“You just can’t operate without training,” says Harsha Nimrani, a Southern Ontario businesswoman who owns and operates six gas station/car wash sites in the Niagara region. She reports that she and her staff have turned to Sonny’s Car Wash College for their expertise. “Training must be ongoing and convenient. With this program, all we need is access to a computer and a quiet room.”
Sonny’s offers onsite and online training programs targeted to both management and staff. According to Bob Fox, Sonny’s VP Car Wash College and Technical Support, they run investor seminars and management programs from their Phoenix location. “The Investor Program is a one-day offering. This year we reduced the size from 24 seats to 16. We have a waiting list of around 32 persons,” says Fox. “We also offer a series for managers that comes with three core areas-Management 101 for entry-level managers that covers everything for P&Ls to dealing with chemistry vendors; Maintenance; and Repair where we have four technicians offering hands-on training in 14 labs.”
Four courses are online (Maintenance, Repair, Management, and Introduction to Car Wash). These courses benefit both managers, as well as staff. Fox reports that Introduction to Car Wash is the best bet for general staff. This program delivers a concise information package that provides a solid introduction to conveyorized car washing. Sections include Best Safety Practices, Paystation Walk-Through, Tunnel Walk-Through, Loading Cars, Vac Area Walk-Through, and Chemistry 101.
“I’ve been washing cars for over 30 years. When I started there were no training programs. You learned as you went along When a system failed, staff had to learn how to fi x it and how to prevent this problem from happening again. When there are problems at a car wash it usually means downtime. Downtime can be expensive,” he says, noting that the $50 to $80 spent on online training modules is a well-considered business expense.
NCS (National Carwash Solutions) College of Clean offers a unique CleanTouch Chemical management course that features real-world, hands-on class instruction to teach operators to successfully manage the chemical portion of their car wash business. NCS reports that course material includes a ‘how-to’ on the use of chemical portioning devices, formulation, and dispensing to optimize your chemical combinations for maximum efficiency and minimal costs. Participants also get a grounding in safe handling and general use in car wash. Cost analysis, inventory management, and application systems are also covered, and instructors discuss troubleshooting tips to keep chemical-use safe and cost-effective.
Classes are run by industry professionals at NCS’ 10,000-sq.-ft. Customer Experience Centre in Grimes, Iowa. At this location, NCS offers six fully equipped instruction bays and a wet lab for chemical training.
Equipment distributors such as Quebec’s Entretien De Lave Auto Laval (ELAL) take chemical use seriously. ELAL offers Mondo products to its car wash customers.
“We offer training specific to each client in proper chemical use and follow through with visits to their site,” says Bernard Aoun, ELAL, sales director—equipment division. He reports that they offer a full-service chemical department that is available for consultation. “We visit our customers once or twice a month to make sure they have the right combinations for their sites. We test the injectors, chemical levels, as well as the overall quality of wash and, can advise on the effectiveness of the wash chemistry. Chemicals for touchless systems are more concentrated with a higher PH level than those in use in tunnel washes where friction does a lot of the work. Operators need to know the best mixes and how to use their chemicals in an efficient cost-effective manner,” he says echoing Nimrani’s earlier comments that good training delivers result