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MacGillivray

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Hello, and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.

I am in the process of wanting to build an express tunnel car wash in my city. I am located in Canada and have a population of roughly 60,000. Our car wash competition in the city are (4) Coop IBA car washes, and three self serve options. One thing that had lead me to express tunnel is the fact that I have watched cars line up for hours to get their car washed at the Coop IBA. It always frustrated me that long wait, and I would opt to use the self serve instead because of that. It finally clicked one day, there is obviously huge demand for car washes, and why isn't there a faster solution. Then I got researching.

I am looking for some advice. We have 14+ acres located on two very busy streets. I am set on the express tunnel idea, what I am not set on is whether I want touch-less or touch systems. From conversations with people, and surveys being sent out, I am leaning towards touch-free. Yes, it does not do a as good of a job as touch, but from a liability perspective, and customer reassurance, I think its the way to go. I don't think people like the sound of idea of their vehicle being touched by a spinning object.

This is essential what I am wanting to recreate -
(Good part starts at 1 minute in). This system is a combination of AVW arches and applicators and the Petit Accutrac 360-t to spray the entire vehicle.

Some questions that I do have.
-We spend a good deal of our year in rather cold climates. We have snow from end of Oct - End of March. Temperatures can easily reach -30C (-22F) Jan-Feb. Does anyone have tip/or challenges in operating in these types of climates.
- Are there any big negatives to touch-less systems?
- I have read that chemical for touch-less systems are more hard on vehicles.

Any feedback or additional information would be extremely helpful. I am hoping that there are some seasoned vets in here that have some insight they would be willing to share with someone that is new to this industry.

Thank you your time.
 

washnshine

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Hello, and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.

I am in the process of wanting to build an express tunnel car wash in my city. I am located in Canada and have a population of roughly 60,000. Our car wash competition in the city are (4) Coop IBA car washes, and three self serve options. One thing that had lead me to express tunnel is the fact that I have watched cars line up for hours to get their car washed at the Coop IBA. It always frustrated me that long wait, and I would opt to use the self serve instead because of that. It finally clicked one day, there is obviously huge demand for car washes, and why isn't there a faster solution. Then I got researching.

I am looking for some advice. We have 14+ acres located on two very busy streets. I am set on the express tunnel idea, what I am not set on is whether I want touch-less or touch systems. From conversations with people, and surveys being sent out, I am leaning towards touch-free. Yes, it does not do a as good of a job as touch, but from a liability perspective, and customer reassurance, I think its the way to go. I don't think people like the sound of idea of their vehicle being touched by a spinning object.

This is essential what I am wanting to recreate -
(Good part starts at 1 minute in). This system is a combination of AVW arches and applicators and the Petit Accutrac 360-t to spray the entire vehicle.

Some questions that I do have.
-We spend a good deal of our year in rather cold climates. We have snow from end of Oct - End of March. Temperatures can easily reach -30C (-22F) Jan-Feb. Does anyone have tip/or challenges in operating in these types of climates.
- Are there any big negatives to touch-less systems?
- I have read that chemical for touch-less systems are more hard on vehicles.

Any feedback or additional information would be extremely helpful. I am hoping that there are some seasoned vets in here that have some insight they would be willing to share with someone that is new to this industry.

Thank you your time.
There is a reason express tunnels are usually friction and touchless washes more common to the IBA model than the express conveyor model. It is hard to have the necessary dwell time, chemical application and multiple high pressure passes needed to clean touchless in an express tunnel. Moving a car through at that rate with no friction will probably not yield a clean car. Most touchless tunnels I have seen have extensive manual pepping and have some friction equipment- like a mitter. Making it touch - less than full friction but not touch free. I know - a matter of semantics, but welcome to the car wash industry.
 

OurTown

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Hello, and thank you in advance for taking the time to read this.

I am in the process of wanting to build an express tunnel car wash in my city. I am located in Canada and have a population of roughly 60,000. Our car wash competition in the city are (4) Coop IBA car washes, and three self serve options. One thing that had lead me to express tunnel is the fact that I have watched cars line up for hours to get their car washed at the Coop IBA. It always frustrated me that long wait, and I would opt to use the self serve instead because of that. It finally clicked one day, there is obviously huge demand for car washes, and why isn't there a faster solution. Then I got researching.

I am looking for some advice. We have 14+ acres located on two very busy streets. I am set on the express tunnel idea, what I am not set on is whether I want touch-less or touch systems. From conversations with people, and surveys being sent out, I am leaning towards touch-free. Yes, it does not do a as good of a job as touch, but from a liability perspective, and customer reassurance, I think its the way to go. I don't think people like the sound of idea of their vehicle being touched by a spinning object.

This is essential what I am wanting to recreate -
(Good part starts at 1 minute in). This system is a combination of AVW arches and applicators and the Petit Accutrac 360-t to spray the entire vehicle.

Some questions that I do have.
-We spend a good deal of our year in rather cold climates. We have snow from end of Oct - End of March. Temperatures can easily reach -30C (-22F) Jan-Feb. Does anyone have tip/or challenges in operating in these types of climates.
- Are there any big negatives to touch-less systems?
- I have read that chemical for touch-less systems are more hard on vehicles.

Any feedback or additional information would be extremely helpful. I am hoping that there are some seasoned vets in here that have some insight they would be willing to share with someone that is new to this industry.

Thank you your time.


If you think there's lots more demand, want touchless and want fast throughput then build a multi-bay IBA. You could have a four bay, five bay or however many you need if you have the utilities to support them.
 

MacGillivray

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Thanks for the reply.

I torn between the two options. One side of me says the touch option will do a better job no question. The other side of me says I wouldn't use a touch system because I don't like my vehicle being touched. I have used IBA and know they leave residue behind which people don't seem to mind seeing as how they sit in line for over 30 mins to get washed! It seems they are willing to sacrifice some performance for convenience.
 

Car_Wash_Guy

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Take a look at United Auto Wash in Ohio. They are running at least 2 sites with multi Petit IBA - One 2-Bay and the other is a 4-Bay.
 

MC3033

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Personally I don’t know of a single touch free tunnel running substantial volume. I do know many that were converted into friction tunnels later.

If you do touch free I would advise doing it as a niche business. Prep cars, super high quality everything and do it in a very high income area. Expect far higher costs and slower processingThat being said the risk would be high.

Maybe consider a hybrid approach with touch free essentially prepping the car prior to a quick friction run through. You can definitely sell a lot of customers on the idea that it is super safe for their vehicle since it washed before the friction.
 

washnshine

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Personally I don’t know of a single touch free tunnel running substantial volume. I do know many that were converted into friction tunnels later.

If you do touch free I would advise doing it as a niche business. Prep cars, super high quality everything and do it in a very high income area. Expect far higher costs and slower processingThat being said the risk would be high.

Maybe consider a hybrid approach with touch free essentially prepping the car prior to a quick friction run through. You can definitely sell a lot of customers on the idea that it is super safe for their vehicle since it washed before the friction.
Check out the model Delta
Sonic is using. This is a touchless conveyorized tunnel with two mitters, manual prep and towel dry. Doesn’t clean as well as full friction, but the mitters and towel dry cover a lot of the inadequacy.

You also can have friction components that can do a full retract and offer a fully touchless wash package or a friction wash. Why not capture both preferences?
 

Axxlrod

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"Touchless" tunnel with a mitter is an oxymoron. You might as well put in wraps at that point.

As has already been mentioned, the point of tunnel washes is to wash cars quickly. Touchless tunnels don't do a very good job because the fast chain speed does not allow for enough dwell time.

So, if you want touchless, then do multiple IBAs with off-board dryers. A site with 3 Petit 360 IBAs in long bays with free-standing dryers could process a lot of cars.

If you want a conveyor tunnel, then you should put in equipment. Since you'er in Canada, it would be a no-brainer to go with Macneil.
 

washnshine

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"Touchless" tunnel with a mitter is an oxymoron.
It may be, but Delta Sonic is making millions and has over 30 locations with this concept. Their take on it is that it is “Touch-Less” in that it “touches” the car “less” than a fully friction tunnel. They also maintain that it is the high speed spinning brushes that bothers customers, and not slow moving microfiber mitters. That’s why they don’t put wraps in. It’s not my method, but they are making it work because they wash a heck of a lot or cars. Hard to find a location that doesn’t have a line throughout the day.
 

Axxlrod

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Interesting. Just goes to show you that there is no one "right way" to wash a car. Unique setups can and do work. Although I think that the Delta Sonic example just shows that 99% of customers don't care how their car is cleaned; they come to a car wash to get a clean car. Period. The how is no more important than how their burger is made at a fast-food restaurant.
 

washnshine

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Interesting. Just goes to show you that there is no one "right way" to wash a car. Unique setups can and do work. Although I think that the Delta Sonic example just shows that 99% of customers don't care how their car is cleaned; they come to a car wash to get a clean car. Period. The how is no more important than how their burger is made at a fast-food restaurant.
Very true.
 

I.B. Washincars

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Burger King would beg to differ.
Burger King doesn’t buy burgers. I agree that virtually no one cares what journey their burger takes getting there. If BK had a marketing department, they probably wouldn’t be using that creepy monster as their mascot.
 

MEP001

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I was referring to how they cook them (Flame broiled vs. on a griddle like everyone else).
 

I.B. Washincars

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I know that they use it for marketing, and think it is a big deal, but in all reality I don’t think anyone gives two squirts about how they cooked it. I know I don’t.
 

MEP001

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True, we're not talking fine steak house.
 

MC3033

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Only a small minority of customers care about touch vs touch free. Even a smaller about of the ones who care would use a touch free or touch less tunnel. Then there is a segment that wouldn’t even use a touch free auto. Overall it is a niche market.

Of course as many here with touch free iba can attest the market is large enough to justify an iba.

With strong, targeted marketing a TLC can defend their customer base. Delta for example has customers convinced it is far safe there a friction wash and many customers wouldn’t consider deviating. Targeting that marketing to gain new customers from friction is much harde
 

Kramerwv

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Flame broiled is the marketing - smells delicious

I know that they use it for marketing, and think it is a big deal, but in all reality I don’t think anyone gives two squirts about how they cooked it. I know I don’t.
 
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