The Next Generation of ‘Green’ Car Washes

Options & applications for an environmentally-friendly & profitable wash

Published in America’s Car Care Business, May 2009

by Aaron Voorhees

Next GenerationWe all must do our part. As a commercial contractor and car wash owner/operator, I know that as natural resources become scarcer and prices of such rise, I must maintain a competitive edge in the car wash industry. I must help change the consumer’s view of professional car washes—that we actually save resources and therefore are better for our environment. I must be thoughtful, not only of chemicals used, but of building materials and processes that effect our environment as well. Every little bit helps. There are some amazing products and applications available to turn any wash “Green,” even if it is an existing business. And there are great options to make the construction of a new wash scalable for future Green features, even if the initial investment funds are lacking. If we all do our part, we will have much to be thankful for … and so will our children and grandchildren.

When I was constructing my first personal car wash in 2004, I had the opportunity to meet Jim Beetham through mutual industry contacts in Colorado. Beetham comes from a family of teachers … his grandmother, mother, sister, and even his wife, were all school teachers. As a tribute to this worthy profession, Beetham built his first wash in Golden, Colo. in 2005 and named it “ABC,” an acronym for A Better Carwash. His logo features wooden alphabet blocks with the letters “A-B-C” we have all seen at school. His wash has an old-fashioned school bell tower to complete the “schoolhouse feel.” What a great way to pay tribute to the vital, yet often undervalued, member of our society—the school teacher! Beetham is fond of quoting and living Henry John Hienz’s words, “To do a common thing uncommonly well, brings success.” The first ABC Carwash has had much success and Beetham has been the recipient of many awards in the car wash industry. As a result of forecasted market trends, Beetham decided to transfer some of his investment funds from stocks and put it into something he was passionate about—car washes. “Brick and mortar” had already proven to be a solid investment, and might be better controlled and managed than stocks. Maintaining efficiency in the car wash’s design and construction and with proper operational management, his investment would pay dividends for many years to come. Beetham decided to develop and build a second ABC wash to be located in Arvada, Colo. He secured the building site and began the development of his newest vision in 2007. He was ready to take on the challenge of building another wash but it had to be better than the first! The next ABC wash would be “Green”! As Beetham has rightly stated, “To succeed in any competitive environment, a business must be … simply better.”

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