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Can a experienced veteran impart some IBA wisdom on me?

Strava

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I've been upgrading my small town wash over the last year. We installed new vacs with nayax readers and bill validators. This upcoming month we will be installing new ss bay meter boxes and Premier in bay dryers. I have a list of the other little upgrades that I want to make, but I can't stop thinking about the inevitable big upgrade to my D&S 5000.

I can't help thinking that a 100-year-old hammer will pound a nail just as well as a new hammer. My 5000 works just fine, and I think it does a pretty good job. I want to start planning to upgrade it in a year or two, but the other side of my brain is telling me no. A new machine is going to cost ballpark $200k My entire carwash only cost $300k How much of an improvement can I really expect to see? I want to buy a new one. We all love new things but my brain need help to justify the reason why I should pull the trigger.

What percentage of improvement in the quality of wash can I expect to see?

Will the customers really notice the difference? I'm happy to be educated and have my opinion changed, but I can't see the old ladies who use the wash really having a keen eye on which brand of IBA washes their car.

On a side note, I took my 6yo daughter with me through the new local Sheetz PDQ and she said, Daddy, this one is nicer than ours. :ROFLMAO: :mad: I asked her why and she said it has pretty lights, so now I'm moving new lighting higher up on the upgrade list...lol
 

Dan-Ark

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I bought a wash 4 years ago with a 2000 vintage D&S 5000, I was told when I bought it not to spend any money on it, just pull it out wait till I could replace it. I might have spent 500 getting it working (new nozzels, belts, a couple swivels) Its still going. My main complaint is with only a single presoak, its hard to get a car completely clean. also since it is a fixed length, short cars don't get their tail as clean as they could. Still we have a loyal following, even after the neighbor put in a new Cube friction machine. we are less than half his prices (for now). There are a few D&S experts on here (I'm not one yet) that have been a huge help keeping mine going. I figures when something big fails like a pump or the programmable controller, I might upgrade to a newer used machine but it fits in my bay and many don't. I may just buy another for parts and keep on going.
 

Strava

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I'm just having a hard time seeing an exponential improvement in the quality of the wash for the amount of money a new unit will cost me. I see it like upgrading from an iPhone 9 to an iPhone 12. Ya, there are improvements, but it is really worth the 200k?

I can understand it if your a busy wash and your accountant is telling you to buy a new piece of equipment to depreciate.

I know no one can say how much of an improvement in business there will be with a new piece of equipment. You operators out there that replaced a working machine with a new one what type of improvement did you see?
 

washnshine

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I've been upgrading my small town wash over the last year. We installed new vacs with nayax readers and bill validators. This upcoming month we will be installing new ss bay meter boxes and Premier in bay dryers. I have a list of the other little upgrades that I want to make, but I can't stop thinking about the inevitable big upgrade to my D&S 5000.

I can't help thinking that a 100-year-old hammer will pound a nail just as well as a new hammer. My 5000 works just fine, and I think it does a pretty good job. I want to start planning to upgrade it in a year or two, but the other side of my brain is telling me no. A new machine is going to cost ballpark $200k My entire carwash only cost $300k How much of an improvement can I really expect to see? I want to buy a new one. We all love new things but my brain need help to justify the reason why I should pull the trigger.

What percentage of improvement in the quality of wash can I expect to see?

Will the customers really notice the difference? I'm happy to be educated and have my opinion changed, but I can't see the old ladies who use the wash really having a keen eye on which brand of IBA washes their car.

On a side note, I took my 6yo daughter with me through the new local Sheetz PDQ and she said, Daddy, this one is nicer than ours. :ROFLMAO: :mad: I asked her why and she said it has pretty lights, so now I'm moving new lighting higher up on the upgrade list...lol
It may not be time for you to upgrade yet, but when you do get a new machine, you will see an increase in speed and efficiency, a reduction in water and chemical consumption, more advanced diagnostic and troubleshooting capabilities (including remote), better support, a more attractive and inviting atmosphere for your customers and the ability to offer more services and premium services which will result in a better overall wash quality, which will allow you to charge significantly more for each wash package.

You have to decide when it is time, but when you do replace your machine, you get a lot more than just a new machine.

And don’t dismiss the comments of your six year old daughter- that would be same thought that probably 99% of your customers would have - she’s a smart young lady!
 
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Waxman

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I think the underlying principles in a business like ours dictate that you need to reinvest in your equipment in order to stay relevant and profitable.

I changed out a 15-year-old superior sidetracked machine last year and got my new WashWorld razor running December 21. It's totally night and day. The new car wash gets the car much cleaner in a much faster time.I save over three minutes per car and wash time which on busy days means a lot more cars going through. Customers don't want any line at all but when it moves fast it's better for everyone. You'll make a lot more money if you raise your prices enough when you get your new car wash. I had the same hesitations at times but everything worked out very well for me so I'm happy with buying a new machine.
 

washnshine

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I think the underlying principles in a business like ours dictate that you need to reinvest in your equipment in order to stay relevant and profitable.

I changed out a 15-year-old superior sidetracked machine last year and got my new WashWorld razor running December 21. It's totally night and day. The new car wash gets the car much cleaner in a much faster time.I save over three minutes per car and wash time which on busy days means a lot more cars going through. Customers don't want any line at all but when it moves fast it's better for everyone. You'll make a lot more money if you raise your prices enough when you get your new car wash. I had the same hesitations at times but everything worked out very well for me so I'm happy with buying a new machine.
Can’t beat first-hand experience!
 

traveler17

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My first location I still currently have is a lower volume site. I’ve owned it a decade. Town of 6000ish and I have one competitor a mile up the road and he is busier than me because of his location on the main road through town. I put a used belanger vector in when I purchased and updated it 3 years ago w another belanger vector “a newer generation “. This town , even the other wash doesn’t have lines unless they salt the roads or pollen season. He put in a new PDQ which prompted me to buy the newer used machine because it looked nicer and a “just in case the old machine takes a major 💩on me”. What a mistake. If I put in a washworld like I almost did I would’ve given myself 3x’s the debt for a new machine and some lights. I gave myself a smaller debt there because I thought people would flock to him because of his foam curtain and lights and an extra minute or so off of wash time. His brand new machine DOES NOT clean better than mine. I don’t care what machine, a touchless wash is a touchless wash. My numbers have gone up since then. People know me and know im
Easy to get up with. I keep my sites clean and personable and offer the best I can. Yes new machines are nice and I would do so at my high volume site because of reasons waxman stated above. I was sure I was going to take a bump and I didn’t it the least. If you run your site(s) right, imo I doesn’t matter. I’d save your money
 

Strava

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You have to decide when it is time, but when you do replace your machine, you get a lot more than just a new machine.

I think the underlying principles in a business like ours dictate that you need to reinvest in your equipment in order to stay relevant and profitable.
I will upgrade it because I know it's the right thing to do. I just have a hard time it philosophically because I know it still works fine. It's the same reason Mcdonald's requires their franchises to update and remodel their stores every 15/20 years. they just start to look old and worn down after so much use. My goal at this point is to find the right machine for me and then upgrade in a year or two. My bank will be happy to see me get some experience under my belt for I come to them with my hand out for another 200k lol I"ll continue to educate myself in the meantime, Thank you all for your advice...
 

DAWGWASH

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I will upgrade it because I know it's the right thing to do. I just have a hard time it philosophically because I know it still works fine. It's the same reason Mcdonald's requires their franchises to update and remodel their stores every 15/20 years. they just start to look old and worn down after so much use. My goal at this point is to find the right machine for me and then upgrade in a year or two. My bank will be happy to see me get some experience under my belt for I come to them with my hand out for another 200k lol I"ll continue to educate myself in the meantime, Thank you all for your advice...
It’s always a tough call on when to upgrade. You will be able to charge more which helps. You will more than likely increase traffic which will help. It just always seems like your just saving for the next upgrade lol. Thee is always one around the corner
 

bert79

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We're upgrading from 25 year old laser 4000 that we have been running for 4 years to a new Razor next month. I am expecting increased throughput (with the help of a new Autocashier that can stack cars), more connectivity with internet and phone, less downtime fixing issues and of course the depreciation will be helpful. Also, an increase in prices will help pay for the machine. I would say if your customers are happy and you are happy, I would leave it be for a bit and stack up cash to pay for a new machine eventually.
 

Eric H

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I’m going to take a different approach to your question. Ask yourself “how do I build value in the wash for when I’m ready to sell?” I believe in planning projects based on long term timelines. For example, I’m 47 years old and I want to retire at 62. My oldest Razors are currently 6 years old. I have to replace the older Razors when I’m 55 or when the machine is 14 years old. If I do that the machines will be 7 years old when I retire at 62yo. In my mind, selling a CW with 7 year old equipment builds a lot of value for the buyer. Would you rather buy a wash with 7yo equipment or 18yo equipment?. I certainly do NOT want to be reinvesting $3-400k into a wash when I am 60 years old and the machines being 19 years old. If I wait too long to reinvest in new equipment, I don’t get the full benefit. Likewise, if I have to replace earlier than expected it can affect my retirement date.
Your Carwash is a financial investment and should be treated as such. I want to map out major purchases/investments. I’m trying to make choices to make a positive impact on my operating costs as well as a positive impact on the business value.
BTW: I do think that getting 14 years out of my Razor3’s is a bit optimistic.
 

OurTown

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I’m going to take a different approach to your question. Ask yourself “how do I build value in the wash for when I’m ready to sell?” I believe in planning projects based on long term timelines. For example, I’m 47 years old and I want to retire at 62. My oldest Razors are currently 6 years old. I have to replace the older Razors when I’m 55 or when the machine is 14 years old. If I do that the machines will be 7 years old when I retire at 62yo. In my mind, selling a CW with 7 year old equipment builds a lot of value for the buyer. Would you rather buy a wash with 7yo equipment or 18yo equipment?. I certainly do NOT want to be reinvesting $3-400k into a wash when I am 60 years old and the machines being 19 years old. If I wait too long to reinvest in new equipment, I don’t get the full benefit. Likewise, if I have to replace earlier than expected it can affect my retirement date.
Your Carwash is a financial investment and should be treated as such. I want to map out major purchases/investments. I’m trying to make choices to make a positive impact on my operating costs as well as a positive impact on the business value.
BTW: I do think that getting 14 years out of my Razor3’s is a bit optimistic.

Interesting strategy. Most of the time when looking at washes for sale they have really old equipment (some over 25 years old) so I factor in that extra replacement cost on purchase. The number gets ugly quickly when there are two machines with outdated pay stations so we move on.
 

washnshine

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Interesting strategy. Most of the time when looking at washes for sale they have really old equipment (some over 25 years old)
Yes - and in those cases the owner has used a reactionary approach rather than a proactive approach like Eric H is doing. The owners of the washes you are citing, OurTown, are looking at their washes, seeing they are run into the ground, not performing up to par, and are due for a few hundred K of upgrades. Then those owners realize they don’t want to stick around long enough to benefit from that kind of investment, and decide it is time to unload the wash and retire - or move on to whatever is next. They usually cannot sell easily, and when they do sell, they cannot get the price they would have been able to get with timely updates. Long term planning and staying “relevant” as Waxman stated is always important. It keeps you in the game either to keep washing successfully, or make a good sale if it is time to exit the business.
 

Greg Pack

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I'd ask yourself what the potential revenue increase would be. If IBA revenues doubled would it at least offer a 10% ROI? If not, then I would be tempted to make do.

Another option for a low volume washes sometimes are lightly used IBAs. You can find one and have it installed usually for less than 50K.
 

Roz

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One unmentioned benefit of new technology (if you get good equipment like WW) is the ability to help customers remotely from your phone. You hopefully do not need to do so often however the word gets out about very responsive car wash owners who can help customers even if not on site. Helps sell in this connected world....
 

JustClean

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I've just put in a new auto. I kicked out my Washtec and replaced it not with a Washworld Profile but with an Istobal Mnex22. I just couldn't put another $100,000 dollars down just to get the Profile. The Washtec gave me a headache until I told her she's on her way out - then she worked like a dream. Hahaha... But apart from that the Istobal is so much simpler to repair, is higher and wider. So I can wash bigger cars.
If it wasn't for the repairs, the better height and the better width I probably would have put a few new stickers on and kept running.
 

washnshine

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I've just put in a new auto. I kicked out my Washtec and replaced it not with a Washworld Profile but with an Istobal Mnex22. I just couldn't put another $100,000 dollars down just to get the Profile. The Washtec gave me a headache until I told her she's on her way out - then she worked like a dream. Hahaha... But apart from that the Istobal is so much simpler to repair, is higher and wider. So I can wash bigger cars.
If it wasn't for the repairs, the better height and the better width I probably would have put a few new stickers on and kept running.
So the profile is 100k more than the Mnex22? Wow - I didn’t realize there was that much of a difference in cost.
 

Roz

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No way difference is $100k, unless you are purchasing a used M22. We have a 2015 M22 that cost $150k. Profile is similar in cost as we are selling our M22 and replacing with a Profile in two months. We are offering the loaded M22 for sale such that you or anyone interested can save $100k. Works great.
 
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