The Importance of Car Wash Production

Fast, efficient production is one of the single most important factors for the health and sustainability of a modern car wash, and not only because good production answers high volume. In fact, good production GENERATES high volume.

The ability to maintain fast conveyor speeds with excellent wash quality at all times and in all conditions has a directly beneficial impact on overall wash performance, customer experience, and value—regardless of that wash’s baseline volume. Here’s why:


Pay lane can stack up quickly and without warning. Maintaining a fast conveyor speed keeps those lines moving and limits backups or bottlenecks. Having a short line or a clear shot to open lane is an invitation to passing customers to take a quick stop and get a wash—no wait required.


Express car wash customers are hungry for an experience that delivers a clean car at great value, fast. The quicker your system can process a payment or membership, get a vehicle through the entrance queue, and send it down the tunnel the better the more valuable your service is too your busy customers.

Speedy visits should be always considered a core component of your facility’s value proposition.


When the clouds part and weekend weather turns bright, warm, and clear it’s not uncommon to see customer cars (including high numbers of non-member vehicles) stacked all the way to the road—which means that all that revenue is essentially up for grabs.

Maintaining high baseline production speed at all times empowers both team members and equipment to more easily ramp up when needed without sacrificing a good customer experience or wash quality. This means your team will be better able to clear the stack and bring in that tight, constant, continuous stream of customers when it matters most,

But how do you establish good car wash production?

First, Training

Excellence must be a habit. Each team member should know their role inside and out, understand the expectoration of their position, and have daily checklists or procedures that require them to take ownership of the wash’s performance. Car washing is a team sport, and cooperation and preparation are absolutely critical.

Equipment and Product Selection

Delivering good wash quality is easier at slower conveyor speeds. To get the same performance while washing cars faster you need wash equipment and application products designed to meet that goal, and you need to evaluate and maintain that performance on a constant basis. Hourly walkthroughs and wash quality checks cannot be optional.

Fast, Streamlined Systems and Processes

Optimize your system as a whole. Where are the bottlenecks, the hang-ups, or the delays? Common pain points include point of sale systems, manual prep, and loading confusion. Correct the problems and strive for a fast, seamless experience that keeps the cars flowing.

Tommy’s Express: Bringing it All Together

In 2019 Tommy Car Wash Systems and our family of companies celebrates fifty years. In that time we’ve grown from a single local car wash in Holland, Michigan into a renowned international car wash equipment supplier and developer, and now into a rising car wash franchise.

Tommy’s Express Car Wash is the peak in express car wash design and operations, putting together exceptional facility design, equipment, control systems, membership technology, chemistry, training, and marketing, resulting in one of the highest grossing franchise opportunities available today.

If you’re interested in joining the Tommy’s Express franchise yourself, please visit our franchising page today!

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Building the Right Culture at Your Car Wash

What is your company culture? If your employees or team members are unengaged or disinterested it will affect every part of your operations: your wash quality, your overhead, and—most of all—customer experience.

But creating a culture of enthusiasm, teamwork, and pride is far easier said than done. So, how do you go about building this kind of positive momentum in the workplace?

Be Missional

Passion doesn’t start with WHAT, or HOW. Instead, it starts with your WHY. Naturally a car wash is a business and sales and growth are goals. But those can’t be your team’s core mission, your why. If it is, why should your employees really care?

No matter the size or location of your car wash, you and your team have a unique opportunity to help and serve others, acting as a positive force in your customers’ day and providing a high quality service that they need. And if a customer needs special assistance you go above and beyond to meet their needs and make their day.

It’s a simple thing, but respect, kindness, and service can form a mission that’s worth buying in to.

Push for Excellence

If your mission is serving others, then excellence is the natural next step. Take the time to define what (realistic) excellence looks like in your employee’s day to day activities and put it in writing. Then make those expectations clear and explicit during individual and team training activities, reviews, and routine checklists.

Each member of your team should know exactly what is expected to them and how to make that excellence happen each and every day they are on the job.

Be Present – Take the Lead!

Car wash operators, managers, and team leaders play a decisive role in the formation of a great culture. Your attitude and actions set the tone for everyone else.

Be on-hand at the wash, acting out the same extraordinary customer service and above-and-beyond attitude you expect from your team. And be available and proactive, ready to help your team when they are stressed, answer questions, and provide support whenever and however needed.

Get to know your team members and build trust, and you may be surprised just how much loyalty develops as a result.

Provide Time to Socialize

Coworkers are often the absolute worst or the best part of a job. So do everything you can to help your team bond. Even among entry-level or hourly workers, occasional social events or meals where everyone can let their hair down and be a bit more natural are a great opportunity to help build these relationships and develop that sense of trust, positivity, and belonging.

Provide Praise and Recognition

When an employee is doing it right and knocking it out of the park, let them know. Be free with praise, and even when providing feedback or correction make sure to call out everything that the employee is getting right before encouraging them to work on the areas where they’ve fallen short.

You can also implement incentive programs and celebrate team milestones with rewards or events. It works and it helps your best team members feel even better about their mounting accomplishments.

But Don’t Let Your Team Get Too Comfortable

Team members should be comfortable in in the sense that they understand their role and are in total command of the situation. But physical comfort can lead to laxity on the job. Physically and mentally your team should always be on alert, always monitoring the car wash and customer activity and always ready to jump into action if needed.

Excellence demands awareness, and for this reason our corporate washes bar comfortable chairs, internet access, street clothing, and TV from workspaces, reinforcing to team members that they are on duty and have a job to do—and do to the best of their ability.

About Tommy Car Wash Systems

Leaders in car wash innovation and development, Tommy Car Wash Systems produces high quality round stainless steel arches, equipment, control systems, and detergents along with proprietary building designs. Parties interested in high capacity, performance-driven car washing are invited to explore the Tommy’s Express Car Wash franchise, a fast-growing international express car wash providing the highest levels of guest experience and wash quality. Coming soon to a city near you!

Tommy Car Wash Systems

Benefits of the Tommy’s Express Franchise Model

Startup franchises have long enjoyed a higher success rate compared to independent startup businesses, and the franchise model has proven dominant in a vast range of industries from restaurant to retail.

At Tommy Car Wash Systems and Tommy’s Express Car Wash we’ve crafted the most comprehensive, cohesive car wash franchise package available, with an entire suite of benefits including:

A Proven, Cohesive Car Wash System

Each Tommy’s Express Car Wash is built from the Totally Tommy integrated equipment and facility design, developed to achieve the fastest processing speeds and best wash quality available from an express car wash. It’s a template optimized for operation that covers all aspects of the finished facility, including:

  • A visually dramatic building design, optimized for customer experience and low-labor operation
  • A full, high-performing equipment package
  • Leading control systems and electronics
  • Organized tools, replacement parts, and equipment storage

The Name Recognition of a Fast-Growing National Brand

When you join Tommy’s Express you become a participant with a growing national network of car washes. With sixteen facilities currently open and almost 200 more in various stages of development, Tommy’s Express Car Wash is set to become one of if not the widest-known car wash chains in the United States with a large and shared membership pool.

Access to Proprietary Car Wash Equipment

Tommy’s Express Car Wash partners receive access to exclusive car wash technology developed specifically for use in our franchise network. This includes the new Tommy Point of Sale, TommyClub license plate recognition, and the Easy-Chem detergent management system.

By building up the franchise and pooling resources we are able to continually explore, develop, and trial new and innovative technology while individual operators focus on the day to running and success of their individual facilities.

Advanced Site Selection and Development Assistance

The right location makes a world of difference for your car wash’s long-term success. Our in-house development team will help you identify and secure the best possible location for your facility and are ready to assist you through the entire process from site layout and local approvals, to final equipment installation and fine-tuning.

Hands-On Operations Training

To run the ultimate car wash successfully and deliver a high quality wash result you’ll need the right training and practice before your site launches. The Tommy University program brings Tommy’s Express owners and managers to our headquarters in Holland MI for both classroom and hands-on training at our corporate washes, followed by additional training and review at your local site. Our goal is to give you the tools, knowledge, and support you need to be successful from your car wash’s first year through its first decade.

Comprehensive Marketing support

Tommy’s Express is unique in that we provide comprehensive and highly professionalized marketing support before, during, and after your car wash’s grand opening. We manage your social media channels and online directories, providing a constant stream of social media and video content, implementing new seasonal campaigns, and closely managing your online reputation and reviews.

Franchise Opportunities Now Available!

For more information on the Tommy’s Express franchise please visit We look forward to working with you soon!

Tommy Car Wash Systems

Fundamentals of Express Car Wash Success: The Powerful Advantage of Franchises

The following is joint presentation by Ryan Essenburg, President of Tommy Car Wash Systems & Tommy’s Express Car Wash, and Ed Rensi, former CEO of McDonalds, entitled “Fundamentals of Express Car Wash Success: The Powerful Advantage of Franchises.”

The presentation was recorded at The Car Wash Show, 2019, hosted by the International Car Wash Association. Enjoy!

Tommy Car Wash Systems

The Seven Things Customers are Really Looking for In a Carwash

Your customers aren’t a captive audience, they have plenty of options. Driveway washing, inbay washes, tunnels, or just putting it off. So, if you want people to choose your wash and to keep choosing it over and over again for years or decades to come, you have to understand what exactly they are really looking for, and you need to make sure you’re in the best position to give it to them.

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The Top 5 Reasons Why Car Washes Fail

In the United States the car wash industry, as a whole, has seen a long period of growth with steadily increasing demand – around 2% more cars washed each year over the past decade. However, despite this growth and the real need so many communities have for reliable car wash resources, some car washes have failed in recent years.


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Understanding the 5 Elements of Wash Quality

For the best operators, wash quality is an obsession to be checked and maintained every, single, day. But first new operators must understand each of the factors at work in the car wash tunnel and how they fit together to build good wash performance—particularly during busy, high volume periods.

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