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The “How” of Carwashing - Dealing With Overwhelm

Managing the Potentially Overwhelming Demands of Owning a Car Wash Business
4 minute Read

This interview is an excerpt from “The How of Car Washing” podcast. For the complete interview, please visit With Overwhelm


If you have been in the car wash business for more than one hour, you understand that the demands of running this type of business creates more work and “to dos” than most other businesses. The unique demands of the car wash industry require us to address and solve issues right now rather than wait for later. The constant barrage of problems issues and challenges from customers, employees and managers can easily create feelings of overwhelm. Becoming overwhelmed saps your energy and productivity and is one of the leading causes of employee and manager burnout. 

But there is good news! 

You can develop the mental and organizational tools to manage and even overcome the feeling of overwhelm when the car wash business and life, in general, gets tough.


Too Many Choices - In this age of so much variety and choices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. The expectations of work and customer demands require us to respond now versus later. As a result, our To Do list keeps growing longer and we check off less and less items as the day drags on.

Decision Fatigue — If you ever find yourself becoming a “Grumpy Gus” when someone asks you a question or wants a decision from you, chances are you are experiencing decision fatigue. As car wash operators, we are constantly asked to make decisions for our employees, managers and customers. Each decision costs us a little mental energy and the more decisions we make during the day, the more the decision-making process mentally drains us. Becoming aware that you might be experiencing decision fatigue is the first step to addressing it.

Deadlines and Expectations — It’s hard to manage your list of tasks when your manager, employees and customers want everything right now. Providing good service to your customers and employees means that you are being responsive and timely and that takes time, energy and effort.

Poor Systems — As a manager, you have been given the responsibility to get it done. To keep yourself operating at peak productivity, you must develop solid organizational methods and whatever tools and electronic systems that help you keep track of tasks and projects. Many times, when I see managers missing deadlines or forgetting tasks and projects assigned to them, it’s a result of either a complete lack of organizational systems or poorly executing the system they currently have available.

But overwhelm doesn’t have to ruin your day. Many people have learned techniques and tools to allow them to manage and even eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed. 


1. Get Organized — Keep good track of the tasks and projects you have on your plate. I like to use Asana as an online tracking tool.

2. Delegate — Ask your team to complete the tasks they are able to perform. It’s a good way to replicate yourself and get more done with your existing resources.

3. Select the “Three Big Things” — In a previous article and podcast episode, we discussed selecting the three things you want to get done today. Once you complete the Three Big Things, you can move on to other tasks on your list. Nothing combats the feelings overwhelm like completing your Three Big Things early in the day, so you can get on with the other items on your task list. 

4. Block Time on Your Calendar — Use your calendar to block time chunks to focus on projects or tasks that are complicated or difficult to complete. Eliminate all distractions including turning off you cell phone. Unless the car wash is burning down, you can call them back later.

5. Stay Healthy — Get plenty of sleep, exercise and eat well. Many people are counting on you and it’s imperative that you take care of yourself so you can be at your best.

6. Get Help — Tell your manager or owner that you are feeling overwhelmed. Ask them to help you prioritize the task and projects that are important to them. Ask for ideas on how to address the feeling of being overwhelmed. They have a vested interest in your success. I’m sure they feel overwhelmed at times too and they would be happy to help.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed in today’s fast paced car wash environment. Understand that overwhelm is a feeling in your mind and not an actual circumstance. By choosing not to feel overwhelmed and implementing tools and technique to manage your To Do list, you can avoid all the angst that comes along with feeling overwhelmed.    

For the more information and tips on operating a successful car wash, we invite you to listen to The How of Carwashing podcast. The How of Carwashing podcast is a free on-demand audio program focused on helping you start, operate and grow your car wash business and you can find it at




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