Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F20

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

IN THE WASH

 Car wash/detailing facilities are dealerships' latest battleground

D

ALAN L. ADLER
foj@autonews.com

ETROIT - Karl Zimmermann cites
1.5 million potential reasons to justify his $7 million investment in a car
wash and detail center at his dealership in the Detroit suburb of Redford. That's
how many cars and trucks cross a busy intersection next to his store, Matick Chevrolet, each
week.
The twin-tunnel automatic wash is scheduled to open next month on the 13-acre dealership site. Its 140-foot conveyors and 15 indoor detailing bays will be convenient for
dirty cars passing by.
Zimmermann says he expects to book $2.5
million in revenue during the car wash's first
full year. That figure does not include appointment-based full detailing, which can cost several hundred dollars per
vehicle.
Although short of a trend,
washing and detailing installations are gaining popularity among dealerships
with large real estate footprints that can accommodate street traffic.
It's the latest in one-stop
Zimmermann:
shopping at dealerships,
New center to
and another way for them
wash all
to compete with aftermarvehicles
ket providers. An on-site
detailing facility also can expedite a dealership's reconditioning work.
Zimmermann estimates the new facility will
provide 100,000 to 150,000 retail washes in its
first full year. He also expects it to handle as many as 72,000 washes of the dealership's own vehicles, including new and used cars and trucks,
service customers' vehicles and loaners.
He expects to charge an average of $10 a wash
and $20 for express detailing. Service customers
will get a free basic wash with a retail value of
about $7, and can pay to upgrade. Prices for express service washes will range from $7 to $19,
and express detailing from $15 to $40.
"We never had automated washing," says
Zimmermann, who bought Matick Chevrolet
in 2008. As its owner, he has built Matick into
the seventh-ranked Chevrolet dealership in
the nation in terms of retail vehicle sales, after
a three-year renovation that ended in 2014.

PAGE 20

APRIL 2018

The car wash and detail
center about to open at
Matick Chevrolet shares
key features with this
facility at Hamilton
(N.J.) Honda, top
and right.

Cleanup detail

Matick Chevrolet in suburban Detroit
is opening a $7 million car wash and
detailing center next month. Some
other numbers about the facility:
 $2.5 million: Projected revenue in
first full year
 100,000-150,000: Number of
estimated retail washes in first year
 80: Full-time jobs expected to be
created
 15: Number of indoor detailing bays
 140 feet: Length of wash tunnel
Source: Matick Chevrolet

The store opened in 1967.
"We used to wash less than 5 percent of our
vehicles," Zimmermann told Fixed Ops Journal. "Now, we're hopefully going to wash 100
percent of them."

'No-brainer'
Adding a retail car wash "is a no-brainer" for
many franchised dealerships, says Lee Harkins, CEO of M5 Management Services Inc., a
dealership consulting firm in Pelham, Ala.,
that specializes in fixed operations.
"Many stores are looking for additional revenue," Harkins says. "Think about what a cus-

tomer needs: gas, tires, maintenance repair
and cosmetic care. With this addition, the only thing the dealership may not offer is gas."
Victor Thomas is a consultant with Washsense, a Philadelphia-area company that advises dealerships, including Matick, on designing and equipping car washes. He says Zimmermann's car wash "is taking it to a whole
other level. He is building a mega-center."
Thomas is working with seven other dealerships that are adding standalone car washes.
These installations, he says, are predictable
extensions for dealerships that have discovered the marketing value of offering express
service such as oil changes.
"You clean the cars better and faster," Thomas
says. "If you've got the traffic flow for incoming
and outgoing, it just builds up your volume."
He adds that the typical nondealership car
wash handles 150,000 to 200,000 vehicles annually, averaging $18 to $25 each in total revenue
for washing, detailing and related services.

All-star service
Thomas' clients include former NFL All-Pro
linebacker Jessie Armstead, who opened a
Honda dealership in Hamilton Township,
N.J., in 2009. Its single-tunnel, 145-foot conveyor automatic wash made money from the
turn of the first brushes four years ago.
see WASH, Page 22



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018

Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F7
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Fixed Ops Journal - April 2018 - F9
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