Car wash business expands into five states

Sunday, June 15, 2003

Business Today

POPLAR BLUFF -- Eight years ago Skip and Jean Boatner were doing well in the car wash business when they owned two popular car washes here.

In 1997 they opened Professional Wash Systems at 3664 Highway 67 North, next to Duckett Truck Center, to assist people in surrounding areas to open car washes.

Professional Wash Systems has grown rapidly -- it services and supplies about 250 car washes in Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.

This summer the Boatners plan to open an office near Little Rock, Ark.

Currently the Boatners are working on a car wash in Conway, Ark., that opened in October. They also have projects in Beebe and Benton, Ark. These days about 50 percent of their business is in Arkansas.

The Boatners have salesmen marketing car wash equipment and supplies in five states. After a salesman passes through a town where he thinks a car wash is needed, he contacts Skip Boatner.

"We'll gather data about the town, economics, population, check the number of car washes in the town, look for growth areas, then we'll meet with people," Skip Boatner said.

"We talk with existing car wash owners and ask if they want to expand their business. If they're not interested, we look for investors. We talk to lawyers, accountants, independent investors. We get them together and show them the profitability in car washes."

Professional Wash Systems also upgrades existing car washes.

After getting numerous phone calls on parts requests for Hotsy high-pressure hot-water systems, the Boatners became a Hotsy dealer in January.

"We sell Hotsy washers to industries. Fast-food places use them to keep floors and driveways clean. A lot of construction companies use two or three hot-water units. Farmers have found they can keep their equipment much cleaner," said Boatner. "People who own large truck fleets want them to keep their trucks clean."

Boatner said costs on the Hotsy pressure systems range from $2,825 to $11,895. The 9080 SS Hotsy, for example, uses four gallons a minute at 2,000 PSI at up to 212-degree water temperature.

"We carry about any size you want in electric, gasoline or diesel. Most people buy the electric. We have a full-time service technician and a full-time salesman."

Professional Wash Systems also sells D&S Equipment and Nu*Star Equipment. D&S manufactures touchless automatics, self-service equipment, vacuums and spot-free machines. Nu*Star manufactures soft-touch automatic car washes.

"We also deal with another 20 manufacturers of assorted products," Boatner said. "These products include money changers, water softeners and hot-water heaters."

Professional Wash Systems employs 10 full-time workers, two of whom are service technicians who service systems out of state.

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