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Weigh the Advantages of Working with a Car Wash Distributor

By Frank Donaldson, Service Manager

If you’re a new operator entering the car wash business with long-term aspirations, and you want to learn and succeed as quickly as possible, you should seriously consider working closely with a reputable car wash distributor. An experienced distributor such as Howco doesn’t just sell equipment and chemicals; they become your de facto partner, establishing a solid relationship and closely guiding you through every step of your car wash project. A full-service distributor will maintain its relationship with an operator and know the car wash as well as the operator does.

If ever the saying “you get what you pay for” was apropos, the car wash industry is a prime example. With our industry’s constant innovation in car wash equipment, chemicals, processes, technology, efficiency, and customer experience, operators need a seasoned distributor as their guide. An experienced distributor can be your best friend and springboard to success.

When considering a distributor for a car wash project, here are some important questions to ask:

1) How many years has the distributor been in business?

2) How many years of combined experience do the employees have?

3) Do they have knowledge of a specific car wash project similar to what you are undertaking?

4) Do they have a good reputation and take pride in who they are and the service they provide?

5) Do they have professional collateral, including equipment brochures, photographs, references, and case studies from completed jobs?

6) Can they provide the support, guidance, and service to see you across the finish line?

7) Do they provide a diverse array of excellent quality equipment and chemical choices?

8) Does the distributor offer services for the project at hand?  These could include:

- Help and guidance of the car wash build and launch process from start to finish 
- Custom approach to the process and your needs 
- Site evaluation  
- Demographics and traffic counts 
- Building layout and design 
- Equipment plans and drawings 
- Preconstruction meetings and reviews 
- Equipment selection and installation 
- Site visits and inspections  
-Expert chemical knowledge and representation 
- Project scheduling  
- Equipment training for employees 
- Equipment service 
- Equipment parts and supplies

Other important aspects to consider:

1) What is the distributor’s project accountability?

2) Can they also provide parts, supplies, and chemical options that promote and produce the best results and experiences for customers?

3) What about after the sale? What kind of relationship should I have with my distributor long-term?

4) How does the relationship continue regarding service and equipment needs and being a liaison with various manufacturers if needed?

5) Is there someone I can call and rely on that knows me and my equipment by name?

6) Can they provide advice on the operational side of the business to help me get up and running?

7) Can they help with the legwork needed to keep my business going?

8) What is the ability to respond when needed?

No matter the size and scope of your new car wash project, vetting experienced distributors should be your first step. Howco is ready and eager to be a part of that process.


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