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5 Traits of Successful Carwash Operators

Successful business owners are greatly motivated by one compelling thought:

How can my business achieve better financial results?

It is apparent, no one wants to own a “me too” business and compete permanently on price.

First, they will focus only on productive activities which they themselves can control. This means they will not fault a depressed market or inclement weather conditions for an average or mediocre operation. They know they have no direct control over either of these situations.

They will focus, instead, on many vital, day-to-day activities which they can control to help them build a stronger and more resilient business.

Secondly, they will focus on building a stronger team to better serve their current customer base and to attract more customers to their washes. This new focus will reward conscientious operators very handsomely and drive their washes to achieve “best-in-class” results.

The message here is a simple one: For your carwash to get better financial results, you as a business owner have to get better too.

Five specific personality traits and tasks enable carwash operators to build a stronger team and to develop a more successful business.

1. To achieve your stated carwash goals, prepare passionately.

“Best-in-class” carwash operators know that performance excellence at their washes begins at the top.

What is your vision and mission for your wash? What activities must you master to accomplish your goals? How do you effectively communicate your vision and mission to your employees?

As the owner of your wash, make your plans and goals transparent to all, especially to your team members. Also, the more people you engage in this essential planning process, the more committed they will become to help you achieve your goals.

Put your wash count and revenue goals in writing for the next 10 months, and make it your mission to review and adjust these monthly targets as necessary. Be assured that both your team members and your customers will appreciate your infectious enthusiasm, and they will reward you with their dedication and loyalty. These hidden assets always exist in “best-in-class” washes.

2. Become a patient and dedicated coach; teach performance-improving skills.

Growing up in the United States, what can be easier than hitting a baseball? Every grade-school kid who plays Little League wants to become a Major League Baseball player, right?

Coach each player on the team to become “brilliant on the basics”, but one which also can help you improve the day-to-day performance of every employee at your wash.

Do your cashiers and greeters know the features or options of your wash? Do they recommend wash packages to each customer? Do they greet your best customers by name? Do your employees know how to handle a “difficult” customer? Building these sometimes neglected communication skills enhances the confidence and enthusiasm of your people and gives your business another competitive advantage.

3. Be a thoughtful learner; where can you improve your systems and operation?

Learn from your mistakes, always looks for new ways to improve.

How do you get your information? What is your plan to improve your offering? How do you verify that what you think you know, does in fact, represent reality? Do you share your feedback with other business owners or team members to get their input and important insights? How can you move forward, especially at a time when many other local retailers are caught in a limiting or “business as usual” mindset?

4. Be an inspiring leader; put your players in a favorable position to make a game-changing play.

Who can ever forget this gutsy call, a daring play, designed to catch the better team, already enjoying a 10-6 halftime lead, and who would be getting the ball first to start the second half, off-guard at a critical moment during the Super Bowl?

The onside kick ordered by their coach to start the second half worked perfectly and enabled the New Orleans Saints to defeat the heavily-favored Indianapolis Colts. Quite simply, Saints’ Coach Sean Peyton evaluated the challenge he faced and fatefully decided that, to give his team the best chance to win, he had to take a huge gamble. It worked fabulously, and the Saints, inspired now by their coach’s confidence in them to execute such a high-risk play, went on to record a stunning 31-17 victory when, at half time, many players may not have seen any path at all to a victory.

Be sure all your team players understand their important roles and how their daily efforts and personal skills contribute to your carwash’s continued success. Though not every play can be a game-winning one, encourage your employees to uncover new ways to delight your best customers.

Also, when you reach an important milestone, like when you reach or exceed your monthly wash count, celebrate this notable accomplishment as if you had indeed just won a Super Bowl!

5. Be a fearless leader; have a clear vision of what you want to accomplish.

As you evaluate your carwash, understand that many hidden, human emotions, like fear, doubt, confusion and uncertainty are as toxic and disruptive to your carwash as the worst weather pattern.

“Best-in-class” operators, however, are of a totally different mindset. These operators have developed a clear vision of what they want to accomplish, and they take positive action to guarantee the best possible outcome. In fact, it is here, in building a powerful and fully-engaged work force, and in creating a compelling and easy-to-implement mission at their washes, that the most successful operators truly will stand out. “Best-in-class” operators know that by bringing together their other skills as a planner, coach, learner and leader, they will also be better able to build a maximum, high-performance operation.

The best carwash operators seek to build their businesses and become more profitable because they choose to follow a specific, two-pronged course of action.

They concentrate on well-defined activities which are within their ability to affect or control, and secondly, they seek to build high-performance teams at their washes.

Remember to be grateful

“Best-in-class” operators know they must reward their top performers to keep them highly motivated, and as we know, every high achiever likes to receive due recognition based upon his or her specific performance.

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