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Posted on: May 22nd, 2024


After some recent reflection on business and car washing, I decided I needed to focus more on the fundamentals in our business this year; request in – service out.  It sounds very simplistic but why make it harder than that?

The difficult part lies in how we minimize the time between the request and service completion; how we communicate with customers; how and what we stock for parts, etc. However, concentrating on the basics and answering the question, “how does this help our service?” allows us to stay focused.

Covid really turned the world upside down; businesses had to adjust, innovate, create, and were forced to adapt, bringing in new ‘cutting edge’ technology to stay open.

What is ‘cutting edge’ these days though?  Cambridge dictionary defines it as “the most recent and advanced stage of development in a particular type of work or activity, with the newest systems, equipment, etc.”  Car Washes adapted and added things like touchless payment options, more app-based purchases, and focused on club memberships to cut down on touch points.  But, throughout it all, have we forgotten the fundamentals?

What if ‘cutting edge’ today means that we become so good at the basics it’s considered cutting edge?  I recently read an article in the magazine, Work Space, about Joe Calloway and his approach to an organization.  His #1 was what I am trying to achieve this year – Be So Good at the Basics That You Are Cutting Edge!

I love it! It’s a different way of saying Back to the Fundamentals!  Back to Basics!  Tried and True!  Back to Square One! Back to Ground Zero!  Blocking and Tackling!  They are all saying-don’t forget what’s most important!

Here are some things that I think are most important in our business:

  1. Wash the Car!
    Every fundamental starts with being able to wash the car; that means your site must be open and ready to wash. Don’t start with customer service, don’t start with clean, don’t start with shiny, and don’t start with dry.  Clean, Shiny & Dry are all products and results of being able to wash the car.  Having your best customer service agent trying to explain why you can’t wash cars today is not great service.
  2. Connection.
    During covid we lost some of our ‘connection’ to people; we were forced to go to touchless and contactless payments and washing.  Connect with your customers, welcome them to the site, say hello.
  3. Clean, Shiny & Dry.
    The light shows, the different application arches, all the different chemicals, your chemical cost per car, the club packages, the disclaimer signs, the promotions, the charity washes, the sales pitch, your conversion rate to clubs, your churn, the number of KPI’s and metrics to monitor and achieve… can all distract you from this basic fundamental-Clean, Shiny & Dry!

While the three points above are not all encompassing, and there are certainly details inside of each to work out, I truly believe focusing on these simple points will set you apart from your competitors in today’s market…and make you cutting edge!

  1. Are we open?
  2. Did we say hello and thank the customer?
  3. Did we produce a good product?

Start here and change the definition of cutting edge in your market!