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A Car Wash Investment Transforms a Career

Mike Littleton, Blue Hills Car Wash, Roanoke, VA

After working in the home-building business throughout his career, Mike Littleton needed a change of scenery. After building four developments, he and his partner wanted a lasting, local business that served the community. The partners acquired a parcel of land they thought might be well-suited for a car wash and began searching for the best advisor to help them build one. They found Howco through an online search and subsequently met Howco representative Tim Fitzpatrick, who quickly became the “chosen one,” as Littleton puts it, to guide them through the process of car wash design and equipment selection. Tim noted their goals and desires and presented a prospectus for the location.

Prior to opening Blue Hills Car Wash, Mike and his partner visited approximately two dozen washes built by Howco, examining equipment, building layouts, and traffic flow. Howco next invited the partners to its headquarters in Charlotte, providing training and resources to illustrate how various washes process vehicles, including substantial background information on the entire wash procedure – from the time the car hits the property until it leaves the lot.

Howco also covered employee staffing, payroll, and training with the partners, which Mike found immensely helpful as a new car wash operator with no experience or historical data. “Howco provided us a ‘master’s degree’ in car washing before we opened the store,” says Mike. “They made it easy and educational for a new car wash investor.”

From day one, Mike saw that Howco Service Manager Frank Donaldson and his technician team knew exactly what they were doing. He found them extremely efficient at their job, which included installing the car wash tunnel, and they always allowed the car wash partners to watch them work, ask questions, and absorb their knowledge about equipment operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

After opening, Frank was available whenever the wash needed help. Mike states, “His response time, knowledge, and dedication to customer service is like nothing I’ve witnessed before.”

Blue Hills quickly began gaining customers from full, flex-serve, and express car wash competitors while striving to be primarily a full-service car wash. The partners’ goal is to meet customers, get to know them, bring them inside the wash, and give them a 25-minute onsite experience that is second-to-none, accomplishing their stated mission: “We want to provide a remarkable experience for each and every customer.”

“Learning the car wash industry has been both challenging and rewarding,” concludes Mike, “and I’m very pleased with and inspired by our Howco experience.”


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