Car Wash M&A, The Podcast, Episode 3 Overview

HOW TO SCALE YOUR BUSINESS
When it comes to scaling your business, the details matter. Creating a sustainable and replicable model that works on all levels is essential, and it’s worth the time and effort it takes to build up strong processes and procedures early so that you can effectively grow a car wash from a single location to a successful chain.

WE ARE IN THE RETAIL BUSINESS AND “RETAIL IS DETAIL”
While larger car wash platforms backed by private equity investment certainly have some advantages through bigger budgets, and economies of scale, smaller family-owned businesses like Metro Express can effectively compete by keeping laser focused on operations and the customer experience to give them an edge. From his experience, Bill shared about “The Metro Way” where they focus on People, Process, Product, and Place.

Here’s what Bill had to say about the 4 P’s of the Metro Way:
In our company, we call it the Metro Way. The Metro Way is People, Process, Product, and Place. The time that a customer spends on your site is critical, in my opinion. You want to try to turn them around as quickly as possible. We measure that from the time the front tire hits the threshold of the driveway until the back tire departs the threshold of the driveway. So, we set standards and goals for how many minutes each process should take, or how many seconds. Back in the full-service days I was always frustrated by the notion that we should try to sell the customer as much extra service items as we possibly could so that we can maximize that revenue per customer. My observation was that while we were doing that, we had these big gaps of empty space on our conveyor. And my argument was, we can never make up in extra services what we lose in throughput. If a customer is going to pay you $5 or $7 for a car wash, or $10 today, but you lose a whole space because you’re trying to talk him into spending $12, as opposed to $10. That’s a losing proposition for the owner operator. That throughput management is so critical. Not only is it critical to maximize your opportunity that day, but it’s also very important to the customer. Because that person that’s number four, five, six or seven in line is frustrated while he or she is waiting for that customer at the point of sale to make a decision about well do I want to spend an extra $2 here. I mean, to me, that was just never what we were about in our business. We were always about the processing of the customer, and to try to get them back on the street as quickly as we possibly can.

Focusing on details – the customer experience, the smoothness of processes, the quality of the product, and the cleanliness of the site – makes all the difference when it comes to consistency and customer loyalty.

IMPROVE OPERATIONS, IMPROVE YOUR VALUATION
Establishing a scalable model from the start enables you to effectively grow and maximize your valuation. As Bill says in the episode, “It’s no secret that private equity is entering the car wash business at a pretty heavy clip, and they’re bidding up car wash values. So, for every $1,000 in earnings or profitability, EBITDA, you have, that could add $12,000 to the value of that site if it’s being purchased at a 12 multiple. So, adding $100,000 in EBITDA could add one point two million dollars to the valuation. It really pays to manage your growth and your top line, and also manage your expenses.”

THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Despite the tumultuous climate and the rising interest rates in today’s market, the future continues to be bright for car wash owners who focus on the details of running a smooth, successful business with great processes and outstanding customer service.

Want to dive deeper into car wash M&A information? Listen to all Car Wash M&A, The Podcast episodes.

Jet Brite Car Wash

With decades of hands-on experience as operators, when it came time to sell our car wash business who we sold to was important to Sam and me. Chris [Jenks] and the team at Amplify listened to us throughout the entire process. They found the right buyer in ZIPS who would be a good steward of the brand and helped find the best path forward for us where we can continue pursuing our passion for manufacturing high-quality car wash equipment.  

Jet Brite Car Wash  
Dave Delesandro  | Founder

Quick N’ Clean

My relationship with Commercial Plus over the past 20 years has been a very professional and trustworthy relationship. The feel of trust is very important in this business, and Jeff Pavone and his staff have exhibited a level of trust that makes me continue to feel that they have my best interest front of mind. I deal with many brokers across the nation, and my best experiences and results have been achieved with Commercial Plus representation.

Quick N’ Clean
Richard Karle | Owner

Zips

It’s been a great experience working with Amplify Car Wash Advisors to bring these sites into the ZIPS portfolio. We look forward to serving Dallas area customers with an enhanced car wash experience unique to ZIPS, with the added benefit of our extensive network of stores. This year we have continued our aggressive growth track with the goal to truly shine in our efforts to be the best express car wash provider in the industry and it’s acquisitions like this that help us reach our goals.

Zips
Gene Dinkens | CEO

ModWash

It was truly a pleasure to work with the Amplify team on our most recent acquisition of three additional operating locations in our home state of Tennessee. Their team provided great support and ensured a timely and seamless closing process, and we are excited for the additional growth opportunities this relationship will produce in our near future. We know this is the first of many transactions we will successfully complete with the Amplify team as we grow from our current operating store count of 23 to well over 200 locations across 14 states in the next two years.

ModWash
Brian Thornton | COO

Busy Bee Car Wash

For years I’ve talked to a lot of brokers with the same goal; sell your car wash chain as quickly as possible. But I chose to work with Amplify because they were interested and invested in the emotional side of selling my business and truly value long-term relationships. They weren’t forcing me to take a deal just to take a deal. They listened to my concerns and goals then educated me on all my options. And that’s how I decided on the right partner for my chain specifically. I went to bed at night after I signed the papers knowing I got the best deal possible versus just having any deal put in front of me that is only about money.

Busy Bee Car Wash
Jim Mulholland | Owner

Q Car Wash

We really appreciate Jeff and his entire team at Amplify. Their expertise and deep industry knowledge helped us navigate our options and best showcase our strengths to maximize our value. Caliber is a good fit for Q Car Wash as they look to expand in North Texas.

Q Car Wash
Viran Nana | COO

Cobblestone Auto Spa

I have known both Jeff and Bill for over thirty years combined, and respect them both as experts in our professional car washing industry. Their unique and individual strengths bring very strong talent and advice to operators, sellers, and buyers with sharp knowledge, client’s best interest in mind, and an actual personal touch. They hold the expertise and performance track record to hold a very high level of respect within this rapidly-changing car wash industry.

Cobblestone Auto Spa
Tuck Bettin | CEO

Oasis Car Wash

Turning over a business you started from one shovel of dirt 25 years ago and grew to several locations is a difficult and even uncomfortable process. So, when it came time for Larry and me to sell, we chose Amplify Car Wash Advisors to guide us through the process because of their strong reputation and thought leadership in the industry. Their team was professional and did a great job walking us through each step.

Oasis Car Wash
Dallas Hawkins | Partner

Busy Bee Car Wash

Selling our business after 52 years is big deal and certainly not a decision I took lightly, turning over our family legacy was an emotional process and I appreciated that the team at Amplify respected that. They helped me understand my options and found the best deal for me.

Busy Bee Car Wash
Jim Mulholland | Owner

Ducky’s Express

I have been a multi-site developer and operator in the car wash industry for over 30 years. Four years ago, a partner’s health concern forced me to sell a portion of my portfolio, and during that process, I was introduced to Jeff Pavone of Commercial Plus. I was immediately impressed with Jeff’s knowledge of my industry and his volume of successful deal closings. In a very short period of time, Jeff found the right buyer at a very fair price, and the transaction closed shortly thereafter. I was looking for a team with honesty, integrity, and a proven track record of success, and I found all of that in Jeff.

Ducky’s Express
Richard Miller

Trademark Car Wash

These are some of the most exciting times for car wash owners. As we grew 350% in revenue in just one year, we recognized the time to partner up with a top-tier team that has mastered growth in retail and specifically the automotive industry. Amplify Car Wash Advisors had helped us acquire, raise capital, and was the perfect partner to help us reach this next chapter of the Trademark story.

Trademark Car Wash
Andrew Goldberger