The International Carwash Association’s annual premier event, The Car Wash Show™, has once again set up shop in Las Vegas. Although it has returned to its old haunt — the Las Vegas Convention Center — it has, at the same time, taken up new accommodations: the West Hall expansion of the convention center, which was completed in December 2020.

            Years of muttering about how the Las Vegas Convention Center and Westgate combo had grown old have finally been resolved. Not only does the West Hall provide spanking-new exhibit space, it also places showgoers closer to the Las Vegas Strip and within easy reach of a larger selection of hotels.

            With the venue being both old and new, the program content hews more to the familiar. Regardless of your experience level in the car wash industry or the industry segment in which you operate, there are seminars and presentations designed for you. Run through the schedule and you’ll find something of value regarding the wash format you operate — whether self-service, in-bay automatic, full-service/flex conveyor, or express exterior. In addition, there is coverage of the management issues that every business needs to address such as staffing, marketing, customer and employee retention, etc.

            There is little overlap between seminars and exhibit hours, which enables conventioneers to maximize their time both attending educational sessions and visiting with exhibitors. There are, however, further learning opportunities: both Pitch 20 and CAR WASH Magazine Live offer their presentations on the exhibit floor. Attendees can take a short break from roaming the exhibits and sit in on a brief talk on a subject that they might find of interest.

            In this issue, we cover a wide range of subjects, some of which might provide information that complement the show’s educational programming. For example, in our annual Self-Service Survey (starting on page 51) 34 percent of respondents reported increased income compared to the previous year, a substantial decline from the 46 percent who reported progress last year. Perhaps more ominous, this is the fifth consecutive year that a minority of participants reported income growth.

            If you’re hoping to increase your average ticket per car, look no further than Beth Martin’s article ”Upselling Success,” on page 32. Here you will find pointers to techniques you can employ ranging from onsite signage, to POS system upselling, to creative promotions and incentives. All of which can be amplified by soft skills such as communication, listening, cooperation, and courtesy, skills that Martin points to in her article but that also play a role in the training programs Gretchen Mathews writes about in her article, “Successful Training,” on page 74. And to ensure that all your hires are legit, attorneys Jacob Monty and Nallely Rodriguez alert us to three problem areas that the Department of Labor has identified and that car washes have to contend with: minimum wage laws, misclassification, and tipped employees. Their article, “Compliance,” can be found on page 80.

            After 20-odd years, Prentice St. Clair wrote his final monthly Auto Detailing column for our April issue. By his own calculation, he contributed some 350,000 words to our pages over the years. It is impossible to overestimate the value this has imparted to our readership. We thank him and wish him well. Stepping into his shoes is another well known detail industry figure: Keith Duplessie has been active in the detail business for more than 20 years. Keith is a past president of the International Detailing Association and an IDA Hall of Fame inductee. We bid him welcome. Turn to page 14 to read his first column.