It is the year 2025, and many futurists’ predictions have come true. The cost of fossil fuels has made it prohibitive to drive today’s burning vehicles. Cash is outdated due to the growing use of monetary tracking technology. The most valuable commodity is no longer oil, gold or diamonds – but time. The market share over time has split several times and hit a peak for many people in the world economy.
The value of the North American dollar is now in strict competition with the Asian yen and the rising value of the euro dollar. But when socio-political trends sweep across the world, some things will always remain the same. People still need to visit the doctor, go to the dentist, buy groceries, take their kids to sports games and wash their business and family vehicles.
The car wash of the future will be very similar to today. They will still be located near busy intersections and fuel stations and will offer a variety of vehicle cleaning services at a reasonable cost. The biggest difference between car washing today and the future will be the presence of fewer individual car wash owners in the industry. The competitive nature of the future market will push out business owners who do not properly market their wash. Those who succeed find what works in the future market and repeat it. For the next ten to twenty years, the primary competitor will be the car wash franchise. All over North America there will be internationally recognized car wash, all offering the same menu of services at almost the same price. When a consumer drives up to the car wash of the future, they expect the same quality of service as car wash on the other side of the state.
By looking at the business trends of the last 50 years, current futurists see trends in how business has evolved in the last century. In 1954 Ray Kroc took his milk shake business on the road. I’ve heard of a successful hamburger restaurant owned by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald. The brothers had cooked down the short order business with its thousands of potential menu options. By offering two choices – hamburgers, with or without cheese. They also offered two different milk shakes, chocolate or vanilla. Backed up cars waiting in line became a problem early in McDonald’s business because it takes time to make a milk shake. So they cleared space in their restaurant for six of the five-spinded milk shake makers called the Multi mixer. This allowed the McDonald brothers to move six times as many cars through the drive through. According to the McDonald’s Corporation website, “Ray Kroc had never seen so many people serve so fast since I pulled up to look for. As I went out on the day, I set the idea of opening more restaurants for the brothers … convinced he could sell eight of his Multi-mixers to each one. “” Who could we get them to open to us? Said Dick McDonald. “Well,” Kroc replied, “what about me?”
Then began an empire that has swept the world. It is not the food or the personal service of every employee that makes this franchise so successful. McDonald’s succeeds because the New York burger tastes the same as the Chicago or Dallas or Los Angeles burger. And every McDonald’s franchise trains its employees in exactly the same way at each location, providing consistent service.
Ray Kroc knew nothing about cooking large burgers and did not serve the best milk shakes in the industry. However, I have identified and developed a business model that maximizes the number of customers served effectively. He also found that by limiting the menu, a McDonald’s received the same food deals at each location. This business model was then packaged and sold to people who wanted to start their own McDonald’s franchise store. The training, menu and building and equipment guidelines had already been set in place and time tested. And millions of loyal customers from around the world now knew McDonald’s menu and services.
Entrepreneurs will still own the car wash of the future, but the business model will emphasize consistency and uniformity. A consumer can visit a car wash for the very first time and already has a preset expectation in mind of what wash is available, the quality of the wash, and approximately how much money is deducted from their personal wash account for that car wash chain. In the future, cash will no longer be the usual form of payment. By leveraging the power of the Internet and advanced communications technology, all these franchisees will be tied together within a large payment network. Customers have unprecedented control over their account settings. Saving receipts and passing tokens fall back in the past because Fleet Managers will now run their own activity reports and manage their account balance online anywhere in the world. Car washing and handling will be as secure as online banking.
The successful car wash of the future will come to the top, not only because the owners knew how to better clean a car or provide the very best service. Future Car Wash will offer a standard menu of settings and a uniform level of service that a customer can rely on at every wash around the world.