Back in another life, I sold stocks for a living. I didn’t do it for very long as I really didn’t care for it much. However, I did learn some interesting things while studying for exams and in the short time I was a broker.

One thing I learned was that being a stockbroker was more about being a salesman than it was about being a financial analyst and that brokerage houses weren’t called “boiler rooms” without good reason.

High-pressure sales have never been my cup of tea. I don’t like being sold that way, and I dislike someone telling me I need to sell that way even more.

One of the other interesting things I picked up during my time as a stockbroker was a term, the “January Effect”. There are a few definitions for it if you bother to look it up, but if I recall correctly, it’s generally summed up like this:

The January effect is a hypothesis that there is a seasonal anomaly in the financial market where securities’ prices increase in the month of January more than in any other month. This calendar effect would create an opportunity for investors to buy stocks for lower prices before January and sell them after their value increases.

In the brokerage house in December, above the din of the canned holiday muzak, you would hear this term thrown around hundreds of times a day from sales reps as they did their best to raise money from their clients in what is traditionally the toughest month of the year to do so.

What does the price of stocks in January have to do with washing cars? Bear with me, please, and I’ll try to explain.

In almost all parts of the country, our business is seasonal. In the north, salt and snow are the catalysts for increased volumes in the winter. In the south, where temperatures are more moderate, winter volume is driven by the snowbirds that choose to flee their northern climes in favor of their second homes. The same goes for our western states.

So, while not technically a “January effect”, we do experience what I’ll term a “Winter Effect”. In a lot of cases, we can wash more cars from January to April than we will the rest of the year. So why is it, then, that if we know the onslaught is coming, usually starting in January (sometimes earlier depending on weather), that we still don’t fully prepare to take advantage of the volume while it’s there?

I’m not referring to a full tunnel makeover, but I’m sure there are some items in your tunnel that need to be replaced at this point that you have been putting off for one reason or another. Guess what? Now is the time to take care of it—before the onslaught! Don’t limp through another season hoping your equipment makes it through. Make the necessary repairs and replacements now and go into this season with confidence, knowing your equipment is ready for anything the motoring public can throw at you!

The “Winter Effect” in car washing is real, and so is the need for regular maintenance and replacement of high-wear items. Never being closed for unscheduled maintenance means never losing a customer to a competitor.

Here’s to hoping this year’s greatest “Winter Effect” is to your bank account.

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