Things are going to change.

Whether you subscribe to the saying “The only thing constant is change” or “The more things change the more they stay the same” the common factor is “Change.”

Change can happen slowly, over time, like the slow erosion of the walls of the Grand Canyon by the Colorado River or in an instant like the morning of May 18, 1980, at 8:32 am when the countryside surrounding Mt. Saint Helen in Washington State was changed forever by an eruption that created a one-mile-wide crater where the face of the mountain used to be. Some changes you can see coming and prepare for, some you can’t.

Regardless of your political leaning, 2016 will see a new President elected and regardless of the party who controls the White House, there will be change. In the past few months the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued changed directives on reporting rules regarding injuries and issued new transgendered employee rights to name just a few changes.

There have been efforts (some successful) across the country to change the minimum wage and changes in the rules around overtime for salaried employees, and we are just getting started.

The new EMV credit card standard, more commonly referred to as “Chip and Pin” will go into effect Oct 1. A recent poll found that 60 percent of all small business is unaware of what this change to credit cards means, and more importantly, what it means for their business. According to the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council from mid-1993 to mid-2009 small business accounted for 60 percent of all the new jobs created.

There are approximately 5.5 million small business in America and they account for more than 50 percent of the US annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We may be categorized as small businesses, however, we are part of a very large driving force in the US economy. For sure, business environments are changing. No longer is it enough to just have an attractive lot, a catchy logo and deliver a clean car. In today’s environment you need to be an expert analyst, be able to interpret piles of data, understand and implement Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Labor (DOL), Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as Federal, State, City and Town ordinances and rules.

In order to be successful we need to change and at first glance this may seem like an insurmountable task. You might be asking yourself, “Where do I start?”I was recently at a carwash meeting and the topics of discussion were more like those you would expect to hear in an executive boardroom. There were some carwash-specific topics discussed, however, the bulk of the conversations revolved around “the business of running the business.” As business changes we need to adapt and that will look different for each company and be specific to your situation and your own plans.

I have written before about the benefits of belonging to a state association. There is nowhere else I know that a carwash operator can go to get industry specific information from operators who have first-hand experience and are willing to share their challenges, triumphs and defeats. One of the best opportunities to see this first hand is almost here. Registration is now open for the 26th Annual Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC) in Atlantic City hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Car Wash Association. Visit for details and to register. The convention has moved venues to the much larger state-of-the-art Atlantic City Convention Center allowing for larger exhibitor space and the ability to expand the number of suppliers, vendors and the amount of product they can display. What hasn’t changed is the great opportunity to participate in one of the largest gatherings of carwash professional, educators, suppliers and manufacturers in our industry. I’ll be there every day at every session garnering as much information and networking as is possible. You should too! Change is going to happen. Will you be ready?

Walt Hartl
NYSCWA President