When you were a kid, did you ever have to stand up in front of the class at school and read an essay about what you did on your summer vacation?

Thinking back on it, I did some pretty cool stuff during the summers growing up. We would leave for the Jersey Shore from our Indiana home the day school let out and we wouldn’t come back till a couple of days before Labor Day. We would swim, surf, ski, race, you name it, we did it. I remember telling my new classmates all about the great time I had and how I couldn’t wait until next summer so I can do it again.

It was usually at that point of the essay when the teacher would ask, “well Mr. Fox, that does sound fun, but what have you done to prepare for the new school year?” Huh?! I just got done telling you how much fun I had! I haven’t done anything to get ready for the new school year.. And they always told me I had a short attention span… seems she was the one not paying attention now…

Fast forward about 20 years. In the dead of a Florida summer, I’m pulling chain out of a conveyor to replace it with all new chain and rollers and while I’m at it, I was told, I’m changing the sprocket, drum and bearings as well. This was my first job in the car wash industry. My direct supervisor was an ex drill sergeant in the Marines. He never spent a lot of time explaining the reasons why he wanted me to do these things, just that he wanted them done and that I would thank him for it someday. Huh?! I would thank him for making me stay till 10:00 at night pulling chain?? Sure I would…

Fast forward another 5 years. Another summer in South Florida. It’s 11:00 PM and my manager and I pulling chain and rollers, this time in my own wash. I remind him that while we’re in there, we’re going to change the sprockets and bearings too. He asks why we are swapping out a chain and rollers that we’ve only had a couple of minor issues with at the slowest time of year? Then it hits me. Every teacher I’ve ever had, including my drill sergeant ex supervisor, were all trying to teach me to prepare for what lied ahead, in the slow times which is, for most of us, in the summer.

Luckily, it sunk in. It may have taken awhile, but it finally sunk in… And damned if my old boss wasn’t right. I thanked him for the lesson.

So, what are you doing on your summer vacation? Skiing? Boating? Laying on the beach? Awesome! You deserve some R & R, especially if you went through the winter they did in the Northeast last year but let’s not forget that we have to gear up for the next season and early is always better than late when it comes to preventive maintenance.

Make a list of things you need to get done prior to winter (chain and rollers, new cloth, new nozzles for high pressure, etc.). Then make a list of things you want to get done before next winter (add some more free vacs to site, add lighting to enhance wash experience, etc.). Prioritize the needs list and knock those off as quick as possible. This should give you ample time to do the additional things you want to do at the wash to attract, and keep, more customers.

Remember, all work and no play make for a boring existence. All play and not enough work however , especially prior to the season, makes for a potential disaster…

Sample List:

Priorty Level What Needs to Be Done Time it’s Going to Take Tools Needed Parts Needed Cost and Return

Bob Fox has 30 years industry experience and is an instructor at CarWash College™. Bob can be reached at BFox@sonnysdirect.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visitwww.carwashcollege.com or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.