Camarillo Inc./The Car
The owner of this $3.6 million a year company doesn't don a silk suit when he works. He doesn't sit behind a solid oak desk with his feet up either.
He gets in his truck every morning and makes rounds to parking lots, where he washes cars.
He has 48 other teams from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara who pay him daily to rent his equipment. He could make a decent living just from what he makes in renting. So why does he indulge in physical labor?
"I'm out there every day. It's the only way to understand what the customer needs," said Lance Winslow III, president of The Car Wash Guys.
The 28-year-old entrepreneur has been in business since age 12.
He started out by washing airplanes for free rides. By the time he was 14, with a little help from mom and dad, he started his own airplane-washing company, later combining it with car washing.
Now he's strictly car washing and loving it.
He has an interesting story about how his company was named.
"It's really neat because my customers named my company," said Winslow. He and his teams travel to different car lots and let people inside know they are there. The person told will then announce "the car wash guys are here!"
For two and a half years Winslow has been building his business.
He owns three of 48 company trucks. He originally bought all the trucks, then discovered the high cost of insurance and sold most of them to those who wanted to work in the business.
Winslow said he is proud of many aspects of his business. For instance, he has created 96 jobs in the county and counting. Winslow has his sights set big for his company. He wants to spread his service throughout the country, creating more jobs.
He said the car washers make about $200 to $300 dollars a day and out of that, Winslow gets $25 for use of his equipment and name. He doesn't want people to think this is a get-rich-quick scheme - car washers work hard.
Winslow said he is not even rich, but awaits the day. "Right now, everything goes back into the business," he said. "If I ever stop growing, then I'll be rich." And he plans to make his current teams 1 percent partners in the business. He wants to take everyone who helped him get started straight "to the top."
Winslow even has some car wash gals. The Car Wash Guys/Gals is an official trademark. No other company can use that name. And according to Winslow, no other company has ever washed 4,800 cars a day.
In addition to dedication to customers, Winslow also is dedicated to the environment.
Only 2.5 gallons of wastewater is used to wash a car, Winslow said he holds the only wastewater permit in the state.
In addition to a five gallon bucket used at home, 12 gallons of water per minute pours from a garden hose.
"We're really helping the water shortage," smiled Winslow.
He said he has had a couple of run-ins with cities who think The Car Wash Guys/Gals are taking business away from car wash stations in towns. Winslow said he has been told a certain area is not zoned for a car wash. "Well, the food truck comes by too, and you're not zoned for a restaurant either," was Winslow's comeback.
He said comments like that upset him because of the fact that he has created so many jobs and can offer people a chance to make a good living.
Winslow doesn't hire just anybody. He wants clean-cut, drug-free workers who care about customers.
"Winners never quit and quitters never win," said Winslow. "We did it. We're Number 1. We give a damn and we hustle. It's just got to be that way."
For information on The Car Wash Guys/Gals call Winslow at 1-800-879-TRUE.
Reprinted from The Camarillo Daily News, October 4, 1992.