JOIN US IN - WashTrends

JOIN US IN - WashTrends

a national publication for savvy carwash owners and suppliers

Join us in…



new age carwashing

Published by:

Bay Media, Inc.

© 2012 Bay Media, Inc.

550M Ritchie Highway, #271

Severna Park, MD 21146



twitter: @carwashtrends

Facebook: WashTrends

Web site:

Patricia H. Troy, President

WashTrends Contributors:

Publisher: Patricia H. Troy

Editor-in-Chief: Sandy Travis-


Editorial Advisor: Pam Piro

Designer: Betsy Earley

Web Site: Anne Benjamin

Editorial Content:

Sandra Loepker

Anne Marie Midula

Wendi Winters

Lucia Regan

Advertising Sales:

Cheryl Kinney


Doralee Billings

Patty Blakeney

Laurie Plemons

Sea Williams

Want to Advertise?

Call, email, or twitter, facebook…

Let’s Connect!

Cheryl Kinney at:

ph: 410-647-8402


on the cover:



Phyllis Saroff is both

an illustrator and fine

artist. She illustrates

children’s books,

magazines and scientific

wildlife pieces,

and exhibits her fine

art in an Annapolis

gallery. She feels

fortunate to be able to

paint what she loves, and it shows in her

work. She often says that she benefited

from excellent teachers and a father who

made sure she could become an artist.


Letter from the Editor:

Meeting the heat of summer head on, the carwash industry is

hot! Innovation, change and the challenges of 2012 and beyond

are creating dynamic new options for success. This issue features

lots of buzz-worthy news direct from the recent Las Vegas

Carwash Show and our ‘round the world sources.

Want to reduce the cost of energy, increase productivity

and reduce maintenance? Check out our news on cutting edge, brand new products that

deliver that promise. Ready to jump start your marketing efforts with social media?

We’ll get you there. And don’t miss our interview with dedicated, energetic, Lisa Lyons, past

president of the International Carwash Association, who shares her thoughts on growing up in

the carwash business and her views on the future of this fast changing industry. Our featured

profile is the acclaimed Tommy Carwash, innovators of design.

So join us on the pages of our latest issue. We’ve got stimulating ideas, resourceful solutions

and information with impact. WashTrends covers it all and offers you new options for doing

business, as well as communicating and serving your customers today and into the future.

And take note! Our Live Media edition makes it easy to enjoy WashTrends from your

computer, your smart phone or your tablet.

As always, our goal is to bring you unbiased, trendsetting, up-to-the-minute information that

can move your business to the future with economic success.

WashTrends Publication Schedule:

Sandy Travis Bildahl



Product Guide Special Report: Deadline August 1, 2012; Publication Date - September 2012

2012.3: Deadline September 1, 2012; Publication Date - October 2012

2012.4: Deadline - November 1, 2012; Publication Date - December 2012

trendsetter Special Report: Deadline January 15, 2013; Publication Date - February 2013

washtrends is changing the way it designates its issues. Our four regular issues will be 2012.1, 2012.2.,

2012.3, and 2012.4. Also look for our Product Guide and trendsetter Special Reports.

New Advertising Option - Presentation Pages (front and back)

in the Live Media edition. See D & S ad and Annual Live

Media Product Guide for examples.

Known as one of Unitec’s most innovative products,

the Sentinel is an internet-enabled kiosk that

simplifies the transaction experience, while boosting

revenue and customer loyalty for car wash owners.

Unitec develops, designs and

manufactures reliable, innovative

point-of-sale entry systems for

the car wash industry. In addition

to selling complete systems, system

components and parts, we develop

custom applications for high-volume

resellers and retailers, providing

owners of automated car wash

facilities the right equipment, tools

and marketing opportunities to

increase revenues while improving

customer loyalty.

Unitec has earned a reputation for

producing systems of the highest

quality and reliability in the industry,

from simple swipe-and-go credit card

terminals to the most sophisticated,

internet-enabled and video-capable

touch screen kiosks. We are in business

to satisfy the car wash owner’s foremost

needs, offering free-standing,

customer-activated products that

integrate with all types of car wash

control technologies.

7125 Troy Hill Drive, Elkridge, MD 21075 | 1.800.4UNITEC |

WashTrends / 2012.2

D&S Car Wash Systems

Diamond Shine

Extrutech Plastics, Inc.

A Weekly Blog Posting from WashTrends and the Industry Leaders

From the web site

By PaT Troy, PubliSher of WaShTrendS

As the publisher of WashTrends magazine, I want to

call your attention to our weekly blog, called CarWash

Words. This is a weekly blog, with a new post each

weekend. Posts are written by an array of carwash

industry folks on carwash related topics of their own

choosing. It is my observation that innovation in the

carwash industry springs from individual hard work and

meeT our bloggerS:

The buzz created around town

regarding our Baby Car Seat and

Stroller Steam Sanitizing service

has been unbelievable. The key

to this response is knowing our

target market. We are located in

an affluent community on the Long

Island Sound, where many families

live. Most of the clients who bring

their cars in for a Steam Hand Car

Wash or Detail are moms. And the

moms are buzzing to their friends

about the Car Seat and Stroller

service. What’s more powerful than “word of mouth” marketing?

The lightbulb moment came one Saturday morning while

detailing the interior of an SUV that had three child car seats

in the back. Milk and juice stained the seat covers and there

were lots of crumbs from different snacks the kids had eaten

in the car seats. The seats were full of all kinds of germs. Click!

The light turned on! Why not offer a service to steam clean the

car seats and strollers while moms were here getting their cars

washed or detailed.

A recent study conducted by Charles P. Gerba, Ph. D., professor

of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona and

a leading authority on germs, found that car seats often have

bacteria on them—and enough to make a child sick with an ear

infection or strep throat.

And that’s not all! They all typically have some mold growth,

which can be particularly worrisome if you or your child suffers

from allergies or asthma. Dr. Gerba, suggests washing your

child safety seat cover, plastic shell and harness of the child

safety seat a few times per month. Steam sanitizing is a simple

and effective way to clean the seats and prevent children from

flashes of genius, coupled with a healthy competitive

environment. The trends don’t trickle down from a

few people at the top. On the contrary, they seem to

percolate up from the bottom. In my opinion, that is

why a magazine like WashTrends is important to the

industry. Somebody needs to keep an eye on what is

driving change and report it throughout the industry.

eric birdSall, birdie’S auTo SPa

STeaming car SeaTS—a neW innovaTive & green niche

WashTrends / 2012.2

becoming ill due to bacteria and other germs.

While baby car seats and strollers have visible spot and stains,

the harmful germs are what you can’t see. On March 4, 2010,

experts from NBC’s The Today Show found Strep bacteria

present in a car seat. They then stated, “if the child were to

touch the car seat, then put its hands into its mouth, the child

would become ill.”

In another study, Dan O’Brien, a lab technician from Richards

Laboratories of Utah took samples from 20 car seats and found

two seats tested positive for E. coli. One seat tested positive

for staph. Keeping children’s health at the forefront, steam

sanitizing is clearly an effective and cost efficient method for

cleaning car seats and strollers.

Never shoot down a marketing strategy until you give it ample

time to succeed. In this economy it is imperative to be creative

with new “Green” marketing strategies and understand that

sometimes the most cost efficient strategies are the most

effective if implemented correctly.

Disclaimer: Any repeated/excessive cleaning to baby

car seats will remove the flame retardants. Customer

is responsible for having a Certified Passenger Safety

Technician reinstall the baby car seat.

Eric Birdsall, Birdie’s Auto Spa: Innovative “Green”Services Up-sell


Eric Birdsall “Birdie” is the Owner/Operator of Birdie’s Auto Spa which he

opened in the summer of 2011 in Rye, NY, with going “Green” in mind as

the home of the tri- state area’s first Steam Hand Car Wash. Birdie, born

and raised in Rye, NY, says, “We always try to come up with innovative

“Green” services to stay at the forefront of our customer’s ever changing

“Eco-friendly” needs”.

Let’s hear from you today! This blog was repeated from the Carwash

Words blog at

STePhanie holland: To geT carS in The WaSh line, you

need To go online. ThaT’S Where The Women are.

Stephanie Holland created the She-conomy blog—a Guy’s Guide to Marketing to Women. It is a highlight

of current marketing trends and statistical data along with her opinions and perspective as a female

marketer. Feel free to check it out at and let her know what you think.

nicK loPeZ: can i helP you?

Meet Nick Lopez, Director of Operations—The man behind the smile. Whether behind the scenes

wrenching on machinery or welcoming guests at the pay terminal when they first drive up, Nick Lopez

is an integral part of the Bubble Bath Car Wash. Nick, a San Antonio native, joined the Bubble Bath

family in 2008 as an Outside Sales Representative, just a year after earning his Bachelors degree from

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Within six months he was promoted to Director of Operations and

completed an intensive car wash training program in Florida. “I’ve worked in customer service fields my

entire life,” says Lopez. “So it wasn’t a stretch for me to mix the advanced technology of the carwash

with our ‘every person gets a smile’ guarantee.”Since taking over, Lopez has revamped the wash. He’s

installed new equipment in the tunnel—like the tire shiner, faster spinning wrap cloths and even readjusted

all the blowers. That’s all in addition to hiring and maintaining a friendly and loyal staff.

marK e. elliS: underSTanding elecTrical PoWer

aT The carWaSh

Mark E. Ellis is the president of Southland Auto Wash, and the founding member of Xpert Solutions,

LLC. As a lifelong carwasher (since 1971), he takes great pride in the fact that Southland is known

as a top carwash company by his peers and competitiors, as well as by the West Michigan motoring

public, Southland’s customers. The number of conveyorized washes operated by Southland is now

five in the metro Grand Rapids area,as well as one 24 hour self service wash and a detail center. All

the equipment and systems are modern and very sophisticated.

Mark is also an acknowledged expert in the design, installation, and operation of automated

carwashes, and is active as a consultant to new investors as well as current owner/operators.

craig hanSon: WhaT iS your neW uniQue Selling


Craig Hanson is president at Mid Atlantic Car wash Technology Inc.

DBA. Washtech

1997- Present. Lives in Charlottesville, VA, with his wife and three children.

Prior experience includes Vice President at The Clean Machine Inc., a full service car wash

company with seven locations.

12 years Captain of the United States Marines Corps. Infantry.

B. A. English at Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY.

jody devere:The car WaSh induSTry, Social media

& reaching Women

Jody DeVere works with automotive retailers to become Certified Female Friendly®, learning how to

create a culture and experience that attracts and retains loyal women customers. The

Certified Female Friendly® program includes marketing and advertising programs that resonate with

women. She is a social media marketing to women expert, automotive journalist, car care & safety

spokesperson who has worked with many automotive brands; Michelin, J.D. Power and Associates,

National Automobile Dealer Association, Automotive Service Association, Mercedes, Benz, Motor

Oil Matters, Shell, Pennzoil, Quaker State, Mobil1 and Turtle Wax to name a few, to improve the

experience of women at automotive retail locations and reach women through innovative marketing

to women initiatives. Her message: “Women are just as passionate about the cars they drive as the

guys are. Creating an experience that “WOW’s” women will increase market share, drive ROI and

differentiate automotive retailers.”

WashTrends / 2012.2

jeanne huber morr: are you going To The car WaSh

ShoW? Well read ThiS…

Jeanne is known as “the girl behind the guy’s name” as owner and operator of Ron’s Express

Carwash & Oil Change which won Car Wash of the Year in 2010 from Suburban News Publication’s

Reader’s Choice Award. Her company has also been nominated for and received numerous awards

including Excellence in Entrepreneurship through the Ohio State Chamber of Commerce.

Jeanne’s book, Under The Hood with Jeanne was published in 2010 and helped to launch her carwash

and oil change consulting and public speaking business. Her hands-on approach in building three

centers from scratch and successfully selling two locations provide her with a wealth of experience

for her clients to draw from. Visit as well as for informational

videos and helpful hints regarding car maintenance.

Karl murPhy: SucceSS and neTWorKing—geT linKed!!

Owner/Operator of two car washes, a detail facility, oil change shop and growing mobile detailing

business serving the greater Raleigh area of North Carolina.

Founder of series and to share marketing, time management

and operations expertise with other business owners. Bizguy provides marketing tools, tactics,

coaching and strategy to independent business owners nationally.

if you are interested in writing for the carwash Words

blog, please contact cheryl Kinney at

The Buzz: Everyone Is Talking About …

The recent Carwash Show in Las Vegas had

quite a number of buzz-worthy innovations.

And there was one stand-out technology that

created what seemed like the biggest buzz

in the room. It was all about new products

developed to reduce energy costs, distributed

by two of the vendors present at the show.

Some of the buzz centered around the

Powerhouse, a power enhancer system from

Black Hawk. The Powerhouse was invented

by Tennessean Jerry Johnson, who has forty

years of electrical experience. “Black Hawk

definitely created a big stir at the show,” said

Pam Piro, president/CEO of Unitec.

The buzz was also strong for Vortex’s Power-

Save, a product that also lowers energy costs

using similar technology. Its dramatic black

and electric yellow booth was hard to miss – as

was its 6’6” tall president Jamie Christiansen.

Vortex Power Products Inc. is a family-owned

business based near Orlando in Orange City,

Florida. Through a network of over 900 dealers

worldwide, the company is the distributor for

different versions of its energy saving products

to customers in commercial or residential

businesses and to various government

agencies. In addition to the Power-Saver,

Vortex offers light managers, power monitors,

solar attic fans, solar panels – and an

Aquanizer used by NASA to purify drinking

water on the International Space Station.

A look at Powerhouse

Powerhouse, which has no moving parts,

hardware, software or widgets, reduces energy

consumption while maintaining work output.

Quickly installed by a certified electrician,

its adherents claim it eliminates low voltage

problems while stabilizing the voltage of an

entire system.

There are myriad other features and benefits

of the Powerhouse system, but what is making

it attractive to carwash owners is its bottom

line benefit: it reduces the cost of energy

while increasing productivity and the life

of a company’s equipment, while slimming

maintenance costs.

It’s not just for the carwash industry: several

firms—and the U.S. Army— are taking a look

at Powerhouse and products by competitors.

They’re either testing it or purchasing units.

Customers include the Wendy’s Restaurant

chain, Dollar General, VI-JON Laboratories,

and other commercial businesses and state

and local government agencies.

There are also Powerhouse systems for

residential use.

Black Hawk representative Phil Kennedy

noted: “We are putting a unit on a large

carwash tomorrow. It’s a big chain with a lot

of locations. The Powerhouse will save them

a substantial amount of cost both in kilowatt

and power reduction costs. About a 25%

reduction in cost.”

GE has tested the system at two sites. At one

site, according to a Black Hawk graphic,

electricity costs were 6.06% of gross sales and

5.48% at the second site. When Powerhouse

was turned on, there was a respective savings

in electrical costs of 34% and 48%.

Tim Jones, owner of the Champion Car Wash

chain, is also a distributor of the Black Hawk

written By wenDI wInteRS

Powerhouse through Enviro Diversified

Solutions. Based in Joelton, Tennessee, he

owns Enviro Diversified Solutions with several

partners (www.envirodiversifiedsolutions.

com). He’s a believer.

“It’s reduced my electric bills from 15 to 27%,”

he said. “I’ve installed it in four locations.

Several other carwash owners have these

devices on their carwashes and are seeing

really good results.”

He noted the system has been in testing for

over three years in locations slightly north of

Nashville, Tennessee. Black Hawk applied

for a patent in 2009 and it is currently patent


“It really came to the market at the end of

2011,” he said. “Black Hawk has been building

data and a data base of savings realized by

several of the companies testing the product.

Having that information makes it a whole lot

easier to sell to the consumer.”

Jones pointed out Black Hawk had a

successful showing at The Carwash Show

in Vegas. “Black Hawk sold quite a few units

and made a lot of connections. Orders are still

coming in. Prospective owners can’t just buy a

unit, they fill out a sizing chart.” He explained

each carwash business has a different set of

hydraulics and motor packs.

His Champion Car Wash locations have selfservice,

in-bay automatics and tunnels. “Mine

are a bit different than others, but I’m getting

incredible results. At one location, I realized a

$1,600 savings in electric costs in March 2012

versus the costs for March 2011.”

Jon Vihauer, of Black Hawk Energy Solutions,

based in Dallas, Texas (www.blackhawkest.

com ) said, “The powerhouse unit will balance,

boost and stabilize the power coming into your

power panel or breaker box. By doing this it will

decrease your KWH—what you pay for—and

boost your Power Factor, decreasing the energy

typically lost to ground.”

He noted, “This will also decrease your

equipment maintenance which also puts

money back in the customer’s pocket.”

Vihauer recounted one of Black Hawk’s

customers informed him they were changing

out light ballasts about one per week. After

installing the Powerhouse, they haven’t had to

replace any light ballasts. The customer figured

this one positive effect will save him around

$25,000 per year solely in maintenance costs.

He is not including the energy savings already

experienced by his firm.

Power is surging the entire time a carwash is

operating. Pumps and blowers constantly go

on and off. Power surges occur frequently.

Vilhauer said, “This unit helps to reduce

the power surge making the equipment run

more smoothly while decreasing your energy

consumption (KWH). Carwashes are seeing

significant savings in their energy bills.”

A look at Vortex

Vortex Power Products (

) was founded by Alfred Rodney Christiansen,

a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard, and

a former electrical supervisor in nuclear power

WashTrends / 2012.2

plants. He has successfully owned and operated

eleven corporations.

Jamie Christiansen Alfred’s son is Vortex’s

president. Jamie, 40, doubles as the technology

guru. Like his father, he’s been involved in

several businesses including a middle market

fashion line and is the owner and manufacturer

of a generator company. Vortex is the national

and international distributor of Power-Save.

Jamie compressed the Power-Save’s ability

succinctly: “It’s recycling the wasted energy of

an inductive motor.”

Power factor optimizers, created to lower

the amount of amperage a motor needs and

allowing it to run more efficiently by evening

out the fluctuations and surges in power, were

first developed for NASA by one of its scientists,

Frank Nola. NASA needed a way to condition

the motor drives and fine electronics on the

International Space Station. Its equipment was

burning up from overheating and running hot

from power fluctuations.

The company’s brochures advertise that its

customers could save up to 25% on their

monthly power bills. The carwash industry is

just one of many industries the company is

targeting. They are also going after business in

the commercial, residential and government


The Power-Save is a power factor optimizer

utilizing NASA technology. In the course of

washing a vehicle, carwashes engage a large

amount of motor drives in their conveyors,

compressors, blowers, pumps, fans and other

machinery. All of which add to the total of the

monthly electric bill.

As much as 20% or more of the typical business’

electricity is being wasted by the electric

motors, producing a low power factor. A low

power factor means more electricity must be

delivered to do the work than is needed. Still – a

wash owner gets the full bill.

The U.S. Department of Energy has stated

proven industrial capacitor technology would

reduce the power consumption for the entire


Vortex’s Power-Save works on all voltages

as well as hertz for overseas users. Use of its

capacitor technology allows motors to run at

least 10% cooler, extending motor life. The

technology reduces surges, too, reducing stress

on heating elements—like light bulbs—giving

them a longer, less stressed lifespan.

There is also another incentive for improving

a business’ power factor. Austin Energy, the

electric utility for the City of Austin, Texas,

informed its customers in a letter last July: “…

effective October 2011, Austin Energy, your

electric service provider, will make a power

factor adjustment on your bill. Power factor is

the ratio of real power or energy to apparent

or total power used by customers. In other

words, it is a measure of how efficiently power

is used.”

“The adjustment will impact commercial

demand customers, with a power factor less

than 85%.” The letter goes on to inform one

business owner, “…we have identified you as

a customer who may see an increase in your

energy bill due to the power factor adjustment

…The Electric Reliability Council of Texas,

who manages and operates the electric grid,

requires all power providers to maintain a

system wide power factor of 97%. Currently,

most Texas electric utilities charge customers

for a power factor below 95%.”

The power company then suggested remedies

to the business owner including the use of

power factor correction capacitors.

On its website (

go/powerfactor ), the company states: “In

October 2011, Austin Energy will make a power

factor adjustment on bills that will impact

commercial demand customers with a power

factor less than 85% … in 2012, new electric

rates will be announced. At that time, we will

propose that the power factor requirement

increase to 90% …”

If Austin Energy is a barometer of the industry,

industrial capacitor technology is not a luxury,

but a necessity – not only for businesses who

want to maintain a “green” identity but for

any carwash interested in reducing its energy

consumption and engine replacement costs.

wendi winters is a freelance writer who

lives in Annapolis, Maryland.

Black Hawk 480V Unit. Photo courtesy of Black Hawk.

WashTrends / 2012.2

Employment Opportunities


Cactus Car Wash

has earned an outstanding reputation over the years in our industry.

With locations in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, we are now

expanding and looking for Managers and Supervisors to join in

on our success.

Our managers are detail-oriented, work in a fast paced

environment and place customer satisfaction as their number

one goal. They are also leaders who set an example and strive for

the safety of our team.

We offer excellent compensation packages that include paid vacations,

competitive wages, and an opportunity to participate in our bonus

program. If you’re self-motivated, ambitious and willing to relocate

to be a part of a winning team then we welcome you to apply.

Please email resume to:

A Conversation with

Lisa Lyons, Owner of

Buggy Bath Car Wash

written By LucIA ReGAn

Involved, energetic and connected…these are a few words that

come to mind when talking with Lisa Lyons. Her father, Frank

Piersall Jr. opened his first self-serve carwash in San Diego in

1965 and Lisa grew up in the business. Early in her career she

worked in corporate marketing and lived in Minneapolis until 1987

when she and her husband moved back to San Diego. Lisa joined

with her father and brother, Trey to manage and maintain five selfserve


Ms. Lyons believes that associations are vital to business growth

and information and she has served on the board of the Western Car

Wash Association (WCWA) and is the past president of the International

Carwash Association (ICA). Eric Wulf, Executive Director of

ICA, said, “Lisa has great energy and commitment to every project.

When she was president of ICA, she consistently steered the board

towards new ideas and methods. Our membership is stronger as a

result of her leadership.”

Family businesses offer a specific kind of business education that

just can’t be taught in a classroom. This is certainly the case with Lisa

Lyons but her experience in marketing and as a woman in the industry

has enhanced the Buggy Bath Car Wash businesses.

WashTrends / 2012.2

Here is Lisa in her own words.

WT: Your family has been in the carwash

business for almost fifty years. Did you plan to

become an owner? How has your experience

influenced the San Diego carwash industry?

LL: No, I did not plan on becoming an owner. I

grew up in the carwash business with my Dad,

counting dimes and nickels (yes, I’m that old)

and cleaning out the vacuums for pennies when

I was a kid. However, I went into the corporate

world for 15 years. I got married and my father

was expanding his business and needed

help. My husband and I moved back from

Minneapolis to San Diego. I started out doing

payroll and marketing, but ended up running

the businesses.

I think the thing I have done to influence the

San Diego carwash industry is participating

in the charity carwash programs, and getting

involved in the Western Car Wash Association

and International Carwash Association, also

updating my equipment to give my customers

the best carwash experience.

The San Diego self-serve market is much better

than it was several years ago. We all have older

washes. Because of the cost of land it is very hard

to build new. We have a lot of good operators

in San Diego and we have all stepped up and

remodeled our older washes and are delivering

a good product to our customers. I believe

because the operators of San Diego have done

such a good job of improving their businesses,

self-serve customers have a better feeling that

they are going to get a good wash when they

come to a self-serve carwash and that improves

everyone’s business.

WT: Why do customers use a self-serve

carwash rather than an automatic?

LL: A couple of reasons. 1. Some people do not

like anyone else to touch their car, they enjoy

the experience of cleaning their car the way they

want to do it. My Father always said, “Some folks

just like to rub their cars.” 2. It is fast and usually

costs less. During this hard time, I have noticed

a difference in my customers, they are bringing

nickels and dimes & asking my employees to

give them tokens for the change and we are

getting requests to give $1’s for $5 bills instead of

the $20 bills we used to get. My bill changer has a

lot less big bills and a lot more $1 bills. Everyone

is watching the bottom line—really hard. Selfserve

carwashes are providing a good wash for a

good price.

WT: I noticed on your website that Buggy Bath

Car Wash has “Blasto Dry” hand dryers. What

are the benefits of this additional carwash tool?

Is this a widely used drying tool?

LL: The Blasto Dryers have been the best

thing to come along since the Foam Brushes!

Both my distributor and I were thinking they

probably were not going to be that great when we

installed them at my first wash I was remodeling.

However, I had heard a lot of good comments

from my ICA carwash friends back East that had

installed them so I thought I would give them

a try. Well, it turned out that my friends back

East were right! My distributor put a monitor on

the system to count how many times the Blasto

Dryers were used. I installed them in two bays

only at first. We estimated that if they were used

90 minutes a month, they would get a good return

after a year. After the first month I told him to

install them in all the bays. I have since installed

the dryers at all my washes and he has done a

bang up business installing them at washes all

over Southern California. They are just right

behind the Foam Brushes in business. Yes, it’s

not cheap, but it’s one of the few new options that

have brought a good experience to the self-serve

market. Women customers especially love them.

I had several women customers telling me that

they come to my wash because of the dryers and

they just love how easy they are to use.

WT: The Western Car Wash Association has

been active in creating fundraising programs

to encourage charities and nonprofit

organizations to utilize professional carwashes

as a fundraising partner. Has this effort by the

WCWA been successful for local carwashes?

What additional programs are offered or which

programs do you think can be offered?

LL: Carwash operators across the country have

realized the importance of giving back to their

community. Nationwide, Grace for Vets has been

a tremendous success and in every community,

operators have realized that engaging community

groups for fundraising activities is good for

their business. I have a good working group of

charity groups I work with and it really has been

a great bonus for my business. I work a lot with

several local high schools— all their groups

call me throughout the year—cheerleaders,

soccer, volleyball, football. The parents are my

customers, but the kids will be my customers! It’s

been very successful and I would recommend all

operators look at what they can do to work with

their community. It’s the lowest cost promotion

and it is really appreciated by the people involved.

It is also one of the most rewarding experiences I

have as an operator.

WT: The “WashCard” program at Buggy Bath

Car Wash, which is outlined on your website,

looks very convenient and cost effective. Has

the “WashCard” program been popular with

your customers? Also the Fleet Wash, Post Pay

Option of Monthly Billing would seem to be very

attractive to companies. Have your corporate

customers and trucking operators signed up for

this program?

LL: Yes, WashCard Systems has been a very

effective marketing tool for my washes. I do have

several fleet accounts; however, at this time I

only have one post pay customer. When I set that

up with this customer, I let them know this was

an automated system and they would receive

an invoice monthly and I was a small operator

and really needed them to pay their bills on time

or this would not work for me. Unfortunately,

the person in charge of the invoice—well let’s

just say this is not his first priority. They are late

every month and I have to remind them every

month. So—while that is a good system, I’m

just a believer in having my fleet accounts being

credit card customers. I just do not have the time

to keep track of bills that need to be paid.

WT: Your family has been in the carwash

business since 1964 and you are the past

president of the International Car Wash

Association. What do you think are the most

visible trends that are emerging in the carwash


LL: Social Media, and how to use it effectively

to increase your business. I’ve been around long

enough to remember when the Yellow Pages

were a good way to promote your business.

I started an ad campaign on Google that has

brought more business my way than the Yellow

Pages ever did. I get several calls a day asking

about where my businesses are located using

their smart phones. Also, as a side note, I get calls

from people looking for full-service washes. The

full-service guys need to get on Google more

—I’m sending business your way when I can just

to be nice, but seriously, get on board! Twitter,

Facebook, Yelp, YouTube and all the rest. The

older generation doesn’t use that, but the new

generation sure does. Get connected.

Lucia regan is a freelance writer from

Seattle, washington.

“The full-service

guys need to get on

Google more —I’m

sending business

your way when I

can just to be nice,

but seriously, get

on board! Twitter,

Facebook, Yelp,

YouTube and all

the rest. The older

generation doesn’t

use that, but the

new generation

sure does.

Get connected.”

—Lisa Lyons

WashTrends / 2012.2

WashTrends / 2012.2

a basic approach: how to use

Social Media to effectively Market

Your carwash

Social media haS

become a “muSt do” part

of moSt marketing

planS in today’S

competitive buSineSS

climate. there may

be no better way to

engage your clientS,

create intereSt in

your carwaSh and get

cuStomerS in the door.

Without a doubt it’s an excellent

communication vehicle for your business.

It is cost effective, free or inexpensive, and

can be done in-house. You have control

over what you present to the public and

you have the option to communicate

whenever you want. And not only can you

communicate with your customers, they

can communicate with you. Feedback is

an invaluable tool which can not only give

you information about the perception

of your business but you can share

customer feedback as a way to educate the

community about the benefits of using

your carwash.

The critical first move on your part is

to create a website. After that, Twitter,

Facebook and Linkedin are good options

for opening the door to communication.

But what next?

GettinG the word out. the next

Step in uSinG Social Media to

Market Your carwaSh…

So now you have a web site. You’ve

created accounts on the social media

websites you want to use. But social media

only works when you get the word out

to your customers. You have to connect!

Options are endless and limited only by

your creativity. Some basic things you can

do are using onsite promotion through

signage, printing on wash tickets, receipts,

advertising on your marquee, and having

written By Ann mARIe mIDuLA

your cashier tell customers that you are

now on social media. If you pay for print

advertising you should also include this in

all your messaging. Use the “Like” button

on Facebook or “follow us” on Twitter in

all your messages including

your website, emails, and


Consumers are looking for

promotions or a reason

why to follow you on

social media sites, so give

them one. One idea is to

have a monthly contest.

The contest could be for

everyone who “Likes”

you on Facebook. The

winners would have

a chance at receive a

prize. For instance lucky

followers could receive a

free carwash. Don’t forget to follow up

that contest and say who won. This is a

big oversight by most companies. When

they don’t follow up, consumers think the

content might have been a scam, which

will effect trusting your business. So make

sure you announce that Joe… from …won

the free carwash and post it on your site.

When Joe comes in take a photo of him

and his clean car in front of your wash and

post it on the social media site. (If you do

not post with the @sign on Facebook it

will not post on their site, that @sign goes

away too if they are following you).

Customers love a reason to “Like” you

and a chance at winning something is a

huge enticement. After you have built

a following give them a reason to keep

coming back, post weekly or monthly

coupons. The coupons don’t have to be

a large value but they can be as simple

as “Receive a free air freshener with the

purchase of a full service wash, or $5 off

your next premium wash.”

One example of website and social media

marketing comes from Adam Korngold

with Waves Wash in Boston, MA. Mr.

Korngold uses Facebook to interact with

his customers posting offers such as:

“Like” Waves on Facebook and get a free

basic carwash.

Another effective advertising outlets are

the Groupon and Living Social sites which

offer daily deals that the customer buys

on the spot. Clean & Green Car Wash in

Marlborough, MA shared their experience

and results with WashTrends. “Our

Groupon experience was very successful.

We sold nearly 300 Premier Car Washes

WashTrends / 2012.2

in one day. The premier wash is our

middle wash package and it allowed us to

introduce customers to our best package

for only $3.00 more, therefore making

money on top of the voucher income.

(The big thing about Groupon deals is you

will always sell more than you redeem. We

took in 202 vouchers, 81 vouchers were

never redeemed,” said Chuck Lundberg,

Manager of Clean & Green Wash.)

Clean and Green is currently working

with Living Social and offered a Deal for

One Express Interior Detail with a Free

Hand Wax. They sold 221 vouchers. The

promotion is currently running through

the end of June therefore redemption

numbers are not final.

Free promotion can also be created

by linking your Facebook page with

companies and cross promoting your

sites and services. You can also add to

your facebook promotion through on-site

signage and by printing offers on the back

of their register receipt.

A few tips for using Facebook: try to post

daily, several times per day throughout

the week.

“like” us on


You want to post consistently because

Facebook fans visit at different times

of the day. That’s why if you post

throughout the day and stagger your

posts, you greatly increase the chance of

your message or offer being seen. Make

sure to include videos, tips, links and

comments on your posts. Don’t forget

to include a call to action— “comment

or share feedback” are two words that

receive the greatest engagement. And

one last tip—be sure to use short posts.

No one has time to read a novel. Keep

your post to 70 words or less.

Facebook works and it is free. Mr.

Lundberg explained the process and

how easy it was for Clean and Green to

start their Facebook page: “In November

of 2011, I created a Facebook page

and promoted it by telling our present

customers to “like” us on Facebook

and receive a Free Classic Car Wash.

Then, we looked on Facebook for local

businesses that also had a Facebook

page. I commented on their pages

offering them the same deal. I would

click ‘like” on the local businesses pages

and posts. When their customers would

see that Clean & Green Car Wash ‘liked”

a post on another business page they

would click to our page and check us


“All of a sudden we were getting new

customers that never knew we were here.

They lived in Marlborough or within

a few miles yet never heard that there

was a new carwash in the area until they

saw our post on Facebook. We teamed

up with a few other businesses and told

them to post their specials and deals on

our page and if it was OK we would offer

their fans some great deals at our wash by

posting them on their page.”

“We make sure we keep active. I always

post at least once a day. I add photos and

ask customers to also post on our page

A few tips for using

Facebook: try to post

daily, several times per

day throughout the


and tell others how they liked our service.

I share links from other pages that have to

do with a public event, a charity or maybe

a news announcement. I have found that

many big companies in the area also now

“like” our Facebook page and I realize

that TV and radio stations have their own

Facebook pages, so I “like” them and

often post a comment or two on a funny

story they shared. Staying away from the

political stuff I expanded our business to

a very wide market by just clicking ‘like”

and commenting on Facebook pages

that are run by large media outlets which

have thousands of fans. As a result, our

Facebook page has grown quickly and

when you get above a certain number

of followers Facebook then offers you a

report that shows the demographics of

all your fans. Information they provide is

male or female, age, and where they live. It

is powerful information for our business.

At Christmas time we ran a link from our

Facebook page to our on-line store which

is connected to our web site. Our gift card

sales increased dramatically from the first

Christmas. Around the first of the year I

learned that Facebook offers advertising

for a variable fee. You select your market

area, you select the days you want it to

run, you decide how much you want to

pay per day, per click or by impression and

then design the ad. We decided to run a 7

day ad—maximum of $25 per day. The ad

simply said that we are Clean & Green Car

Wash and if you ‘like” us on Facebook we

will give you a FREE Classic Car Wash. It

did well; again we picked up so many new

customers that were coming into the wash

saying they never knew we were here. We

now run those paid ads every three weeks

with a new deal. We have since connected

our Facebook page to a twitter page so

that every time we make a posting on our

Facebook page it also sends out a tweet on


Mr. Lundberg suggests that “If you have a

web site that you manage yourself make

changes often. Changes to your web site

show activity and moves you up the ladder

on the search engine lists. When you

search for a carwash in our area on Google

we show up first and often. It’s important

that you have a listing of your company

on as many pages as you can. And just

by listing and adding a few photos, your

business will move you up to the top of the

search engine lists. Your name will appear

multiple times for every page your name

is listed on. A few places you may want

to consider putting a listing are: Google

places page, Yahoo, Yelp, yellowpages.

com,, merchantcircle.

com, and Facebook. “

Social Media is an essential marketing

tool. It’s relatively easy to master, efficient

and inexpensive or free. There may be

no better way to reach your customers in

today’s competitive market.

Ann Marie Midula is an accomplished

marketing professional with expertise in

strategic planning, business development

and brand management specializing in


how Some carwash

owners use Social Media to Build Business

1. What are

some of

the most


ways a carwash can use social media?

For instance, many carwashes don’t

have a web site. They aren’t using

facebook/twitter, etc. What are they

missing out on?

These are somewhat different questions,

so we’ll answer them separately. Let’s

tackle the second part first, since this is

more fundamental. In our view, carwashes

that do not have a website or Facebook

page are overlooking a great opportunity

to expand their market reach. Not being

online and not being engaged in social

media means that you aren’t reaching

many of your customers as often as you

could—and you are probably failing to

reach some customers at all. A growing

number of consumers have turned away

from traditional media like newspapers

and television and are getting their news

and entertainment from digital sources like

the Internet and social media. If you want

to get your marketing message in front of

consumers, you have to go where they are.

Plus more consumers are researching

purchases online before they buy. A recent

survey I saw indicated that about two out

of three consumers do online research at

least some of the time before they buy, and

47% check a company’s website when they

do business with it.

This is the information age, and customers

want to be informed before they buy. If you

don’t have a website, you’re eliminating an

important information channel for potential

customers. A good website doesn’t have

to be elaborate or especially entertaining.

Customers turn to websites for information,

so your website has to include all of the

basic details about your carwash: location,

hours and menu. Your site should also

tell visitors a little about what makes your

services special; and it should include

information about payment options that are

important to customers, like your monthly

pass plans.

WashTrends / 2012.2

n Ken Brott

Vice President, Sales and Marketing

DRB Systems, Inc.

If customers use websites as a modernday

alternative to the Yellow Pages or

other directories, they use Facebook as an

alternative to TV or movies.

This is a generalization, but as a rule

people turn to websites to be informed

and they look to social media when they

want to be engaged and entertained. So,

the more engaging and entertaining you

can make your Facebook page, the more

effective it will be in building customer

loyalty. It’s important to remember that

the dynamics at play in today’s social

media world are very different than they

were back in the traditional media days.

Traditionally, the purpose of marketing in

the media was to “persuade” consumers

to try your product or visit your carwash.

Nowadays with social media, the purpose

is to “engage” consumers and develop a

relationship with them.

So, instead of telling customers to make a

purchase, your marketing is asking them

to make a commitment to engage your

business. If your Facebook page engages

consumers, gets them to interact with you

and post about you to their friends, it will

ultimately succeed in building your brand

image and attract new people to your


This isn’t to say that you can’t “sell” on

Facebook by offering customers coupons

and things of that nature; you can and

should, but in our view the focus should

be on engaging. When you engage people

and they post about you on their Facebook

pages, more people on Facebook see

your name, so it has a billboard effect. The

average Facebook user has something like

130 friends so if 100 customers post about,

you’re getting your name before 13,000

people. In this respect, Facebook acts like

a billboard, which has always been a very

effective form of advertising for carwashes.

The only difference is that compared to

billboards, Facebook is very inexpensive,

because you aren’t paying to place ads.

Is social media easier to use than

most businesses’ realize? What does

it take?

Having a presence on social media is

both easier and more difficult than most

people think. It’s easier, because there’s

no barrier to entry. It costs nothing to

start a Facebook page or open a Twitter

account. There’s also no ongoing cost

associated with the social media. Once

you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you aren’t

paying as you would with billboard rent or

newspaper ad placements. Facebook pages

and Twitter are also template based so you

don’t have a lot of the design issues as you

would with a website or a traditional media

ad. This makes it easier than you might

imagine. On the other side of the coin, the

challenge is to keep your page interesting

and continually update it with new relevant

material. Like everything else in business,

you can’t get a lot out of a Facebook page

unless you put a lot into it.

DRB offers products that help with

social media...what are they...

what feedback do you receive from


Carwashes aren’t huge corporations that

are going to have entire departments

dedicated to maintaining their presence on

the social media, so they should consider

tools like our SiteWatch Social Circle

Module that will help them realize some of

the benefits of Facebook without creating

a social media department. Social Circle

Module sends a post to the Facebook pages

of your customer’s “friends” every time that

customer visits your carwash. This creates

the billboard effect we discussed earlier.

More people see your name as more

people join your Social Circle Club. Does

this name exposure and recognition lead

to extra sales? That may be impossible to

measure with 100% accuracy, but the effect

of a billboard is impossible to measure

with precision too. Throughout the history

of marketing though, we have seen that

increased exposure whether on billboards

or other forms of advertising leads to

increased sales. That’s a basic marketing

principle; and although the Internet and

Social Media may have rewritten many

of the rules of marketing, they haven’t

changed the underlying principles that have

been in play for a long time.”

What types of social media do you

use...and what kinds of things do you

use social media for?

Major Car Wash uses Facebook,

Foursquare, and Yelp as our three main

social media sources. We are listed on

Facebook at,

and our locations are advertised with

check-in discounts on Foursquare and

Yelp. On Facebook, customers can obtain

information on any of our locations, view full

and express detailing pictures, and interact

with us personally by sending us messages

or posting on our wall. Then when they are

ready to visit us, they can check-in to our

locations using mobile apps Foursquare or

Yelp to obtain custom coupons for savings

on both carwashing and detailing. Feedback

on all of these sites is a positive experience

for both our customers and us, as that

personal interaction can answer their

questions and suggestions rather then go


What impact has social media had on

your business?

Facebook has been great for customers to

leave reviews on our wall, ask questions

about our services, and check out photos

that are updated weekly to give them a

visual experience of the work that we are

actually doing at Major Car Wash. By giving

customers the visual outcome of our work,

people tend to set up detail appointments

much easier knowing how the outcome

of a particular service they are paying

for will end up being on their vehicle. On

Foursquare and Yelp, customers love

savings and we offer discounts on both

of those sites for our premium top of the

line washes. The effect of all three media

sites has been nothing less then successful

for both our customer service and overall


How do your customers respond?

Customers love that they can get an actual

manager of our company at any given

time during the day. Whether they send

an email, contact us through our website,

or even leave a wall post on Facebook,

no customer question goes unanswered

at Major Car Wash. Customers love the

personal interaction that we bring to the

table, and that is why they voted us as the

2011 Readers Choice Winner as One of the

Best Car Washes in Central New Jersey.

Michael M., General Manager

Major Car Wash

191 New Brunswick Ave • Rahway, NJ 07065

T: (732) 574-0960




Car Spa UK (company name Car Spa (UK)

Ltd) is a relatively new company in the

industry. Only trading for around 6 months,

Car Spa UK is experiencing significant

growth. We offer our customers both fixed

site and mobile vehicle valeting using

water-free techniques and products. A key

engagement with literally thousands of

people in our immediate area, is through

Facebook and Twitter. These platforms

have provided an amazing opportunity

for Car Spa UK to interact directly with

other businesses, potential customers and


We believe that the ultimate reference

point for a potential customer to convert

to our services or hear about us, is

by someone trusted. Facebook and

Twitter are the 21st Century equivalent

of ‘word of mouth’. If someone sees a

recommendation on Car Spa UK on their

profile and they see they’ve supported the

business, this endorses us and we see a

positive result in sales.

Conversely, these social networking

platforms also act as an almost instant way

in which unsatisfied clients can quickly

pass detrimental information or negative

comment about a product or service; this

makes it even more critical to maintain

great customer service and add value to

proactively engaging the customer for


Car Spa UK currently operates 12 mobile

vehicle franchises in the UK with national

growth plans and several fixed sites. Our

unique water-free system is very popular

as we offer great service, with customer

focus, in an environmentally friendly way.

Our methods have been approved by

the Car Wash Association of the United

Kingdom and we have been awarded

Accredited Centre status–we are the first

and only water-free car wash company in

the UK to have been endorsed in this way!

Karim Cosslett


Managing Director

Car Spa UK

Twittering with


by Cheryl Kinney

issue: winter 2010

Communication Strategy Tip #1:

Ever wonder how to start meeting people

with the help of social media? One of my

favorite social media tools is Twitter, and

here’s one example of how it works for me.

Twitter is a fun networking and

relationship-building media site, and

when I ask for help or information on a

subject, I often get an answer right away.

But the way to make friends in order to

communicate effectively takes time and a

friendly approach, especially if you’re trying

to create business connections.

The rules that apply to traditional business

interactions also apply. For instance,

when you walk into a networking event,

no matter what size—25, 50, or 100

people you are there to meet and greet

people. You cannot command people to

listen to you. Usually you walk in and join

a conversation, wait to be introduced to

a few people, ask how their day went,

and listen. Twitter is a networking event

in which you can participate at any time

of the day. To begin Twittering takes time,

thought and the desire to be social. I follow

people who have similar interests. As a

result, I have broadened my thinking with

new interests such as Haiku, eco-friendly

subjects, having a balanced life, and ways

to save, and the list goes on.

You can find us on twitter at Twitter—

@CARWASHTRENDS. Cheryl Kinney is

willing to help anyone in the carwash

business with building your business on


Twittering Away to More Business

by Cheryl Kinney

issue: summer 2009

Twitter is an instant, free social networking

and micro-blogging service that enables

its users to send and read each other’s

updates, known as tweets. Tweets are

text-based posts of up to 140 characters,

displayed on the author’s profile page

and delivered to other users—known as

followers—who have subscribed to them.

Senders can restrict delivery to those in

their circle of friends or, by default, allow

open access. Users can send and receive

tweets via the Twitter Web site, Short

Message Service or external applications.

Twitter is a free avenue for building

relationships with people who share

similar or like interests. Twitter is also

an effective tool that lets you build

relationships by exchanging information

such as quotes, educational business

links or amusing information that

becomes part of your day. The benefits

of using Twitter are learning, quick

communication, relationship building

and marketing.

It is amazing, especially from my

standpoint, as an advertising sales agent,

because I am now building relationships

with car wash operators in a way I could

never have done before. Car wash

operators agree, “Twitter has allowed

me to interact with my customers on a

level of 24-hour contact that I was never

able to attain,” says John Good (Twitter

name is @bubblesgalorecw).

Car wash operators also have the ability

to talk globally with one another in a

noncompeting environment. For me, I

have a new opportunity to learn more

about the car wash operator side of the

industry, as well as what the readers of

WashTrends are looking for.

As of now, there are over 100 car

washes that have Twitter accounts in the

U.S., Canada and internationally. Often

I can connect with them and give them

a quick tutoring about how to ENGAGE

in conversation and find local tweeps

(customers) to build relationships with in

their car wash local area market. Many

car washes can do insta-marketing via

coupons that they put on Twitter and

send to their customers via Twitter.

Twittering as a marketing tool has

become part of my day, just like

checking email, making sales calls

and taking care of my flower garden.

I am growing relationships one tweet

at a time! Tweeter Carisma car wash

commented to me, “I just wanted to say

thank you for all the great information,

you have motivated me!”

All Twitter handle names begin with an

@ sign that you type in when you want

to talk with them directly or in order for

them to see your tweets.

I look forward to seeing you on Twitter!


WashTrends / 2012.2

Facebook - Facebook is a social utility that

connects people with friends and others

who work, study, and live around them.

Facebook is the largest social network in

the world with more than 800 million users.

Read more:




Flickr is a social network based around

online picture sharing. The service allows

users to store photos online and then share

them with others through profiles, groups,

sets, and other methods.

Read more:




Instagram is a photo sharing application

that lets users take photos, apply filters to

their images, and share the photos instantly

on the Instagram network and other social

networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and

Foursquare. The app is targeted toward

mobile social sharing, and in just over one

year, it has gained almost 15 million users.

Currently, it is only available for iPhone


Read more:




LinkedIn is a business-oriented social

networking site. Founded in December 2002

and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used

for professional networking. As of June

2010, LinkedIn had more than 70 million

registered users, spanning more than 200

countries and territories worldwide.

Read more:




StumbleUpon is a free web-browser

extension that acts as an intelligent

browsing tool for discovering and sharing

web sites.

Read more:




Twitter is a platform that allows users

to share 140-character-long messages

publicly. User can “follow” each other

as a way of subscribing to each others’

messages. Additionally, users can use the

@username command to direct a message

toward another Twitter user.

Read more:




Tumblr lets users share content in the

form of a blog. Users can post text, photos,

quotes, links, music, and videos from your

browser, phone, desktop, or email.

Read more:




Yelp is a social network and local search

website that provides users with a

platform to review, rate, and discuss local


Read more:




YouTube is a video-sharing website on

which users can upload, share, and view

videos. Three former PayPal employees

created YouTube in February 2005. In

November 2006, YouTube, LLC was bought

by Google Inc. for $1.65 billion, and is

now operated as a subsidiary of Google.

YouTube is the largest video sharing site in

the world.

written By SAnDRA LOePkeR

What would Captain Kirk Do?

If the Starship Enterprise needed a

quick, but thorough wash, Captain Kirk

might just drive through a Tommy Car

Wash. Its out-of-this worldly glass design

and curved stainless steel wash tunnel

looks more like a space dock in a Star Trek

episode than a carwash. So high tech, the

entire facility can be run by one strategically

placed operator, in what the company calls

“the flight deck.” It’s no wonder Tommy

Car Wash Systems holds patents on several

of the components in their leading edge


The company, based in Michigan,

designs, manufactures, and installs express

carwash facilities for customers in the U.S.

and six other countries around the world.

They have been washing cars for 43 years

so their experience has led to some very

innovative designs with unique features.

First and foremost among them is the

nearly all glass tunnel.

For people, not comfortable with the

enclosed feel of a tunnel, this works well. As

one customer said in a recent survey, “ If I

could get a quality exterior wash in less than

five minutes and have an open inviting

experience, I would do it weekly.”

Tommy Car Wash Systems sought to

solve this concern by enclosing the entire

tunnel in glass, giving the customer a much

more open concept with the ability to see

not only to the end of the tunnel, but out

both car windows to the outside world. The

WashTrends / 2012.2

circular design of the stainless steel tunnel

frame also lends to the open concept.

The Journey Begins

Going even further to entertain

consumers, Tommy Car Wash Systems has

a number of bright signs, lights and flashing

displays to provide a “fascination factor.”

The journey through carwash space starts

at the automated gate where customers

can pay for the carwash and any additional

services, like RainX protection or wheel

degreasing. Payment can be made at an

ATM-like machine or with the operator

at a drive-up window. From there, the

customers proceed to the tunnel entrance

where they are instructed to move forward

by messages on a full color monitor. Once

on the conveyor system, the car’s occupants

can sit back and enjoy the wash. Customers

may not even realize that their car is riding

on the “Tommy Transporter,” a frontwheel

loading conveyor system that saves

15 feet of loading space and allows more

cars to make the trip in less time. Neon

lights indicate washing, rinsing and other

applications as cars move continuously

through the tunnel. Once washing and

rinsing is complete, the dryers breeze the

excess water away from the vehicle and

the car emerges; clean and dry. Drivers

can then choose to exit the facility or head

over to spacious vacuuming areas. The

carwash owner has the option of making

the vacuuming complementary or installing

coin-operated systems.

Single Operator System

Tommy Car Wash Systems, named

after the company’s founder, Tom

Essenberg, follows a low labor model.

The entire operation can be run by one

employee from the flight deck. The open

design allows for control of water, soap,

and additive flow from sites along the

tunnel route. One room at the end of the

building houses the larger equipment that

cannot be exposed to moisture, making

the entire facility lower in overhead to

run than many others. Computers and

stainless steel construction make Tommy

Car Washes very cutting edge.

Ulta-Modern May Not Be Right For


Not every community endorses the

futuristic glass and steel architecture of

Tommy Car Wash’s signature design.

The company fully understands the need

to blend in to existing styles and is very

adaptable. If the sloping roof and distinctive

red trim work might not be acceptable

in say, a traditional New England setting,

Tommy Car Washes can adapt their

design to incorporate brick and colonialtype

features to make the facility more in

keeping with its surroundings. Company

representatives often work closely with

PhotogrAPhS courteSy of RYAn eSSenbuRG OF tOmmY cAR wASH.

city planners and community leaders to

create carwashes that compliment varying

architectural styles.

Existing carwashes can be refitted with

many of the company’s updated, patented

equipment designs to make them more

efficient and easier to manage. In today’s

competitive market, refitting and updating

are often the keys to successful business


New facilities can be built on 1/2-3/4

acre sites. Tommy Car Wash Systems works

with the owner from beginning to end and

beyond to design, construct and install the

equipment needed. They also help train the

staff in operating the equipment.

When is a franchise not really a franchise?

Although Tommy Car Wash Systems

is very hands-on in the site development,

construction, training, and supplying

of their clients’ carwashes, it is not a

franchise operation. The company works

with owners to plan their own individual

facilities with an individual company

name, without ongoing franchise fees once

the carwash is operational. That’s not to

say that Tommy Car Wash Systems washes

their hands of their clients the day after the

grand opening. Supplier and owner work

together to monitor equipment, provide

supplies and training, and continue

to make the operation as efficient and

profitable as possible.

One of the company’s most recent

projects was the Triple Play Carwash in

Tulsa, OK. Built by former Marlins baseball

player, Mark Redman, the carwash sports a

The frame of the wash tunnel

is stainless steel which the

company prefers for its

durability and strength.

baseball theme and the distinctive glassenclosed

structure that has captured the

interest of its customers. One Facebook

fan posting recently stated, “Was just there

yesterday. My van looks marvelous!!!”

The Triple Play staff utilizes the site by

returning the post with, “Awesome! Come

back soon and tell everyone you know.” The

social media site provides an inexpensive

way to keep in touch with customers and

the word seems to be spreading. Several

posts include requests to build similar

carwashes in their hometowns.

Exploring the Future

For many years the system Tommy

Car Wash developed has served them well.

But what about the future of the automated

carwash? The company plans to launch

new carwash management software at the

upcoming ICA show this year. According

to company COO, Ryan Essenberg, the

new software, the result of two years of

development, will allow carwash owners

to go virtually paperless with computer

generated checklists for maintenance, and

analytics that will determine a company’s

cost per carwash. The goal is to provide

owners with better record keeping with

“cloud carwash management” that is

currently lacking in the industry.

The company is also working with

owners on in-bay conversions. There

are hundreds of single bay automated

washes in which a car pulls in and remains

stationary while the machinery circles

the carwashing, brushing and rinsing.

These types of washes are usually not very

thorough and cannot handle much volume.

Tommy Car Wash Systems can often do

a refit to the facility to make it more of a

tunnel system which allows more cars

per hour to get cleaner. It is an area the

company sees as one for growth in the near


Tommy Car Wash Systems is always

exploring new ways to clean more cars,

more efficiently, and in less time than

anyone has done before.

“We found that many customers,

particularly women, didn’t want to use

an express wash because the enclosed

space gave them a claustrophobic feeling.

The glass design eliminates that for most

customers,” according to Chris Hovinga,

Head of the Building Division for Tommy

Car Wash Systems.

“Often, it’s just a matter of working

with community planners and showing

them designs and sample materials in order

to obtain approval for a new or renovated

carwash,” says Chris Hovinga.

“Our belt conveyor is a big deal,”says

Tommy Car Wash Systems COO, Ryan

Essenberg, “The Tommy Transporter

allows cars to go through the wash tunnel

continuously and since the cars never stop,

10 to 15 more cars per hour can be washed.

The system also reduces customer error,

like getting off the track or putting on the

brake while going through the wash.”

Sandra Loepker is a freelance writer

from Severna Park, Maryland.

WashTrends / 2012.2

PhotogrAPhS courteSy of wenDI wInteRS.

Buyers Guide

D&S is a leading manufacturer of in-bay automatics,

vacuums, and self-serve car wash equipment.

With 40 years of innovation, D&S is known for its

extremely durable, stainless steel products that are

designed for performance and reliability. The new “IQ”

Soft-touch, with 3D profiling and invisible treadle, is

our latest technical achievement. D&S products are

sold through a network of distributors who provide

complete service and support. Made in the USA.

Product List:

iQ Soft-touch iba, iQ Touch-free iba, Quicksilver

Touch-free iba, odyssey Soft-touch iba, i5000

Touch-free iba

D&S Car Wash Equipment Company

4200 Brandi Lane • High Ridge, MO 63049

Ph: 636-677-3442 • Fax: 636-677-4105


Web site:

Diamond Shine Inc. is a family-owned business manufacturing

quality chemical solutions for six decades.

Products are manufactured and distributed globally from

our 106,000 sq. ft. facility, one of the industry’s largest.

This allows for sustained growth now and into the future.

Diamond Shine has built its reputation on long-term relationships

and customer satisfaction. We pride ourselves

on providing cutting-edge chemistry and cost-effiecient


Product List:

green&clean, Weatherguard, black diamond,

vividplus, Sensations, assault, grimebuster,

cleantech, foamtech, fast break X55, bead up,

Premium, Wheel guard, blitz, infusions

Diamond Shine

1340 East 289th • Wickliffe, OH 44092

Ph: (440) 585-1100 • Fax: (440) 585-1195


Web site:

Washtech sells services and supplies car wash equipment

to all segments of the carwash Industry. We

operate the largest service department in the industry

with same and next day service throughout our VA,

MD, NJ, DE, PA and WV.

Product List:

PdQ, laserWash, macneil, carolina Pride,

lustra, ginsan, unitec, ultraflex


P.O. Box 573 • Earlysville, VA 22936

Ph: 1-800-448-4735 • Fax: 434-978-4328


Web site:




WashTrends / 2012.2

Equipment, Chemicals, Supplies, and Service

HOWCO dedicates itself in providing superior quality

car wash equipment, supplies, and chemicals. Above

all else though, HOWCO is about supporting car wash

investors and operators with the hands on assistance

they need to keep their projects moving. HOWCO’s

strength is in its people, experience, and reputation.

Utilizing the latest equipment and processes, HOWCO

employees provide assistance in sales, project planning,

installations, parts, chemicals, and service in the

Southeast and Mid-Atlantic geographical areas.

HOWCO is a full line distributor of professional car

wash chemicals. We offer three choices: Turtle Wax,

Armor All Professional, and HOWCO private label

brand. Our relationship with our manufacturers allows

us to be a cost effective distributor of the items you

need. We know the demands professional car wash

operators have and we are proud to offer the most

innovative items in the industry to help you achieve

cleaner cars. Turtle Wax and Armor All Professional

offer a comprehensive line of products to meet your

car washing needs. Using these two name brand

manufacturers can help you earn co-op points towards

your marketing efforts.

Product List:

hoWco inc., Turtle Wax, armor all, hanna jim

coleman, istobal uSa, autec, inc.


1521 East Third Street • Charlotte, NC 28204

Ph: 704-731-2073 • Fax: 704-333-4399


Web site:

Hydro-Spray is dedicated to the success of our

customers. We feel that by educating new and existing

operators prior to their initial investment. We optimize

their chance of that investment being profitable. From

site selection to washing their first car Hydro-Spray will

be there with a solution.

Product List:

classic, rainmaker, elite, Subzero, bio-clean

HydroSpray Wash Systems, Inc.

511 Spruce Street, Suite #1 • Clearfield, PA 16830

Ph: (800) 528-5733 • Fax: (888) 223-4835


Web site:

Manni’s Wash Systems has been in business for 34

years! Buy direct and save today.

Product List:

in-bay automatics, complete Self-Serve, floor

heat, change machines, Parts and Supplies

Manni’s Wash Systems

1131 Greensburg • Lower Burrell, PA 15068

Ph: (800) 552-4492 • Fax: (724) 337-8554


Web site:

Unitec manufactures automatic payment systems for

all segments of the carwash market. Unitec systems

give carwash operators the flexibility to manage their

businesses in a variety of ways. Unitec is the right

technology for today’s carwash.

Product List:

Sentinel, Portal Ti, Wash Select ii, Wash Select ii

PoS, WashPay, PoS4000, eZ Trak

Unitec Electronics

7125 Troy Hill Drive • Elkridge, MD 21075

Ph: 1-800-4UNITEC • Fax: 410-579-6827


Web site:

Extrutech Wall and Ceiling Panels create a bright clean

inviting experience for your customers. For use in

self-serves, automatics, tunnels and perfect for new

or refurbished construction. Panels are available in 12"

and 24" widths, and cut to the inch from lengths 4 to 20

feet. Install quickly with no exposed fasteners, providing

a smooth easy to clean surface. Come with a ten year

warranty and Class A smoke and flame rating.

Product List:

P2400 Wall Panel, P1300 ceiling Panel

colored Panels, corrosion-proof Pvc doors

Extrutech Plastics, Inc.

5902 West Custer Street • Manitowoc, WI 54220

Ph: (888) 818-0118 • Fax: (920) 684-4344


Web site:

Carwash Solutions services carwash operators in

Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, Pennsylvania,

West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Our

customers are retail carwash investors, gas station

and convenience store operators and auto dealers.

Product List:

belanger equipment-belanger manufactures the

following well known brands: vector, freestyler,

enduro class 60, Pro class 100,

insta-Kleen, duratrans, duraShiner and


Carwash Solutions

23 East First Street, SE • Leesburg, VA 20175

Ph: 571-220-6997 • Fax: 703-777-7994


Web site:

Buyers Guide

LaserWash ® Touch Free In-Bay Vehicle

Wash System

PDQ Manufacturing, a Dover Company, is a leading

designer and producer of vehicle wash systems.

LaserWash ® and Tandem ® brands of in-bay systems

and WashTools conveyor tunnel products are cleaning

vehicles in thousands of facilities around the globe. PDQ

also provides wash marketing, customer loyalty and

wash payment products under the ACCESS ® brand

name. Since 1984, PDQ Manufacturing has represented

Performance, Dependability and Quality with

outstanding products, and support that contribute to our

customers’ profitability.

Product List:

PDQ’s products include LaserWash ® and Tandem ®

RiteTouch in-bay wash systems, WashTools tunnel

wash systems, MaxAir dryers, Access ® Customer

Management Systems, Wash Access Loyalty Systems

(WALS), and Site- Management Systems (SMS).

PDQ Manufacturing, Inc.

1698 Scheuring Road • De Pere, WI 54115

Ph: 920-983-8333 • Fax: 920-983-8328


Web site:

Clean Edge Co.

3121 Wilmarco Drive • Baltimore, MD 21223

Ph: 443-524-0864 • Fax: 800-982-2436


Web site:

Computer solutions for the car wash and quick lube

industry. Our point-of-sale cash register system tracks

your sales and labor as well as connects to your tunnel

controller. We provide strong marketing solutions

like loyalty promotion, customer tracking, ticket book

control and prepaid cards. Our popular products

include SiteWatch ® , TunnelWatch ® , Portable Touch

Terminal, Xpress Pay Terminal ® , FastPass ® , and the

Automatic Recharge Module ® .

Product List: PoS Systems, Self Pay Terminals,

Tunnel controller, rfid

DRB Systems, Inc.

3245 Pickle Road • Akron, OH 44312

Ph: 800-336-6338 • Fax: 330-645-2299


Web site:

Manufacturer of stainless steel carwash systems,

featuring Wash-n-go Express Building, the “Awesome”

Tire shiner, Coin-op Tire Shiner, and the Superior “The

Glo” NON-SLING High Shine Product.

Product List:

Wash-n-go express building, “awesome” Tire

shiner, coin-op Tire Shiner, Superior “The glo”

non-Sling high Shine Product

Vehicle Wash Systems, Inc.

P.O Box 414 • Weymouth, MA 02188

Ph: 800-344-8700 • Fax: 781-331-8701


Web site:

Rare Opportunity to Own a

Self-Serve & Hand Car Wash!

• 7 Bays Self-Serve

• 2 Bay-4 Spot Hand Car Wash

• 11 Super Vac Shampoo Islands

• Established and Profitable

for over 13 Years

• Land Lease

• Updates have been done

to Car Wash: New Canopy,

Air Shamy, Vacuums, etc.

For more information, go to:

or contact:

Alex Shindelman



Carwash Industry

Association Dates

car Wash operators of new jersey

General Membership Meeting

November 13, 2012

connecticut carwash association

Golf Invitational, September 18, 2012

Holiday Gathering, Dec. 6, 2012

nashville, Tn Trade Show and expo

Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center

July 15 - 17, 2012

new york State carwash association

One-Day Seminar, July 18, 2012

Fall Meetings, November 1, 2012

mid-atlantic carwash association


Fall Meetings

Sep. 12 and Nov. 28, 2012

new england carwash association

Fall Dinner Meeting

November 12, 2012

northeast regional carwash convention


October 1 - 3, 2012 in Atlantic City

Southeast carwash association

Birmingham, AL Road Show

September 16 - 17, 2012

Annual Convention – TBA

Trade Show & Expo - July 16 - 17, 2012

in Nashville, TN

Road Shows - Sept. 16 - 17, in Birmingham, AL

Orlando Trade Show and Expo

Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort

July 14 - 16, 2013 and

July 20 - 22, 2014

Southwest carwash association

Carwash Tour & Road Table

August 28, 2012 in Albuquerque, NM

Twitter: @sw_carwash

Western carwash association expo

WCA Roadshow & Car Wash Tour -

July 25 - 26, 2012 in Seattle, WA

Convention and Trade Show -

Sept. 18 - 20, 2012 in San Diego

Association • Twitter: @WCA12

If you would like to have your CAR WASH industry

events posted or information updated Contact

Other Associations

heartland carwash association

international carwash association • Facebook: carwashorg

Twitter: @carwashorg

midwest carwash association

grace for vets •


Honor our Veterans on Nov. 11, 2012

australian car Wash industry


DETAIL PLUS Introduces the Mini Rotary




Systems, who

pioneered the

use of the airpowered


Shampoo Tool

for scrubbing carpets, floor mats, and seats

in automobiles, has recently introduced to the

market a new, smaller version of that tool, the

air-powered Mini Rotary Shampooer.

This tool is much smaller and lighter than the

standard shampooer is and features a 3”

diameter brush, which can be used to shampoo

those “hard-to-reach” areas in cars, trucks,

motorcycles, and boats. The 3” brush comes in

the same 7/8” and 1.5” bristle lengths.

The complete package comes complete with

the air tool, Velcro-backer plate, and two 3”

diameter brushes. This smaller tool requires

less than a 5HP compressor to operate and has

a variable speed control.

Unitec Announces Appointment of

Michael White to Leadership Team as

Director of Strategic Partnering and

Business Development

Unitec is pleased to announce the appointment

of Michael White to its leadership team

as Director of Strategic Partnering and

Business Development. In this role, Mr.

White is responsible for business and

program development initiatives, and works

in collaboration with the company’s sales

representatives, managing territories across

the U.S. and Canada, to build and enhance

customer relations.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Mike’s

background and skill set join our organization,”

said Pam Piro, CEO of Unitec. “He will play

an instrumental role as we grow our business

and look for opportunities to provide new and

better services to our customers.”

Steve Gaudreau Publishes Book

Steve Gaudreau, a long-time consultant and

trainer to the carwash industry, announces

the publication of his newest book, Creating

Exceptional Managers in the Carwash Industry.

The book is about the abilities, skills, and

knowledge needed to become a successful

manager of a full serve, flex serve, exterior, or

exterior express carwash. In addition, this book

contains a tool kit with of job descriptions and

incentive programs for every position for every

type of conveyor carwash.

WashTrends / 2012.2

Eco Touch Car Care Product Launches

on QVC

Eco Touch®, Inc. the leading manufacturer

of premium green car cleaning products,

debuted on QVC April 5, 2012 with its

flagship product, Waterless Car wash.

Waterless Car Wash is a spray, wipe and

buff application that saves approximately 50

gallons of water per wash. The Waterless Car

Wash is a spray, wipe and buffapplication

that eliminates the need for a hose and bucket

while saving approximately 50 gallons of

water per wash. Eco Touch provides a solution

to water restrictions, including limited access to

faucets, and serves as a tool to preserve and

protect natural resources.

3D Graphic Provides Carwash


QA Graphics, a Des Moines based interactive

design firm, is pleased to announce the

completion of a 3D graphic design project for

Ryko Solutions, Inc., North America’s largest

manufacturer of carwash equipment and a major

provider of service and chemicals to the industry.

Ryko, headquartered in Grimes, Iowa.

To strengthen its sales presentation to

potential customers, Ryko sought out QA

Graphics for a creative solution that would

provide better visualization of Ryko carwash

systems in customers’ bays. Specifically, QA

Graphics’ 3D design team created a series

of photorealistic graphics that accurately

showcase the company’s CleanTouch rollover

vehicle carwash system.

Cleaning Systems, Inc. Reveals


Cleaning Systems, Inc., manufacturer of

carwash solutions, is excited to introduce THE-

ANSWER, a non-corrosive, low pH presoak.

Both laboratory and field tests prove that

when THEANSWER, is used in conjunction

with a quality alkaline presoak like CSI’s

Advantage it produces touch-free cleaning

results that have never before been seen in the

market place.

THEANSWER shines chrome, removes

windshield mask, reduces body film, releases

a pleasant citrus scent and produces a good

foaming presentation on the vehicle. It is

the ultimate first step in a two-step process

because it produces touch-free cleaning

excellence without being corrosive.

More Than 5,700 Attend The Carwash

Show 2012

Las Vegas hosted the largest carwash

convention and trade show in the world,

during May, as more than 5,700 attendees

and 300 exhibiting companies gathered for

The Carwash Show 2012, presented by

the International Carwash Association®.

Preliminary data shows that attendance at

the show increased by 4 percent over the last

two years’ attendance figures, and more than

7,000 carwash locations were represented.

BILL MARTIN Inducted Into the

Carwash Hall of Fame

Bill Martin of Metro Express Car Wash in

Boise, Idaho, has been inducted into the

Carwash Hall of Fame by the International

Carwash Association®. He receives this

honor—the professional carwash industry’s

highest honor—in recognition of his

achievements as one of the industry’s most

successful and influential operators.

Martin started his long and storied carwash

career at the age of 14, washing cars in

his front yard and advertising his services

throughout the neighborhood. He served in

the Army during the Vietnam War and, after

that, served as a member of the Los Angeles

Police Department before going back to his

carwashing roots in 1969 as a supplier’s


Martin opened his first carwash in 1973. By

1981, he had moved to Boise and opened

a full-service carwash. Martin joined the

International Carwash Association Board

of Directors in 1986 and became president

of the association in 1991. In 1996, Martin

co-founded Carwash Partners. He grew the

company to 35 locations by the time he retired

in 2001. Martin hadn’t truly retired, though.

Three years later, in 2004, Martin was back,

with Metro Express Carwashes, which he still

owns and operates today.

The International Carwash Association is

proud to include Martin in the Carwash

Hall of Fame. This high honor is one of

many recognitions Martin has received,

including being recognized as an innovator

by the Western Carwash Association and

WashTrends Magazine and receiving the City

of Meridian (ID) Environmental Excellence


People who have met and worked with

Martin, such as Ron Peterson of Mister

Carwash, sum his career up best: “Bill is one

of the most sharing people in the industry. He

has constantly innovated with his business, but

he’s always been a true friend.”

airlift doors .......................................................11

cactus car wash ..............................................11

carwash Solutions ...............inside Front cover

clean edge ...........................inside Front cover

d & S car wash Systems ..... presentation page

(Video included)

diamond Shine, inc ......................................... 14

drB Systems, inc. .......................................... 15

extrutech plastics, inc. ..................................... 3

Grace For Vets .................................................. 6

howco .............................................................. 9

“Thanks for the

“like,” WashTrends.

Keep up the

great work on

the magazine;

we really like

how WashTrends

captures what’s

relevant in car

washing today.”

—car care auto


See What Others are Saying!

“While there are many excellent publications in

the car wash industry, WaShTrendS is a great

online resource that is very educational and

informative.” i look forward to the latest car wash

trends to help in our company’s growth.”

“hey WashTrends! We

have seen your magazine much useful

info! Thanks for liking

us and for stopping by!”

-Zips car Wash

The australian car Wash

association has signed up

for your great magazine and

we will email our members

encouraging them to do the


international carwash association ................ 32

pdQ ................................................................... 10

Manni’s wash Systems ................................... 23

unitec electronics ............................................. 2

washtech ......................................................... 16

(video included)

—dean haiden, field representative

Love the magazine.

WashTrends, you

are doing great!

Keep up the good

work! —brandon Jordan


WashTrends / 2012.2

We are not ready to share all of our secrets

yet but…here are a few clues!

n Online "Live Media" Edition

n Flip-book Format

n Video and Audio Enhanced

n Updated Regularly

n Searchable

n Connected to Social Media

n Product Profiles and Display Ads

Stay connected!

Go to:

@Carwashtrends and

for more details!


Cheryl Kinney, Director of Advertising Sales

to be on the HOT LIST for Premium

Advertising Positions

Tel: 410-647-8402


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