coney island train wash

Mega Bubblizer & Vortex Spinner Arch

When bubble washes were introduced to the industry, they were a drastic turning point for vehicle wash systems. Bubbles cleaned vehicles more efficiently than foam or water because they spread more easily across a vehicle’s surface. With N/S Corporation’s innovative take on implementing unique ideas into effective new wash systems, the Mega Bubblizer & Vortex Arch were the next logical steps in our mission to create the best wash systems available.

The Mega Bubblizer is an incredibly enjoyable addition to an already efficient wash. The N/S Corporation system has many additional features for a better wash, including:

  • More coverage.
  • 50% less chemicals.
  • As low as one gallon of water per vehicle.
  • Adjustable discharge.
  • Adjustable bubble density.

The Mega Bubblizer also improves the efficiency of soap and can be used to do more than wash a vehicle. With this system, applying any treatment, including glass, soap, and glass treatments, is very easy.

The Mega Bubblizer pairs exceedingly well with the new Vortex Spinner Arch. The innovative arch includes:

  • Multicolor LED light bars.
  • A single 20-horsepower pump with high volume and high impact.
  • Zero degree high impact nozzles.
  • 120 gallons per minute at 150 psi.

The Vortex Spinner Arch is ideal for businesses that want to created a themed wash with a light show.  In addition, as car wash owners, we at N/S also believe in using high pressure early in the wash process, to blast off surface adherents.  The Vortex arch not only accomplishes this, but it also creates a bit of a show as a car enters the wash..

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Eco-Friendly Aspects of N/S Corporation Systems

As our culture becomes more environmentally conscious, one particular industry that faces constant criticism is vehicle washing. The amount of water used to keep vehicles sparkling clean can draw attention in drought-stricken areas. Soaps and chemicals used during the cleaning process also can be an issue as runoff from facilities draws notice about sewer and water table contamination. If you’re wondering how to reduce water waste among other environmental concerns, the engineers at N/S Corporation have innovated new systems that are not just durable and efficient but provide minimal environmental impact as well.

Pumps that Use Less Water and Electricity

At N/S Corporation, our wash systems lessen the environmental impact by cutting down on water and excess chemical usage, along with consuming less electricity. N/S Corporation owner Chris Altschul elaborates on how to reduce water waste with more efficient pumps:

“Our claims of using lower horsepower motors and pumps along with much less water hold true. I have not been able to benchmark our system side-by-side with competitors. I’ve offered significant incentives to do so, but no end user has taken us up on the offer.”

Vehicle wash operators are encouraged to measure power consumption, water intensity, chemical consumption, and annual maintenance of their current systems and compare them to the N/S Corporation’s metrics. By having eco-friendly car wash equipment that runs on lower output motors and pumps, our operations not only use less water but also put less of a strain on electrical grids to decrease utility costs and minimize its impact on large dam-reservoir systems as well.

From Foam to Bubbles

Aside from using less electricity and water, N/S Corporation systems employ patented soaping technologies that have been revolutionizing the vehicle wash industry. Historically, wash facilities relied on foam systems to clean vehicles. However, modern trends are seeing operations addressing how to reduce water waste. Many business leaders in the industry are switching over to bubble systems, which is a staple of facilities using N/S Corporation’s eco-friendly car wash equipment. These bubbles spread chemicals over the surface of the car more efficiently and also rinse off more easily. Water usage can also drop by up to 30 percent. This will effectively produce less water that either evaporates or runs into the environment. Lessening the need for fresh water in water-constrained areas is a huge positive.

Work Beyond your System

Are you wondering how you can reduce water waste and help the environment? Not only can you use patented N/S Corporation equipment in your vehicle wash operation, but you can also encourage others to investigate the facilities they frequent before using them. You’d be surprised at some of the harmful practices that many wash operations employ. Chris Altschul  adds:

“What is bizarre is that three years ago, atransit agency overhauled three locations where they wash buses with high-pressure wash systems. Very little friction and tons of wasted water…while the citizens  are browning out their  lawns and timing their showers, some transit agencies and the farm lobby are consistently wasting millions of gallons of water.”

Altschul also suggests that operators and consumers alike should get involved in writing to leaders to voice their opinion. N/S has written to Governor Brown on multiple occasions, to help with California’s vehicle wash practices and to address how to reduce water waste. Being aware of washing habits and using smarter, environmentally friendly car wash products, like those offered by N/S Corporation, is the only way to change the public’s perception of the vehicle wash industry.

 

NS Wash Bubblizer at ICA

Join N/S in Nashville for the Unveiling of the Mega Bubblizer

NS Wash Bubblizer at ICA

N/S Corporation has made a habit of staying ahead of the competition by pioneering new innovations for all wash systems. Our newest addition to the wash equipment selection is the Mega Bubblizer. In this new and improved bubble arch, N/S Corporation has created a more efficient way to disperse chemicals over the body of any vehicle in the car wash.

Why Bubbles Are Different

Similar to a close shave, the cleansing foam needs to be applied or circulated with friction to properly clean a vehicle. Bubbles, on the other hand, flow over the surface of the vehicle and offer better coverage and a more thorough dispersion of the soap. Use a bubblizer to apply soap, wax, or glass treatments. The bubblizer can even be customized with a light and bubble show! There’s no better way to give customers a unique car wash experience and instill them with confidence.

Features and Function

In addition to a light show, the bubblizer has many useful features. It improves the chemical efficiency of soap and wax, can be mounted to a 4”x4” square anchor, a 6”x6” square bulkhead, or a 4” round arch, and creates a wow factor for customer enjoyment.

How Bubbles Changed the Industry

Bubbles took the industry by storm when they were introduced into wash systems. Car wash proprietors were able to make a small investment to achieve very high returns. N/S Corporation has taken that revolutionary innovation and pushed the evolution of the Bubblizer forward. The Mega Bubblizer offers better graphics, a dazzling light show, and an even more effective way to drop bubbles onto the surface of a car.The Mega Bubblizer

See N/S Corporation in Action

N/S Corporation’s Bubblizer offers a revolutionary way to deliver chemicals and is a great investment for every tunnel owner. The N/S Corporation Bubblizer is distinguished from the competition because we value simplicity over complexity. The Bubblizer lets the bubbles do all the work on the vehicle. Discover the benefits of using a Bubblizer to dispense chemicals, instead of foamers.

Visit us in Nashville at the ICA Show in Booth  #3904, where we will show the Mega Bubblizer in action. We are running a show-exclusive special on the Bubblizer. The frame, graphics, multi-color lights, chemical board, and powder coating are all available for $7,600 as part of the Bubblizer package.

Themed Carwashes

The car wash doesn’t have to be a dull experience. Customers can experience a fabulous car wash light show with the N/S Corporation Mega Bubblizer. With the Bubblizer, offer your customers an entertaining and enjoyable experience whenever they need to get their cars cleaned. Imagine creating a volcano themed car wash or a galaxy inspired light show. Create a custom themed car wash with the Mega Bubblizer.

 

 

coney island train wash

An Overview of Coney Island’s Train Wash

Every kind of transit vehicle requires regular washing, including trains. Not only does regular cleaning improve a train’s look, but it is an important part of protecting a transit authority’s substantial investment. Train wash systems vary greatly in terms of price, size, and other factors. How they are cleaned also depends on how it is energized. In fact, no two systems are completely the same. Being familiar with different features is important when designing a wash system for your train, so that N/S Corporation can design the perfect system to meet your train washing needs. One great example is our Coney Island train wash, which can serve as an inspiration for your design.

What Makes the Coney Island Train Wash Stand Out?

One of the best ways to measure the size of a train wash is by its length. This is where the Coney Island train wash system really stands out above the competition. While there isn’t a standard to train wash systems, many designed by competitors have 10 or so touches—which are the large brushes that clean the train. As one of the longest systems in the country, the Coney Island system has a remarkable 50 touches. Basic systems have a minimum of three touches, but the Coney Island version includes advanced touches such as eaves brushes, vertical side brushes, slanted side brushes, and mitter curtain drag mops. All of these features combine to leave trains as clean as possible.

Some other ways the Coney Island system stands out is the use of aerospace grade structural aluminum while being completely modular, letting it handle a variety of train styles. It is also engineered to serve both light or heavy rail. For being able to handle so many different trains it is a surprisingly low cost of operation, making it ideal for the high volume of trains it washes annually.

Features for Your N/S Corporation Train Wash System

coney island train washWhen it comes to keeping trains clean, N/S Corporation is a leading provider of parts and systems. Our experience allows for designs that include a number of optional parts such as cyclonic filters, reverse osmosis systems, water reclamation systems, and more for fully tested custom design systems. AirWipers, the most efficient blowers on the market, are another very popular offering. Because train washes like the Coney Island train wash system allow a train on the track to process through the wash at a controlled and steady speed, you can be assured the train will safely be taken care of without the need to put a locomotive out of extended service. Unlike the car wash industry, train washing is relatively new. However, since there isn’t a standard system, it gives N/S Corporation the freedom to design a custom operation to best suit your needs, whether you have small commercial trains or longer passenger vehicles that make up your fleet.

Consult with N/S for a Custom Solution

There are many benefits to washing train cars: cleaning them adds to the duration of the car’s lifespan. A clean car also enhances customer experience, making it easier for employees to effectively do their jobs. Because of this, it is vitally important to keep your vehicles in pristine order. Even among the same clients, we have developed vastly different systems depending on their needs and location. Does your system need a slanted or vertical side brush? Maybe a brush that wraps around the front? Different configurations are available depending on how the train is built, and at N/S Corporation we can mount any friction apparatuses on the frames of your system.

Finally, something often overlooked with train washes is their opportunity to be environmentally-friendly. Just like with other kinds of transit wash systems, train systems can utilize features including a water reclamation system and a low environmental footprint to be more eco-friendly in both the manufacturing and service. This allows for your wash to serve not only its customers, but conserve water, no matter if the wash is as sizable as the Coney Island train wash or smaller. At N/S Corporation we have a number of patented eco-friendly systems to serve your needs.

Visit N/S Corporation and let us custom design a system for you.

Car_Wash

I’ve Bought My First Car Wash … Now What?

Car in a car washIt is truly an exciting time for the car wash industry. The number of vehicles (both for private and public use) is at an all time high, and the concern for a clearn car has never been more widespread. The options for a new car wash business are endless: retail washes, rental fleet washes, corporate transit washes, public transit washes, and many more. In order to get your car wash started on the right foot, you should use a car wash business model that is in line with your target consumer and overall goals.

Don’t Be Frugal With Marketing Costs When Starting a Business

In the digital age, we can’t emphasize enough that marketing is more important than ever. There are a couple of routes you can take with regards to promoting your business. You can employ a marketing agency, which can charge a pretty penny but will boast strong relationships with established advertising outlets. On the other hand, knowing how to market your business without outside help can be more affordable but will require more effort on your part. With any car wash business model, profitability shouldn’t be your number one priority in the first year of business. Instead, focus on gaining the attention of new customers and developing a strong, positive company image.

Learn About Your New Machinery

Many car wash owners either purchase brand new wash systems, or take over an existing wash with no prior knowledge of how these complex machines operate. Every experienced car wash owner knows that knowledge is key in any successful car wash business model. Knowing the operational basics of a car wash system, performing what little maintenance is required for upkeep, and constantly learning about how to make your wash more efficient can help you avoid any unexpected repair costs in the future. Many small problems have simple solutions, and knowing those solutions makes all the difference.

Establish a Relationship With Your Supplier

Calculating financial dataTake some extra time to talk with the company that you order your machinery or replacement parts from. More likely than not, they will have knowledge and experience about an efficient car wash business model that they are willing to share with you. For one, the highly trained team at N/S Corporation has worked with virtually every type of car wash system, and is ready to walk you through the planning and setup of your new state-of-the-art retail or transit wash. Not only can we recommend complete system layouts based on your target consumer, but we can also lend advice about how to streamline your wash for smooth long-term operation.

Share What You Learn With Your Team

Encourage your employees to learn about the wash system they are working with. A strong team will be a vital component of your car wash business model. Even if you are confident that you could run your wash without any help, it’s better to be safe than sorry when giving an employee any degree of responsibility. Treat your team as an extension of yourself and you are bound to see positive benefits. In addition, extensive employee training means that you can feel confident when having to leave your wash under the supervision of a shift manager if need be.

For more ideas on running your first car wash, call N/S Corporation and speak with a team member today.

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5 Car Wash Business Ideas for the Modern Age

Starting up a car wash is very similar to starting up any other kind of modern business: establish a target customer base; reach out to that customer base and make your business visible to them; make sure the product or service you offer is up to par with your marketing; and establish incentives to bring in new customers seasonally and year-round. Of the multitude of car wash business ideas that exist, you only need to adhere to a few extremely important ones. With a mindset for success, you can drive your new car wash business to prosperity.

Bring Your Company Into The Digital Age

Yelp sign on doorAlthough the idea of a retail or corporate car wash isn’t new by any means, modern strategies to publicize and grow a car wash have emerged with the advancement of technology. In particular, digital marketing can allow for a business to reach new customers without traveling from door to door. Websites like Yelp and popular social media platforms like Facebook give businesses an opportunity to connect with their audience on a more personal level. Of all the car wash business ideas mentioned in this article, this may be the most important. Internet resources allow you to give others the chance to boast about their experience and in-turn strengthen the positive word of mouth reputation of your business.

Be Conscious of the Environment

Whether you share your views on environmental sustainability with the public or not, it is extremely important to keep eco-friendliness in mind when thinking of modern car wash business ideas. Not only is waste management a continuous expense, but the planet will only benefit from the use of water recycling and eco-chemicals—not to mention that a focus on “green operation” will do wonders for your public image. All Eco Saver car wash systems and layouts from N/S Corporation include an underground tank for water storage and recycling. They also offer above ground water recovery and clarification units that help reduce smells and groundwater contamination.

Build a Story Around Your Business; Invite Your Customers to Take Part

Visa payment cardThese days, consumers enjoy taking part in a bigger narrative—in other words, make your customer feel like they are contributing to a greater cause than just the cleanliness of their vehicle and putting money in your pocket. Many car wash business ideas deal with reducing operational costs, rather than smart ways to invest in your business and help it grow. What is your statement of purpose? By publicly focusing on environmental sustainability, for example, what do you plan to accomplish besides lowering waste management costs? Make your answers to these questions part of your aspiration, and make that aspiration obvious to your consumer.

Cash-only is a Thing of the Past

If you were to ask every potential customer to pay in cash, most of them would say that they don’t carry cash anymore. The advent of credit cards, mobile banking, and smart phones are forcing businesses to diversify the ways in which they take payment for their product or service. One of the smartest car wash business ideas you can utilize is allowing your company to harness the buying power of the modern consumer. This means taking paper, plastic, and any other type of digital payment that currently exists.

Visit N/S Corporation’s website to learn more about products and services that can help you build a car wash for the modern age.

come-in

Car Wash Promotion Ideas for Your Grand Opening

Now Open signStarting a new business can be worrisome, but the excitement of breathing life into a new venture is an incomparable feeling. Due to the exponentially rising number of vehicles that are going to hit the road this year, demand for a quality car wash that is easily accessible is higher than ever. With some quality equipment and some great car wash promotion ideas, you can take your new wash business to the next level. Here are some important modern marketing concepts to keep in mind.

Incentives, Incentives, Incentives

Let’s say that you decide to open up a new retail car wash in your neighborhood, which is already saturated with established businesses. For the average local consumer, there must be a good reason to visit a newly established wash rather than visit the dependable one they’ve been going to for years—and there’s no better reason than saving some money. One of the best car wash promotion ideas is to offer deals and other various incentives to drive up consumer interest in the first few months of business. Know the demographic and estimated size of the customer base in your area, and make sure you only dish out enough service discounts that you are still able to somewhat recoup your initial operational costs.

Go Digital

Many new car wash businesses are beginning to offer virtual tours of their washes, especially when they have state-of-the-art wash systems to display. By building a solid online presence, you can become visible to consumers outside your normal area of reach. Word-of-mouth marketing is often confined to city limits, but digital marketing has no bounds. Not too familiar with digital car wash promotion ideas? Partner up with other related, non-wash businesses that are digitally savvy and return the favor by promoting their business to your customers.

Assemble an Experienced Team of Wash OperatorsCar wash employee cleaning

Car wash promotion ideas are as only as effective as the team promoting them. Even though many modern car wash systems can be operated remotely through electrical control panels, good customer service still reigns supreme in consumer satisfaction. Make sure your employees know how to quickly address any operational issue that may arise, and try having a group of team members offer a towel dry or wax service for new customers post-wash. Besides their contribution to success on-site, more team members means more people spreading the word about your company outside of business hours.

Boast the Most Advanced Equipment in the Industry

Nothing says more about a business than the quality of the product or service that business offers. If you are thinking about starting a retail or transit car wash business, then you should consider the cutting-edge car wash systems from N/S Corporation. Since 1967, N/S Corporation has been the leader in the retail and niche transit car wash industry, making all of our patented parts in a 60,000 square foot factory in Inglewood, CA. We’ve worked with thousands of new car wash business owners who are looking for effective car wash promotion ideas and reliable equipment, and we’d be happy to assist with yours. Contact us today to find out more.

nswash-sponsorship

N/S Wash Proudly Sponsors West LA Little League

n/s wash little league sponsorshipThe West Los Angeles Little League, located at the iconic Bad News Bears Fields (which was the site of the 1976 film The Bad News Bears), kicked off its 65th season last month with a ceremonial first pitch thrown by none other than Chris Paul, the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. Paul, a nine-time NBA all-star and a father of two, has a 13-year-old son who plays in the league.

Such a star-studded moment is perfectly appropriate for the likes of Opening Day, which is perhaps the most exciting day of the entire season over at West Los Angeles Little League (besides the playoffs, of course!). After an entire fall and winter away from the fields, eager parents and children returned to embrace America’s favorite pastime with a morning chock-full of fun, and N/S Wash was proud to be a part of the action by way of its support for the league.

The Morning

Opening Day began bright and early at 8AM with a hearty pancake breakfast for all of the hungry families looking to celebrate the start of another fantastic season of baseball. As the parents chatted with one another and enjoyed the crisp February morning, all of the young baseball players and their brothers and sisters were free to play on an array of bounce houses and obstacle courses that turned the fields into what almost felt like a mini carnival. The morning also saw the introduction of brand new West Los Angeles Little League merchandise to celebrate the occasion.

Chris Paul little leagueBy the time 10AM rolled around, it was time to let the official Opening Day ceremonies begin. As is tradition, the West Los Angeles Little League recognized last year’s 2015 all-stars and had a parade where every one of the league’s teams and age groups, T-ball through Majors, got to present themselves to all of their proud parents.

Chris Paul Throws the Opening Pitch

n/s wash sponsorshipBut as thrilled as these parents were to see their children in their new team uniforms for the very first time, it was hard to not feel the excitement in the air that was emanating from parents and children alike as basketball superstar Chris Paul stepped up to the pitcher’s mound to deliver 2016’s highly anticipated opening pitch. After saying a few encouraging words to the crowd, Paul delivered a confident pitch that landed right in the catcher’s mitt. The crowd went absolutely wild. Who knew Paul could throw so well? Maybe he learned from playing games of catch with his son, or maybe basketball skills translate into baseball skills better than we might expect (NBA legend Michael Jordan played both sports, after all). What a way to kick off the first day of the season!

N/S Wash is proud to support places like the West Los Angeles Little League, whose positive atmosphere and commitment to the community make Los Angeles a better place.

 

carwash

Get the Most from Your Car Wash Startup Costs with These 5 Tips

Soapy car wheelThere’s no doubt about it—the world’s population is growing. Thus, there is a need for larger and more efficient systems of public transit. Though more and more people are finding they need adequate transportation, they still want to make sure that they’re riding in a vehicle that’s extremely clean both inside and out. Therefore, it’s a great time to get into the transit/retail wash business. With the help of N/S Corporation, you can minimize car wash startup costs and maximize your return on investment.

1. Keep Waste at a Minimum, Just Like Your Expenses

Waste comes in many forms, and our planet could use much less of it. In the car wash industry, waste usually consists of used water, cleaning chemicals, and broken components headed to the landfill. Thanks to N/S Corporation, your initial car wash startup costs will not go to waste. We hold a number of patents, both inside and outside the U.S., that guarantee the value of our products. In addition, many of our ECO wash systems include layouts and parts for water recycling bays, which keep your environmental footprint extremely low.

2. Get Quality Components Up Front, Not Down the RoadInside of car windshield being washed

Many wash system owners try to minimize their car wash startup costs by purchasing inexpensive system parts in the beginning, and then worry about inevitable repair costs after they’ve recouped their expenses. In our opinion, it’s always better to get it right the first time and purchase a quality car wash system. N/S Corporation manufactures all of our high quality, durable parts using efficient, eco-friendly methods. By minimizing repair costs down the road, you can extend your timetable of profitability without having to worry about breakdowns.

3. Know Your Customer, and their Vehicles

Are you planning on running a wash system for oversized transit vehicles, a fleet of rental sedans, or a retail wash system for everyday people? Put your car wash startup costs toward the right layout for your wash system. Knowing your target customer now means less overhauling later. If you think you’ll eventually expand your business, make sure to leave enough space in your wash bay for a wide variety of vehicles.

Commuter train at the station4. Rely On Quality Machinery To Lower Labor Costs

In the past, anyone thinking about starting up a car wash business was required to assemble a team of employees, only to find out later that some worked more efficiently than others. This operational strategy only leads to frustration, unnecessary employment costs, and other avoidable problems. All wash systems manufactured by N/S Corporation can be operated remotely through a state-of-the-art electronic control panel, removing the need for extensive employee training and high car wash startup costs.

5. Only Purchase Wash Systems and Components from a Reputable Company

N/S Corporation has built an incredible reputation in the international wash industry for our quality parts, unmatched customer service, and roster of successful clients. We pride ourselves on sustainability, durability, and satisfaction. Low costs mean getting your setup right the first time, and you can trust the experienced team at N/S Corporation to help you throughout the process. We are proud to have worked with companies like Turtle Wax, Washmasters, Thrify Car Rental, and more. Whichever company you choose, make sure it’s one you can trust to help you start a successful business.

 

Every Day is Training Day for Car Wash Owners

Training – Many Available Resources

Training – Many Available Resources

Every Day is Training Day for Car Wash Owners

By Sydney Sullivan Knott

 

So you want to get into the car wash business? Looks easy, right? Just send dirty cars through the tunnel and they come out clean. Customers drive away happy and you make money, lots of money. Right? Sometimes.

There are many factors that contribute to a successful car wash operation. According to Thomas Ennis, owner of Inglewood, CA-based NS Wash

Systems, it starts with understanding the ins and outs of the business, deciding what type of wash, finding the best location, conducting market research and studying traffic patterns, looking at the pros and cons of buying an existing wash versus new construction, and evaluating equipment options.

“Some owners make decisions the hard way, through trial and error, while others take advantage of the myriad resources that are available,” says Ennis, who was inducted into the International Carwash Association (ICA) Hall of Fame in 2015. Over the years, Ennis has seen the value in participating in trade shows, from connecting with customers to staying current on marketing trends, legal, and environmental concerns. Ennis has been a member of ICA for 52 years, attending his first show in 1963 — and he hasn’t missed one yet, including exhibiting every year since 1967.

I WANT TO BUY A CAR WASH

If you are new to the car wash industry, a good place to start is regional and national trade associations. The ICA website has an entire section devoted to new investors, www.carwash.org/for-operators/invest. In addition, the ICA conducts an annual new investor seminar in conjunction with The Car Wash Show, scheduled this year for Nashville in May.

According to Megan Clark, ICA director of membership, “Our goal with the seminar is to answer any question a new investor would have about getting into the industry, including type of wash to build/purchase, how to get financing, insurance, technology, human resources needs, and more.”

Brad Sorenson, director of training for Sonny’s CarWashCollege, reports that the last three years has seen an increase in new owners entering the car wash business. Banks are willing to lend money and more and more owners are building multiple sites, creating regional chains. At Sonny’s CarWash College in Fort Lauderdale, FL, quarterly new investor seminars are packed and training classes are sold out months in advance.

Paul Fazio teaches a class at Sonny’s CarWash College
Regional and state car wash associations are excellent resources, as well, especially for networking and learning about codes, permits, and environmental issues. For a complete listing, visit www.sonnysdirect.com or consult the annual Auto Laundry News Buyers Guide.

Do Your Homework

Sorenson says that buying a car wash is like buying any other business, and it starts with due diligence. “Conduct market research and study traffic patterns. Location will be the single most determining factor in your success. Even one block can make or break your business,” he explains.

INDUSTRY NEWCOMERS WELCOME

Ten years ago, industry newcomer, Patricia Knott, met Thomas Ennis at a business mixer and, while car wash ownership was not something she had thought about, ever, the idea of owning her own business, revitalizing undervalued commercial real estate properties, creating a fun, family-friendly experience, and supporting the environment had crossed her mind.

Today she is the owner of the Green Forest chain of express car washes in Southern California, with locations in Hawthorne, South Los Angeles, and Bell Gardens, and opening this year in Baldwin Hills and San Pedro. She is putting to good use her background in accounting, corporate finance, and real estate evaluations.

“This industry really rolls out the red carpet to newcomers,” Knott says. “Everyone has been very nice and helpful.”

Every Day is Training Day for Car Wash Owners

Some existing owners believe in on-the-job-training, while others take classes and find information via trade shows, and industry magazines. Whichever way you prefer, experts agree that savvy owners and operators are always learning. “This business teaches you something new, every day,” Ennis notes.

Exhibitors on the tradeshow floor.

For owners, operators, and employees, trade shows are a great way to meet industry leaders, network with others, and see first-hand innovations in equipment and chemicals. For example, Sorenson notes that operators in the Northeast have been slow to embrace current trends such as automatic pay stations and free vacuums. Those that have are “tearing it up,” he says.

On the ICA website, www.car wash.org, there is a section dedicated to operators and provides industry resources, information about the association, upcoming events, and The Car Wash Show in Nashville, May 9-11.

Ennis, who started washing cars at 12 and purchased his first car wash on a handshake when he was only 20, recommends that anyone interested in owning or investing in a car wash should meet local operators, observe their operations, and ask lots of questions. Seeing a car wash operation up close will teach you a great deal about this business.

BACK TO SCHOOL

As an industry newcomer, Knott attended trade shows looking for resources and found Sonny’s CarWash College. She and her senior technician have taken their repair and maintenance classes, and she sent her manager to the management class. Knott, who is based in Southern California, wishes the college were closer. “I would send people to Sonny’s non-stop,” she says.

“I highly recommend the CarWash College for all newcomers, existing operators, and employees. The hands-on labs really help operations run more smoothly when you get back home.”

While the classroom time and instruction were great, Knott felt the added value was spending a week exchanging information and sharing ideas with others in the industry.

Sonny’s CarWash College offers group training and labs in Sonny’s CarWash Factory. Sorenson said the repair classes are capped at 15 participants and other classes can accommodate 24 studen

Hands-on training provides the best results.
Four management classes are held per year, and eight repair and maintenance classes. Classes span an entire week. For more information about the college, visit www.sonnysdirect.com. One-day investor seminars are offered quarterly.

“We train on Sonny’s equipment, right here in our factory,” explains Sorenson. “It’s easy to transfer the information to another manufacturer’s equipment. We also have maintenance videos on each piece of equipment, which can be found on our website.”

Sorenson says there are no plans for webinars or virtual training sessions, preferring the hands-on approach. He says they are looking at taking the show on the road and may be offering three-day mini courses throughout the country at local car wash locations. He notes they are looking at adding new classes covering multi-site management and marketing, safety, and insurance issues.

Stay in Touch with Your Equipment Manufacturer

While Sonny’s CarWash College covers the basics of repairs and maintenance and is familiar with most manufacturers and their products, Knott recommends having good relationships with your equipment manufacturer and chemical supplier.

Ennis agrees. “We stay in touch with our customers and we want to hear from them. Many problems can be diagnosed and solved over the phone, often saving thousands of dollars in repairs or equipment replacement. Just as important, we want to hear about anything that is frustrating our customers or a reoccurring problem. If we don’t know there’s a problem, we can’t fix it.”

INVEST IN WORKFORCE TRAINING

It’s no secret that car washes tend to have a high labor turnover rate. Interestingly, Sorenson says there is more turnover in full service locations than in express washes. Many employees are part-time, high school students; some work during summer vacations. Hiring, training, and retaining employees are expensive parts of the car wash business and crucial to overall success.

“Employees are expected to operate the equipment, conduct routine maintenance, be personable and outgoing with customers, and understand day-to-day operations, “ says Knott. “It’s a challenge to make sure that all employees know how to operate the car wash.

“We invest in training our managers and introducing them to all aspects of the business. They, in turn, help train our part-time, seasonal workforce, and new employees,” Knott adds.

Knott takes employees to trade shows, whenever possible, so they can better understand the industry and meet the players.

When you invest in your employees, invest in their education, you will get a return on your investment,” adds Sorenson. “One of the biggest comments we hear from owners is that employees who attend our CarWash College return home excited and confident, fired up and ready to get back to work.”

Sorenson recommends investing in your employees, not only by sending them to classes and trade shows, but also by making them responsible and accountable for the successful operations of the car wash.

“We have a customer who has put the attendants in charge of a piece of equipment and it has been a win-win for the business. Anytime the student becomes the teacher, you build their confidence and loyalty and give them a sense of ownership. It’s an investment that will pay off, big time,” Sorenson notes.

Whether you attend the “school of hard knocks,” trade shows, or a car wash college, learning the business from the inside out and staying current is the best training for newcomers, owners, and employees.

Sydney Sullivan Knott is the president of The PR Group, a full-service communications firm based in Las Vegas.