Car Washing 202 Case Study in Case Studies

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So often those who do industry analysis and are considered self-proclaimed consultants assist companies in attaining the interest of an Investment Banker or help them get funding from a Venture Capitalist company.
Recently I had a consulting firm contact me from the UK and one of the young associates in the firm needed information on the car wash industry for a client.
They were doing industry analysis and wanted to make sure they had all their facts and figures straight.
Yet the questions they asked were irrelevant to the decision of whether to proceed in the United States with a car wash chain or large network of carwashes.
They asked what the percentages were of rollover carwashes, conveyor carwashes and coin-op carwashes.
You see many over seas companies are eyeing the car and truck washing industry in the US after some huge mergers in the industry in the EU.
Additionally one of the case study work projects at Harvard for Business Students is to review a fictitious company, which is now a real company, which is to consolidate a few carwashes in regional markets and then expand across the country.
In any case, to bring you up on the current trends in the industry read this first: http://www.
carwash.
com/news.
asp?mode=4&N_ID=57514
Now then, one doing real research must be careful on analyst's reports.
A company taking advice should also ask themselves; who is the analyst? The reason I say this is after reading all the industry surveys and analyst reports available in the carwash industry, I find them flawed.
If they have not been to every city in the country like I have, stood outside carwashes and counted cars, talked with customers post carwash experience, etc.
like I have, I would not trust their data? Where did they get the data; from equipment suppliers? Oh I bet that is quite impartial indeed? Did they get such data from industry surveys, as operators embellish on those you know that? IRS? People skim cash at car washes? Consultants? Well they are selling something? So when the analyst contacted me and asked me the percentages of the three types of carwashes, the question was flawed and the answer is irrelevant.
In fact when asked if those were the major types of carwashes in the United States; I said; "No I disagree that those are the main types.
"You see, conveyors are used in many types of carwashes including some of the roll-overs, which are being displaced by the types of "No-Touch Car Wash Systems," which also often have conveyors in them.
What about Mobile Wash Units? The mobile washing industry in some cities are washing in some markets 1/3 of all the cars, take Las Vegas market for instance? So when you read an analyst report do so with your skeptical, ironic N400 brain wave in full swing, because so often analysts are full of it and their data is skewed, as it contains a large amount of BS and incorrect original assumptions.
Think on this when studying the car wash industry.
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