Garage Watch Interactive

The home of IFM Independent Forecourt Magazine

Car Wash Owners- “Don’t Sit Back, Fight Back.”

I was recently contacted by Active Car Wash Supplies Ltd with some exciting news about the results they are seeing from the use of new Italian car wash chemicals from a company called Ma Fra that they are supplying into the UK Machine Car and Jet wash marketplace.

As part of their service and in addition to providing a  rebranding, reimaging and car wash relaunching service they also provide what they call a free ”car wash health check” to determine the performance parameters of the car wash,  its efficiency, its  cost effectiveness and thus its level of profitability for its operator.Apart from the cost of the capital, the maintenance, the energy and the water, car wash chemical  play a major part of determining both the performance levels of the machine and their costs can affect its profitability. Active Carwash Supplies sees supplying the very best chemicals at the most cost effective pricing per wash as the cornerstone of a successful car wash strategy.

Rather than take their claims at face value I arranged to meet them and see for myself. We met at their unit in Stourbridge (West Midlands) and travelled together visiting several sites in the area.

I was able to see at first hand how both Rollover Units and Jet wash systems had been revitalised by their service thus looking far more appealing with much improved wash quality and just as importantly, at excellent profit margins. Two of the sites we visited are owned and run by a retailer I have known for some years now, Kumar Sharma of Sharma Garages. Kumar and his staff were full of praise for Active after seeing a sharp rise in the facilities use, customer satisfaction at the wash results and boosted profits from the corrected dispensing rate and competitive pricing of the wash chemicals provided.

As Kumar told me

“In my time in the Car wash market we constantly strive to exceed our wash quality experience and try and give the best possible wash that we can offer with our rollover machine.

When we switched over to the Ma Fra wash chemicals range we were very excited with the results of the wash quality, the multi coloured foam and shampoo shows more vibrant colours, and gives the same consistency of foam on every wash program.  We are now able to replicate a showroom shine by using the Mafralux nanotechnology wax chemical.

Our customers have noticed the difference and commented very highly on the results giving us great feedback. To wax a typical car it would cost around £40, you get this free of charge using these Ma Fra Car Wash chemicals.”


Kumar Sharma     Falcon Sharma Group .




Over recent years I have seen many neglected looking Roll Over and Jet Wash units that would definitely benefit from this form of health check and I leave it up to Tony Davies of Active Car Wash to explain just how they could boost your business too.

“No one needs to be told about the rise of the hand car wash industry. With a few notable exceptions, mostly provided by professional operators of multiple sites, the hand car wash in general is unregulated, untaxed, unlicenced and generally unpleasant both in the site appearance, the highly environmentally damaging chemicals used and the common abusive use of illegal immigrants as the  labour force. Generally speaking on such sites the staff are illegally paid below minimum wages, without tax or NI going to the government.

How did this come to pass?

It is our contention that the Forecourt Operators didn’t react quickly enough as the growth in the hand car wash industry began and simply sat back and let the hand car wash cowboys take their business and their profits. Perhaps complacency had set in.

Hence our Mantra  “ Don’t sit back, fight back.”

We suggest, and our customers can prove, that a correctly maintained car or jet wash, with the correct chemicals, with the right marketing and promotion , with an attractive image, providing a consistently excellent wash can, and do, triumph over the hand carwash cowboys.

On average the normal forecourt has to fill up 5 cars to make the same profit it would from one car wash. Its seems madness to us to let a major capital asset fester away and rust in the corner oron  one side of a forecourt.

So how can the forecourts with carwash facilities fight back? The simple answer is to give us at Active car wash supplies a ring or drop us an email and we will help you. We provide the best and most cost effective chemical solutions for car and jet washing available. That alone will make your car wash more profitable. But that’s not the whole solution.




Is your car wash working properly?

In the last two years and the many, many site visits and installations when we have carried out our car wash health checks, there was just one machine that was working perfectly.

It’s just like having a Bentley for hire sitting on the forecourt with one or more wheels replaced by a pile of bricks and then wondering why people don’t want to hire the car.

When was the last time you checked that your car or jet wash was working 100%? Most machines have a service contract. Use it. And check the machine often.  Wash your own car in the machine but stand outside and check all the programme features. Is there foam, is it good foam, how’s the colour, does the wheel wash work as it should,  is there detergent,  is there wax, does the under chassis wash work, do the brushes work, do they clean and contact the car properly, does the dryer work, does it actually follow the cars contour, is there drying agent, how does the wash bay smell, is it pleasant or does it stink, are the windows clean, are they broken or dirty, are the bay walls and floor clean,  and is it well lit, and welcoming, easy to approach and exit, is the concrete in good repair, are there weeds everywhere??

The list goes on and on. And when you have solved all the maintenance issues you need to keep checking. Every week at the minimum.

We relaunched one site and took so much business of the local hand car wash cowboy, that he paid for a car wash at the forecourt wash and using fishing line fed into the rollers proceeded to tie all the offside brushes up so the wash quality was compromised. It was spotted by a check and now a cctv camera can sort that type of issue out.


Correct Chemicals

So your car or jet wash is in top notch condition both mechanically and aesthetically.

You now need to put in the right chemicals in the machine and at right dosage.It will not surprise you when I tell you that those chemicals are Ma Fra Chemicals. We originally purchased Ma Fra chemicals simply to use in our own jet washes located on 30 odd forecourts in the East and West Midlands. We were then asked to try them in busy car wash. We knew we were getting fantastic results in our jet washes but in a rollover car wash, we were sceptical.

The results were amazing. And then we did the sums. How about a 71% saving on chemical costs with far better results than any other chemical.  And the bay smells wonderful and doesn’t need cleaning as often.

And car wash sales increase, and double, and then go up some more. 

As often happens, news of the Ma Fra success in one site spreads, and like a pebble in a pond the ripple effect spread throughout the independent forecourt operators in the West Midlands.  Gulf saw what was happening and asked us to work with them on their company operated car washes. Again there were notable successes, enough to justify investment on two new car wash machines to run Ma Fra chemicals.

The quality of Ma Fra chemicals means that they only need a dosage rate of 10ml per wash. It’s difficult to believe the gloss and polished finish we get on the cars’ paintwork with only 10 ml of chemical per programme.

Our Ma Fra chemicals are not expensive. They could be cheaper than what you are buying now.   Our Mafralux Foam Nanotechnology polish is 45% cheaper than a competitor’s Nanotechnology polish, but the difference is not only in price. Ours actually works and is only used at 10ml per wash. We saved one site using the competitor’s product £2.21 on chemical costs alone on each and every one of their top programme washes  and our polished finish was far, far better.  

That’s why we would like to come to your forecourt, carry out our machine health check, set the chemical pumps up to measure the chemical flow rates and hence determine accurate chemical costs. If possible we prefer to ask that the pumps are set by the car wash engineer to pump 10ml per wash but we are sometimes able adjust the pumps ourselves to suit our Ma Fra 10ml per wash requirements. Then you can wash as many cars as you want. You can then be the judge of the chemicals.

No one, anywhere has ever asked us to remove our chemicals. Everyone who has tried them,has bought them, continued to buy them, and our existing customers are, in fact, our best salespeople.


Marketing and Promotion


Using the classic ” 4 P’s of Marketing”  ie  Product, Place,  Price,  and Promotion how can we and you  effectively relaunch  a car wash?


Product. The car wash must be consistently working well, correctly set up with the correct chemicals (ours of course) and in a pleasant, easily accessed environment. If the wash boasts that it has coloured foams, make sure it does have strong colours. Just like our foam.

Place. The forecourt is made for car washing. Over 50% of people who go onto a garage forecourt expect to see a car wash. A working forecourt beats a disused piece of ground, a closed pub carpark, a disused or closed petrol station. Have you complained about your local car wash recently? Is it licenced? Is it legal.?Is it compliant to all the environmental regulations. Is it employing Illegal labour?.

Your local councillor,MP. Trading standards, Tax, VAT and Police should be told.

Price.Once you know your true costs of a car wash you know what prices you can charge. We supply one site in the West Midlands with chemicals for his car wash that enable him to sell a basic car wash for £1. He is quite busy as you would expect with frequent users such as Taxis etc. His chemical costs are well under 10p, the car wash is fully depreciated, each wash is profitable so he can afford this.  There is no way the  local hand car wash guy canafford a to sell a £1 wash  and has been pushed out of business.  Target your market and price accordingly.




Get the image right. Use colourful rebranding, make the car and jet wash look fresh and new and exciting. Make it stand out. We can also help hereas we have our own in house wide format  printers and laminators that can print anything your heart desires to personalise your car wash , your jet wash, your car or jet wash bay or the machines themselves.  Make an old machine look brand new and sales will increase. Do you want to theme your car wash?  We can do it?  Do you want banners, A Board posters and poster bags?  We can do it all and personalise the images to your site or branding/ image requirements.

Menu boards, have you got one? We have lost count of the number of sites without menu boards.

You need menu boards at the counter, above the counter, near to the door and at the machine itself.

Loyalty systems do work reasonable well but the best we have found is a simple“ Any Programme, Buy One get One Free.” The good old BOGOF offer so beloved by the UK population. This works really well but need to be advertised on posters and banners.

This invariably means that customers trade up to the more expensive and more profitable wash and also wash their cars more frequently. The car wash is probably the most high margin product available in the shop. Invest some of that margin to build loyal and repeat business.

We at Active feel that the decline in the Forecourt Car wash has gone as low as it can and is now on the rise. Public opinion is moving against the lawless image of the general hand car wash operators and the concern of the general public regarding illegal immigration issues are also having an effect.

A few simple operating procedures, a maintenance plan, a consistent wash quality with wash enhancing and cost effective chemicals that leave customers delighted with the quality of their car wash, in a convenient and welcoming location at a reasonable price with appealing quality image and effective signage and promotion will enable the forecourt car wash owner to reclaim the profits lost to the cowboys.



Remember  : “ Don’t sit back, fight back”

and let us provide you with the ammunition you need.


To that end we are pleased to be able to offer an introductory offer to all Garage Watch members and clients.

If you order a minimum of £250 worth of chemicals, not including delivery, we will give you a 5% discount off our list pricing of Ma Fra Car and Jetwash chemicals.

If you order a minimum of £500 worth of chemicals not only do you get the 5% discount but we will come and install the chemicals free of charge and carry out the health check so you will know exactly how to get the best out of your machine.You will also save carriage costs as we will bring the chemicals along with us.

 If you would like to rebrand and relaunch the site we can at the same time measure up for your tailored, personalised reimaging requirements.

And remember Ma Fra chemicals can be used in both Car and Jet washes thus halving your stock requirements and increasing your storage space.

So not only will you be getting what we, and our customers, believe to be the best car and jet wash chemicals, but you will be getting them at a discount and can take advantage of our car and jet wash health check  and reimage service should you wish.

Make 2016 the year you regain your share of the lucrative car wash marketplace.


Tony Davies    Peter Cox     Active Carwash Supplies Ltd

07908 261372   07976 933282

Please quote Garage Watch when placing an order to receive our negotiated discounts.



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