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The Iron Fox Podcast: Cleaning Up Under the Radar

Generally speaking, the role of an investor is very different from that of an operator. On this episode of The Iron Fox Podcast, Bob Rust, the CEO of Iron Fox, sat down with host Sean Heath as they discussed how advances in technology are changing the nature of investors in the car wash industry.

With technological improvements being introduced constantly, not only have the services grown, but the makeup of the operators has evolved, as well, explained Rust.

“It’s an interesting industry because it’s been growing and consolidating and has been a fun time to be involved in it because of all of the change,” he said.

The carwash industry has traditionally been one of tremendous revenue swings, primarily due to weather. Subscription models are causing significant improvements to that issue, according to Rust.

“If you’ve had a really bad weather month, you might be really hurting for revenue and what the subscription model has done, is that’s really evened out some of that cash flow,” he said.

“It’s evened it out in a great way because it has probably stopped the floor from being so low,” he said.

Being involved in the industry has its own mystique, Rust offered.

“If you tell people at your cocktail parties that you’re in the carwash business, it’s surprising. It’s never, like the first choice for folks. And we like it that way. We like it to be under the radar, in that sense,” he said.

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Podcasts

Opening a Car Wash with Help from a Pro

Starting in a new business venture as a novice can be a daunting expedition, but expert consultation and advice can help navigate challenges and make for smoother sailing. On this week’s episode of the Building Management podcast, James Bridges, development analyst for Iron Fox, shares his expertise in getting new car washes up and running.

Bridges has helped entrepreneurs open car washes from Maryland to South Carolina. His talent is in real estate site selection, volume estimation to determine site viability, equipment selection, and maintenance training. He and the Iron Fox team will even consult with partners on best practices and policies to implement long after the grand opening.

“We try to be a complete partner,” Bridges said.

He revealed that there’s more to running a car wash than meets the eye. Different municipalities have different water chemistries. Sometimes the water is too hard and other times too soft, so getting it just right requires a bit of art and science. And since the red clay of the South differs from the dirt in the East, the part of the country will inform the best equipment for soil removal.

When it comes to the solvents used inside the car wash, Bridges explained that there have been tremendous improvements in car waxes, detergents, and cleaning solutions to produce a better-looking car. “Cleaner, Drier, Shinier,” is his refrain.

Asked about handwashing his own vehicles, Bridges said: “I always take my cars to the different car washes.” He trusts his automobiles to the same wash tunnels he’s helped kickstart since, in his words, you need to sample what you’re selling.

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Podcasts

Iron Fox: Investing in Car Washes for Fun and Profit


If you’ve got money to invest then you might consider parking it in the stock market or buying a piece of real estate. But increasingly, more and more investors are adding car washes to their portfolio. On this week’s episode of The Iron Fox Podcast, company president Dominic Lewinsohn shared what attracted him to the car wash industry and how it has become a hot investment play.

Lewinsohn revealed he got his start at Boston Market before creating his own restaurant group. From there he transitioned to a career on Wall Street to head up a consulting firm. Always on the hunt for new opportunities, the car wash industry caught his eye.

“I was able to look at the financials of car washes and that was very appealing to me,” Lewinsohn said.

Of the three industries he’s worked in, he said car washes are the most fun but also the hardest. The business requires a technical background to handle the logistics of the tunnel, exceptional customer service, and a keen understanding of how the financials work.

He went on to explain that there are three types of tunnel car washes. With the express version, the customer’s car goes through the tunnel and they vacuum it themselves. Full service includes detailing and hand-washing by attendants. And flex offers customers the option of either self-service vacuuming or service by attendants. Each has an important place in the car wash ecosystem.

“The reason express is doing so well at the moment is because the labor from an investor standpoint is very, very low,” Lewinsohn said.

Subscription plans where customers pay a monthly flat fee for unlimited washes have taken off over the last eight years. Operators like the model because it provides a steady stream of income that they can use to hire a stable labor force. Lewinsohn thinks people with a hospitality or foodservice background do well with car washes because they go from an industry with many costs to one with just two, labor and chemicals.

Lewinsohn said that the industry is becoming more and more competitive, but it remains a lot of fun.

“The returns on investment are superb if executed properly,” he said.

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Podcasts

Iron Fox Job Opportunity: Finding Your Voice in the Car Wash Industry as a Business Development Analyst

The car wash industry involves far more than cleaning customer vehicles. Every community has a need for a car wash, making car wash professionals focus on real estate, architecture, and management. Unsurprisingly, this makes a career in this field not only lucrative but also a tremendous place to grow.

Iron Fox, a leader in carwash sales, installation, and services is currently hiring two business development analysts to help grow its customer base. The new additions will join an intimate team that delivers a great product on time at a great price.

Time in this role will be spent with clients both on the phone and on-site, closing deals, tracking leads, conducting meetings, and growing the business. But the best part of the car wash industry is the characters who live and breath the industry every day; business development analysts would get the freedom to be creative with how they engage with clients and get them to buy in to the Iron Fox mission.

To elaborate on the opportunity, Iron Fox President Dominic Lewinsohn joined us on the podcast and gave us not only the nitty-gritty details of the position, but also why a career at Iron Fox feels like a spy movie.

“The tone and the feel and the pace would be very, very quick,” Lewinsohn said. “It is high-powered. If it were a movie, it would start with a high-speed car chase because we are zooming and we are growing at such a fast pace.”

Lewinsohn described the role as very mission-oriented, and since many carwash owners want to own a business but do not want to be heavily involved in day-to-day operations, these business development analysts would be engaging a market eager for Iron Fox’s services.

The role would be offered an extensive set of responsibilities and room for growth, and qualified candidates are expected to have confidence in their abilities to manage, skilled problem-solving abilities on short notice, and strong sociability so the employee can effectively communicate with clients and teams. If interested, give the podcast a listen and click here to apply.