Episode 1: With M&A Expert Jeff Pavone

More about the Episode:

Want to know what’s going on with car wash mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and how it may impact you as an owner? In Episode 1 of Car Wash M&A, The Podcast, your host Lanese Barnett talks with M&A expert Jeff Pavone about current trends and what he predicts for 2022 in the car wash space.

Catch the insiders’ information that Jeff and Lanese of Amplify Car Wash Advisors share, and listen for tips to stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing landscape.

More about Jeff Pavone:

Jeff Pavone is a leading advisor to the car wash industry, successfully completing more than $1 billion in car wash-related transactions. A lifelong entrepreneur, Mr. Pavone is the owner of Commercial Plus Group and Amplify Car Wash Advisors. Under his leadership, Commercial Plus quickly scaled to a market leader at the forefront of M&A advisory, real estate brokerage, and financing for the car wash industry, completing complex transactions for some of the most well-known and widely respected car wash chains in the country. Leveraging his longstanding relationships with owners and operators, Mr. Pavone partnered with car wash veteran Bill Martin in early 2020 to launch Amplify Car Wash Advisors, which builds off the Commercial Plus foundation to address the evolving needs of car wash owners and operators.

Outside of providing advisory services on a nationwide scale, Mr. Pavone is also a real estate investor. Prior to Commercial Plus, he was the Co-Founder of Law.com and Founder of Medical.com and National Law Resource.

Check out the full transcript of Lanese’s interview with Jeff below:

Lanese 0:25

Hi, I’m Lanese Barnett, Vice President of Business Development at Amplify Car Wash Advisors and your host of Car Wash M&A, the podcast. Here we’ll take a deep dive into the current mergers and acquisitions activity of the car wash industry with a goal of keeping car wash owners informed on where the market is today, and where it’s going tomorrow so that you can make informed decisions about your business. We’ll help you answer the question: should I sell my car wash now? Or should I enter growth mode and really scale my operation? Each month I’ll speak with industry experts who will share practical advice on how to sell or scale your car wash. While the industry is undoubtably changing, what remains constant is the need for solid information so you can evaluate where you are and chart the course for the future of your business.

Today we have Jeff Pavone with us. This is our first episode of Car Wash M&A, the podcast. So we’re really excited about kicking this off and having Jeff as our first guest. Jeff is a lifelong entrepreneur. He’s had more than 40 years experience of buying and selling businesses. Jeff is a partner at Commercial Plus, which is a real estate and business brokerage firm, and then also a partner at our company, at Amplify Car Wash Advisors. And just kind of the genesis for how Amplify came about is in 2020 Jeff and Bill Martin, who is a seasoned veteran in the car wash industry, came together and realized that there was a void for car wash owners as far as having knowledge and representation about what they can do for the next steps in their business. They’re car wash chain owners, and they’re either looking to sell or maybe take on a partner or looking for ways to grow their business. And there was this void in the industry for good solid advisors to help people navigate that process. And that’s where Bill and Jeff came up with Amplify Car Wash Advisors and how we’re here today. So Jeff, thank you for being with us. I want to kick us off with, again, our first episode and just kind of help our listeners understand where the car wash space has come from as far as just again, just the brief history of where the industry was even up to last year, 2021.

Jeff 2:46

Right. Sure. You know, it wasn’t that long ago, and maybe for the previous 50 years until recently, you know, car wash was pretty much a family business. You know, people had, in their washes, had family working in them. Most people had one or two car washes. And maybe somebody considered a big in the space had a handful. But it wasn’t until the… I would say until recent years when we figured out how to scale car washing. And that was when the advent of sort of this Express car washing came along. And then the real trigger that drove everything was monthly memberships. And once we figured out how to have recurring memberships, it certainly… It stabilized this business. It was, you know, you can be in cold climates, you can be in rainy climates, you could be in most climates. And if you got memberships, it certainly gave you a business that you can count on. And I can tell you, that’s when investors started to notice that, hey, this is a business now we can scale! Technology played a big role in it. We can… we can see numbers, we can manage the sites much easier. We can have less employees. It just became a very, very attractive business to grow. And I’ve got to tell you one of the biggest catalysts that drive it all was COVID. You know, once we went through this COVID event, as negative as it has been… For the car washing business, it’s been a boom. And part of it is because car washes in general appeared extremely well, well ahead of most other businesses. So the investment community looked at this thing and said, “Wow, this is something we can bank on! Let’s go.”

Lanese 4:11

They’re coming out of restaurants. And they’re coming out of these other service oriented businesses that have done, tragically, so poorly. And it is such a strange silver lining for our industry that we have weathered that so much better than others.

Jeff 4:27

So if you look at it, Lanese. Really, you’ve got a business that’s Amazon proof. You’ve got a business that has sort of proved to be COVID proof. You’ve got low labor, you’ve got no inventory, and you close at night. These are pretty good characteristics of a great scalable business. And it’s proven to be a very good bet. And I think now what’s happened is for the last few years we’ve had a lot of private equity… We have a private equity in this business, maybe over the last five years, call it. They were more dipping their toe in the water to see how well it was going to work. But at this point, it’s proven to work out extremely well. And now we’re seeing this hyper growth coming from private equity.

Lanese 5:02

Everybody’s interested! We get calls daily about people that are interested in the car wash space and are wanting to place money here because it does have a proven track record of stability and growth and scalability that was just off their radar. Also, the two other factors that you mentioned before with monthly membership, stabilizing that monthly revenue, but also the shift to the Express exterior model, which has lowered the amount of staff needed, it’s helped with the automization. And it’s helped with technology advancements that make also this model so much more scalable. So those two things, and then you’re right, kind of the further push with being a pandemic proof business has really helped us. So, you mentioned five years ago. There was a handful of people, private equity groups, kind of testing the waters. Today, we do not have a handful of people. We have a ton of people! And so, what are you seeing as far as our current year 2022, looking ahead of what that could kind of look like as far as continued interest and growing interest, and where we’re going from here?

Jeff 6:04

No, I really think we’re… I mean, what we’re experiencing is just insane push to get big now. And so we’re seeing… You know, whatever we saw last year, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t double the amount of deals that get done this year. And I mean, deals… Maybe in the size of the overall deals, because if the players getting in this space now… You know, we’ve got the players that were in the space, private equity groups, now we’re getting in that next level. And the next level are some of the most prominent private equity groups in Wall Street jumping in this thing. So, it is an all out race to get scale. And there’s still a lot of opportunity. So we feel that this year is just… It’s got a whole nother pace. You know, in one sense, it’s optimistic. It tells you just how strong this industry is. And on the other side of it, it’s a little bit scary and daunting, because these guys are moving, building a lot more car washes. The pace of growth and development is high. And the overall… the money being poured in it is significantly more than ever before. So in a lot of markets, you’re going to see that it is starting to squeeze… To put a little bit of a squeeze on some of the smaller operators,

Lanese 7:08

Right. And that’s something that is of relevance to why we wanted to start this podcast because we want to help especially carwash owners who are in a place where maybe they’re not sure what their next step is, they’ve got a couple of sites, but they see that there’s more and more competition coming in. And so right now, because we’re in such a period of hyper growth industry wide, it’s really maybe not a time to stand still and kind of keep doing the same thing that you’ve been doing. It’s time to start looking about either potential exit strategies, or scaling up your operation and growing and getting bigger so that you can protect yourself against other competition coming in. And again, going back to keeping a pulse on the mergers and acquisitions activity in this space, is that that influences down to the hometown level of who is going to come in. Because before, these larger groups weren’t eyeing small markets like they are today. And now there’s no market that’s off limit, right? For groups coming in either regional developers or these car wash chains… They want to go in any market that might be a good fit for them to even grow their overall footprint.

Jeff 8:15

That’s right. And so, before we could sort of watch this thing, and we know maybe keep an eye on M&A in the car wash space, and you’d read an article, and maybe it’s keeping up on a yearly basis. But I think at that pace that it’s moving now, you need, as an owner, to protect your investment. You need to know where people are going, where they’re growing, and making sure you’re at least in a good spot. I mean, and by the way, not all operators have to be feeling pressured into doing a deal. You know, I met with an operator last week that was in town, and they’ve got a strong strong presence in the region. They’ve got double digit sites; they do a phenomenal job. They give a customer great experience. And quite frankly, if they sold, they’d sell at a high premium. On the other hand, the owner loves his business. And in his case, I don’t think there’s any pressure to do anything. If you really have a great brand, and you own your market, it’s really hard for somebody to come and unseat you and take away your members. Now with that said, you know, could a potential chain come in and start adding units near you and just start to hurt you a little bit? Yes, but it’s certainly not… It’s not going to kill you. I think you can still win that battle. So, not everybody has to do something. On the other hand, if you’re a smaller chain, and you don’t control your market, at that point, you’ve got to look in the mirror and say, if somebody comes next to me, what is it going to do to me? Because I’ve got to tell you, if you lose… Let’s say somebody builds — and it’s not uncommon! I’m hearing it every day! — somebody all of a sudden, somebody out of nowhere, one of these big mega chains or private equity- backed groups comes in and plops down a car wash a mile away, even a block away! I’m hearing stories of just… I’ve got one group where they put it on the same… a driveway away! And so, when they do that, let’s say you go down, you know, 3 or $400,000 of your EBITDA or profit, right? That’s $3, $4, or $5 million of your net worth that’s gone. Right?

Lanese 10:04


Jeff 10:04

And you’re not going to get it back anytime soon. So everybody’s got to be sitting there answering the question. You know, (A) Have I built a fairly bulletproof business? And I can tell you, if you’re a great operator, and you really own your memberships, you’ve got a great customer experience, you really control your market, you’re in pretty good shape. And again, at the end of the day, this is a terrific business. The reason private equity groups want to buy… If you’re running a great business, that’s why they want to buy, so you could stick around and have a great business for years to come. On the other hand, if you’re in a market that’s easy to buy and build, you’ve got to look in the mirror and say, “What is it going to do to me long term? And if I can’t get out of here, am I boxed in?” Then you may want to think about doing something sooner rather than later. Because I think this party is going to last, but the question is how long it’s going to last. And that’s the million dollar question I get asked every day: how long is this going to last? And I can tell you, it’s going to last as long as the money’s there! Right? And right now, there’s a tremendous amount of dry powder out there coming in this space, but it’s out there just in private equity in general. And so… As soon as that money gets spooked, or something happens to sort of derail what they’re doing, it stops!

Lanese 11:15

What could be some of those potential events that would spook private equity groups into wanting to pull out?

Jeff 11:23

It may be something out of our control completely! It could be something that happens around the world! You know, who knows… We get to war. We get… Maybe a major chain that is backed by private equity doesn’t fare so well. And maybe they just… they go under! If we have a couple of losses in this space, all of the sudden, the credit markets get spooked. And it’s like a domino effect. It’s just because one group gets hurt, all of a sudden, it’s kind of a herd mentality. You can find a lot of these getting spooked, or taking a much more conservative view of this. You know, today, it’s interesting. We’re finding that the buyers are taking… they’re looking at this every single way they can make a deal happen. They are stretching; they are they’re looking at add backs and being forgiving. They’re doing everything they can to stretch! But I can tell you, once they really get in the space, and they’ve got to start operating, they get a little bit more conservative. So, you know, all we have to do is have a failure or two, and maybe the underwriting gets a lot more conservative, which means valuations go down, which means you’re going to make less money. But today, we’re an environment that’s really pro seller, and those sellers have real leverage today. But that can change in a heartbeat! So that’s the only bit of caution.

Lanese 12:27

Something, too, thinking about selling is even if you are not ready to make a full exit, there are other options than riding off into the sunset. You could sell a majority or minority part of your business. And then if you really enjoy what you do and want to stay in, but want to grow faster, or want to take some chips off the table, those are options, too, as opposed to just, you know, full sale, you’re out. That’s it.

Jeff 12:50

Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think you have multiple options today that we didn’t have before. And so, let’s say, it depends on how aggressive you are, right? If somebody wants to go in hyper growth mode and build 50 car washes, it sure helps to have a financial partner that do it alongside them. Because at some point, you can bring in a partner. But as you’re scaling on your own, you got personal guarantees, and banks, all of the sudden underwriting every deal. And all of the sudden, you’re going to find competition that has got private equity back; they can grow much quicker. You could go in, and let’s say you want to sell half your company, the good news is you get rid of your personal guarantees. And then you get a credit line. And all of the sudden, you’re building a much bigger company. And by the way, when you do sell, on the exit, that second half could be worth significantly more than the first half because it’s a much bigger company! So it’s not all bad! But it is important to get to know who that partner is. And what we try to do is we try to at least have you meet with multiple partners and talk to a lot of folks out there to make sure it’s the right culture and right fit.

Lanese 13:46


Jeff 13:47

Again, another option if you want to grow on your own, is just knowing the tools that you can have in your toolbox. There’s a lot of ways for an individual continue to grow a chain and not sell off to private equity on their own… whether it’s using a sale leaseback, or whether it’s using non traditional debt. So there’s a lot more tools that are available to an owner, if they’re doing a great job, and they’ve got a great company, there’s options. And so what we try to do is understand sort of where does somebody want to… Where is somebody trying to get to in the next, you know, 2, 3, 4, 5 years, because that’ll help us figure out what path to go down. Let’s say you’re just love developing car washes. And the operating side of it is at the point of becoming, you know, something you just don’t love or want to continue. You could sell the company and stay on and be a development partner. So, you know, this is really the exciting part I think where we’re at now is that you’ve got a lot of great options. If you’re really good at what you’re doing today.

Lanese 14:37

Right, and something that we talk about as well when looking at kind of the shift in mentality from the smaller Mom and Pop owner, you know, 10 years ago where you take a lot of pride in doing everything yourself and doing it in house… Now we really encourage owners especially that are looking to grow to get yourself out of the business as much as possible, and build up the team, and build up the infrastructure to lead you to be able to scale that business. And, as an owner, that can be kind of hard because you’re turning over some of that control. But once you have a solid team in place, you’ve really poised yourself to be able to continue scaling and getting people out of like, “Oh, this person does everything! I couldn’t do it without this one person!” Or yourself as the owner… But taking that bigger, longer picture look of how you can scale, and it ultimately makes you more valuable to somebody else down the road, too, even if you are looking to get out.

Jeff 15:32

That’s absolutely the secret sauce! Right? And so, the most valuable chains that have traded and sold, or brought in partners, have done it because they had an infrastructure off the carwash. So, they built great car washes, just but if you’ve got a team of specialists — somebody on marketing, and social media, and sales, training — and you know, you start bringing this team on, that becomes your secret weapon! And you’re able to drive volume, same store volume, much better than you could if you were just trying to do everything yourself. And the results are proven. I mean, we’ve seen just tremendous results by the groups that have brought in that corporate team. And the investment is cheap. When you look at the overall investment of hiring a tremendous corporate team behind you, you know, when you look at spending 6 million, 5 or 6 million, to build a carwash, and if you look at what valuation you can create, having that team is just… It’s your best investment you can possibly make! And again, what all buyers are looking for is they want something they can put gas on to grow. And it’s really hard to put gas on an owner who’s doing everything, and if he decides to sell… And then he’s going to be gone! But you could put gas on a great team and infrastructure and scale. So, those are the deals that are getting a lot of attention and great valuations. But I think the days of trying to do everything yourself are going to be… Those owners are going to be really starting to go away.

Lanese 16:48

Well, and just kind of expanding on this idea of building out these corporate teams for these car wash chains is I think it’s also opening up the industry for new talent to come in. Because the car wash space has been legitimized by these outside larger groups because they’re placing their money there, and they’re saying we believe in this, and then also these different platforms and chains are building out their teams and just kind of watching… Even the reputation of the car wash industry has really changed over the last five years. Now all of us who have been here the whole time know that it’s always been an incredible business. It’s really dynamic and has so much to offer. But now we’re seeing it being represented outside, and again, so much great talent wanting to come into this industry to work for these different companies. It’s a really exciting time! And I think it’s very gratifying to see that rising tide lifts all boats kind of aspect of the car wash industry!

Jeff 17:44

For sure. I mean, the days of when a customer came into your lot and, you know, you washed their car, and you’d get to know all these people there. That’s great. But I’ve got to tell you, the Express car wash has changed everything, and I think it is becoming a lot more technical and more scientific. We know how we can sell memberships! There’s no, you know… When you look at the great operators, and again, there’s not a lot… There’s great operators, but there’s a lot more not so great operators, there are real skills and selling memberships. There’s real skill in retaining customers and not churning. All this is new, really, to the industry over the last few years. And I’ve got to tell you, the groups that have embraced this stuff, how do you promote on social media? How do you get more people in your lot? I mean, there’s a lot of things you can do. But I can tell you that back not that long ago, when you sold the car wash, you were selling an asset with some term cash flow. Today it’s all about cash flow and all about memberships. And so, you know, it’s not uncommon for you to sell a carwash for $15 million, and maybe you spent 5 million building it! Why? Because they’re buying cashflow. They’re buying memberships. And so, the return on investment is just huge when you can start driving those volumes up. There are great ways to do it! But you need a team!

Lanese 18:51

Right. And that’s something that we get asked a lot, too, is our valuations calculated, and what’s the multiple? And the answer to that is it’s a range, but the businesses that command the most value are the ones that have the best infrastructure, that have the best emphasis on training and their team and their process, and how they can continue, again, to scale that business. And that’s something that we share with clients as they’re exploring their different options is just placing that emphasis on your infrastructure is so key!

Jeff 19:22

Right! And it could start early. I mean, I’ve got to tell you, you can have just a few car washes, but I would start immediately thinking about how I’m building out my team and driving those times and growing my chain. You know, I don’t think it has to be waiting. But the results are are measurable. I mean, you know, if you can put… You put the right emphasis on how to grow your membership, you could do twice the volume as a guy who doesn’t. And so it really is critical. And I’ve got to tell you, it is all about private equity. It’s all about being able to put, again, gas to grow your chain. And so if you build a scalable infrastructure, you’re in a good market, you’ve got a chance to take a leading position in your market by creating a great brand? The return is enormous!

Lanese 20:01

And once you do achieve some of that scale in your market, you get the benefits of having greater presence. Marketing wise, your marketing dollars go so much further because you have multiple locations that people can find you at, and there are advantages to having that presence in a market and growing that even in your own backyard that help bolster your brand from incoming competition as more as you’re, you know, giving them opportunities to come to your business, to use their monthly plan in multiple places. And having that consistency. Then, even if somebody comes in new, then you have a better position to keep growing your customer base or retaining them.

Jeff 20:41

Oh, for sure. You know, I get like we talked about earlier… I mean, the day when the owner knew everybody that was coming in the car wash is great. I mean, it’s nice. But I’ve got to tell you something. Today, it’s all about volume! There are car washes that consistently do 1000 cars a day or more. And, you know, I could tell you, the owners don’t know everybody coming into his car wash. On the other hand, everybody on your team is important. How they’re trained is important. So the minute somebody pulls in your lot, that customer experience starts, and being able to process cars and get throughput through your tunnel is critical. And so there’s a… There’s a hundred things that you need to do right, but if you do it, the win is big! That’s why I think it’s just… It is a completely different business than it was, you know, even five years ago, because the emphasis now is on membership and volume, which will heap big rewards on the bottom line.

Lanese 21:32

If you know, thinking about your team, and maybe the owner not knowing all of their customers like it was more common in years past. But how gratifying… It’s kind of like a proud parent. If you come on to your car wash lot, and you watch your team doing exactly what you would hope that they would do, or what you’ve trained them to do, or better than you expected that they would, and you see all these happy customers, you get to feel… As the owner, you get to feel that that gratification vicariously through the team that you’ve created. And I think that it’s just kind of taking that same focus on service and throughput and the product and the friendliness and experience… But taking that and… I know we keep talking about the team, but building up your your staff and your team to replicate that on a site by site basis. But every time! Your partner Bill Martin says from the time that the front tire pulls on the lot to the time that the rear tires pull off the lot, the operation, the team needs to be taking care of that customer and focusing on that — from the second the tires are on and off, everything that happens in between to make that a consistent and successful visit for the customer.

Jeff 22:37

For sure. And you know, we’ve seen… I’ve recently witnessed some of the most successful chains in the country. And they did not have the new car wash that was just built. They were kind of the… They’ve been around for a long time. And then a new shiny carwash goes across the street. And you know what? They were still kicking butt. And the reason is because they figured out they had the highest level of customer experience I’ve ever seen! The car wash… You go through the car wash, and you get a great carwash, but the customer experience was unmatched! And so, even though somebody comes in, a competitor comes in and build something that’s big and new and shiny, I can tell you, they don’t always win! Because at the end of the day, that customer experience is going to win, so that’s why you need your team ready to go!

Lanese 23:21

How a customer feels when they leave is the most important thing. And the customers, in my experience, will overlook even small things, if they’re happy overall with the experience, with the interactions with the staff or with the consistency of the service… Then they don’t care as much about maybe some water spots or small things like that. But if they start their visit off on a negative note, then they’re definitely going to nitpick everything that they see. I think we’ve shared, you know, some of the specific things about where the industry is going and what private equity groups are looking for, and what makes a car wash successful, but I just want to kind of tie back in to just why again, that car wash owners need to be paying attention, and why all of this matters to them today wherever they are in their journey with their business.

Jeff 24:09

Yeah, I think it’s critical today more than ever because of the speed of how fast this thing, everything is going today. And so, I’ve got guys that have been in a market, and they’re great operators. And all of a sudden, somebody is plopping down a car wash 800 feet away. It’s just… You’ve just got to know what’s coming. And that’s, you know, when you look at it, there are a lot of positives, but there are some negatives. Because, you know, when there’s a lot of money being thrown in the space, you’ve got to know that there are a lot of guys coming out there, and maybe not so smart guys, that are going to put something, you know, that’s going to come right next door to you! And that’s, you know, any way you look at it, even if it takes a little business away, it’s going to make things a little painful. You know, there are a lot of… We’re seeing more and more of, I don’t know, call it dumb things happening out there, but there are certainly risky things that are happening out there. So it really is… The speed of today’s pace is significantly more than it’s ever been before. And it seems to be just going in that direction. You know, I’m finding chains that used to be regional… One particular chain I heard, they’re now in 30 states! They’re 30, you know? And so they’re building everywhere. And at the end of the day, if they’ve got a team, they’ve got infrastructure, they’ve got the systems down pat, they’re going to scale like… When you look at the carwash industry as a whole, we’re still highly fragmented, the biggest chain in the car wash in the country here is 350 car washes. And so, you now are looking at guys that are going to want to get to 1000. So, where are they going to go? They’re going to go everywhere! They’re gonna go in these small towns and medium sized towns, so I could just only tell you that this is a business that’s going to continue to move very, very fast, and it’s getting more and more expensive to build. It really will become, you know, the haves and have nots, and I think you’re going to see a gap really start going into much, much bigger presence, much bigger chains taking over markets very quickly here. So now, that’s the only thing you’ve got to be aware of… Or jump on the bandwagon!

Lanese 26:01

And with these chains going into all these different markets, you know, at some point, it does become cheaper for them to go ahead and build than to acquire. And that’s something that… Either they’re mixing in that acquisitions and greenfield development already, or there’s a real plan in the future to shift to exclusively greenfield development. So, you know, that’s something that will affect valuations for people that, you know, maybe they’re thinking about it now. But, you know, who knows what the landscape will look like down the road?

Jeff 26:28

Yeah, great observation, because it is… Everybody is getting in the buy build kind of model. And they’ll buy something, but they’re starting to build alongside it. And if you can build something for 5 or 6 million versus paying 10 million for something existing, you’ve got a much bigger lift. And so, what you really… I mean, the thing that everybody needs to understand is that then once a chain has traction in a market, and again, let’s say they’re new guys, but they’re getting traction. They’re going to go build out their footprint in that market very aggressively through building, maybe do a little bit of buying. But once they’ve got that momentum going, it’s far cheaper to build than it is to buy. And all of the sudden, they could become a brand leader! Even though you’ve been in that market for the last 10, 20 years even, they can become a brand leader in a hurry, because they’ve just got a lot more money and a lot more gas to grow. And that’s important… That brand… If you could build a brand with 20 or 30 car washes, even if you’re not the old established guy out there, you know, and you’re consumer, and you’ve got a chance to use, to buy a membership at a place with 20 or 30 locations versus five or three, where are you going to go?

Lanese 27:29

Right! And especially if they have the ability to invest in their technology, they’ve got an easy to use app or their advancements that they can afford… That makes a difference, too, on the consumer end. And consumers are getting so much… so much smarter and expecting more from the Express car wash model. Whereas 10 plus years ago, when I started in this industry, the biggest competition was people washing their car in the driveway, which sounds absurd now! That’s not… it’s a moot point. Nobody even talks about it. And then, it was with the express model. Will people acclimate to that? Will they want to not get the answer their car done? Will they want to use the free vacuums so they vacuum their car themselves? Now we see that yeah, they will! There’s a good section of consumers that like that model for the speed and convenience of it. But again, with the money and the investments that larger groups have, they can take those same models and keep iterating them into better and better versions to offer customers with new advancements and services that if you don’t have that same availability of funds that you know, maybe you… you just can’t offer the same thing! So, all in all, it’s an exciting time for the car wash business right now. We see great things on the horizon. We think 2022 is going to continue to be an excellent year. It’s going to be a fast year! We are going to see hyper growth! What are some of your predictions or some of your… What do you see coming this time next year of what we’ll be talking about?

Jeff 28:51

I think we’re going to be talking about… There’ll be at least one or a couple more guys go public! We know already now that there’s a few guys really jockeying position to do that. And I can tell you, we’re finding the sort of top 10 group all of a sudden really stepping on the gas to grow. So I think we’re going to see some maybe consolidations, maybe some of the platforms… And I wouldn’t be shocked if all of the sudden we are seeing chains that are 500, even 1000 washes, and I think it’s just going to happen overnight. We’re seeing that momentum starting to pick up by the size of the investments wanting to come in this space. And so, you know, that’s where I think it’s going to happen! It just… You know, at this point, I think we’re going to be surprised just how fast you’re going to see brands growing in every one, every market in the country! And so, that’s where I think it’s headed, and I think you’re going to see some some mega, mega chains happen! Whether it’s… you know, Mister will continue on its growth curve, I know Driven is growing… But I’ve got to tell you, there’s the 10 other guys below them are all in the same mindset of… And maybe even thinking more aggressive… Of how to get to that 1000 level! So right it’s right there are gonna be but but you know, I’d say put your seatbelt and be ready because I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon.

Lanese 30:03

Well, it’s exciting stuff. Thank you for being here with us today. And we will have new episodes releasing the last Thursday of every month. So be on the lookout for our next one coming at the end of March. And, also, we will have a booth at the Southwest Car Wash Association trade show coming up here at the end of February. So if you’d like to come by and see us, we’d love to chat and talk about any options that you have or just talk about car wash M&A in general. We’re very passionate about the car wash industry and excited to continue talking about it in any way that we can. So Jeff, thank you for being on with us today. And we look forward to seeing all of your predictions come true.

Jeff 30:43

You’re welcome. Have a great day everybody.

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


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.

Gene Dinkens | CEO


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.

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