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Posted on: March 27th, 2020

COVID-19 Shut Down

March 27, 2020; written by Aaron Layton

In today’s ever-changing world, it seems a new reality is forcing us to adapt now, more than ever. New words like pandemic, self-isolation, social distancing and COVID-19 are now ingrained into our daily lives. As city and state governments roll out stay-at-home orders, car wash owners and operators are now faced with a new word; closed. The decision to temporarily close your car wash is a difficult one for everyone. Several factors must be considered during the decision-making process. But know, there is a light at the end of the car wash tunnel, and we will get back on track.

Once the decision to close has been made, one subject that needs to be covered is preparation. Setting yourself up for success in the future will make it easier once we get back to the point of opening your washes back up to the public.

Your washes consist of several moving parts. Newton’s Law’s of Motion state that “an object in motion, stays in motion; an object at rest, stays at rest.” During a shutdown, all those moving parts are now at rest, for an undetermined amount of time. Here are some procedures you should take during this time:

  1. You want to run your equipment daily. Run your conveyor, spin your brushes, start up your blowers, turn on your vacuum system. Do a WetDown. All these essential systems like to run, so be sure they have a chance to “stretch their legs.”
  2. Drain your chemical draw lines of any chemicals. Prolonged exposure to certain chemicals can cause draw lines to stiffen and affect the drawing of chemical in the future.
  3. If you have a reclaim system, keep it running. Shutting this down will cause a nasty smell once you reopen. This also might be a good time to have your tanks pumped of all the mud you accumulated over the winter.
  4. Check your air compressor. Is it free of any water? When was the last time belts, filters and the oil were changed?

Now that you have done some essentials, you can get to planning for the short-term future. Some items to consider include Maintenance, Upgrades and Team Development.

  • Maintenance: Now is the time to complete projects that you may have been putting off. For chain conveyors, when was the last time the sprockets were flipped or replaced? Belt conveyor operators- now is the time to flip your belt and replace drive sprockets, if necessary. Check bearings, shocks and air cylinders for proper function. Check hydraulic hoses for wear. Now would be a good time to replace your hydraulic fluid, as well. Clean, clean, clean. We have plenty of equipment cleaner, so your arches can be brightened up for your customers when they return. Check your cloth. Is it looking torn and ragged? A good pressure washing can bring old cloth back to life.
  • Upgrades: Are there any upgrades you want to do? Have you been on the fence about adding a new service? Hot Wax? Ceramic? Are you thinking of changing up your menu and price structure? Now is the time that we can consult with you about your wash’s future.
  • Team Development: During these difficult times, it is more important than ever that we take care of each other. Reach out to your employees. These maintenance and cleaning projects can provide them with hours of escape from this new world. Have conversations with them about how they are doing. Is there some team building you can do, and maintain social distancing? Remember, we are in the people business, we just happen to wash cars in the process.

Please know that we at FCS empathize with your situation. It seems things are changing almost daily, but we are here to help you through this time. We know we will get through this and be back to washing cars, creating memorable experiences for our customers and developing valuable team members.