Company Name: Magazzine Clean LLC
Year Founded: 1999
Founders: Thomas, Judy and Ryan Magazzine
Current President/CEO: Ryan Magazzine
Number of Locations: 1
Carwash Located in: Leesburg, Va.
Wash Process: Flex-serve
Carwash Equipment Used: AVW Equipment
Add-on Profit Centers: After care and detail center
MCC: To what do you attribute your company’s success?
SAW: Our success is based upon our setting a new standard for quality, throughput, professionalism, customer experience, employee training and retention.
Our goal, when we designed the wash, was to move carwashing from the industrial to the retail services marketplace. We wanted to design and build a facility that would complement the historic town of Leesburg, Va., while setting a new standard for design excellence. As a testament to our Victorian Train Station design, the town of Leesburg awarded us the design excellence award and the County of Loudoun recognized us with their prestigious “Signatures of Loudoun” design excellence award. Town and county officials often commented that they never thought a carwash would become the model for other businesses to follow in designing a facility that would enhance the sense of place in the community.
To further enhance the customer experience, we landscaped the property with over a thousand trees, scrubs and plants. The garden-like setting prompted many of our customers to comment that not only did we shine their cars, we brightened their day. Again, the local communities recognized our efforts by awarding us the Northern Virginia Community Appearance award.
Our process and traffic-flow design has allowed us to maximize our throughput. The use of hand-held POS terminals, loading processes, 170-foot wash tunnel, after-care belts and associated processes gave us the ability to wash over 150 cars per hour while maintaining (according to many industry experts) the highest quality output in the country.
We invest in the best chemicals, detail products, towels and equipment to maintain our high standard of quality.
Our process allows us to train each employee in a specific task, allowing them to become very proficient in areas such as windows, cup holders, dash boards, vacuuming, buffing, bug removal, wheels and tires, etc. We maintain very high standards for grooming and appearance and ensure that each employee and manager provides a warm smile and friendly greeting to each customer.
We devote a great deal of our time and resources in training and retaining our employees, and we reward good performance through a variety of cash bonuses, promotions and recognition programs
Many of our employees have been with us since we opened the Station over five years ago. After we were hit by a tragic fire last May that destroyed our detail facility and closed the wash for five months, we paid to retain 25 of our employees, understanding that the fire had a devastating effect on their lives as well.
Our reputation for quality and professionalism allows us to extend our customer base beyond our immediate marketplace. Some customers travel from as far away as 40 miles to visit our site. The town of Leesburg was so impressed by the number of town visitors we attracted that they awarded us their Ambassador award.
We have also been awarded the “Best of Loudoun” award in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, and have been honored with the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” and the Washingtonian magazine award for best carwash in the Metro D.C. area.
MCC: What are the three most important factors to staying successful in a down economy?
SAW: 1. Customers have to budget their money more carefully; therefore it is important to maintain your prices while not sacrificing quality. Customers are more particular about how they spend their money; they won’t spend it on a carwash if they think they are not getting the quality they deserve.
2. Continue to focus on developing your processes to improve your efficiency and productivity. You can’t just reduce your expenses in labor and chemical and risk lowering your quality and throughput. It is an opportunity to gain market share from operators who believe that they can save their way to success.
3. Don’t panic. Cut out nonessential expenditures. Let word of mouth regarding your quality be your advertising. Negotiate better pricing from your suppliers.
MCC: What is the biggest challenge facing carwashes in your market? How have you overcome this business obstacle?
SAW: The biggest obstacle for washes is weather. We can’t change it, but we overcome it by maximizing our throughput while ensuring our quality when we have good weather. We believe we get 70-80 premium wash days per year. They occur after a snow, during pollen season or on a sunny Saturday. When we get those days, we want to wash 1,000 or more cars while maintaining our quality.
We continually refine our processes to efficiently process cars. We start at the point of sale with hand-held computers that approve a credit card transaction in three seconds. At each step of the process we look for ways to save seconds, which add up to more cars per hour.
The investment in equipment removes the need for prepping which can add time to the wash process and many times reduce quality when the prep attendant is tired or not paying attention to detail.
We automated the after-care facility through the use of 12-foot wide belts. Each production worker specializes in a task such as vacuuming, window cleaning, door jams, wheels and tires. Through specialization we are able to improve speed and quality. The belts ensure that we keep a constant pace.
MCC: How important is community involvement in keeping a carwash viable and helping to increase average ticket and/or frequency among current customers?
SAW: Being an integral part of your community is essential to being a successful carwash. We support over 75 different civic and charitable groups with their fund drives. We provide certificates for free premium washes that they use for silent auctions and door prizes. Certificates have also been used to recognize outstanding teachers in county schools.
To say special thanks to the firefighters who fought the fire at our detailing center, we washed all firefighter vehicles for free for the first week after we reopened.
During another fundraiser, all proceeds from carwashes for one day were donated to the town’s Main Street organization.
We have become personally involved in various town organizations. Tom Magazzine was vice chairman of the Leesburg Main Street organization and has served on several other town task forces.