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Model for the In-Bay Automatic Carwash

If you have any doubts that in-bay automatic carwashes aren’t still an exciting and profitable business concept in the carwash industry you should visit Performance Wash in Lima, Ohio. Owner and operator, Jason Neuman built both of these in-bay carwashes from the ground up with the vision of providing commuters with easily accessible, premier quality carwashes in a matter of minutes. Over the past two decades, the rising costs of land, restrictive credit and loan markets, and competition from full-service business models has stunted growth of in-bay automatics throughout the country. What Neuman and others have figured out is that success in the in-bay automatic sector depends on achieving the “sweet spot” in this business model—a high volume carwash with quality, accessibility, and speed.

Performance Wash has two in-bay locations: one on East Kiracofe Road and the other on West Breese Rd.  Both sites are identical in specifications with three self-service stalls and two in-bay automatics. The carwashes are concrete masonry with multi-tiered roofs and plenty of parking lot space. The electric LED lighted sign displays the business name prominently as well as the time and temperature. The site is meticulously clean and bright, another essential factor in drawing in customers especially first-timers.

Using Location Effectively

Jason Neuman gives excellent advice on carwash location scouting: “Do not take traffic count alone as the only indicator of potential success because it can be misleading if not utilized correctly. I’ve seen situations where a wash was in a plaza, for instance, and the market was very limited, despite the plaza being off of a major interstate.”

Neuman’s experience came in handy when it was time for him to choose the sites for his in-bay automatic car washes. Performance Wash is situated on West Breese Rd. in Lima, OH perfectly centered near big industry and nestled off Interstate 75, a major highway system.  Setback an ideal distance from the road, Performance Wash is easily visible and accessible. Breese Road being two lanes makes entering and exiting a cinch. It also helps that the business has very little competition near it and is close to major industrial giants like the Ford Motor Company, Proctor & Gamble, General Dynamics Corporation, two major hospitals, and a large refinery.  “We have some positive factors playing in our favor in that we capture patrons going to and from work, and we’re not near a concentration of competitive carwashes so we enjoy a large percentage of the high traffic counts,” explains Neuman.

Choosing the Right Tools

During the planning stage of his business, when the time arrived to choose an equipment manufacturer, Neuman was no stranger to Ryko, having worked with their equipment in the 1990’s at his service station. Today, Performance Wash uses The Radius system at their in-bay locations like the West Breese Rd. site, because of its effective power and controlled water usage. The Softgloss Maxx system has also proven to be a successful addition to the Performance wash business. As Neuman points out, “the Softgloss Maxx is fast, does a great job cleaning and uses fewer detergents. As a result, our day-to-day costs are minimal and we use much less water.” With growing volume as a primary business driver, down-time is perhaps the highest priority issue to keep in check at in-bay carwashes like Performance Wash. “Our biggest focus is to assure that we are not down for any time period and this means attentiveness to service and swift product replacement procedures in order to ensure 100% uptime. Ryko offers great support in this area and often leaves stock of items with us in case of a breakdown,” explains Neuman. Perhaps the most impressive aspect about Ryko was the impression they made during their sales pitch. Neuman remembers, “I was so impressed with the presentation. They proved to us how robust of a design that their equipment has which really supported their claims that it doesn’t break down. Ryko even flew us on their company plane to the presentation. That certainly captured our attention!”

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