Strategic Planning

Idaho Market for Automotive Businesses; Doing it Right


Anyone who has been watching the Idaho Market Carefully for auto services, knows that the market is ripe, ready and growing. I visited Southern Idaho after establishing franchises in Northern Idaho three years ago for our auto aftermarket franchise company. We have surveyed the competition as well and found that much of the original competition in these Southern Idaho markets is unsophisticated and not setting any speed records. Of course to their benefit it appears that they are not trying. But the area is growing and it is time for them to wake up and smell the coffee and get the show on the road. In the mobile auto detailing and car wash business there is much opportunity indeed.

As far as competition there is not much to worry about there. We met one competitor in the Twin Falls Area. He says he services Twin Falls, Rupert, Burley, Heyburn, Jerome, & Buhl areas. We asked him how business was. He said it was "SSSLLLOOOOOOOW !!!" Yet there is little if any competition and it did not appear he was trying to attract any new business, meaning there is a lot of work and revenue, which has been left on the table. His comments were quite interesting considering the population in the area is quite good and growing. We talked to his biggest area competitor who had a small unit he towed behind his Nissan Pick-up who washes car lots for seven of the areas largest dealerships. We then talked to the auto detailers who were satisfied, but had not a lot of great things to say about it. We took a closer look at the gentleman's rig that said business was ssssllloooooow, as he parked out side of the Wal-Mart in Burley, ID. And noticed that he does not seem to respect animal rights. He had a stuffed animal, a Tasmanian Devil, zip tied to his trucks grill as if it was a road kill. So much for brand image; we realize that in Idaho it is very difficult to drive year after year without hitting a Dear. But we imagine this guy does not slow down judging by his front bumper and bad attitude towards our fellow species.

As we started to look over his tow vehicle we noticed a few dents. He had two bumper sticks; one was DAMM, "Drunks Against Mad Mothers and the other was "Shit Happens." I am very much against Drunk Drivers in any state and we realize that countless Americans each year are killed by Drunk Drivers. The numbers are staggering and what many fail to realize is that we have had more drunk driving deaths in our country than Americans killed in W.W.II. In 2001 a relatively light year for drunk driving deaths, there were 16,653 official deaths from drunk driving and 1000 from drunk boating; that was only one year, imagine how many since WWII. Unofficially there were many more contributing deaths from drunk driving where it was a partial factor. We are the only franchise with a clause in our franchise agreement that if you drink and drive in a Car Wash Guys Truck you automatically can lose your franchise; here is the clause.

"3.15.2 Drunk Driving"

"You agree not to drink and drive a mobile car wash truck of your franchised business on a public highway when you may be over the legal limit of toxicity. You also agree not to drive your personal vehicle in the manner described above. Such violation of the law resulting in the conviction of a felony or misdemeanor is subject to termination of your Franchise Agreement."

All businesses in the auto industry should have such clauses in their employment manuals or if a franchise you may copy this one. Businesses should support Mother's Against Drunk Drivers. We have always supported local groups such as MADD and DARE and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say NO !" Programs in the past, because we believe that this type of behavior sets a bad example to young people. We must lead by example to insure a strong up and coming generation to lead us in the future. In Lewiston, ID we had a competitor who was selling drugs out of the back of his car wash. It was common knowledge in town. This is unacceptable; we therefore established our own car wash there across the river in Clarkston, WA. We believe that small business in the auto industry must be one with the community and stop such problematic and detrimental issues in their towns. Join us in putting a bite into crime.

We also noted that this competitor in Burley, ID had parked blocking part of a Handicap Spot while running into Wal-Mart to buy Beer and Munchies for the pending nightly smoke out party. While we do not condemn responsible drinking or care what people smoke on their own time, we see a negative pattern here with this particular, but common Idaho Competitor, so it appears that more responsible operators have a wide-open market in auto after market services in Southern, ID. Perhaps he was planning a party for the local Hospice and inviting over local donors? We understand that without a cover over his vehicle he was in a hurry to get home before the rain and probably did not want anyone to steal his radio. We just are a little perturbed about the lack of respect for our Physically Challenged Citizens throughout the Nation. All auto businesses should support the handicapped. Here is an idea of a way you can do just that in your community;

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carwashguys.com/history/museum214.shtml

Each auto business should have policies in place to prevent abuse to handicapped customers. We have led by example in these issues and have always been on the leading edge of important issues concerning peoples of our countries, this is why our Franchise System and our team Members have agreed in advance to not park in or block handicap parking spots. Won't you join us and do the same in your Auto After market business? We are so serious about such abuses to the common good of the Physically Challenged that we have made it a part of our franchise agreement. Your auto business can copy this if you wish or make your own policy to fit your business model for your outlets and employees:

"3.15.3 Handicapped Spots"

"You, your employees, managers, partners, officers or directors agree not to park in handicapped spots for the duration of this Franchise Agreement unless you or they are actually handicapped and have a bona fide current placard"

We are the only franchise in the history of the World to make this an issue in our franchise agreement, but we should not be the last, join us now in setting things right. We mean it when we say we believe in the highest standards of conduct and respect for the communities we service. Of course this able bodied competitor in front of Wal-Mart had no "Handicap Placard" on his tow vehicle. We therefore asked him to kindly move his vehicle and park somewhere else. He gave us a really dirty look and then he did.

If you are in the automotive business; be a responsible business. Take pride in your community, get involved and be proactive in the fight against crime and drugs. Show respect to all your potential customers, no matter what their condition. Led by example; do it right. Won't you please Think about it?

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs


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