Before retirement, I was a franchisor in the mobile car washing industry. In fact, one could say that I invented the industry, although there are others who will debate that, because there were people doing mobile on-site detailing prior to my franchising my company. Nevertheless, I can remember often that franchise buyers would tell me; “I don’t need you, I can start a mobile car wash company, it isn’t rocket science, anyone can do it.”
Apparently, this was a challenge to me to debate them, and prove to them why they should buy my franchise rather than start up their own mobile car washing business. I never involved myself in that debate because if someone really believes that, let them go and try, and fail, and try to compete with one of our franchisees, or our team in the marketplace. Indeed, I had spent 27 years building my company, getting all the bugs out, making all the mistakes, and build, at least what I believed to be, a perfect mobile car washing business model.
Yes, anyone can start a mobile car wash company, many people do, but very few people ever do it right. When I first started of course there was no one doing mobile car washing, and the number of mobile detailers in the country was probably in the neighborhood of 100. Today there are hundreds of thousands of mobile detailing and mobile car washing companies throughout the country. I’d like to think that I helped bring about that industry, and allow the consumer to experience better customer service, and convenience.
What sorts of things to people do wrong when they start their mobile car wash businesses? Well, generally they go after all the higher-end clientele, the 5% of the market with all the luxury cars. Indeed 80% of the portable carwash companies and mobile detailers are competing for that 5%. The reality is the money is in the time, not in the job, or the high price that you can charge some rich person to clean their car. There is an old saying”; “sell to the masses and live with the classes.”
There’s a lot to be said for that, and it is one of the things that these mobile operators make a mistake with. Of course, I can name 1000 others, but if someone is so arrogant, and thinks that 27 years worth of experience, observation, and actually doing it in the industry is of no value, then who am I to debate with such a know-it-all anyway? Are you beginning to see my point?
This is why when franchise buyers used to ask me; “why should I buy your franchise, it’s a simple business, anyone can do it?” I would just look at them and laughed, and I’d say; “go ahead big guy, I’ll see you in the marketplace.” After all, let’s let the customers decide. Isn’t that would free markets are all about.. aston martin for sale