Gent Jakupi, moved his
operations to the new car wash site iwithout registeringwith
the council or Food Standards Agency.
This site was then raided on November 27. At
the time, according to the story, Jakupi said that
he was buying the meat fresh and shipping it the
same day, so was unaware that he needed a licence.
He added that his premises were cleaned thoroughly,
describing the floor as “so clean I would be
happy to eat off it.”
However Councillor Simon Jacobs, cabinet
member for public health and public protectionnd,
disagreed and said officers were “shocked” by
Jacobs was quoted as saying, “They found that
even the most basic requirements such as clean
food rooms, a hot water supply, washing facilities,
the control of pests and basic welfare facilities for
food handlers were missing. This business has put
their customers at risk.”
The application is currently under consideration
by Wiltshire Council, with a decision to be made
in due course, the story said.
FALL 2020 • 45
INTRODUCING NEW AND IMPROVED PRODUCTS
AND SERVICES FOR SELF SERVE CAR WASHES
Spray from Buffalo Scents
Have you noticed that mud, grime, and grit sometimes builds up in the
outer holes of the fiberglass grating in your car wash bay? It’s difficult
to clean out this sludge and it might begin to collect gravel and small
pieces of trash. This is unattractive and potentially unsafe for customers.
In addition, this increases the possibility that brushes will pick up solid
particles that can scratch or damage vehicle surfaces.
Mud Stopper plugs easily and quickly
solve this problem! Once you identify
which holes in your grating collect mud,
you can clean them out and insert a plug
in each one. This directs the mud and
sludge further towards the center of the
grate where it will fall into the pit instead
of building up around the edges. Plugs
are easy to insert and perfectly sized for
common car wash grating. Your wash
will instantly look cleaner, stay cleaner,
and provide a safer experience for all
customers and employees. Packs of 100
plugs are available.
Buffalo Scents Room Spray is specifically made to quickly freshen any
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money or swipe their card again.
46 • FALL 2020
FALL 2020 • 47
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. Bay 4 changed to Bay 5
2. Bay 1 hose is gone
3. Pole on roof is missing
4. Bay 4 hose is shorter
5. Sign in Bay 2 is missing
6. White paint in Bay 3 is higher
WE HAVE ANOTHER
Not since Yakov Smirnoff has a
Russian given me such a laugh.
What we have here is an August
2020 video posted to YouTube
of 32-year-old Anna Zhakova of
Saint Petersburg, Russia.
HOW TO MAKE A FLIP BOOK.
Cut out each picture in order as listed below.
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1 2 3 4
Zhakova was apparently unaware
of the power of the self serve car
wash wand and ends up going for
a little tumble, and then another
tumble, and then a backward
somersault, eventually hitting the
wall, and then, voila! With the
grace of Oksana Baiul, she gets
back up again, never letting go of
Maybe it was just a stunt, but
you can judge for yourself by
searching “Woman Has Epic
Car Wash Fail.”
5 6 7 8
According to the YouTube
description, Zhakova was quoted
saying, “The water was very
strong and it took me more than
three attempts to just gain control
of the jet.”
48 • FALL 2020
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FALL 2020 • 49
FILL IN THE
MY GOAL FOR 2021
(BUSINESSWISE) IS TO ....
... make more money! - APW
... make more money than APW. - MEP001
... sell out and retire like Pat Hall - Randy
... raise my prices, new pole sign, paint outside of
building. Maintain the excellent service I provide. -
... I maintain my carwash's equipment very well but
have let the years go by w/ the decals deteriorating
and it's always been too far down on my to-do list
to ever get to... 2021 goal is to make some drafts
to print of ideas for sign shops to then create some
nice-looking decals and signage to where my
signage finally again matches my equipment's high
performance for a change! - Carl
... figure out methanol soap, complete installation of
floor heat, install FRP panels, install air Shamee. -
... paint the wash, introduce new chemicals (in stock,
just running out old stock), stabilize revenue at target
level. - Greg_T
... close the deal and get to work on rehab!! -
... install new wash World Razor, new doors,
new wall panels, lighting, cameras. Sell .25 used
cars, install new detail shop vacuums, build an
awning over my pay station, build an awning over
my token machine, install 5 More streetlights in
my parking lot, install two new internally lit car
wash signs on the building. - Waxman
... stay retired - I.B. Washincars
... hopefully, get stronger in the ability to organize &
be able to access key information pertinent to our 3
semi-automated services that we provide. Easier said
than done ... but if we avoid unnecessary worthless
distractions... - Mjwalsh
... hopefully Survive This Newly Elected President -
... in the words of Randolph Duke: Sell, Mortimer, sell,
sell, sell!! (1980s movie Trading Places, for those of
you too young to remember) - washnvac
Double the Detail business we do. - BenBranam
... buy another wash - Slash007
And we have had more responses to this fill in the
blank thread since its original posting date last year
THE FUNNY THING
ABOUT OWNING A
SELF SERVE IS ___________
…fortunately, when they left 3 hours later, they had cleaned up most of their
mess! The gray bucket that was left behind was taken by the next customer
who drove in. Not sure if it was paint or cleaner, but it was gone when I arrived!
Although I didn't make much money in that bay overnight, I am GRATEFUL they
didn't steal anything, break anything, burn anything or leave a HUGE mess!! …
The funny thing about owning a self serve is seeing such a striking contrast in
people every day: Common sense vs Stupidity, Happy vs Depressed, Grateful
vs Unthankful, Neat vs Messy, Free-spender vs Thrifty, Positive vs Negative,
Introverts vs Extroverts, etc. - Kimberly Berg
…Wondering why I got in this business in the first place... - Twodose
...how people perceive that I probably spend about an hour a week collecting
big bags of money, without having to do any other work! - Greg_T
If you would like to contribute your own answer, visit AutoCareForum.com
and do a keyword search of “fill in the blank.”
50 • FALL 2020
FALL 2020 • 51
It’s the Pits...
Along with dealing with clueless customers and having to repair vandalized equipment, on a scale of
1 to10, how bad is cleaning out the car wash pits? If you do it yourself, from the back-breaking, yuckentrenched
ick, it is most likely a 10. Some have found solace in knowing you can pay others to do it …
but at a cost. So, what is the best solution? Pay in terms of labor, or pay in terms of cost?
Here are some stories from fellow self serve owners who share what works best for them.
John Hilzendeger owns two Monroe Street
Powerwash locations which include self serve
and automatic bays and are located in Spokane
and Hayden, Washington. The Hayden location
has smaller pits requiring monthly cleanings and
they use a clam shell digger for that location. “The
second location in Spokane has much bigger pits,
but with the grate being smaller the clam shell digger
does not work as well so they use a commercial
company that uses a pump/vacuum system,” said
Hilzendeger. They have the commercial company
come in the early spring of each year. The costs of
maintaining the pits is around 1.5% of gross revenue
for the self serve bays.
As for the amount of time it takes, he estimates
it takes roughly 30 minutes per pit.
Kimberly Berg, the owner of the five-bay
self serve Citrus Heights Car Wash, in Citrus
Heights, California, said she hires a local pumping
company which comes out once a year every
52 • WINTER 2021
“I have a 1500-gallon size tank and it costs me
$1050. The process takes less than an hour for them
to suck up the sludge and wash down my pits. Because
their truck is so large, and blocks access to
two wash bays and two vacuums, I schedule them
to come out early in the morning, usually around 7
a.m., in November when business is slow,” Berg said.
As for her advice for new owners, she suggests
scheduling such services regularly as an essential
“When I first purchased my car wash, the pits had
not been emptied in a while. It was full of smelly
sludge, that had backed up into the wash bays.
There was so much sludge, that it required two
trips and cost me double to remove! In the past,
when we noticed more oil in the pits, I dropped in
oil-absorbing sheets, but it's so messy to pull out
the oily sheets and throw them into a trash bag.
This year, I researched an easier solution that is better
for the environment. It's a concentrated liquid
bacterial enzyme, that is supposed to break down
oil in grease traps and drain lines. It's called ‘Get Serious’
and it has 4-star reviews on Amazon. It cost
me $24.98 for 1 gallon. I pour 1 cup (8 ounces) into
my main pit every month, from each of our 5 wash
bays. We'll see how good it works next November,
but it certainly won't hurt anything!”
Mike Walsh, owner of King Koin Launderette
& Car n Dog Wash in Bismarck, North Dakota,
has been in the business for 50 years, and said
that one thing that came about from unbelievable
intense competition from local gas stations no longer
doing any mechanical service work and adding
"100% hands off" drive thru automatics was the
increase from Roto Rooter and many others offering
car wash suction services. “Whereas” he added,
“it was almost impossible for those services in our
area back in the 70s.”
“Those were the days when I personally physically
cleaned out our pits,” Walsh said. “Since I was
a quite a bit younger ... in retrospect ... the exercontinued
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WINTER 2021 • 53
It’s the Pits...
cise probably did me some good ... and timewise
possibly did help to keep (ha ha) me a bit more
out of mischief.”
Another observation, added Walsh, “Was the
farm septic tank pumpers rose to the new potential
business which helps to explain the more small
pumpers willing to serve us car washers starting
back in the late 1980s – early 1990s.”.
Bill Hoaglin of Grubville, Missouri, said they
use a septic pumping company for his seven bays,
plus the reclaimer tank. It costs $450 and they
have them pumped totally clean every 60 days.
He said the cheapest location is $350 for three
bays and the reclaimer pit. “[it is] well worth the
money to [pay] to have it done.”
Tony Fitch, a car wash owner in Oklahoma,
agrees that hiring outside help is the way to go. “Hire
[to have] it done.” Why? “Too many regulations.”
Ervin H. Wyatt owns a four-self-serve and
two-in-bay-automatic car wash in the Western
Slope of Colorado, and he said they do it all inhouse.
“We have our bay pits done by our staff, and
we dump it into a big pit, which we have serviced
every other week costing $300 per time.”
Recent retiree Pat Hall, who previously owned
The Car Pool in Bardstown, Kentucky, said that
back in the early '70s they had a wash with small
pits and they shoveled it straight into the dumpster.
“After that and until my retirement last year,
I always paid to have them cleaned and hauled off.
Most of his pits were 3’x7’ and 4’ foot deep. I would
say we would average a couple of times a year. I had
several different pumpers over the years, but at the
end I think I was paying around $150 per pit.”
Now this is clever!
Carwashforum.com user Alberta North has 8
SS bays with 2 truck wash self serves and he made a
custom bucket. “It works great. I also dump outside
and let it dry.” It is an attachment for a skid steer.
He said he bought the mounting plate and got their
local welding shop to build the bucket to his specs.
The main reason he invented it was to save time,
labor and cost.
“I also don’t have to rely on anyone to come help.
I can do the whole job myself and on my schedule,”
Is pit cleaning the worst job ever?
Or should people just deal with it and
realize it's just part of the job?
Answers submitted via carwashforum.com
Trust me. It is not the worst job ever. Dirty yes
though. I use a company that pumps them out.
Costs me $600 for six bays and may take 2 or3
years before another. And the best part is they give
me money to put their dirt there. - MAC
That blows my mind that y'all can go one, two, or
even three years. I have to clean the five pits at one
of my washes that I just cleaned 3 weeks ago again
this weekend. The other two washes I can only go
about 2 months before they have to be cleaned out.
My biggest pit is 4 ft deep 8 ft long and 3 ft wide
and it's the one that will make it two months. - APW
We clean our pits every 2-3 months.
From my perspective, no option, but to deal with
it. We clean it ourselves. - CENTRALTEX
Worst part is the smell from grain that is fermenting
in the bottom. - SWAMPDONKEY
I have to clean pits on average every 2 months.
No way I could afford to be paying someone
else to do it. - SOAPY
Lots of variables. When I was a kid my dad paid
me to clean pits with a bucket and a shovel. One
of the pits was large with a manhole cover that
required getting down into the pit to clean it. That
was not a lot of fun but after watching Dirty Jobs,
it is not the worst job ever, it may not even be the
worst job in car washing.
Moved to a Handi-clam at the recommendation of
guys on the forum and no more getting into the pit.
Now we have the pits pumped, easiest solution but
a lot more expensive. - DAVIDM
In 2019 I had a sewer problem which required
me to climb into the tank and jet the line myself.
This took hours. The problem was the 'plumber'
had connected my new sewer pumps incorrectly,
so the wrong diagnosis of the problem was made.
THIS was the hardest job at the car wash for
me - WAXMAN
My wash is in a unique site. Affluent market
area and customers that really don't get their
cars too dirty. I wash the bays down by blowing
and dirt to the vacant lot behind the place.
Pits are 3'W by 3'D by 6'L. - MAC
Mine wash was built for rural use knowing mud
was going to be a problem, so they designed my
pits 9 feet deep. Once every year and a half for
me seems to be the average for cleaning.
Dirty job! Keep those drain pipes clean with a
jetter too! Overflowing pit drains with freezing
weather is certainly no fun! - DAVID ROLF
Mine only has one pit; the rest have a drain with a
basin that lifts out to catch most of the mud. The
basins have to be dumped about once a week,
which isn't a huge deal. The pit is huge, 4' across,
8' long and 8' deep. I don't know why they made
it so deep, the lines from the other bays come in
a foot off the bottom, so I can't let the mud get
above that. It only costs $500 to have it cleaned
once a year. The original owner managed to go his
first 8 years without cleaning it. - MEP001
My guess is that if I didn't shovel my own pits, we
would need to get them pumped every 3 months or
so, at a cost of $2,000 (which is just way too much
for a wash of our turnover to absorb). We had
them pumped once out of necessity but will aim to
never do so again. So, each week I use old-fashioned
shovels and buckets to keep the pits nearly
empty. This also helps to keep drains and the final
discharge pit clean. It seems that our pumping and
disposal costs in Australia are much higher than in
the U.S. - GREG_T
I have a Ring-O-Matic and 2 Handi Clam. I usually
have an employee hit the pits and dump it in my
drying area. I have 2 Handi Clams...1 6' one for
hitting the pits to buy us some more time, and a 15'
one for hitting the interceptor. Local septic company
wants $500/pit to haul and dump (they also
need to test). I pay a guy $300 to haul away the
dried-out dirt. - CAR_WASH_GUY
I have to shovel out my pits every 7 days in the
winter and every 14 days in the summer. It's a real
PITA! When you're 70 years old it can be a challenge.
99% of washes in my metro area have 500-600
gallon in-ground pre-cast concrete tanks under
each bay…plumbed to a 1,500-gallon partitioned
sand/oil separator buried out in the parking lot.
The bay tanks are topped with cast iron, traffic
duty sewer grates. The s/o tank has a manhole
cover over each section.
Prior to DOT and municipalities converting to
liquid deicers from salt and sand we had to have
the bay tanks pumped out about twice a year. The
s/o tank had to be pumped every 2-3 years. Cost
was about $2,500 per visit for my 8-bay.
After DOT switched to liquid deicers our 500 tanks
could go nearly 1-1/2 years between pumping…
there aren’t any unpaved roads for miles around!
Then, the local sewer district created a Sand/Oil
inspection division. A tech shows up with a test rig
and an iPad. He dips the tank and takes a photo
with the iPad. An email is immediately generated
showing the test results and remedy, if needed.
(They allow only 10% of the tank’s capacity to
contain solids…it’s usually only superfine sludge).
The techs have been on the property searching for
the source of waste stream contamination…antifreeze,
oil, toxins, etc. They take this stuff seriously
because it kills the “bugs'' at the sanitary sewer
The pumping company we used specializes in
carwashes. Their trucks and facility are state-ofthe-art.
They accept all responsibility for treatment
25 years of ownership and I cannot recall ever
touching the mud! My rural and mountain town
friends…not so lucky!
Side note: Since liquid deicers were introduced…less
cost for solids removal…more wintertime
revenue from customers wanting to get the
Mag Chloride off their vehicles ASAP! A win-win for
the carwashes! And, I no longer have to have my
windshield repaired/replaced on an annual basis. A
loss for the glass shops. - CANTBREAK80
54 • WINTER 2021
Do you clean
the car wash
No, I hire
help to do it
No, an employee does it
From the Forum:
Do you clean the car wash pits yourself?
Answers submitted via carwashforum.com
I have cleaned my pits for over 20 years, on my
2nd Ring-O-Matic 750. I pump in the evening
when the wash has slowed down. I paid off the
first pumper in 2 1/2 years pumping my 3 washes
and hiring out too. I didn’t pump sewage tanks. -
I’ve been digging them, but my back can’t handle
it anymore. I’m dealing with four washes now, we
just priced out having them pumped and they want
$6000 twice a year. Time to buy a Ring-o-matic
clamshell cleaner... - MEP001
I used a Ring-O-Matic for 25 years and did all
the pumping myself for the first15 years. Then
I mostly let my employees do it for 10 years.
Now I use a tractor with a custom-made pit shovel,
and I do the pit cleaning about 1/2 the time as this
makes cleaning the pits like sitting on an easy chair.
Gator from this forum made the first one. I do my
own, and make sure I do some each week rather
than letting it build up. At this stage I can still get it
done with shovel and buckets, but I’ll see where I’m
at in 5-10 years! - GREG_T
On my dad’s first wash, back in the early 70s, we
shoveled them out, directly into the dumpster. All
subsequent washes, we built with large pits and
always paid to have them cleaned. - I.B. WASHINCARS
Do it myself with a Ring-O-Matic. I have 4 bays total
and it only takes me a couple of hours. Then I haul
the dirt to my property and dump it. - COOLL903
So, I had my pits in the bays pumped about a month
ago, 3-1000 gallon in the bays, this guy charged me
$350.00, I know cheap, I gave him $450.00 and said
I will see you next year! …They take it to a sewage
treatment plant. I actually offered for them to unload
some on my property because they couldn’t fit
all three bays on their truck for one trip, and they
refused to do it. - TWODOSE
…The best price we have found is $350 per
1,250-gallon bay and compared to everyone else was
crazy cheap. - OURTOWN
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WINTER 2021 • 55
Everything you need to Succeed
From the most trusted name in Self Serve Equipment
IQ SELF WASH
D&S Carwash Equipment
56 • WINTER 2021
From Lamar Skarda
(PAST SWCA PRESIDENT, 2000-2001)
This originally appeared in the Spring 2015 edition
of Self Serve Car Wash News and was contributed
during the SCWA Convention and EXPO
In 1991, the National Institute for Occupational
Safety and Health (NIOSH) developed a revised
equation to assess lifting conditions.The 1991 equation
uses six factors that have been determined to
influence lifting difficulty the most.The 1991 equation
maintains the biomechanical criteria for establishing
the maximum lower back compression force
of 770 lbs.The load constant had been reduced
from 90 pounds to 51 pounds because of the need
to increase the minimum horizontal distance from
6 inches to 10 inches (which is believed to be the
minimum attainable horizontal distance as measured
from the spine during lifting).
Application of the NIOSH lifting tasks assumes
• Lifting task is two-handed, smooth, in front of the
body, hands are at the same height or level, moderate-width
loads (i.e., they do not substantially
exceed the body width of the lifter), and the load
is evenly distributed between both hands.
• Manual handling activities other than lifting are
minimal and do not require significant energy expenditure,
especially when repetitive lifting tasks
are performed (i.e., holding, pushing, pulling,
carrying, walking or climbing).
• Temperatures (66-79°F) or humidity (35-50%) outside
of the ranges may increase the risk of injury.
• One-handed lifts, lifting while seated or kneeling,
lifting in a constrained or restricted workspace,
lifting unstable loads, wheelbarrows and shovels
are not tasks designed to be covered by the lifting
• The shoe sole to floor surface coupling should
provide for firm footing.
Also, according to OSHA, the factors
associated with back disorders include:
• Reaching while lifting.
• Poor posture--how one sits or stands.
• Stressful living and working activities--
staying in one position for too long.
• Bad body mechanics--how one lifts,
pushes, pulls, or carries objects.
• Poor physical condition-losing the strength
and endurance to perform physical tasks
• Poor design of job or workstation.
• Repetitive lifting of awkward items, equipment.
• Lifting and lowering assumes the same level of
risk for low back injuries.
• Using the Guidelines in situations that do not
conform to these ideal assumptions will typically
underestimate the hazard of the lifting task under
According to OSHA, here are some tips on how
to avoid back injuries:
• Turn the whole body by moving the feet
instead of twisting the torso.
• Use long-handled tools to minimize torso bending.
• Use the "right" shovel for the job.
• Use round-bladed shovels for
sand and dry earth.
• Use square-bladed shovels for
coarse-grained materials such
as gravel or rocky soil from piles.
• Use shovels with a rolled step for digging in
hard earth, so that the pressure applied to the
bottom of feet is spread over a wider area.
• Use smaller shovel heads (trenching shovel)
to minimize the weight of material lifted.
• Break digging tasks into segments no longer
than 15 minutes mixed with non-digging
tasks, depending on environmental conditions
and required digging effort.
• Alternate shoveling between
left and right sides of the body.
• Reduce the throwing distance by placing
wheelbarrows close to the digging area.
Optimal throw distance is approximately
3 feet and should not exceed 4 feet.
Some of the causes of Back Disorders
• Use proper personal protective equipment
(PPE), including protective gloves and
safety shoes with steel shanks.
• Twisting while lifting.
• Bending while lifting.
• Maintaining bent postures.
• Heavy lifting.
• Poor footing such as slippery floors,
or constrained posture.
• Lifting with forceful movement.
• Vibration, such as with lift truck drivers,
delivery drivers, etc.
Signs and Symptoms: include pain
when attempting to assume normal
posture, decreased mobility, and pain when
standing or rising from a seated position.
It’s not an idea original to me, but what I’ve
done in most of my bays is attempt to keep
the mud out of the pit.
1. I take the grate off, put a flat quarter-inch
diamond plate on top of it, and on one side
of it put about a 2” piece of pipe that sticks
up even with the top of your concrete.
2. Then I put a slit down one side of it
and about 95% of the mud stays on
top of the pit – stays up in the bay.
3. Then you have your guy come in,
I guess during hunting season, you [them]
come in 2-3 times a day and clean it up.
4. It’ll usually be dried up so you can
throw it in the dumpster.
If you do it all the time, you don’t end up
with one of those 10,000-pound dumpsters
that turns the truck over and he can actually
dump the stuff and haul it off on a regular
basis. If you have a really muddy time, then
maybe you need to get twice-a-week service
…About two years ago I started paying them
a little more money and once a week they dig
one pit and they go from one pit to the next
pit. They dig the pit today, leave it laying on
top, it dries out and the next day they put that
one out of service. The next day they come
in, throw it in the dumpster and the next week
they do another one. So, you minimize the
amount of weight you get in the dumpster
and you get it hauled off on a regular basis.
Obviously, that doesn’t work on the final pit,
you’ve got to have something else there, but if
you keep your bay pits pretty clean, you don’t
have that much carry-over into that final pit
which I put a solid plate on top of and I can
get it pumped once a year. And even if I spend
$2,000 a year to get that one pumped, I’m in
pretty good shape by just doing the everyday
maintenance once a week. That means at a
six-bay car wash you’re going to be able to dig
five of them by hand. That means every five
weeks, that pit that they dug five weeks ago,
they’re digging it again. It’s done by my regular
clean-up guy … If you don’t have a regular
clean-up guy, in my opinion, you’re going to
have problems. I don’t get to my car washes
first thing every morning, but my clean-up
guys do and that’s who I pay to dig them out.
I got one who digs it all the way to the bottom.
The others dig about the first 18” off, but
within about 5 weeks they’re digging about
another 18” off, so it works fine.
WINTER 2021 • 57
58 • WINTER 2021
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.
For anyone who is a fan of Dateline
NBC or 20/20, you’re going to love
In fact, try and read it out loud using the voice of
Dateline reporter Keith Morrison (pictured right):
It seems as if a car wash played a role in tracking
down a missing woman in Queen Creek, Arizona.
According to 12News, 28-year-old Jessica Goodwin
was declared missing after she didn’t show up
for work on January 11, 2021. According to family
members, her bank account showed the last place
her credit card was used was at a San Tan Valley
car wash around 1 p.m. on the same day she did
not show up for work. “The sister of the missing
female stopped by and asked if we had video surveillance,”
Steve Engen, the car wash manager, told
12News. “Because this evidently was the last place
that the missing person’s credit card was used.”
A few days later, sheriff’s deputies found her
white 2013 Volkswagen Jetta abandoned near the
car wash in Queen Creek, Arizona, around 7 p.m.
There was no evidence of the missing 28-year-old,
but authorities said there was “minor damage” to
But the search continued and then Goodwin
was found alive the following Sunday on January
18, near the Gila River Indian Community and
was airlifted to a local hospital. She is in critical
condition, officials said, but is expected to survive.
“This is the outcome we have all been hoping
and praying for,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb
said in a statement. “I commend our detectives
and our Search and Rescue team for their commitment
and attention to detail.”
And, I personally, commend the car wash.
A few questions were asked while
reading this next story. Such as: What
is a lollipop lady?
And, what is a forecourt? Or an outdoor laundrette?
Thankfully, we now have some answers.
On January 20 CCTV footage captured a thief
stealing, “a lollipop lady’s car from under her nose
at a North West petrol station,” in Rochdale, Manchester,
England, according to LancsLive.com.
So what is a lollipop lady? It is what is referred
to here in the states as a crossing guard:
Now, that makes sense! Unless of course you are
a woman who sells lollipops-- not sure if there is a
different name for that.
“The offender can be seen getting out of a silver
Ford Fiesta after it pulled up next to the Toyota Aygo
on the forecourt. He then crouches down and sneaks
up to the victim’s car, which was left unlocked with
the keys in the ignition,” the story said.
Now what is a forecourt? A forecourt, according
to the Cambridge Dictionary, is a, “flat area in
front of a large building.”
Jenny Wild and her husband Stewart are shown
using the outdoor laundrette when the robbery
takes place. What is an outdoor laundrette? Well,
it is a washer and dryer on the outside used for
washing larger items, as pictured here in the
“When I saw the CCTV of him creeping ‘round
I felt sick,” Jenny told the reporter. “What gives
them the right to think they can just come and take
someone’s car like that? But everything is replaceable,
and no one got hurt - that’s the main thing.”
That’s the spirit, Jenny, but we still hope the
blighter is caught.
This also concludes this
segment of Let’s Learn
WINTER 2021 • 59
Here’s a break from the crime stories and
instead, it’s just one about a bad driver.
In fact, while reading about this incident, I made a mental
note to thank my dear father for teaching me how to drive
almost 30 years ago. I remember him clutching the glovebox,
trying to calmly tell me to pull over as I was driving
the wrong way down a one-way boulevard… Because of
his steadfast determination to make sure I knew my brake
pedal from the gas, I didn’t do what this woman did back
in November. In Randolph, Massachusetts, a woman put
her vehicle in drive to pull out of a car wash… yet her foot
was still on the accelerator. According to a boston.com
story, the car flew through the parking lot and crashed into
the fence and vacuuming station. Thankfully, no one was
hurt. However, the same cannot be said for the vacuuming
station…. or the fence…. or the woman’s car.
This one is from last summer, but
it’s too good to not include.
On the morning of July 20, 2020, the owner of the
Water Works Car Wash in Dundee, Michigan, called
the police after he discovered that “someone had
defecated in one of the car wash bays,” according to
the police department’s Facebook page. Luckily, a
review of security surveillance video identified both
the suspect and his vehicle. A 57-year-oldman was
charged and he has been banned from the car wash
and was given a trespass warning.
The Facebook post also stated that the stall was
cleaned and sanitized by Water Works staff. “As a
reminder there are several public restrooms available
in the Dundee area including gas stations and
restaurants - all available for your #1 and #2 needs.”
60 • WINTER 2021
The dark web’s got nothing on a
stealthy car wash employee and the
car wash’s security network!
In Wausau, Wisconsin, a man has been accused
of trying to purchase a car wash with not one, not
two, but with 60 different stolen credit cards. According
to WSAU News, Jason Neidert would allegedly,
“purchase batches of credit card numbers
from the dark web, then re-program old magnetic
strip cards such as gift cards or hotel keys with
the numbers. An employee at a Wausau-area Kwik
Trip then observed him attempting to use the
cards at the store’s car wash and alerted the company’s
Police said surveillance footage shows Neidert
attempting to purchase a car wash with as many
as 60 different cards at a time. “Nearly all of the
cards were immediately declined at the terminal,”
the story said.
And, for those who do not know, including myself
a few minutes ago, according to Wired.com,
“the Dark Web is a collection of websites that are
publicly visible, yet hide the IP addresses of the
servers that run them. That means anyone can visit
a Dark Web site, but it can be very difficult to figure
out where they’re hosted—or by whom.”
Neidert, who entered a not guilty plea to more
than a dozen charges on December 16, is being
held on a $1,000 cash bond. “Should he be released
he’s ordered to have no contact with any
Kwik Trip stories.”
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WINTER 2021 • 61
From the Archives!
Check out this crime story from
the Spring 2009 issues of
Self Serve Car Wash News
(Thank you, JJ Jakubowski!) Winter
According to their choices of
weaponry, these men were clearly
not prepared when they showed up at
a car wash to either “intimidate” or
Back on December 10, three men were caught and
charged with possession of “offensive” weapons following
a disturbance at the Super Hand car wash in
Elderslie, Scotland, according to The Gazette.
“Police were called to the village’s main road at
around 10.40 a.m…. after staff at the Super Hand
car wash reported seeing three men brandishing
weapons. It is claimed the suspects – aged 24, 28 and
37 – were seen holding a baseball bat, shovel and
screwdriver, the story said.
When police arrived, they reviewed CCTV footage
and arrested the three men, who were still at the
“It is claimed they had visited the premises about
a dispute over the ownership of a vehicle,” the story
A 25-year-old man is facing more than
a dozen possible charges, after getting
caught on camera at multiple car
According to the Greeley Tribune, Jeffrey Groves
has quite the rap sheet of offensives including:
• On October 18, a woman called around 10:15
a.m. to report someone broke into three vending
machines at a car wash, stealing about $100 in
change and causing approximately $1,500 in
damages. Surveillance video shows the suspect
driving a lime green Chevrolet Spark.
• On October 18, a car wash owner reported that
a vacuum was stolen from the property. Video
showed someone at the car wash around 1 a.m.
removing the vacuum from its base and loading it
into the back of a vehicle.
• On October 21, shortly before noon, an operator
with two car wash locations reported that someone
broke into several vending machines stealing
about $20 in change and causing nearly $4,000
in damages. Video showed someone looking
like Groves allegedly cutting into four vending
machines at one of the locations. The suspect was
wearing clothes matching the clothes the suspect
was wearing in footage of similar burglaries,
according to arrest records.
• Three days later on October 24, the same woman
who reported thefts on October 18 called again to
report someone stole a vacuum from the business.
Video from about 12:30 a.m. that morning showed
the suspect remove the vacuum and load it into the
back of a vehicle.
• At 2:17 a.m. on November 6, police responded to
a burglary in progress at one of the car washes
that had been stolen from back in October. But,
this time an officer found Groves trying to hide
behind a transformer, according to arrest records.
Groves admitted to trying to break into the vacuum
machine, according to the police report.
Police also found a bolt cutter and other burglary
tools in the area where Groves was found, the story
said. Groves admitted to owning the tools.
“Groves was arrested on suspicion of 15 criminal
charges, including seven third-degree burglary
charges, theft charges, three mischief charges and
possession of burglary tools.”
This one doesn’t have to do with a car
wash, but I just had to include it.
In Fullerton, California, a man was caught on camera
breaking into a pizza joint on November 16. Not only
did he steal $500 in cash, but he also took the time to
make himself a pizza before he fled.
According to KCBS, the burglar was caught by police
after breaking into Big Slice Pizza. “Surveillance
video shared by police showed the suspect measuring
out dough for a pizza, all while wearing gloves
for food safety.”
Pizza manager Rafael Calles said he can joke about
the incident now that the suspect has been caught. But
on the morning after the incident he didn’t think it was
very funny. That morning employees came in to find
cash drawers containing $500 had been stolen as well
as electronics, tools, a few six packs of beer and a delivery
car were also gone.
The suspect apparently broke in by forcing open a
patio door. He also spent more than two hours inside
“But it’s the images of him working two balls of
dough like any experienced pizza maker that have
everybody talking,” according to the report.
According to the Orange County Register, Oscar
Alexander Sanchez, 25, was taken into custody and
has numerous charges against him including suspicion
of grand theft and burglary.
Happy birthday…. in jail!
According to a cleveland.com story, an employee of
the Village Auto Wash in Orange, Ohio, called police
on the morning of December 29 after he noticed several
hundred dollars missing from the safe.
“The employee [said] he had emptied two selfpay
machines believed to contain several hundred
dollars the day before, depositing the proceeds in the
office safe. Upon his return the next morning, the
Beachwood man, 28, found all the money missing,”
the story said.
When police asked who had keys to the building
and/or the code to the safe, the employee said there is
one other employee who happened to be turning 51
that day. But that’s now all. He also had been on nocall,
no-show status at the car wash in recent weeks.
And on top of that, he was already suspected of stealing
money earlier while on the job.
In a smart move, they changed the locks on the
building. They also had camera footage to review…
62 • WINTER 2021
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64 • WINTER 2021