Episode 11: With Lanese Barnett

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About the Episode:

With so many changes in the car wash M&A space this past year, getting advice from industry experts is more important than ever. As we wrap up 2022 and prepare for 2023, we’re taking a look back at some of the vital insights we heard on Car Wash M&A, The Podcast this past year.

In this episode, your host Lanese Barnett looks back at her conversations with Bill Martin, Chris Jenks, and Derrick Merchant and Michael Murry. Be sure to tune in the last Thursday of each month to hear the latest from Lanese and her guests.

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Check out the full transcript below:

Lanese

Hi, I’m Lanese Barnett, your host of Car Wash M&A, the podcast. For episode 11, we’re taking a look back at some of the great conversations that we’ve had on the podcast this year. While things have certainly changed over the course of 2022, our guests gave some great advice that is very relevant to today’s market. We want to share some highlights with you today. To stay up to date with the latest car wash M&A news, be sure to subscribe to our podcast, and check out our news page on the Amplify site to see our monthly podcast news articles as well as other important M&A news. Go to amplifywash.com/news to check it out. Be sure to check back in with us in January when we will have a brand new episode. We look forward to talking with you in 2023.

In March, we had financial markets expert Chris Jenks on the podcast, and he talked with me about the strong headwinds that we were just beginning to face at that point in the year. At that time, the war in Ukraine was just beginning to impact the econony, and inflation was rising but interest rates had not yet risen significantly. Chris shared his thoughts about what could be done to combat inflation, and he talked about what car wash owners specifically can do to be proactive in an inflationary environment. Although many things have changed in the car wash M&A space since I spoke with Chris back then, the advice he gives in this episode continues to be prudent in today’s climate.

Excerpts from Episode 3 with Chris Jenks

Yes. So, inflation: what can be done to control inflation? Or what can we do strategy wise, as far as… It’s going to happen. It is happening, but what are some measures that can be done to have an impact on that?

Chris

Yeah, so the most effective tool to combat inflation is through monetary policy. So specifically, the Federal Reserve adjusting interest rates to cool down the economy and essentially combat inflation. You have to think about, you know, what causes inflation at the end of the day? And it’s usually access to the money supply. So, what do you do to control that? You reduce the money supply, the supply of money that’s out in the system. The Federal Reserve, by adjusting the Fed target rate and bringing interest rates higher, that’s certainly an effective way. And if you were to think about today’s environment, what’s causing inflation? You know, it’s really a mosaic of different things, right? You have a global supply chain issue, which is putting a bottleneck on the actual supply of goods, you have surging demand following a recovering economy from COVID-19. And you really have the effects of about $2 trillion in stimulus money really coming into play here. And I know, a stimulus from COVID… We’re a couple of years removed from that, but you have to think, you know, there’s a little bit of a lag there between when that stimulus money is put to work. And by the time it actually trickles down throughout the economy. And we’re starting to see the effects of this. So here we are today, in an inflationary environment. As mentioned, you know, the one tool that can be used to combat this would be changes in monetary policy, specifically rising interest rates. And as of yesterday, the Federal Reserve actually increased their target rate by .25% for the first time since 2018.

Lanese 10:57

And that increase is projected to be a steady continual increase for the foreseeable future, or at least throughout the rest of the year.

Chris 11:06

Absolutely. The CME Group actually has a really interesting tool, that’s available on the website, that’s called the FedWatch tool. And essentially, what they do is they look at the futures market to figure out okay, what’s being priced in here? And what they could do is they could put implied probabilities on the future of rate hikes. As of right now, as of yesterday’s hike, what the markets are telling us is that there’s about a 90% probability that interest rates will go up by at least other 1.5% throughout the calendar year of 2022. So you hit it right on the head! I think, you know, this is just the start. I think if we were to look going forward, and what markets are telling us today, there’s a high probability that rate hikes will continue with each of the Federal Reserve meetings to come. In fact, if you’re looking all the way through July of next year, in 2023, there’s a 100% probability of an increase in every meeting from here on out to the end of July of 2023. So I certainly think that’s in the cards for the future.

Lanese

We’ve talked a little bit or about what inflation looks like and what rising interest rates look like for the US economy. But what does that mean for carwash owners specifically? And what can they expect? And then what kind of tools do we have specifically related to them?

Chris

The most direct impact here obviously is with consumer behavior, right? How much is inflation going to spook the consumer? And, you know, if we’re to look at the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey… At the University of Michigan, they survey over 500 participants from different geographical regions in the United States and they ask them the questions along the lines of their personal finances, as well as their outlook for the economy over the short and long term periods. And what the most recent survey showed us is that consumer sentiment is at its lowest level since November of 2011. So shortly after the S&P downgrade of US Treasuries. So, all of the macro concerns we’ve talked about between inflation and rising gas prices, the war in Ukraine… This is definitely weighing on the consumer. So the question now is how discretionary is car washing, right? Over the last decade, we have seen consumers embrace the car wash model, specifically the Express car wash model. By and large, consumers are using professional car washing services more now than ever, and the Express model has become, you know, a convenient solution for consumers where it’s now ingrained in their daily activities. As you mentioned, Lanese, we have car wash operations here in Chicago, and we have some customers that are membership customers. I mean, they’re on our site daily. The question is now, are they going to stop the car washing? Or will they maybe stop buying a $3 coffee at Starbucks? You know, the last litmus test was COVID, and car washing was resilient during the COVID. So I think, you know, we’re learning in real time how discretionary is car washing? I think, you know, a good indication is what’s Wall Street telling us? We now have some publicly traded companies out there — MIster Carwash, notably — and we’ve actually seen some positive revisions from sell side analysts on Wall Street, stating that the concerns over inflation and fuel prices may be overdone, and they’ve actually changed their ratings from the hold to a buy. So a lot of considerations to be thinking around here. But generally speaking, it’s definitely impacting the consumer. It’s time now to get strategic if you’re an operator.

I think the knee jerk reaction in a rising cost environment is just passing it back to the consumer and increasing your prices. But as mentioned, the consumer is certainly feeling the pain here a little bit as well through inflation, and everything being more expensive. So one thing we’ve heard or we’ve seen a lot of here lately is car wash chains and operators increasing their prices to accommodate for their change in cost structures. You have to be a little more strategic than that, right? I think strategic price changes may make sense. But you have to really understand your local market if you’re going to do that. Specifically, know your level of competition. If you are in a highly competitive market with other alternatives for car wash tunnels, you know, you might find yourself in a game of chicken with a local competition. Also, you have to consider your local demographic, right? If you are operating in areas where there’s less discretionary income, a price chain may not be prudent in the current environment, because again, the consumer is feeling the pain as well as inflation at about 8%.

Lanese

And it’s not saying that you shouldn’t consider price changes. But what we’re suggesting is that you should really consider all of these factors before making a knee jerk decision or reaction based on rising input costs and rising costs on the operator side. Because, as you mentioned, you know, consumers, while we’re seeing that car washing is less discretionary than other things, say going to buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks, it’s still discretionary, like it still falls into that category. And we have to be sensitive that these price increases in such a sensitive time in their world, in their pocketbook, as well that we don’t want to drive them away for that. But there are other things that car wash operators could consider changing or re-evaluating within their own operations that could offset some of those rising costs. And that’s one of the things that I wanted to talk about with you: what are some options for them to offset this?

Chris

Great question. Yeah, there’s a lot more than just increasing revenues by passing back price changes to your consumer, This is a good time, in an inflationary environment, as I mentioned, one thing that usually accompanies inflation is rising interest rates. Now’s a really good time to be looking at your debt for your company. And specifically using this as an opportunity to potentially refinance some of your shorter-term variable rate debt and lock in longer term debt at a lower interest rate.

Lanese

Especially if we know that the interest rates are going to continue to rise! We see there is a 100% probability of rates increasing over the next year, continually, so we know it’s happening.

Chris

Absolutely. So again, now’s a good time to understand kind of what is your debt look like? Was your cost of capital look like? Intentionally restructuring short term variable rate debt to longer term fixed rate at the current lower rates. And that definitely be one thing you could do here. You know, other things to consider: you know, locking in long term arrangements with your vendors. You know, that’s certainly something you could take advantage of today, if you expect costs in general to continue to rise. Lock in long term contracts with your vendors that could potentially keep you at a lower rate today for a longer period of time. And remove that exposure to what could be variable pricing in the future.

Lanese

For more from Chris Jenks, listen in to episode 2. Back in April, we shared an episode with Amplify Car Wash Advisors partner Bill Martin, one of my favorite human beings. Bill is also a successful car wash veteran who also operates Metro Express Car Wash. In this episode, Bill shares some industry insights that have helped his company find success and maintain a strong footing amid the current headwinds. The tighter the market gets, the more attention car wash owners need to pay to procedures, customer experience, and team members.

Excerpt from Episode 3

Bill

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 used 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

For more from Bill Martin, be sure to listen to all of Episode 3. In October, we shared our episode with guests Derrick Merchant and Michael Murry from Champion Xpress Car Wash. Derrick and Michael both share some systems and procedures that have helped them find success as they scale their business. Derrick talks about the importance of building a strong executive team, and Michael shares about the choices he made once being brought on board to help bring to life Derrick’s vison and the vision the Merchant family had to scale their car wash business Champion Xpress to a whole new level. Take a listen.

Excerpt from Episode 9

Michael

One thing I learned about the Merchants very early on whenever I got here was that they, when he said they like a challenge earlier, they do make some big challenges, you know, and these big goals of building. And so I learned very quickly when they would throw out the numbers of washes that they said that they weren’t joking, I knew these weren’t hypothetical washes that they were going to build, you know, that I had to be prepared for them and be ready for them. So yeah, back when I first started, I think the goal was 20 or so by the end of this year, which we’ll be at 27 by the end of this year, and then 50 to 60 by the end of next year. And so as I started thinking through that and started strategizing… Really, coming in and taking over eight washes, in all honesty, is no joke. And so that’s where I was when we started, and I immediately wanted to get a foundation, right? And so it’s truly about that foundation because I knew, if we were going to get that big that fast, that nothing matters unless you have the foundation set and ready to go. So I immediately tried to get to work on an executive team and finding the right people. I am adamant about finding… You know, there’s a quote from the movie Miracle: “I’m not looking for the best ones. I’m looking for the right ones.” And that’s really what I tried to do, and we were able to accomplish here… An executive team that could help build this thing out and build the culture and everything we were looking for. So we did that. We got to work on building the executive team, and then built our field ops team, and then our training department as well. And so I wanted to let the washes come to us not, not us go to the washes, meaning that knowing that these things were coming, whenever we took over these washes and opened them up, that we had the staff ready. We weren’t doing as much training just there on day one, you know, we already structured this thing out even from a regional standpoint.

Lanese

When you’re looking at opening new sites, do you have the team ready to go to where you guys do practicing, or you do the on-site training where you have kind of a team that comes in and they start giving them the process and the manual and the scripts and things like that?

Michael

Sure. So what we do is we have two counterparts. So we have a field ops team. And then we have a field training team. And the training team doubles as store openers. So when they’re not opening stores, they circle around to all of our washes doing continual training. And then whenever they’re opening up washes… We have it fully planned out. I could tell you how many weeks beforehand that we start each wash training the site leader, getting everything in place before, and then throughout opening day, we have at least two trainers on site, a regional operations person on site. And so we’re very intentional about how we open up these washes and how we prep for them.

Lanese

And was it through your background with your previous role that some of these things made sense to you? Or is this just new store openings in general or growth in general? So what kind of guided that?

Michael

So yeah, so for the most part, maybe a little bit from there, but for the most part, learning as we go, listening to my different team members that have had experience in that.

Lanese

“Hey, we would really like to have this when we open a store! We really need this.”

Michael

Yeah, I mean, that’s really what managing is, right? It’s giving the people that are working for you the right tools to do their job. And so I just listened, you know? What tools do you need? Here’s the standard; here’s the expectation. What do you need to do that? And then it’s really just about putting that in place.

Lanese

It sounds like you two specifically work really well together. From my own experience as well, yes, you need somebody a counterpart or someone that you work that closely on an executive level, or even if it’s on a store level, where you have a manager and an assistant manager or two co-managers or your teammates… It’s important to have that relationship personally as well; it doesn’t mean you have to be best friends. But if you have something that you can build off of that makes that trust, and it makes that ability to listen to each other and to hear, actually hear, what their needs are, what they’re saying. And it seems like that, between the two of you, that you have that. And sometimes I think that that’s overlooked in the professional world. It still matters that your personalities click. You don’t have to have the same thoughts. It’s better to have the balance, but you still have to have a working personal relationship as well as the working professional relationship.

Derrick

Yeah, that’s 100%. And that’s what we’ve been building on in this culture here is we can be friends. But we can also… we can also challenge each other. And I think Mike does that to me, and I do that to him. But work, as you come in today, is fun. And it’s because Mike believes the same things we believe, culturally. And it just makes me smile. When I walk in the halls and I hear the laughter. One minute, there’ll be rap songs on because construction had a team win, so they play “All I Do is Win.” The next minute development will be playing Queen or Champion will be playing Queen’s “We are the Champions” because they hit a goal. It’s just fun. When you make it fun… And it’s the same for Mike… I know I don’t feel like I work every day because it’s fun. I get up every day, and I look forward to what is going to be different in the office every day and the challenges that come with it. When you have a trust with your executive teams, then it’s fun.

Michael

Yeah, I think that’s a big part of it. You know, when he talks about trust, I think that’s the first. There’s trust, and there’s buy in, and once you have that, it creates an opportunity to have healthy conflict. Of course there’s a lot… We listen to Patrick Lencioni, you know, a lot on his book, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, that talks a lot about it. But it’s so true to be able to sit in a room and speak passionately, you know, about your stance on something, and then to hear someone else out. And the goal is to truly be about what’s better for the organization. You know, it’s not about each individual, but I want to hear all of the different discussions and then to be 100% okay, if it’s not your idea, you know, that was gone after. And really it doesn’t matter whose idea it is. It’s about what’s going to make the organization better. And I think Derrick and I have that, and that’s what we try to create down to our teams.

Derrick

Mike’s better at it than me. I’m trying to learn from him still.

Lanese

Speaking from… Again, taking my own experience, this industry has changed a lot over the years. I started in 2010. Obviously, I was still like, you know, 10 years old then… Just kidding. I already had a career in marketing and communications working at a public relations agency. And so I did that for about five years. And then I joined the car wash industry. Over time, I’ve seen more and more women join into this industry. But one thing that really makes a huge difference when you’re coming into a room where maybe you are different than the rest of the people that are there is if you have a room that is open to listening to your thoughts or your ideas, and there is a sense of collaboration that everybody feels empowered to share. And I feel very fortunate that that’s been my journey. But it also takes building a culture that encourages people to share their ideas and to maybe you don’t adopt them. And maybe it’s not the right path for the organization. But if you have that culture where it’s okay to say something, and it’s okay to even have conflict, conflict isn’t the end of the world; that’s a healthy part of growth and a team. But if you have the safe space of everyone here is respected and everyone has their place, then that opens that dialogue. And I think that that’s the most successful teams are the ones that can have those conversations, and grow from them, and learn from each other and listen. And listening is the hardest part. Even I struggle with that. And that’s part of this whole process is just me listening to someone else talk, but it’s harder than it seems. It just seems very fundamental. But we’re all human. And it’s a learning process as well for me.

Derrick

I agree 100%. I’ve had the ability to learn under some very good listeners; my dad is a very good listener. I very much undervalued that and didn’t even understand at the time to appreciate that. Mike is a very good listener. He is methodical, and in everything he does he hears everybody out. I really believe to be a good leader, you have to be a good listener.

Lanese

Totally. I totally agree. Back to the car wash side of it what are your goals for 2023? We talked about some growth plans on numbers that you want to extend your store count, but what will you end next year feeling most proud about if it goes kind of according to what you foresee and what you’re what you’re planning out now?

Derrick

In 2019, we told PC&D magazine that we had a goal of getting to 50 locations in five years. And so that will be an awesome accomplishment for us when we get there by the end of next year. I didn’t think we would have to have the number of sales that we’ve had to get there, but we’ve very much always wanted to continue owning our own company. And that’s just because we believe in our mission, our vision statement and our values. And a lot of times when you bring in a partner that can change things. And so that’s been our heart behind it. It’s not been about the Merchants making money. If that was the case, we would have retired after last year. But it was very much about, hey, we’re building something cool here, we want to continue building that; we want to see what this thing looks like operating 50 car washes. That’s been the goal from the beginning.

Lanese

What a year we’ve had! While the market has changed drastically over the course of 2022, our car wash industry continues to thrive as we head into 2023. Be sure to join us the last Thursday of each month as we keep you up to date on mergers and acquisitions activity in the car wash space.

If you’re loving Car Wash M&A, The Podcast, which I’m sure you are, be sure to subscribe wherever you like to listen, share with your colleagues, and please take time to leave us a rating and a review on Apple Podcasts. Reviews are a great way for more car wash owners to find us.

A listener shared this review, which I’m particularly proud of: “If you’re in the car wash world industry, you need to tune into this podcast! Lanese is a fantastic host who leads really engaging and informative interviews with her guests. Value-packed conversations abound in these episodes – highly recommend checking it out!” Thanks, OliviaBaker13! I really appreciate that. It’s a nice way to wrap up the year and feel great about this time that we’ve shared together. I really look forward to joining you all in 2023 as we head straight into the new year, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Thanks!

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