“Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon” John Madden, football coach and NFL announcer.

This is one of my favorite all time quotes. I use it often and people look at me quizzically when I do. In coach speak, it means, just keep plugging and don’t worry about what’s going on around you. Just keep doing what you’re doing; the others will take care of their part.

How does this relate to car washing? I hope to show you.

Besides being an instructor in CarWash College, I also work in the Business Development department at Sonny’s. My primary responsibility here is to help educate new investors to the industry about how to get started, what to look for in a site demographically, how long it will take and around how much this will all cost. I let them know up front that the cost of entry to our industry is high, the projects usually take more time than they think, and that there will be several obstacles thrown at them along the way.

A lot of people will lose their ambition during our 1st conversation and give up on the idea. For those that press on, the fun is just beginning.

Below is a list of some of the items we feel are imperative to know before deciding whether or not to build a new tunnel.

  1. Estimating Capital Expenditures
  2. Determining Operational Costs
  3. Obtaining Financing
  4. Finding Car Wash Locations
  5. Evaluating Potential Sites
  6. Selecting Equipment
  7. Avoiding the 7 Most Common Mistakes
  8. Maximizing Profits

We stress these areas whenever speaking to a new client. Sometimes the information gets through, sometimes it doesn’t.

Case in point. I received an email today from a prospective client who wants to build an express wash in a fast growing area. He sent several pages of what he envisions his 1st project to be, what the theme will be, what the building will look like, how many pay stations it will have, how the vacuum area will be laid out, etc.

In not one of his several bullet points did he mention producing a clean, dry, shiny car as a priority. While he is well intentioned, I’m sure; he’s loading the wagon and doesn’t even know the horse is blind!

One of the rewarding parts of my job is when I get a call from a client that opened their 1st wash successfully and are now beginning to work on their second site. The difference between talking to them prior to the construction of their 1st wash to the 2nd site is usually night and day! In a lot of cases the biggest concerns in starting their 1st wash was more theme or marketing related as with the gentleman mentioned earlier. When they are getting ready to build again, however, it seems they are much more focused on the wash process and how to get a cleaner, drier, shinier car. I’m not saying that themes and marketing aren’t important, they are, but without a clean car exiting the tunnel each and every time, all the themes in the world won’t bring the customers back to the property.

Maybe the clients realize this too after speaking with their customers. After finding out that jungle theme, race car theme, river boats theme, 50’s theme, and Rock N Roll themes may bring customers to their site initially, it’s a clean, dry, shiny car, that brings them back. Maybe by concentrating more on the end product, they have stopped worrying about the horse being blind and are now, just loading the wagon.

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.