As is the case across each and every one of the world’s industries, the COVID-19 pandemic and its ripple effects have impacted the way tunnel carwash operators do business.
Though signs of a new normal might be beginning to peek over the horizon, there are still critical measures that need to be taken to ensure tunnel carwashes operate as profitably and optimally as possible during this period of uncertainty.
“Obviously, the biggest issue everyone’s facing is the safety of both their employees and their customers. That’s the biggest thing facing all people in the carwash industry,” Lewinsohn said. “Keeping social gatherings at less than 10 people really limits the amount of flow that carwashes can do, as well, and adhering to CDC guidelines and local, state and other federal guidelines (is also a challenge).”
For example, Lewinsohn said, the state of Maryland has officially shut down all carwashes, meaning that the simple act of opening for business is impossible for carwashes in some regions.
Competing with federal unemployment payouts, which have been bolstered during this period, has also strained the workforces of carwashes across the country, Lewinsohn said.
However, there are paths forward.
Specifically, Lewinsohn said doubling down on commitment to ample handwashing stations, closing or limiting lobby space, wearing appropriate masks and other personal protective equipment, thoroughly disinfecting surfaces, temperature checks with touchless thermometers, and other measures can help ease the burden of fighting back against the novel coronavirus.
On the labor side and to maximize revenue and cash flow as much as possible, particularly for larger, full-service carwashes, Lewinsohn recommends applying for small business loans and grants, keep as many full-time employees at normal capacity as possible to ensure eligibility for Paycheck Protection Program loans, and engaging in thorough record keeping and scheduling oversight.