It is not uncommon for a high-performing car wash to have a few awards and plaques hanging on the wall — when you provide good service people tend to notice. But when a wash begins to rack up high profile awards left and right its service has moved beyond the good category, it must be viewed as superior.
Husband and wife Kevin and Shirley Leung have owned and operated Magic Rabbit Car Wash, Detail & Lube for over a decade and almost from day one the wash has been recognized by the local community and national organizations for its commitment to customer service. The former IT professionals had no prior experience in the car care industry before taking the plunge and opening their first wash in Highlands Ranch, CO. But that lack of wash experience didn’t slow the couple down one bit as their unique brand of one-stop-shop service instantly connected with customers.
After their first year in the industry the fast-rising car washers were awarded the coveted Rookie of the Year award from the Western Car Wash Association, validating the couple’s dedication to their service-first model. Just one year later the Chinese American car wash owners were presented with the Colorado Retail Firm Award by the Minority Enterprise Development Center.
The Leungs point to their willingness to go the extra mile for their customers and their commitment to the full-service model as the key factors in their success.
“We have been very successful with full service,” Kevin says. “When people pay for a wash the only thing they care about is whether their car is clean. At the end of the day, especially in our market, it is all about who is going to do a good job on the inside of the car.”
While there is certainly a place for the exterior-only, express model, the Leungs firmly believe that prolonged success can only be found with the full-service concept. “In Colorado we see that the washes that are closing down are expresses,” Kevin says. “They overbuilt it. If anybody tries to sell you a car wash and tells you that it will run by itself, customers will come, labor will be low, and you don’t have to pay attention to it. Run. Run very fast. You are going to lose your shirt.”
The Leungs have witnessed first hand the shrinking of the Colorado car wash market. When the couple opened their first wash a decade ago there where three full-serve locations in Highlands Ranch, now just Magic Rabbit remains, a testament to the couple’s commitment to go the extra mile for their customers.
Magic Rabbit strives to be an automotive destination, a place where customers can fulfill all of their car care needs. In addition to the full-serve tunnel, Magic Rabbit features a detail center, quick-lube facility, gift shop, and gas station.
While one-stop, everything-under-the-sun facilities are becoming less common across the country they are certainly not the rarity they are in the Leungs’ native China. In fact, when Minister Chen of the Republic of China (Taiwan) visited the United States this summer to tour successful Chinese-run businesses he stopped by Magic Rabbit.
“I don’t think many small business owners have ministers from a foreign country come and tour their facilities,” Kevin says. “It was certainly an honor. Having all of these businesses together is not common in the Far East. Minister Chen was impressed with our organization and told me that they don’t have anything like it in Taiwan.”
While a visit from a foreign dignitary is certainly a rare and exciting event, it is the repeat visits from Magic Rabbit’s loyal customers that define the Leungs’ accomplishments. Following the near-instant success of their Highlands Ranch facility, the Leungs opened a second location in Parker, CO, and just this past July opened a third Magic Rabbit wash in Aurora, CO.
The Parker location sports all of the same services as the original Magic Rabbit wash, minus the quick-lube services, and the Aurora site features a 90-foot wash tunnel and a full-serve detail center. All three locations were existing businesses, rather than ground-up builds, presenting unique challenges as the Leungs attempt to build brand recognition and goodwill in the communities they service.
Although all three buildings are architecturally unique they share common branding and signage that helps unite the otherwise disparate washes. What truly defines a Magic Rabbit wash is not its branding efforts, however, it is its commitment to quality service and providing customers with a consistently clean car in and out.
Customers are presented with a vast array of services when they pull into a Magic Rabbit facility. The extensive wash and detailing menu has something for everyone, ranging from a basic get the dirt off wash, all the way to a full-blown, full-service detail.
The car wash menu features six wash packages, but it is the top two options that attract the most business. For around $30, depending on the size and condition of the vehicle, customers receive an inside/out cleaning, air freshener, tire dressing, triple foam, and interior dressing. For $10 more, the top package adds seat conditioning and mat cleaning.
All car wash menu options with the exception of the less popular entry-level packages receive a 48-hour bad weather guarantee. Operating in Colorado, Magic Rabbit obviously has to contend with its fair share of foul weather conditions and the rain and snow guarantee helps the wash stay busy even when foul weather is in the forecast.
“We started this business to make money but also to take care of our customers,” Kevin says. “If you are cheap customers will know. If you are generous they will remember. The rain guarantee is also an excellent marketing tool, when the weather is not good people will still come in to wash their car. Rain or snow they know they can come back and get it washed.”
While the Leungs’ car wash tunnels are consistently busy, 50 percent of Magic Rabbit’s revenue comes from its highly successful detail operation. In addition to the various interior and exterior cleaning options, Magic Rabbit also offers scratch removal, paint chip restoration, window tinting, clear bra installation, and headlight restoration, adding to its one-stop-shop appeal.
“Our detailing service are very popular,” Shirley says. “We are extremely proud of our detailing business because we do real high quality work. We have a wide range of customers with some really high expectations. We also have a lot of dealerships that we support.”
Often times early success for a business can lead to a sense of entitlement and a drop off of service, but not for the Leungs and Magic Rabbit. The couple’s commitment to top-quality services has not faded over time, evidenced by the accolades that continue to be bestowed upon the wash. Magic Rabbit was named a Top 250 privately owned business by 5280 Magazine in 2014, and won the 2013 A-List competition in the Best Car Wash category and was named first runner-up in the 2013 Best Detailing category.
While the awards and acknowledgments continue to roll in, the Leungs continue to search for the next opportunity to enhance their market-leading car care business. “We are always looking for new opportunities and room to grow,” Kevin says. “We are still a small potato. If we can find something and we feel it is a good opportunity we will take up the challenge. We are always looking to expand.”