The Car Wash

I run by it on the days I take the long route.

The cones are often fallen over. These three orange traffic cones block the entrance to the automatic car wash. They’ve blocked the entrance for nearly three years now.

This summer, the auto shop adjacent to the car wash closed its doors too.

It’s the business cycle, right?

Not in this case.

Both the car wash and auto shop are on a military base, surrounded by thousands of potential customers and zero competition for several miles. Off the installation, there are cars and trucks lined up at automatic car washes and the auto shops are nearly always by appointment only.

A large customer population, a defined product and service, and a certain need…what went wrong?

Management matters and who you hire matters more.

Fail to order parts for your car wash and it will break. Fail to correct an antiquated purchasing system that bottlenecks new parts, and your customers will leave.

Fail to answer the phone, return calls, hire mechanics that produce, make and keep appointments, and provide excellent service, and your customers will leave.

People care about (and willingly pay for) clean and mechanically-sound automobiles.

Just like safety.

But management matters and who you hire matters more.

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