Car Wash Businesses: Forming a Franchise-Like Car Wash Industry for Better Profits

Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to deliver a speech for the International Carwash Association. The entire event was very enlightening, and a few of the points I made in my speech seemed to really hit home for the car wash industry. I will try to pull together the points I covered in a series of posts here over the next few months.

One of the key points was regarding becoming a franchise-like industry of car washes. Key word being franchise-like, not actual franchises. For the past several years, Tommy Car Wash Systems has been working hard at helping our business and our clients rely on franchise-like profit models while avoiding the corporate franchise structure. We know franchises are excessively difficult in this industry, and, unlike many under educated, under prepared car wash franchise entrepreneurs, we have a pretty good idea why. There are, however, a few values franchises utilize which we can duplicate and learn from without committing to being an all-out franchise and all the pitfalls which come with it.

1. Group buying power

Save money by economies of scale. We are working at doing this with all Tommy Car Wash Systems customers. We have become a group negotiating power house with vendors combining buying power together to lower prices. We then are committed to passing along these discounts to the customer rather than pocketing larger profits as most vendors do. You will continue to see falling prices online for parts as we can negotiate better rates.

2. Car Wash Site Model

We have already provided perfected site models for all 3 common car wash types, gas/cstore/wash, flex serve, and freestanding express. All are tried and true and we have studied thousands of sites to create the best type of layout, format, and processing. These carwash site models can be duplicated by anyone through the Totally Tommy buildings, saving a huge amount of initial planning and site modeling cost.

3. Carwash Operations Manuals

Compiling operation manuals for employees and managers can be a huge, costly endeavor and liability. Tommy Car Wash Systems provides complete operations procedures, checklists, manuals, handbooks, and more with the purchase of a Totally Tommy building, allowing our clients to benefit from our industry expertise in the same way they might benefit from a franchise.

4. Pre-Engineered Car Wash Architecture and Building

A McDonalds franchisee doesn’t have to go hire an architect to design his McDonalds. His plans are sent by McDonalds and already completely designed from all aspects. We have already done all this . We stamp your engineered drawing in 50 states and also include all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing drawings, saving you around $50,000.

5. Discounted Supply Chain

When you buy napkins and cups, McDonalds franchisees don’t have to pay through the nose as if they we’re buying napkins from a retail vendor like Sams Club. Tommy Car Wash Systems has been creating ongoing purchase contracts where operators can commit to an ongoing supply source for car wash supplies like chemicals, hoses, fittings and air fresheners, passing along these discounts like a franchise.

As you can see, these franchise-like benefits offer the cost-savings of franchises like McDonalds, with none of the corporate structuring or profit margin pitfalls. In a non-franchise industry, we continue to work hard to implement franchise-like cost savings and pre-planning in everything that we do, increasing our profit model and forming a better car wash industry for all of us.

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