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ICA Blog

New magazine, new opportunity

by Matt DeWolf | Sep 12, 2011

The first edition of CAR WASH Magazine, ICA’s new quarterly magazine for members, is at the printer. Every member company will be receiving their copy in the mail this month, with the digital edition scheduled to be released sometime in October. No small amount of planning and work has gone into this new endeavor, and we are excited for your feedback and suggestions. We are also eager to use the magazine as a new vehicle to share relevant ideas and insights with the leaders of the professional car wash industry.

On that note, I hope you will give some consideration to something mentioned in the magazine, a new program we’ve successfully experimented with and hope to introduce broadly in early 2012 – we’re calling it “ICA Wash Count.”

The concept is simple, and something every car wash leader has thought about: how do my results compare to others? It’s also related to a question I get every week: how is the car wash industry doing? Well, truth be told – we unfortunately don’t know!

Wash Count is an attempt to provide participants, and the industry, with better information about how the industry is performing, specifically in regards to wash counts and revenues. We successfully piloted the program in early 2011 with a few dozen locations and we are now hoping to gain additional participants in order to provide richer and more meaningful data.

Those who chose to participate will share their wash counts and total wash revenues by location and car wash model/type each month. (For the first year, participants will also share the same information for the previous year period in order to obtain comparative data.) Participants will see information in every category on an average and anonymous basis. So, if you have three exterior washes, you’ll see data for how exterior washes are doing in terms of car washed and average revenues – as well as for full-service washes and rollovers. We’ll also use some of the information, though not as detailed, to provide high-level trend information to the broader industry.

Data integrity and confidentiality are obviously a paramount concern. We’ve identified a third-party firm that will collect and process the data, ensuring that no other participants (or even ICA) will see any individual company’s information. This is similar to how other industries have run their programs, such as from the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).

This information should be helpful to you in your business planning in several ways. Most obvious is knowing how you compare to peer operations. Another is in terms of considering new investments or model/site conversions. It could also be of benefit to you for business transition, when you are looking to value and sell your business.

While such a program has not existed for the U.S. market, there are examples in the Canadian car wash industry and allied industries (e.g. NACS, PEI, etc.). This also follows ICA’s successful administration of a car wash equipment sales report for the North American market over the past two years. Through that program, we’ve shown that we can protect data submissions and provide credible industry information for the benefit of participants and the industry. I hope you’ll join us in doing the same for car wash operators.

If you’d like to learn more, or enroll today, please contact Megan Clark at mclark@carwash.org.

Thanks,

Eric

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