Under scrutiny by officials in Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village, owners of mobile carwashes in the Conejo Valley said Tuesday they have formed a business association to protect their interests.
Lance Winslow, owner of the Car Wash Guys and organizer of the Conejo Valley Mobile Car washing and Detailing organization, said the group will help new businesses get licensed and try to dispel concerns about their operations.
The group of 19 businesses met for the first time last week and is scheduled to meet again Tuesday at the Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce offices, Winslow said.
"I put in a lot of hours getting my business started and understand what a lot of the new guys are going through," he said. "I don't want them to lose their businesses because the mobile carwash industry is not understood."
The city councils of both cities asked city staff last week to review ordinances regulating the businesses after owners of fixed washes complained that the mobile competitors compete unfairly by violating zoning laws and possibly hazardous-waste-disposal laws.
Owners of mobile carwashes who attended the meetings said they run legitimate businesses and are being targeted by fixed-carwash owners because they don't like the competition.
They also said the cleaning agents used to wash cars on area streets and parking lots are nontoxic.
Greg Dumond of Polish Masters of America said he hopes the group will be a much-needed unifying force among the mobile operations.
"It's a good idea because there is strength in numbers. The idea is to bring thoughts and responsible people together on many issues, Dumond said. "An organization will also help a business market a service, increase skills and give more credence to the name."
Dumond said there is plenty of business for both mobile and fixed washes.
"The carwash business is a $2 billion-dollar-a-year industry," said Dumond, who was among speakers at the Thousand Oaks and Westlake Village council meetings last week. "It's a good market. There is enough of a market for both mobile and fixed car washes."
Reprinted from The Conejo Valley Daily News, February 1993.