Everyone enjoys getting behind the wheel of a spotless, freshly washed car. But not everyone has the time to head on over to the local car wash to run their pride and joy through the tunnel.
A group of Long Island, NY-based entrepreneurs believe they have the solution. They have released a mobile application that allows customers to schedule a mobile car wash and/or detail in just a few seconds straight from their mobile device with just a few swipes and clicks.
Brothers Jordan and Bryan Zecher along with partner Stefan Lynch released the mobile application dubbed Wash on Wheels to complement their traditional fixed and mobile detailing operation. The partners have been in the detail business for over three years and have received an overwhelming number of requests from their customers to provide simple car washing services in addition to the full-serve detailing they are best known for.
"We were getting a lot of requests for car washes and that is where the idea came that there has to be a better way to do it," Jordan Zecher says. "It is very hard for a primarily detailing operation with a limited staff to handle mobile car wash requests."
What the partners came up with was a multi-layered mobile application that not only allows for the scheduling of wash and detailing services by their business, but has the potential to be a linchpin for a network of independent operators with them at the helm. The Apple iOS application actually has three distinct uses: scheduling appointments for the partners’ services, scheduling appointments for the independent operator network, and as licensed software for other detailers and mobile car washers to deploy for their workforce management and scheduling needs.
“We wanted to make it as simple as possible for both the customer and the washers,” Zecher says. “We are using technology to make it very easy for someone to book a car wash and not waste time or have to wait on line to get their car clean.”
Currently the business is using the innovative application to schedule all of its mobile car wash and detailing services and is expanding its staff to handle the increasingly popular car wash service. As every mobile detail and/or wash service knows onboarding new mobile units is an expensive endeavor. The cost of the vehicle, insurance, equipment, and supplies is significant and can be a barrier to expansion to businesses without large stores of capital.
The need to expand to meet rising car wash demand while still keeping costs in-line was a key factor to the development of the independent contractor base the partners are currently building. The idea behind the service is simple – independent washers with their own vehicle and supplies can sign up to become a member of the Wash on Wheels network and receive alerts straight to their mobile device through the app when a customer in their area has requested a service.
Similar to the highly successful Uber car service model which was the inspirati
for the development of the app, the closest available washer can accept the work and head on over to the client’s home or business to complete the service.
Payment is integrated with the app and Wash on Wheels uses Stripe for payment processing. Contractors have the ability to add charges onsite should a client request additional services. The washer keeps the majority of the revenue from the wash, while Wash on Wheels retains a small portion of the proceeds for providing the platform and back-end support.
“Using independent contractors helps keep costs down and everyone can make some money,” Zecher says. “The contractors don’t have to deal with any sales, marketing, or customer support. We handle all of the back-end stuff like reaching out to the client to make sure the job was perfect and continuing to sell and market the service. The washers just needs to worry about the wash.”
The final piece of the go-forward strategy for the mobile application is licensing the software to mobile washers/detailers around the country for use in their own businesses.
“We are still in the planning stages when it comes to the licensing stuff,” Zecher says. “We view it as a way for fellow mobile operators to manage their clients and their employees more efficiently.”
As the partners grow the Wash on Wheels network they are operating their fixed location as an independent business called simply, Detailed. The partners recently moved into a 4,000-square-foot detailing center specializing in high-end services and reconditioning work that is beyond the scope of their mobile detailing operation.
“A lot of the focus of the shop is on bigger projects that not a lot of the shops in the area can do or would even want to attempt to do,” Zecher says. “Our specialty is interiors, the dirtier the better. We take a lot of pride in being able to bring an interior back to as close to original condition as possible.”
In addition to the interior cleaning, Detailed works with local car dealerships to offer protective coatings for paint, leather, glass, wheels, and tires. The shop’s six full-time detailers also specialize in paint correction, scratch removal, wet sanding, and other high-end detailing services.
Detailed is still working to fill up its massive detailing space, and the partners have plans for an enclosed light tunnel area that will be designated solely for paint correction and coating services. The plan is to build an enclosure that is well lit and as dust free as possible to ensure the highest level of service.
While simple car washing is the primary role of the partners’ Wash on Wheels business, the fixed location is equipped to provide hand washing as well, a service reserved for their best and most loyal clients. Detailed is in the launch stage of a new membership club that will include a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly wash in addition to a few details a year – all included in one monthly fee.
To get the word out on both their Detailed and Wash on Wheels businesses the partners use a multi-tiered marketing campaign that relies on Internet advertising, SEO optimization, print ads, social media, and attending local car shows to highlight their services. In addition, users of the Wash on Wheels mobile app, which is available in the Apple App Store, are encouraged and incentivized to invite friends to download the app and try the service, with a discount applied to both the new client and the referrer.
“Currently our download total is in the hundreds, but it is steadily growing,” Zecher says. “One thing that we have seen is that people that have used it keep using it. We don’t have a lot of one-time users. Once they use it they use it again and again.”
Mobile technology has become an important aspect of everyday life. By leveraging the technology to meet the needs of busy customers by allowing for the fast, easy scheduling of car wash services, Wash on Wheels is tapping into a new potential client base and additional revenue stream with its soon-to-be-released software licensing business.
“Right now we are competing with the local fixed-location car washes for business,” Zecher says. “But I envision a time in the not-so-distant future where our biggest competition will be other mobile wash providers and our technology will give us a leg up.”