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Sparkleclean

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This morning at the convention they had a pitch 60 education session at 10:30 titled raising revenue. It was sponsored by Mark Seven equipment.

I went thinking I could learn some thing and it ended up being an extremely embarrassing and awkward situation for the owners and operators of Mark seven. It turns out it was nothing more than one giant sales pitch for why you should buy their equipment and their chemicals, and it was so bad that after 15 minutes at least 50% of the room got up and walked out. It was clearly obvious to everybody that most people were leaving upset that this was a sales pitch and not anything about raising revenue.

The faces on the speakers showed how embarrassed and upset they were. They also had terrible microphone issues which didn’t help, but my point is these things aren’t really education sessions anymore! It’s disappointing to pay money to have somebody pitch you their franchise or equipment. That’s what the show floor is supposed to be for.

I have a feeling the owners of the carwash convention realized there was more money to be made by allowing companies to pitch themselves to prospective investors instead of trying to educate small operators. I don’t think the convention will ever be the same as it was several years ago.
 

Roz

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It was not just that educational speaker pitch. The ICA organizers did a poor job with the sessions. The Highlight speakers were often good speakers, some very good, who got a clear concise and well conceived message across in 15 min. Too many of the educational sessions were just sales pitches from people who never operated any type of Carwash or any other business related to washing cars. The company booths and people in them were most helpful to talk with as they explained their products.
 

DavidM

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Any sessions labeled Pitch are sponsored. They are sales pitches for that company's offerings. I mostly avoid them and go to the other ones. Unfortunately, they did not have car wash specific, non-pitch sessions other than the WCA offerings focused on self service washing.
 

Sparkleclean

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David thanks for clarifying that. I didn’t know that’s what pitch stood for. and I agree that that means there were basically NO education sessions for wash operators this year. (Other then the ones you mentioned, which didn’t apply to many people) to me that is an even worse scenario though as a big draw, at least to me, was gaining knowledge from others that could be applied to the washes I operate. That just wasn’t there this year. In fact Tommy’s pitch 60 session started with them warning the entire room that most things they were about to see and/or hear were trademarked or copywrited and therefore couldn’t be used by any of us. I can’t imagine I’m the only one disappointed in it based on how many people got up and walked out on the mark 7 pitch!
 

Eric H

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I know I mentioned it to several people that it used to be that the speakers weren’t allowed, under any circumstances, to promote their company. Most of us knew who the speakers worked for but everyone knew the purpose of the seminars was to promote an idea, vision or concept. If the speakers talked too much about their specific product they were politely asked by the moderator to keep discussion to more general ideas.
I didn’t find much value in the convention. Maybe the small owner/operator carwashes are just too old school for the ICA. The ICA stopped being an organization that serves the industry and became a company that looks to add to their own bottom line. That isn’t to say that the bottom line isn’t important but they seem to be hyper focused on investors NOT promoting Carwash innovation for the entire industry.
In the end I, personally, just want to run a business that can support my family and give me enough time to do the things that I enjoy. I don’t expect or want to run 100 washes. I suspect that Sonny Fazio, Benny Alford, and maybe even Dan Hanna would agree that when your goal is to take a huge share or an industry you are doing a disservice to others in the same business as you.
The Scandinavian’s have a word for this it is Janteloven. It means don’t take more than you need.
 

soapy

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I still think that the boot camp that the WCA started years ago was the best format. Several companies with short presentations that individuals could choose from and attend in rotating 15 to 30 minute sessions. We always had positive feedback when we hosted them.
 

Sparkleclean

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I still think that the boot camp that the WCA started years ago was the best format. Several companies with short presentations that individuals could choose from and attend in rotating 15 to 30 minute sessions. We always had positive feedback when we hosted them.
This is what I remember from my first two years going, which I think was 2015/16. I liked that format and found it very informative, I was expecting that same model and instead got these “pitch” sessions. I even remember going to a session with some retired fbi guy telling people how to spot liars by using body language. There were some unique offerings that weren’t all carwash specific but could nonetheless be applied to daily wash operations in someway or another.
 

Greg Pack

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To me the name "pitch 20" and "pitch 60" suggested they were indeed sales presentations. Still, there was some good information in the ones I attended. The Pitch 60 by Paul Fazio was as enlightening as always. I missed the Essenberg presentation but have found it online in the past. I can't remember the specific numbers but the Express segment is still full steam ahead. Paul Fazio said his consultant firm came to the conclusion that we are at about the 50% mark in tunnel construction and there is room for 9-12K more tunnels in the USA. Bigger and bigger money is getting in the business and he says he now has had billionaires calling now wondering how to get into the car wash business. I think I heard that sonny's has already contracted 700 tunnels YTD before the show. My take home is it might be the best time to sell an existing wash with a good location that we will see in fifteen Years or possibly more.

The Nashville show "felt" smaller and less attended than past shows. But I guess many companies are being bought out by larger firms (For example Sonny's has purchased eighteen car wash companies and NCW has purchased quite a few) and with consolidation it just feels that way to a dinosaur self serve IBA operator. I'm guessing a small handful of companies are probably responsible for 75% of sales in the entire car wash industry. I talked to one independent chemical rep and he was a bit frustrated because there weren't a lot of new leads. The "all in one" solution that Sonny's has incentivizes operators into dealing with them exclusively and not farm out chemicals, signage, service, etc to many different smaller companies. This makes sense to an investor type.

My long time friend put on a presentation about simplification of the SS business by utilizing a gated SS format and also establishing cashless sites with minimal or no vending. Not every operator will like it but it reduces time to collect cash, reduces theft and vandalism, and generally makes operating one more investor friendly. I will probably go cashless within five Years
 
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