Episode 3: With Car Wash Veteran Bill Martin

About the Episode:

Are you looking for ways to streamline your processes and to improve your relationship with your employees in order to grow your car wash chain? In today’s Car Wash M&A, The Podcast episode, your host Lanese Barnett talks with car wash legend Bill Martin who has been in the business since 1969. Listen in to hear expert advice as Bill shares tried-and-true strategies and attitudes that have helped him succeed in the car wash space.

More about Bill Martin:

In addition to being a founding partner of Amplify Car Wash Advisors, Bill Martin is the current owner and operator of Metro Express Car Wash, where his expertise lies in his demonstrated ability to extract the most value per location. Mr. Martin served as past president of the International Car Wash Association and was a 2012 inductee of the ICA Car Wash Hall of Fame. Since 1969, Mr. Martin has been involved with building and exiting successful branded chains such as Rain Tunnel Car Wash and Nu Look Car Wash. He was also one of the original founders of Car Wash Partners, which later rebranded as Mister Car Wash. By having Mr. Martin at the helm alongside Jeff Pavone, Amplify is able to leverage Mr. Martin’s adept knowledge of car wash operations to advise clients on operational strategy with the explicit goal of maximizing business value.

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

Lanese

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 carwash 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 carwash 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.

Hello, and welcome to Car Wash M&A, The Podcast. We are on Episode Three and today my guest is Bill Martin. So a little bit about Bill for those of you who don’t know him. Bill is the current owner of Metro Express Car Wash with locations in the northwest of the United States. Bill has been in the car wash industry since 1969. And he started the brands Rain Tunnel Car Wash, Nu Look Car Wash, and was also one of the founding partners of The Car Wash Partners, which that brand later came on to be Mister Car Wash. Bill is an International Car Wash Hall of Fame inductee in 2012. And he was also a past president of the International Car Wash Association. In addition to all of those other car wash-related accolades that he has, and experience, Bill is also my colleague at Amplify Car Wash Advisors where he is a partner at the firm. And I couldn’t be more pleased to call him a friend and a co-worker. So Bill, first of all, thank you for coming onto the show today. And we can’t wait to dive in and chat a little bit more about what makes car wash chains successful and how you can really build a scalable, successful business in today’s car wash environment. Bill. If there’s anything else that I missed on kind of your background that you want to share, feel free to jump in. Otherwise we’ll kind of dive into some of the topics we’re going to talk about today.

Bill

Thanks for the introduction, Lanese, that’s very nice. And I think the one thing I would add to what you’ve said, by way of introduction, is that ours is a family business. My wife and I have three children and all three of them are in the business. Two of them work in our office and one in the field remotely in Montana. So that’s just a sidebar to add to that. I think that that, for me, is very gratifying to have the kids in the business.

Lanese

Absolutely! And what a great experience growing up having that role model of you of being in this business the whole time that, that you can keep fine tuning and working together and developing new processes. And I feel compelled to mention as far as some of the projects that you and your children have worked on, is No Pileups. Not a small thing! So, can you just share a little bit about some of your background as far as making new ways to address needs of car wash owners because you have the hands-on experience where you guys found a void in the car wash industry, and so you made it.

Bill

Well, I think one of the things that we did, going back to the mid 90s, we went to DRB. And we urged them to… We wanted to create a situation where we could pre-sell a customer a token, they could come up to the point of sale, throw the token, or insert the token in a basket or receptacle, a gate would open and they would go through the car wash and avoid having to stop and go through the whole process with a greeter. In other words, they would prepay, and they could come through quickly. I always thought that would be a good way to help us process more cars when the demand was there. So I went to DRB. And talked to Ken Braught and he said, “You know, that’s a great idea. We just don’t have anything like that!” This was before the point-of-sale XPT or auto centuries that are available today. I just was sure that that would be a better way to run our operation. And it took several years before something like that came out. That was one thing that we pushed hard on. Another thing that we did, again, going back several years, we wanted to find a way to make the processing of cars through the tunnel more reliable, less concern about a vehicle jumping a roller and things like that. So we tried to come up with a way to track the car and monitor where it’s located in the tunnel so that we knew if it wasn’t where it was supposed to be, the car wash conveyor would shut off, and we could alert our team members. We had developed something called Video Queuing back then in the early 2000s, where we could track vehicles that were sitting at the point of sale. We know which customer purchased which service, and we could track them into the tunnel and deliver that service. This, again, was a forerunner of CarPics, which DRB has today. And DRB came out and looked at that system and later developed CarPics. But that was the early forerunner to that. And then then following on that was No Pileups, which we developed a few years ago, again, to help us monitor cars moving through the process in the tunnel and make sure that they were where they were supposed to be all the time. And if they jumped a roller, it would shut the conveyor off, and we could attend to that. So we developed No Pileups, using video technology. And again, the DRB came to us and thought this was a great platform to roll out to their client base. And they purchased that from us. So, like everybody, we’re trying to find ways to make car washing more user friendly for the customer, and more manageable and scalable for the operator. Technology… We want to see technology as our friend, not as something we’re afraid of. And I think technology can be… You can become overly dependent on it, and expect too much out of it. So you’ve got to manage it. But that’s some of the things we’ve done. We’re working on some other initiatives right now, actually three or four different things in technology, that we think will be pretty exciting going forward for operators of all sizes to manage the business and, again, make it more user-friendly experience for the customer, and more manageable for the owner/ operator.

Lanese

So with those different technologies and processes that you were working on, and then later developed and are now widely used throughout the car wash industry, it just really points to something that’s so important to the success and the scalability of a carwash, which is the processing of the cars. So sometimes I feel like we can kind of get lost in how a car wash looks and what the menu pricing is. And some of these more visual parts of it, which are all important. But at the end of the day, the ability to process the cars efficiently and process them well and have a standard for how that goes, and using that assembly process to where you can maximize how many and how much volume you’re able to produce with the quality that you’re looking for is so important. And that’s something that you do really well. And each one of those ideas and later technologies that came into fruition, address that. So, getting the cars in quicker and processing them, and that’s pretty amazing. And so I’d kind of like to talk about the importance of processing cars and what that means to the success of your business and how you can train your staff and how you can implement ways that focus on the process part of it.

Bill

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. I lused to, back into 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 sell them so that we can maximize that revenue per customer. And 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, let’s say, 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.

Lanese

There’s something there that… With the person that’s getting the more attention at the point of sale. And maybe there’s an idea that the salespeople should be really friendly and chat with the customer, because it makes that customer feel good. But the downside of that and the other side of the coin is that the all the people behind them are really annoyed that that person is taking up so much time and attention, that really you’re over… And, at the end of the day, they’re probably not even going to get the upgrade, so you’ve wasted your time anyways. But you’re right that you can’t look at one part of the process or of the equation without taking a holistic view of what the other customers are seeing, too, because again, that one person feels special, but the other people feel slighted.

Bill

Right. And our model for the associate that we want out there talking to the customer is somebody that can be friendly, they can engage the customer, but they know how to keep it short, concise, and move them along without feeling like they’re being pushed. But they have an interaction with a customer, they tell them about our services, we always start with, you know, our unlimited plan, then make sure that once the decision has been made by the customer, we keep that queue moving. So, throughput management, it’s really… There’s a lot of things that happen in that process. But that’s something at Metro that we pay a lot of attention to. Some people say, well, it’s just that you want to watch as many cars as you can watch. Yeah, of course we do. We want to process as many customers in a given day or hour as we can. But that’s a two-way street, it works for the customer as well as for us that’s a win/win we think. So, we don’t pay any commissions to our associates for selling extra services. It’s just not something we do. We let the customer make the choice. The associate, they’re paid to be there and manage the quality of the courtesy, not to try to sell a customer something that they may not want or need. So anyway, that’s how we function in that realm. And it’s worked out pretty well. It’s a constant training and retraining process. Our general managers, their major role at the site is to train. We don’t want them in the office. We want them out monitoring. We call it management by wandering around, watching what’s going on at the site, giving feedback. We don’t really want them plugged into a position, although sometimes they are just by nature of how busy we might be. But we want them to be moving around, and overseeing what’s happening, of course, handling any kind of customer issues that may come up in the course of a day. So…

Lanese

Let’s talk a little bit about the training aspect of it. So the general managers they are on site and they are overseeing their associates, their sales associates and their staff to make sure that they are using the scripts that you have or using the processes that you have for speaking with the customers. But what is some of your higher-level part of that of how that person is trained, how that General Manager receives that information, and some of the infrastructure that you have built in to disseminate that across your locations?

Bill

We have tier training so that when someone comes on board, we obviously show them… I mean, there’s video training, there’s written training, there’s apprentice training, where they work side by side with someone. You know, we’ll give them feedback. For the first 30 days, they’re on a trial basis to see, you know, if they like us and we like them. Constant feedback. I’d say by and large art Employee Profile, they’re younger folks, not always, not all, but most. And so, a lot of them, in some cases, it may be their first job, or they’re early in the work world. And so they’re sponges; they want to learn generally. And so, we have to give them a lot of good feedback. We have regular employee staff and safety meetings to give feedback to our team. We mystery shop our sites. We reward people for the right behavior, and we give them feedback for the wrong behavior. So it’s just a constant process. And what I see happening a lot of operations — not just car wash, a lot of businesses — they put a manager into a position of managing the business, but they really become a fireman. And they’re trying to put out fires and fix problems. So rather than really train the staff every single day — we think that’s the highest and best use of that general manager at our sites. The area managers then are observing the results and giving that feedback to the General Manager. So it’s a process. It’s never ending. I mean, there’s plenty of job security there. Because we’re constantly trying to raise the bar, and elevate the level of service and the commitment. By the way, we find that when we do correct, give the proper feedback and the proper way to our staff, our associates, they welcome the feedback to be able to do better! Today, the cost to hire and retain employees, it’s pretty high. We’re starting people in the $17 or $18 an hour range in our markets; some people have could even be higher than that, depending on where you’re at. So, we don’t want to turn those people over. And we really, really work to keep that turnover down. We want to select the right people, we want to onboard them in the right fashion. But then we also we don’t want to turn them. We don’t want to churn them.

Lanese

And something that is across industries, but I’ve seen in the car wash industry as well… There’s kind of this idea that, or this hope, unrightfully so, that you train someone and you give them the information one time, and magically, they’re going to not only commit it to memory, but to replicate it successfully every time. And it’s just not the case. I mean, we are humans at the end of the day. And you’re right! A lot of times, there are people who are new to that role, or maybe this is their first job. And so that ongoing commitment to training and retraining. And if it’s built in to the expectation from the beginning, it’s so much less confrontational than if suddenly six months in, they’re getting reviews or quizzes or things like that, that they didn’t have from the get go to where it feels like it’s more of a negative thing than a constructive criticism or helping them get better and helping the whole team get better. So, I think you’re onto something there.

Bill

So we do an employee survey, I don’t know if you can see that. We do an employee survey regularly which to get feedback from our team or associates. It’s anonymous; they can say anything they want. And I’m always struck by how many really positive comments we get. A lot of times, in years past, it’s like, “well, this job sucks,” or, you know, “I hate being outside” or whatever. I’m blown away by the positive comments we get. And I think it’s because when they join our team, they join a culture that operates at a fairly high level. And they either understand early on that they’ve got to adopt that culture or they’re not a fit. And we see it. You know, we have grooming standards. We have uniform standards. And they’re not onerous, but there are expectations we want them to follow. Actually just this year, we have gone away from… Up until this year, everyone wore ties every day at work year round.

Lanese

Wow!

Bill

Ties and a white shirt or a blue shirt depending on their position. We have made the decision this year to go to polos.

Lanese

Kind of a golf look.

Bill

Yeah, maybe it’s a sign of the changing times. But we supply very nice uniforms. We make sure that we have uniform standards. And I think a lot of folks do this. But we’re in the retail business where we have retail customers, and we like to say “retail is detail,” and so you’ve got to pay attention to those details all the time. And you’ve got to remind folks. And pretty soon, again, they start to bring that into the culture, and you’ll see it becomes almost automatic.

Lanese

Well, and another thing that… So the retail is detail — sometimes, too, this seems so basic, but the carwash industry by nature is all about selling clean. That is something that is so fundamental to our business, that if you see an employee with a dirty uniform or that looks slouchy or dirty tunnel walls or trash on the car wash lot, it’s a reflection of our business. And I think that we cannot ever lose sight of that because that’s our business.

Bill

Yeah, going back for a minute to technology. We made a conscious decision 25 years ago to stop prepping cars with high pressure prepping or brushing. We made that change 25 years ago, and the reason we did It is, well, two things really. One is it’s a very hard job to do all day, you know, holding a high-pressure power wash gun, and you know, prepping a car. Especially we’re in the snow belt, so you know, we have very cold weather in the winter, and you’re out there with that hose. The other problem with it is people don’t exactly know… It’s a hard job to train to get them to focus on the areas where you want them to focus, they tend to just…

Lanese

You’re not washing the whole car before it goes in!

Bill

Right! So, we decided that rather than try to make that a human responsibility or function, we’re going to put equipment in to take care of that. And so that goes back to technology. And equipment, the chemistry, has gotten so much better over the years, and we really get a great product without that prepping. Now admittedly, there are vehicles that come in that are have special situations that they need to deal with. We can’t necessarily get a great result on those cars without somebody doing pre work. We don’t do it, but we tell the customer, “This is going to have to be done, you may go down to the self-serve, do it yourself, bring it back, we’ll get you a discount…” Whatever it is, but we want to be able to handle the majority of our customers quickly and efficiently and give them a consistent product. So, that goes back to process.

Lanese

But the process time, just with the prepping, that’s also slowing down how fast you can do that. Because different vehicles would have different varying degrees of attention needed. And then, heaven forbid that you have a vehicle that doesn’t need it, and you don’t do it. But now the driver thinks that they need it because that’s what they’re trained to expect; that is part of their clean car process. Okay, so we have the process, we have the focus on getting the car in, getting them through the tunnel, the chemistry, the automations, the technology, but also let’s talk about how your membership plan and your focus on growing monthly plan memberships can increase the value of your business and what that means to your business model, and how important it is.

Bill

Yeah, well, it’s no secret that hey, in our industry, that that’s been a game changer for our industry over the last 10 years. And I’m amazed that a lot of folks still have not adopted that philosophy. And for different reasons, and maybe it’s worth what they’re doing is working well for them. We believe it’s a critical part of our business going forward, and a competitive edge. And so we work very hard to… In the first year we open a store, if we take over an existing site, to grow that membership as high as we can grow it, and everybody in our company is incentive-based on the growth of membership. And when I say everybody, I mean everyone. Corporate office, right down to the site. So everyone is top of the mind about talking about memberships. And, by the way, we still don’t do it as well as we should or could! You can mystery shop one of our locations, and it’s possible that the associate may never mention that. So we’re constantly working on trying to get that back up there. But so, I think that we’re going to see more and more of that in the industry. Whenever a person’s your member, a member, they’re going to come to you, come to your site. They’re not going to go somewhere else; they’re going to be loyal. If new carwash opens, they’re more likely to stay committed to you. And their vehicle is going to be an easier job to manage. We also have flex-serve, full-serve, and we have unlimited members there as well. And we find those cars are much easier to clean on a regular basis.

Lanese

And the memberships are also a way to help give a little added layer of protection, too, when you do have other competition coming in. Because if you don’t have… If they’re getting their needs met with you, and they’re already a member of yours, then they don’t have necessarily the incentive to go somewhere else, especially if they’re in the buying pattern that this is on their way home or this is when they normally go. You want to try to keep those as much as possible because the fact is that today there are more and more car washes being built — which is not a bad thing — or entering into the market. But it does give a distinct opportunity for existing chains in their market to continue to be better and to continue to focus on customer retention and how they can keep their loyal customers and keep them happy so that they’re not as affected or they’re not losing members or customers to somebody that’s coming in down the street.

Bill

As long as we’re doing our job with the customer when they come in in terms of the processing, the product, our, people, our facility. As long as we are doing that the way that we know we should be doing it, there’s no reason for them to leave. Unfortunately, we do give people reasons to leave. And there’s an opportunity there for us to improve. But yeah, you’re right. We’ve experienced that with competitors very, very close by, and still growing our business and growing our membership. So it’s changed and I’ve been at this a long time. And I would never want to go back to the way we used to do it. This membership subscription model is a very effective one. I think it’s… By the way, it’s only going to get better. It’s not going to go away or, you know, I don’t think we’ve even hit the plateau. So I think there’s… How many members can one site have? I know of sites that have well over 10,000 members, and if you do the math on that it just changes the economics on your operation pretty dramatically.

Lanese

Absolutely! And not only does it help you today with the revenue and the predictable revenue that’s coming in, but this is another area that really helps you down the road with the value of your business because you have this strong monthly plan membership and this reoccurring revenue that, should you be looking to make a change or to make an exit, that you’ve got this definitely as a pro and as a plus, if you have those strong monthly membership numbers.

Bill

Well, 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 10 or 11, or $12,000, to the value of that site. So 100,000 could add a million dollars in the valuation. So it pays to manage your growth and your top line and also manage your expenses. We see it all over the country in my other life with Amplify Car Wash Advisors, we we see a lot of underperforming sites that are leaving money on the table, especially if the owners are contemplating either an exit or perhaps a partnership with a private equity investor, it behooves you to make sure that you’re hitting all cylinders. And you’re maximizing that EBITDA — Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation Amortization — that you’re maximizing that for the value and the scale of your business. And one thing I’d like to say is, you know, if you’re going to scale your business, and you want to grow from one to five, or five to 10, or pick a number, you have to have a model that is scalable, you have to have… Anybody can buy the equipment and build the building. The challenge is really executing. I think that’s, again, no secret, but it’s very difficult to execute. So focusing on those, again — retail is detail — focusing on those details will help you have the ability to scale your business to a higher level and add wealth to your family business.

Lanese

Absolutely. And so we started this with you sharing about how your three kids are involved in your business with Metro Express Car Wash. I’d love to hear just a little bit about their different roles and what’s kept them attracted to the car wash industry. So I’m assuming that they like that it’s a family business, and that has some attractiveness to it. But I would imagine to that they also find the reward in how robust the car wash industry is because it does have all of the components that other businesses that I think have more traditional attention as far as, okay, you need a strong HR team, you need a strong marketing team, you need a strong operations team, that as we have garnered more attention from outside groups in the carwash industry, you see that it’s really the same that we… To be successful, and to have a successful chain having those different areas of your business really dialed in, that’s what makes you successful. But I’m assuming that your your kids have different roles. And so your daughter does human resources, right?

Bill

She is involved in that. Her actual title as Chief of Staff. She likes to tell me what I can do.

Lanese

Nice. That’s an added work benefit. Can you share a little bit about what it’s been like working alongside with family members and having them be part of your journey throughout your career?

Bill

Well, if you were to ask my kids why they like this business, I’m not sure that their first answer would be, “I like working for my dad,” but they have embraced the business. And I should tell you that they all started at age 12 doing something in the business. When they finished their education, they had to go five years and do something else for somebody else. Some other business, some other work. They couldn’t just roll right into the car wash. It’d be too easy. And so that there’s that. My daughter is the oldest. She’s our Chief of Staff and Organizational Development, I think would be her role. Andrew, our middle son, is an area manager in Montana, Site Operations. And then Derek is our Chief Operating Officer here in Boise. And Derek’s had some interesting background. He spent several years with Mister Car Wash helping them grow that chain. And he came back and wanted to join the family business, and, of course, we embraced that. Working with your kids, in my personal experience, has been great. I love it. They’re respectful, they’re hardworking, they’re committed. They like the business. Obviously, it’s profitable. And so, it’s good that way. The other thing that we’ve done and been doing is for the last couple of years really is trying to scale or let’s call it “build the bench,” plan for growth, and try to get ready to scale our platform. A year ago we had four stores open, today we have 11, and by the end of this year, we’ll have 15. I think all 15 will be open or close to it. So, we’re trying to scale our business up to be competitive, and it seems like the right time and the right opportunity to do that. So everyone stays in their lane pretty much and does their job. It’s interesting, as you grow a business… I told you about some of the growth we’ve had. And it changes quite dramatically, when you take a platform from four or five locations to 15. It’s a different company totally. And then from 15, in the subsequent years, our goal is 30 by 25. So by 2025, which is three years from now, we hope to have 30 locations open in our company, that’s going to be a different company than it is today. And, you know, I’m reaching the point in my career where I probably need to look at who’s going to take over here. And so that’s the chain of how things happen. So, fortunately… And, by the way, there’s a lot of talk about private equity coming in, and competition, and so forth. And I think that’s all true. But if you have a well-run family business, and you pay attention to the details, I don’t think you have to worry about the big consolidators. They’re going to be focused on growing, but we compete with a number of them in our markets, and we do just fine. So…

Lanese

Right! It’s not an either-or strategy. I mean, both can coexist and thrive and do well and elevate the industry in different ways that benefit both the operator and the consumer. Because by everybody becoming a little bit more competitive and upping their game and filling these voids in the market or finding new and better ways to do things, the consumer is the one who wins with that because they’re getting a better product.

Bill

Oh, totally agree. I think the future’s bright people talk about right now, or they hear about recession, or inflation. And those are all real things that could happen. They could impact our business somewhat. But I’ve… Because I’ve been at this for a few years, a few decades, I’ve been through a few of those. And we just did fine. You know, we may not have grown as quickly as we had at other times, but we did fine. And we were able to… Nobody lost her job. You know, we didn’t have to close anything up. So again, we paid attention to the focus on the customer, the value proposition, the speed of service, the quality the people. Anyone who’s going to go to a business that believes in that. By the way, people say, “Well, what about autonomous cars?” Or you know, this sort of thing? And my response is, Look, if you’re getting into a vehicle, that’s a rideshare, the first thing you’re looking at is how clean is it? You don’t want to get into a dirty car. So, I think that whole rideshare thing is… it actually helps us. It doesn’t hurt us.

Lanese

You still don’t want to be in a dirty car! It doesn’t matter who’s driving it or who’s not driving it.

Bill

That’s right. That’s right. So, I think the future for our industry, as far as I can see, at least it’s pretty bright. We’re not threatened by Amazon, or the Chinese, or General Motors, or that sort of thing. I think we have a business that can thrive and grow and be very successful, based on the model that way. And you know, it doesn’t have to be reinvented! I think I hear about people who say I want to reinvent the car… It doesn’t need reinventing; it needs focus on execution.

Lanese

And master the fundamentals, and then you can fine tune different things that make it more efficient or make it easier in some way. But the basics of probably remained the same since you got in this business decades ago. People are looking for a product and a service. It’s the carwash owner’s job, or operator, to deliver that to them in a way that’s acceptable to them that hopefully even meets their expectations, but for a price that that you agree on.

Bill

By the way, one final note maybe is when you look at opportunities in our industry, the full-service part of our business has been going away at a pretty rapid rate. There’s still about 6,000 full-service car washes in the US, but they’re converting or closing at a pretty rapid rate. I think there is opportunity for forward-thinking entrepreneurs to find ways to deliver that service efficiently and profitably. Because I promise you that consumers are more affluent than ever. They want that service. They’re going to exterior because it’s fast and efficient and convenient. But if you can deliver that at full serve level efficiently and profitably, again, people will beat a path to your door. So, I think those opportunities are out there.

Lanese

And that some of the exciting forward-thinking technology is where automation could really come into play and really enhance that side of the business. That’s exciting. And I think there’s a lot of, like you said, continued room for success and there’s no… It’s not like people are going to not want to have clean vehicle to be in!

Bill

A lot of upside!

Lanese

Bill, one of the things that I kind of wanted to wrap up with is we talked about some of the factors that make car wash chains successful, and you are an expert in this area. You are not only very knowledgeable and have the experience and the tenure, but you’re also very gracious and generous in sharing those, and I say that from just an industry professional and also from a colleague, but I really enjoy our talks together and how much you look to provide back to the industry and share these experiences and this wisdom that you’ve you’ve garnered over the years with others. And it just shows that you have a passion for this industry. And all who know you would agree with me, I can speak for them I know. So, I appreciate your time today. Again, thanks for being so open to sharing some of the successes about what makes a successful car wash chain.

Bill

Well, thank you, Lanese. And thanks for taking the time to do this. I hope it’s helpful. I think that there’s still a lot of opportunity in our industry. And it’ll be interesting to see in the next several years how things develop and change, but I think it’s all upward.

Lanese

I agree. Well, we’ll press on.

Bill

Thank you.

Lanese

Thanks, Bill.

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