Summer, sun, warm temperatures and an irresistible urge to get outdoors. When people are drawn outside, it's not only open-air restaurants, open-air cinemas or boat hires that feel it. The pulse rate also increases at the car washes. We experience this in Lostorf in the canton of Solothurn directly in live mode. This is where Garage Gubler AG operates with its six employees, two of whom are apprentices. Its core business is vehicle repairs, the sale of new cars as the official dealership of the Renault brand and second-hand cars – and the operation of a car wash centre – in front of which a queue has just formed. "Although it is the end of the working day and therefore the right time, such a rush tends to occur only on glorious days like today," says Managing Director Stefan Ruisi.
Admittedly, he does not have too much experience with the car wash business yet. Garage Gubler only started up its brand new automatic conveyor tunnel car wash system last year. "In view of the development and demand in this sector and our own interest in having more time for repairs, we have opted for a more effective solution than the hand washing method we used before," explains Stefan Ruisi. He went in search of a suitable solution and compared the products of many different manufacturers. He found what he was looking for at the Purchasing Organisation of the Swiss Automotive and Motor Vehicle Trade (ESA). "The system itself, the integrated service and everything that goes with it best meet our needs," says the managing director.
Did price also play a role in the decision-making process? "Our decision is based on expertise and quality and not on the price-argument," Ruisi replies. He received very good advice from ESA. "From the outset, the company responded to our requests, understood them well and, in our opinion, offered attractive solutions from a single source." He does not deny that the price for the offer was pretty decent.
The first year of operation with the new WashTec car wash has been extremely pleasing for the managing director. "On the one hand, we were surprised at how well the system worked right from the start, and on the other, how quickly the market, or rather the motorists, took up or made use of the offer." As soon as one or the other complication occurred, the ESA service team was immediately on hand. This was very important and valuable, especially in the start-up phase of a new business undertaking, and confirmed that he had made the right choice.
The car wash has already become quite a "crowd pleaser" in Lostorf. Of course, the weather plays an important role, says Ruisi. On average, between 20 and over 50 washes are carried out a day, including our own garage vehicles. "On such a glorious day as today, it could be more." From the positive customer response to the new car washing facilities, the managing director is hoping for a lasting effect in terms of increased awareness of Garage Gubler throughout the region. "In fact, we have already been able to win new customers for our other services through the car wash centre."
When it comes to water consumption in a car wash, Stefan Ruisi has a clear opinion. "I believe that the whole thing can be managed in an environmentally sound way." With WashTec, the conditions were met. In joint planning with ESA and the Office for the Environment, various investigations were carried out and the decision was finally made to install a biological wastewater treatment system. What effect this would actually have, he could not yet say, said Ruisi. "Because of the very short period the business has been operating, there are no actual figures available, but I am anticipating a positive result compared to conventional wastewater filtration systems." Stefan Ruisi is firmly convinced that nowadays it is crucial to protect the environment. "Firstly, because we only have one planet, and secondly, because our customers are also becoming increasingly sensitive to environmental issues. All investments that can make a positive contribution in this respect are therefore right and important. This includes biological water treatment for the car wash.
Text/ pictures: Robert Wildi, tankstellenWelt 7-8/2019