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Don Sniegowski's picture

Franchising Car Washes

Executive director for the International Car Wash Association, Eric Wulf, said he hopes the news of Proctor & Gamble launching a national car wash franchise in the middle of a credit crunch shows carwash operators and new investors that “even in tough times, you cannot stop investing.” The editor-in-chief of Professional CarWashing and Detailing writes about the Blue MauMau naysayers for P&G franchising car washes:

"The Blue MauMau, a website devoted to franchise news and research, is questioning Procter & Gamble’s decision to place Jim Amos, chairman and CEO of Tasti D-Lite, former chairman and CEO of Mail Boxes Etc. (now The UPS Store) and past chairman of the International Franchise Association (IFA) as the head of its franchising board.

Those organizations and credentials are impressive. 

A reporter for the Blue MauMau also spoke with franchise consultant Nick Bibby, who said franchising in the carwash industry was a difficult task. “Many companies have tried franchising in the carwash segment, but I’m not familiar with any that have built up much of a network,” Bibby said. “Carnetts, for example, has been franchising since 1998, but has 14 franchised locations standing after 11 years of marketing its brand.”

Other notable franchisers in the carwash industry include Goo Goo Car Wash with 22 locations and Boomerang with 17.

To date, the largest conveyor carwash chain in the United States is Wash Depot with 76 locations, followed by the rapidly-growing Mister Car Wash (62) and the family-owned and operated Autobell (53).

Nick Bibby,  franchise consultant and principal of the Bibby Group, replies, "Every full service wash franchise has low numbers, as I stated. You might want to mention that the franchises with larger numbers are ‘drive-through or conveyor systems, in other words, cheap washes."

Nick Bibby's picture

P&G lacks basics in this effort

The elements common to most 'successful' start-ups include founders' leadership/ownership and sensitivity to bare bones financials, just to name two of the most basic, are simply not present here.

Of course, even if all the base elements were in place, one 'might' want to study the market segment, but I doubt that was done because the exceptionally poor franchise growth performance of the purchased company would raise a giant red flag.

Want to know how P&G could have made a real smart move on this? Give Amos a shot at using his marketing skills via the acquired brand, thus not risk tarnishing the P&G brand, and hold the best (Mr. Clean) until last if the 'franchising test' worked out. But no, that's all too basic for the swells.

But then again, many 'believers' say that miracles happen every day.


Nick Bibby is an international franchise consultant and a program developer dedicated to excellence in entrepreneurship. 

Budget problem; DD?

Abundant comment is offered on BMM about the deplorable franwads lacking the wisdom and budget to seek out expert franchise legal counsel to avoid the conceptual and contractural predatory fzor traps. Some P&G exec. must have decided his in-house guys can do it just as well or he does not log in to BMM. I understand P&G is not the fzee but given opinion of the Amos history the analogy can be made. And think of that unsophisticated deplorable franwad looking at an opportunity to be selected by P&G as a franchise business partner. "Honey, look at this one, it's P&G!" Maybe BMM should collect funds for an advertising budget that will permit responsible franchise attorneys to advertise on TV like the ambulance chasers to warm the franwads of tomorrow.

RichardSolomon's picture

Not even the best cleaners and polishes put out by P&G

can possibly spit shine this turd.

The economics of this carwash concept don't compute, and the choice of franchise leadership is dreadful.

P&G has given birth to a FranWhack here. No one in his right mind should ever consider investing in this debacle in the making.


Richard Solomon,,  has over 45 years experience with franchise litigation and crisis management. He is a graduate of The Citadel and The University of Michigan Law School

SHHH!!! Steven Jemison is sleeping

The finding of misrepresentation in connection with the sale of Sona franchises should be in the FDD. But since P&G conspicuously omits ANY mention of Sona MedSpa on the official biograpy, they may attempt to omit mention of the Sona lawsuit.

P&G mentions Brice, but not by the same name as in the lawsuit. Of course P&G doesn't mention the Brice litigation.

Franchisees fail, even in the best of systems. When one of the P&G franchisees fails, most jury members will not look kindly on P&G for not disclosing the Brice jury finding. Jurors will not believe that P&G did not know about Amos' past history when a Google search would have turned this information up.

The only advantage for franchisees is that P&G is a deep pocket and Jim Amos has a history which includes highly damaging findings by 2 courts in 2 different franchise system suits.

Les Stewart's picture

On the road to The Tipping Point?


It would seem that there is a theoretical point in which a population adopts a radically different perception to an old problem. Malcolm Gladwell and others have suggested that old, stupid groups can learn new tricks.

I would suggest that the Blue MauMau pundits' lukewarm notice of Mr. Amos' involvement helps shift population perception not only on the concept, the trademark but on franchising as a way of doing business.

I imagine Mr. Amos will help move a change agenda along by leaps and bounds, with P&G shareholders mopping up afterward. The ruin of hundreds of franchise investors is an unfortunate consequence of this process, I suppose.

But on the plus side, perhaps the the recent lack of franchise sales (in contrast to the expected sales bump re: counter-cyclical conventional wisdom) is not due to tight credit or any other excuse du jour.

Maybe, just maybe, franchising is much farther along that belief road. Namely, for most, franchising is unsafe at any brand.

Les Stewart MBA
FranchiseFool: Understanding Franchising