Scaling Car Washes

Setting Your Car Wash Business Up for Scaling Success

Are you looking at scaling your car wash but need some support to make that work? Have you considered how systems and procedures can really help strengthen your car wash business and ensure the satisfaction of your stakeholders? Check out these tips David Begin shared with host JT Thomson in one of the latest episodes of Scaling Car Washes.

David Begin is the Founder of CarwashOS, a content and consulting company focused on assisting car wash owners to optimize their operations, and he shares many tips and tricks that help car wash owners scale their businesses more effectively.

Want to listen to the whole episode? Scroll to the bottom of the page or find Scaling Car Washes on your favorite podcast player! 

Top 3 Impediments to Scaling Your Business

JT asked David: “If you had to boil it down, what would you say were your three top impediments to truly feeling like you’re on top of the management of your washes?”

David responded with these three common issues and then shared ways he has addressed each one. 

  1. Lack of Systems and Procedures: David shares that many car wash owner operators react when issues occur instead of having clear, proactive systems and procedures in place to address issues as they arise.

  2. Lack of a Strong Team: In addition to systems and procedures, the importance of building up a strong team cannot be overstated. Ensuring that you’re hiring people who are excited and want to be there is so important, and then owner operators need to support those employees so that they want to stay and grow within the company.

    David shares, “I was involved in the business, but I was involved from a micromanagement standpoint. I had good employees, but I didn’t know how to motivate those employees. I didn’t give them a training path. I didn’t give them what they needed to be successful in their jobs.”

  3. Lack of Proper Management Techniques: David shares his own struggles early on with management. He shares about some of the ways that he viewed his employees and how those attitudes held him back. Adjusting those attitudes and making sure that you’re training, guiding, and supporting your employees can make a huge difference within your business.

"As the owner, you’re going to have super high standards, which is okay, to have those high standards. But how do you translate high standards, high customer service, high employee engagement? How do you translate that into policy and procedures?"

David Begin

Top 3 Key Aspects of Sucessful Car Washes

  1. Find employees who are great and want to be there: Carefully consider your hiring processes and work to find employees who are excited to be part of the team.

  2. Implement operational management overseeing the car wash: David shares the difference between reactive management and a process-driven, proactive environment.

  3. Establish clear policies and procedures for people to follow: Having policies and procedures in place makes a huge difference when it comes to creating a calm, effective work environment.

Tips for Car Wash Owners to Consider to Avoid Setbacks

Maintain High Standards Balanced with Realistic Expectations: David Begin points out the way that those super high standards can actually be detrimental if they are not balanced with realistic expectations.

David shares about his own experience: “Now, as an owner, and this was another big problem I had, JT… I had super high standards, and nobody met my standards! And that that drove them crazy, and it drove me crazy. And I finally had to temper my standards! I’d still have high standards, but I’d say, I expect my standards to be met maybe 80% of the time, or, you know, 80% of the standards are being followed, understanding that certain things are going to happen. People are going to blow through a barrel of chemical; people are going to make mistakes loading. Sometimes people aren’t going to show up for work. That’s going to happen occasionally.

“But if I have a high standard, but then I sort of temper that standard a little bit, that’s where I found that employees were a lot happier, I was a lot happier, customers were a lot happier, because I just didn’t create unrealistic standards. I have high standards, but I don’t expect everybody to have the same standards I do.”

By sharing about his own mistakes, David helps current car wash owner operators avoid those problems within their businesses.

Utilize Training Programs to Build Strong Employee Teams: While it’s important to hire people who are excited to be part of the staff, it’s also critical to train employees well. This view – focusing on the importance of training – must be shared by managers as well, who will often be supporting the trainings. 

Consider Learning Management Systems to Strengthen Your Training: David shares that the CarWashOS team uses Trainual, but there are many great options – the key is to invest in a learning management system so that you have clear, consistent training for your team.

"If you’re an owner out there, and you’re thinking, How do I make a great team? How do I make a good culture? Focus on your employees; take care of them. Take all the friction out of the process. Make it easy for them to do their hard job. And if you can do that, those people will run through walls for you."

David Begin

Additional Thoughts and Resources

Take care of your employee team. 

David shares that after several years of an adversarial relationship with his employees, he realized he was thinking about that relationship the wrong way. He states, “All of a sudden the switch turned on. And I saw them as my allies; I saw them as my assets. And you know, I loved on them. It was my job to take every bit of friction out of the process for them, so they could take a hard job and do it as best they can. I wasn’t there to make an easy job. But I was there to take away the barriers– the organizational barriers, and the management barriers — and to say what do you need to do your job as well as you can?”

Utilize technology to strengthen your business. 

David shares about how using technology in all aspects can smooth out and strengthen the way procedures happen in all locations within in a business.

"Technology is becoming a bigger player in the operational part of the business. We’ve had good technology at the point of sale system, we’ve had good technology at the process control units, the motor control units have good technology, but we’ve never really looked at technology in terms of how do we operate the car wash, and people are starting to look at that now, and that technology is really what’s going to help us scale the car wash business so I can go from three to five to ten locations if I’ve got the same technology. "

David Begin

Want to hear more from David Begin, Founder of CarwashOS, a content and consulting company focused on assisting car wash owners to optimize their operations?

Don’t miss the Scaling Car Washes episode where host JT Thomson talked with David!