Carwash Industry; Will Technology Take the Place of High Touch?
Many believe that future technologies in the Carwash Industry will take the place or Full Service Carwashes and the older Brush or Rollover Carwashes. In fact we are seeing some trends emerge and some are attempting to create a self-fulfilling prophesy for the future of the Industry.
Please understand the Carwash Association in our country is large and powerful. Indeed, they are trying to re-invent themselves and are doing so against customer preference, by taking something that works extremely well in Midwest and Northern climates and bringing it to where customers have greater choice, nicer automobiles and more personal recreational spending. In that regard it would seem that such new technologies will not gain the lion share of the carwash market.
So with that said, you might wish to take what you are hearing about trends with a grain of salt. A plan to revolutionize the carwash industry could work with the use of technology, however you might want to come take a look at the reality of such and interview customers not simply those in the industry who are attempting to hijack customer buying behavior Carwash valeter reality for the next new thing in car washing. There is a war brewing with business styles of carwashes. The clear loser is the roll over, high touch robotic. The winners are hand washing in larger markets with full serve and automatic, 2-3 man crews total touch-less robotic.
To better understand the dynamics of such competing theories, one should read up on Machiavellian Tactics “The Prince,” the Art of War by Sun Tzu, Carl von Clauswitz “On War” and Colonel Boyd on “Guerilla Warfare,” as well as understand the “unfit to lead” principles to primate political human groupings, to really see what is going on. One will not get this from reading the Industry Rags or those writings of those who are trying to re-invent themselves and profit from it. It is really a whole lot of humans being humans and trying to get around the horrible labor issues and work ethic problems in the United States. I think many would just rather loot, than work as we may have seen. Perhaps we should send them all to France. We have some socialist tendencies here in the US and some other changes afoot. Sometimes those watching the trends will buy into the invisible Santa Claus scenario, because they want so much to be right and while being righteous about their endeavors and believing it themselves, they end up with many a piper following. It appears this is what is going on in the carwash equipment markets as well as the start-up chains, which grew from multi-unit operations in specific encapsulated regional markets. One would hope you understand better the reality VS. the purported trends.
Being a pure capitalist by nature, I believe you give the customer what they want, take their money and run as efficiently as you can. If you try to trick or fool the customer into believing they want something else, that costs lots of money in training those customers how to think, when everyone else is telling them they “Deserve More,” teaching them to say “I am wonderful” and “It is my right to be pampered and respected irregardless of my efforts.” The customer wants it all now and personal service. So can you set up a carwash to treat them this way, wash their car in 45 – 90 seconds and 3 minutes to dry it; just how they expect it and keep them happy? Well, sure you can, Starbucks does it with Lattes. But the carwash industry is kidding them selves if they think the customers love them. The customers tolerate them and you cannot build a cult following like that. Remember it is better to loved and respected, rather than feared that they might scratch your car, waste your time and over charge you; because no one respects that. If you want to tap into or control the 100-Billion carwash market then you need to be honest with the market reality, unless you have billions to create a new reality. Think on this.