Car Wash M&A, The Podcast Episode 8 News Overview

As a business leader, are you pivoting in response to relevant new information? Have you considered what you can do today to strengthen your company amid changing market dynamics? Episode 8 of Car Wash M&A, The Podcast focuses on the perspective of Andrew Goldberger, founder of Trademark Car Wash. Andrew acquired sites to grow his car wash business; then, thanks in part to his relationship with the team at Amplify Car Advisors, he recently partnered with a private equity group to scale his car wash chain. Andrew currently serves as director of mergers and acquisitions with Trademark, and he shares what he’s learned about how to make your business stronger today to help you get the best return on your investment later.

THE POWER OF PIVOTING AS A CAR WASH OWNER
Car wash owners know that there is a monumental difference between theory and practical application. The most important thing isn’t getting it right the first time every time, but rather knowing when and how to pivot when things don’t go as planned. Andrew shares some of his experiences as an entrepreneur where it all made sense on paper, but the reality was the plan just didn’t work. As a new car wash owner, he entered new markets and encountered new challenges, but his ability to pivot and to make changes in the face of new information has been a defining characteristic in his brand’s quickly rising success. Andrew reflects, “There’s pretty much nothing more humbling than starting a business and recognizing all of your warts. You definitely need to pivot and adjust the plan. Every time you make your first business model, or you decide, ‘Yeah, this is where we’re going [to put a car wash],’ then you hit a rainy month, or the cars just reroute a different way, or you get a new competitor moving three-quarters of a mile down the road, or COVID hits.” What matters most is how car wash owners respond.

FINDING A PARTNER TO SCALE
As the car wash industry continues to evolve, lots of car wash chains want to grow and scale. But amid today’s headwinds, things are different from a year ago. Or six months ago, really. Even in an inflationary environment with rising interest rates, continued supply chain disruptions, and labor challenges, the fundamentals of success are the same. If you want to grow, you need to deliver a quality product customers have a demand for, put the right people and systems in place, and have the financial ability to do so. Andrew had been working with Commercial Plus, Amplify’s affiliated real estate and business brokerage firm, acquiring sites and using financing tools like sale leasebacks to grow at a modest clip. Through an introduction to a private equity group looking to enter the car wash space by Jeff Pavone, partner at Amplify, Andrew realized partnering with a financial sponsor was the next right step to scale Trademark. “They put us together with a group called Strickland Brothers Oil Change, which is the fastest-growing oil change company in the United States. It was a perfect marriage; we both are kind of separate organizations within an umbrella. But they have amazing expertise in building new sites.” Today Stickland Brothers and Trademark Car Wash continue to grow.

PRACTICE CURIOSITY AND TAKE NOTE OF THE COMPETITION
Andrew talks about the shared practice he and many owners/operators have of visiting other car washes frequently and being curious about what the competition or others outside of your market are doing. Going through the car wash experience as a customer can be an invaluable part of growing your own business by reflecting on how or why you do things the way you do and if there may be a better way. As Andrew shares, “You’ll always learn something. Why does this group prep my car with two people? And this one preps it with one person? And this one doesn’t prep it at all? Why is price unrelated to those three aspects? What are they doing better in their tunnel versus this tunnel? What equipment are they using? How does my car look? Curiosity is the core of any growing car wash platform. It’s where should we build? Or why should we make this choice versus this choice? And anyone I’ve met who has all the answers, who isn’t curious because they’ve been doing this for so long that they don’t care what this experience down the street is, they’re missing some valuable information.”

HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT PARTNER
Financial advisors like Amplify Car Wash Advisors have the benefit of seeing the industry from a macro level and from both sides, looking for that win/win for the client and other party. For car wash owners considering how to sell or scale your business, it’s critical to know if the potential buyer, lender, or partner is the right fit in these three areas: price (it can be negotiated), terms (they aren’t all created equal), and culture (how what you’ve built fits with their vision). Amplify advises clients on what their options are, and how to determine what the path forward is based on your individual goals.

Want to dive deeper into car wash M&A information? View all Car Wash M &A, The Podcast episodes here:https://amplifywash.com/podcast

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