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intsupply

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This will be hard to explain. Is there any formula or percentage one can expect for dollar amount of damage claims? On minor (not deep) scratches we get blamed for, we explain it wasn't our fault, then use rubbing compound to take out. Customers seem to be appreciative of this. On deeper unexplainable scratches that customers swear weren't there, we have developed a relationship with a nearby auto body (who we wash cars for at reduced price) give us a fair price for removal. Side mirrors that show previous damage are fairly easy to explain to reasonable people why they broke. But I'm talking about larger claims, like rear enders, rear glass and rear wipers, etc. We know sales volume play a role in these numbers, but are there any industry formuls or facts? Thanks to you wise ones for sharing insight! P.S.- Cameras only help us so much as their quality is just O.K.
 

Earl Weiss

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I don't know that there are any industry #s. There are so many variables. For instance . If you have a rear wiper issue there are any # of possible fixes. Some use a Bag, others use a suction cup device. We use a strip of masking tape at the tip and tape it to the glass. Rear enders are typicaly not the fault of the wash.

Scratches are typicaly of a type that do not follow the contact of the equipment. Exmpple would be vertical scratch or squirly scratch on the side where the side wheels / brushes would make a horizontal line if there were an issue.

Had a doozy Sat. Guy says we broke the glass on PSside Mirror. He is holding the entire glass piece . I see the back of it ha a new looking stock sticker but it is a 2003 Pontiac. Then I see duct tape on the miror housing and 2 sided round tape inside which does not seem to be sticky. I tell him it came loose because the housing was cracked which he knew since he put duct tape on it plust the 2 side sticky tape was no longe sticky. He says "Oh no, the glass oiece is new, he just put it in and it simply clips in, and he added the 2 sided tape for extra hold. Told him... sorry.
 

jfmoran

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For budgeting purposes one wash I ran would budget $.05 per car for vehicle damage. Goal obviously was to come in under that number. Managers were incentivized on monthly metrics, damage control being one of them. Most damage can be avoided by proper trainging of employees (mirrors, antennas, loose molding, etc...)
 

rwparks21

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have signs posted and stand your ground. scratches almost never occour form you equiptment unless there is a malfunction and most of the time you know about any malfunction. we dont take responsibilty for mirrors either
 

Chiefs

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We average between .002% and .003% of gross sales in any given year.
 

mac

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Explaining policy to an aggravated customer will almost always get testy at best. There are a couple of camera systems available now that will simply eliminate this as an issue. They either have four or six cameras that will show even the smallest scratch.
 

Earl Weiss

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Explaining policy to an aggravated customer will almost always get testy at best. There are a couple of camera systems available now that will simply eliminate this as an issue. They either have four or six cameras that will show even the smallest scratch.
Cameras may help. But I have a hard time beleiving that when the guy comes in who hasn't washed his car in a tear, or the streets and cars are so covered in salt that all cars seem to be painted white that a camera will show a scratch under ll the dirt when the naked eye can't.
 

mac

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One of the things I like about this site is that you can get served a nice slice of humble pie, free of charge. Earl, you are right about that. I think I've lived in Florida so long I've forgotton what cars look like up north in the winter. The cars that go through tunnels down here are not really that dirty, mostly a lite dusting, maybe some pollen certai times of the year, and bugs of course. For those, cameras do make a difference. For the others, can I have some ice cream with that pie?
 

JMMUSTANG

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One of the things we do here is raise our arm to the camera and point to the any car damage small or large. If the damage is either too small or out of site of the cameras we at least have the arm signal recorded pointing to the car.
Every little bit helps.
 

rph9168

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Before cameras in our full service washes service writers were instructed to note any damage on the wash ticket. This allowed us to avoid many misunderstandings. Since the tickets were written before the vehicle entered the wash there was no way we were responsible. End of discussion.
 

intsupply

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Thanks for the replies!

Appreciate the help eveyone! Mac, what kind of cameras specifically do you feel work best for you? Earl does have a point, but always willing to listen to others who have found some good equipment! Have some cameras, but detail in pictures is just O.K.
 

Dolly6767

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Appreciate the help eveyone! Mac, what kind of cameras specifically do you feel work best for you? Earl does have a point, but always willing to listen to others who have found some good equipment! Have some cameras, but detail in pictures is just O.K.
You might check out this system. Saw the demo at the Car Care Expo and has by far the best video detail I've ever seen. It records everything in Hi-Def. They were showing a side by side comparison to a regular security camera and the difference was pretty impressive.


http://www.acquirevideo.net
 

stevie g

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We have a security system and the cameras cannot "see" scratches. Cameras are useful for larger damages. If people complain about a scratch, I tell them about how the equipment operates in a stationary position, how a scratch would look if we were to do it, offer to let them watch cars go through, feel the soft cloth, etc.

If they persist and insist on filling out a damage claim form, they get this letter from me, along with a coupon for a free wash:
 

stevie g

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Here's the letter. I've sent it out so many, many times:

Dear Mr. Smith,

We appreciate your bringing to our attention the damage to your vehicle. We value all of our customers and give careful consideration to all customer problems.

A vehicle even slightly covered with road dirt or film will obscure most scratches. We realize that the first time a person may notice a new scratch is after their vehicle is washed. It is understandable for the customer to feel that this newly discovered damage was caused by the maze of what appears to be complicated machinery. This is one of the major problems plaguing the car wash industry today.

If our equipment were to have scratched your vehicle, such a scratch would be in a straight line parallel to the ground and run continuously from one end of the vehicle to the other. The reason is that the equipment operates in a stationary position cleaning from the front to the rear of the vehicle. After reviewing the evidence, the random nature of the scratches on your vehicle isn’t representative of the kind of scratching that we could possibly inflict on a vehicle, which in my experience I have yet to actually see occur.
 

stevie g

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In our wash process the only thing that actually touches the vehicle is high-pressure water, soap and soft cloth, which are not capable of causing such damage. We inspect our cloth religiously every day to ensure that it is debris-free, and the cloth itself is designed to not retain grit or abrasive materials. An inspection of our wash tunnel was performed immediately upon your bringing this to our attention to try to ascertain if there were any foreign objects or broken equipment that could have caused such damage. We did not find anything out of the ordinary.

If you would like, we would be glad to meet with you to show you how our equipment operates. For your convenience, you may want to turn this matter over to your insurance carrier and we will meet with them.
We are enclosing a free “Works” wash card in the hope that you try our wash again and allow us the opportunity to regain your trust and confidence.
If you have any questions, or would like to see our equipment in operation please call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

Very truly yours,

Steve xxxxxxxx
Manager
xxxxxxx Carwash
 
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