Auto Laundry News - May 2011

California Wash Meets Need for Speed

By Bill Paris

The tower adds an architectural touch and allows for prominent signage.

Eighty miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles lies the town of Victorville, located in the Victor Valley of sunny San Bernardino County. Flanked by the towns of Apple Valley to the east and Hesperia to the south, this self-described “Key City of the High Desert” is home to almost 95,000 citizens — and the Victorville Speedwash, winner of the 2010 Western Carwash Association Rookie of the Year Award.

Known for its courteous and speedy service, Victorville Speedwash opened on November 10, 2009 and has averaged 20,000 to 25,000 cars per month. In fact, in its first calendar year of existence in 2010, it washed 220,000 cars. As of March 4, it washed 50,000 cars for 2011. Located on the corner of Bear Valley Road and Industrial Boulevard, the wash benefits from passing traffic either coming from or going to busy Interstate 15.

Co-owners Fred Simab and Pedram Fararooy had a vision to provide a fast, affordable, and fun alternative to car washing. They initially gave free $5 washes for 20 days as a promotion to introduce this new concept to the local community. Many of the customers who took advantage of the promotion actually remained as regular customers. Manager Mike Iglesias and nine employees have kept the car wash full of customers who enjoy the unique architecture. The modern design has lots of glass, and stands out amongst the neighboring franchises like In-N-Out Burger, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Target, and Home Depot.

The two-acre lot houses twin 125-foot MacNeil conveyors, which jut outside of shorter double 100-foot tunnels. MacNeil’s Envirosoft foam wash material, Blue Coral soap, and Ecolab wax are the only products that actually touch the vehicles. Ten MacNeil blowers in each tunnel enable Victorville Speedwash to keep its guarantee of clean, dry, and shiny cars within five minutes.

The building offers a distinct and recognizable image.

Washing after dark.

Double tunnel: twice as impressive.

Guidance through signage and gestures.

Through one tunnel, a view of the other.

Tunnel to the left, vacuum stations to the right.

Victorville Speedwash is design-ed with convenience and ease of use in mind. From its user-friendly ICS auto attendants with video instructions and touchscreen operation, to its guided conveyor and visual confirmation signs, customers are sure to have a unique and fun experience going through the car wash.

Simply drive up to one of the four express lanes, select the wash from an automated pay station and pay with cash, credit or gift card, or with drive-thru Speedpass RFID tags. Let guest-service attendants guide you on to the conveyor, and enjoy the ride.

Some of the local celebrities that have enjoyed the Victorville Speedwash ride have been Victorville Mayor Rudy Cabriales, members of the Oakland Raiders, and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Joe “Daddy” Stevenson.

At Victorville Speedwash, the most basic wash (Straight Away) starts at only $5. An additional tri-color conditioner and clear-coat protectant (Checkered Flag) takes you up to $8, while the Winner Circle includes all of the aforementioned services plus Rain-X body treatment, wheel cleaning, and Black Magic tire shine for $10. Free air fresheners are included with the latter two.

For the customer who visits frequently or is short on time, Victorville Speedwash offers unlimited club plans that can be paid utilizing Speedpass RFID tags. The Straight Away is $20, the Checkered Flag is $30, and the Winner Circle is $40 per month. Customers may take advantage of these plans at their convenience, and as often as they wish.

No matter which wash package the customer selects, it includes free Auto Vac self-serve vacuuming. Friendly attendants guide customers to one of four lanes, each with its own shaded vacuum stall and 16 hose drops, for a grand total of 64 vacuum hoses.

Ecolab’s biodegradable, eco-friendly soaps and a Pur-Clean reverse-osmosis system contribute to Victorville Speedwash’s green outlook. This is not lost on Victorville ‘s utility providers — such as the departments of water and power — who have fleet accounts with Victorville Speedwash.

Further discounts exist for current and former members of the U.S. Military, AAA or AARP members, and even for groups of five or more cars registered under the same credit card account.

Gift cards are available for all occasions and any denomination (as low as $5). Gift cards work just like a credit card at the Victorville Speedwash pay stations. They never expire, and offer the option to add funds at any time. If customers make a purchase of $25 or more, they receive a free wash for their own car.

Victorville Speedwash puts the fun back into fundraising by setting up a “FUNdraising Code” customers can enter to support a team, school, or place of worship. Entering the code results in a donation of $1 for each wash and $2 for each wash club purchase. The payment is automatically sent at the end of the event. In this way, Victorville Speedwash has helped the Victorville and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce give aid to parks around cities. In one single day, the wash donated $1,000 to the local youth program.

In a nod to the customers of tomorrow, Victorville Speedwash is also very kid-friendly. Free washes have been auctioned off or donated for cheerleading groups or little leagues. There are themes for each month, such as distributing Valentine hearts in February or Halloween candy in October. Puzzle stickers are also provided to kids with a hidden code that offers a free upgrade. Satellite radio plays music from the 1950s to 1980s to liven up the atmosphere.

The younger crowd has been instrumental in posting on Victorville Speedwash’s Facebook, Twitter, and Blogspot websites. The car wash has over 500 friends, and uses social networking for promotions and announcements.
Besides word of mouth and social media, the wash advertises on local radio, through National CineMedia amidst movie theater previews, on Time-Warner cable TV, and in coup-on books that reach 45,000 homes.

Victorville Speedwash is unique in the area due to the professional appearance of its employees, cleanliness of its property, extended hours (6 a.m. to 9 p.m.), ample lighting, convenient location, and easy accessibility. Stop by and witness it for yourself.

Bill Paris, a former Auto Laundry News staffer, is a freelance contributor based in Paramus, NJ.

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