Why are car wash businesses booming across the Bay Area?
TAMPA, Fla. - It's one of the ways to protect one of your biggest investments and car washes are big business in Florida.
Whether it's a drive-thru, hand-detail or both, car washes are how we keep our rides spic-and-span.
"With this kind of climate, it's really important for consumers to take care of their vehicles. You've got the UV rays, you've got the salt, you've got the sand, the love bugs and the acidity that comes out of them all of that could just destroy your vehicle," explained Jenny Beadle of Mod Wash, one of the expanding car wash brands.
Lately, it seems car washes are going up everywhere, sometimes within blocks of each other.
"Quite frankly the industry is booming and everybody wants to get a piece of it. Mod Wash currently has 43 operating locations across 12 states. Seven of those are in Florida. We have two more under construction in Florida and then 30 to40 more in what we call the pipeline, which is what we call various stages of development," said Beadle.
Man hand washes a car at one of the many car washes across the Bay Area.
So why the boom?
Industry experts say there are more vehicles per household these days.
Car washes are also profitable with a steady stream of income. And with the bigger chains in more locations, there is also customer convenience.
"So I can get my car washed by the school, I can get my car washed by work, I can get my car washed by home if it's all the same brand and I have a membership there I can go to any location," Beadle stated.
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With competition literally down the street, each business looks for ways to stand out.
Car wash under construction.
"So the industry is definitely very aware of one another. We're all aware of who is building where and who is doing what," said Beadle.
Frank Cummings has been in the car wash industry for more than a decade. He has just one location, Walden Lake Car Wash and Service Center in Plant City.
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"We've noticed the corporate car washes coming in. The express washes. They're kind of saturating the business and it kind of hurts the mom-and-pop shops. They'll put those places on every corner," explained Cummings.
Man vacuums car at self-serve car wash.
He may not have multiple locations but he has a steady clientele.
"We have quite a few loyal customers because we're a family-owned business and we give back to the community and we have personalized service," shared Cummings.
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"I've noticed a lot of the big chains going in. I think that people are just in a hurry and want an express wash and they don't realize that they can get an express wash here probably cheaper than they can go to a chain car wash," said longtime customer Melisssa Oliver.
Cummings is keeping his eye on his industry's future.
Car washes are a booming business across the Bay Area.
"Just modernizing some equipment, just continuously hiring and training staff, get some of these younger people to learn this as a trade," explained Cummings.
Whether it's a mom-and-pop or a big chain business, your car wash options will only continue to expand.
"It's just a very lucrative industry. It's an excellent service, particularly in Florida. Everybody needs their car cleaned," said Beadle.