Car Wash Investor Guide

Equipment Considerations

The Reliability Factor

When carwash customers put their money in your meterbox, they expect
your equipment to work properly the first time, every time. When it
doesn't they get angry. The result may be damage to your equipment, or
even worse the permanent loss of a regular customer. Cutting costs by
using unreliable equipment can mean lost income and can increase your
vulnerability to competition.

Selecting Your Equipment

Your choice of equipment will have a profound impact on the workload
of you and your employees. There is a great deal of difference between
different brands of equipment.

The first and most obvious difference is the quality of the components
selected by the manufacturer to be included in the system.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers only look at the short term and in
order to keep their selling prices as low as possible, furnish their
systems with inferior components or components never designed for
carwash use. These inferior components will require more attention in
the field, will increase your down time, and will increase your labour
and repair costs.

While it may be difficult for a new investor to evaluate the quality
of equipment and components, it can be done. As a general rule, the
use of the same component by several major manufacturers is a good
indication that the part is widely accepted in the carwash industry.
Conversely, if other manufacturers do not use an item you should be
concerned.

Another good test is the system's acceptance with experienced
operators. Ask the supplier for references. Experienced operators will
rarely choose a system with substandard components.

Just as important as the component itself, is it's location on the
system. It must be accessible. Operators tend to postpone the repair
or replacement of parts that are hard to get at. Inaccessibility also
causes excessive down time for the bay being repaired. A job that
should take only minutes may take hours if the component is not easily
accessible.

The location of components on the system can also affect operator and
employee morale. If the part to be repaired is only six inches above
the floor, someone is going to have to get down on the floor to fix
it, a nasty chore that no one wants to do.

Next Section: Selecting Your Supplier

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