Past Issue

Putting Employees Behind the Wheel

By Timothy Denman

01/01/15

Car wash owners often think of labor as just an expense. Their employees are a necessary part of the organization, but are rarely the focal point of the business.

Miracle Wash’s fleet of mobile vehicles
act as moving billboards for the business.

To Corey Purdie things are a little different. Yes, the car wash and detail owner is concerned with the profitability of his business, but he is also dedicated to the wellbeing and advancement of his growing staff.

When Purdie opened Miracle Wash back in 2007 he was quickly struck with the high turnover rate and the effect it was having on his business.  “Most workers in the car wash industry look at it like a temporary thing until they get something better,” the owner of the New Bern, NC based business says. “That became an issue with me. Being in a smaller city customers get used to people and when they are gone it raises concerns.”

Purdie began investigating the cause of the high turnover rate at his business and discovered that many of the potential employees his business attracted lacked the necessary job skills to maintain employment. Rather than just accept this rotating door approach to employment, Purdie decided to do something about it and help his employees gain the necessary skills to both get a job and keep it.

The highly trained detailing staff
can handle all jobs big and small.

Employees at Miracle Wash are afforded opportunities available to them nowhere else. They are offered free job skills training that prepares them for work both at the wash and elsewhere, and have the opportunity to advance to independent Miracle Wash franchisees.

All employees start as car washers, but those that excel at their work are able to take advantage of Purdie’s innovative expansion program and take control of one of his mobile units and operate it as an independent contractor. To help offset some of the costs associated with setting employees up with their own mobile operation Purdie formed a non-profit arm of his business called Wash Away Unemployment. The non-profit business’ aim is to provide the necessary training and funding for employees to break out on their own under the Miracle Wash banner.

In addition to the detailing and life skill lessons Purdie imparts on his employees, Miracle Wash has partnered with Jobs for Life to help educate its employees and provide them with the marketable soft skills necessary to maintain gainful employment. Jobs for Life is a global non-profit organization that helps local churches provide training and mentoring relationships for those struggling with employment issues. The organization helps over 5,000 individuals each year, and 80 percent of those that complete the program find meaningful employment.

“A lot of people that come into my place looking for a job are unemployable,” Purdie says. “Instead of throwing their application in the garbage we try to turn that trash into treasure. We work with that individual to get them to a level where they can maintain employment, hopefully at our company. You can’t save everybody, but we do the best we can with those we can help.”

The eco-conscious business opts
for hybrid vehicles when possible.

Purdie’s philanthropic pursuits have a dual purpose. Not only is he helping his employees by setting them up to succeed, he is expanding his business and meeting the growing demand for detailing services in his market. Miracle Wash has built its reputation on quality performance and customer service, and the local area is clamoring for its services — the wash expanded into Raleigh and Charlotte to help meet demand and grow its reach.

Most of the car washes in the market are automated sites and Miracle Wash has set itself apart with its hand washing services. As its popularity continues to grow Miracle Wash is relying on its employee-operated mobile units to meet demand and bring the service to those unable to make it to one of the chain’s fixed locations.

“Our customer base wants hand washing but don’t have time for it,” Purdie says. “They need to get in and out quickly. We are making it convenient for the client to get their car washed and detailed by coming to them at their home, work, or wherever they are.” 

The mobile operators bring their services to the customer.Miracle Wash’s customers have a wide variety of vehicles.

To seamlessly meet demand and streamline the assignment of jobs to the mobile operators Miracle Wash is developing a mobile app. The app, which will begin a pilot trial in January, will allow customers to schedule service for a specific day and time. Once the appointment is booked an available detailer in the local area would receive a message and be assigned the job.

The hand wash experience.

The mobile application is just one of the advancements Miracle Wash has planned for the next year. The car wash and detail center is in the planning stages of a conveyorized full-service, car wash tunnel that will help the wash meet growing customer demand. The tunnel will stay true to Miracle Wash’s hand wash roots as workers will be stationed inside the tunnel to scrub vehicles by hand as they pass by on the motorized conveyor. 

As the New Bern location gears up to meet growing demand with the introduction of automation into the wash process, Miracle Wash’s mobile units continue to provide the methodical service customers have grown to expect. Mobile units utilize a waterless wash process whenever possible to maintain the business’ commitment to environmental consciousness. When presented with an extremely dirty vehicle and the use of water is a necessity, the wash’s mobile units capture all runoff and dispose of the soiled water properly.

Mobile units can process six express jobs per day, which consist of a wash, wax, and interior wipe down, and costs $99. On the full-serve side of the menu Miracle Wash offers $199 and $299 varieties and mobile operators can handle two per day.

A banner in the lobby highlights some
of the organization’s charitable pursuits.
Employees are given both detailing and life training.

“When we send out a mobile unit we have them do two cars per day instead of four,” Purdie says. “We want them to service the car correctly and produce a satisfied customer. With our units only doing two cars a day it allows for growth to add more units. We pay our guys a percentage of the detail. They can make more than most people make in a full day just detailing two cars.”

Miracle Wash has built its loyal following through quality service and word of mouth, but continues to grow its reach through its cross-channel marketing efforts. Purdie advertises his business with television commercials, radio ads, print and digital coupons, and social media campaigns. Miracle Wash refuses to stay stagnant and is in the process of developing a new television commercial that will highlight the wash’s new branding campaign.

Miracle Wash’s unique concept grew from Purdie’s commitment to his employees and desire to make a difference in both their lives and the community. As the name implies the wash is truly a miracle maker for those in need of a helping hand and are willing to put in the hard work to better themselves and reach their life goals.

 

 



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