"We're glad you're here. Hello!" This is the friendly welcome with which the Waschpark Marl car wash centre greets its customers, who want to have their vehicles professionally washed and maintained. The new car wash centre on the outskirts of the North Rhine-Westphalian district town in the north of the Ruhr area is a good example of how to measure it against the highest standards in state-of-the-art automatic vehicle washing. Because Hans-Günter Nehling and Michael Sendes, joint founders, owners and managing directors of the car wash centre, had everything installed that was technically and visually possible for a car wash centre in autumn 2016. The result – in every respect efficient and convincing, tempting and attractive, with waving car wash centre flags in front of the entrance to the wash bay and a big promise inscribed on the building's fascia: "Let's go to the car wash!" Anyone presenting themselves in this way knows that what they have promised will actually be delivered.
The two car wash centre initiators are proven experts in the car wash industry, but are newcomers as operators of a car wash centre. Nearly 20 years ago, they founded the company Groß-Bölting Verwertungsgesellschaft GmbH, which was later renamed VEL GmbH. They have been well known under this name to the car wash industry in Germany for a long time. "VEL disposes of conveyor tunnel systems, self-service car washes, petrol stations and car dealerships nationwide," says Hans-Günter Nehling. He also says: "Due to our good connections to the wash business, we considered using unused land at the company headquarters in Marl for business purposes. Our proximity to the car washes was crucial to building up a service complex for vehicle washing on the open space." This is how an idea that had been expressed time and again became a tangible reality on 7 October 2016.
At the heart of the car wash centre should be a conveyor tunnel system with excellent technical equipment that will deliver the best cleaning, care and drying results, with reliable technology that does not require much maintenance. The question as to which manufacturer should supply the washing technology was quickly answered. "We opted for the market leader WashTec. We knew the technology because we also dispose of WashTec car wash stations. Over time, we learned from the fitters about the high performance and reliability of the technology and the exemplary service provided by all WashTec employees." The first joint project, a precise site analysis and a realistic profitability forecast, formed the basis for successfully carrying out car wash operations in a truly professional manner later on. The results of the survey summed it up: "Marl can use a modern car wash facility. The necessary washing potential is there." All preliminary considerations finally led to a well-informed decision. The final result was the following ensemble: SoftLine2 Vario on a 36-metre chain, a spacious pre-washing area integrated in the hall unit thanks to its 60-metre washing building length, a fully automatic pre-washing arch in the entrance and eighteen vacuum stations facing each other, half of which are covered.
For over a year now, the decision taken back then at the desk has been a reality – state-of-the-art, perfectly functioning washing technology in a friendly, brightly designed wash bay with a generously dimensioned pre-wash area. Eighteen spacious vacuuming stations are available to the customers parallel to the wash bay on the fully asphalted outside surface. "The customers vacuum under the roof when it rains. In sunny weather, they like to change sides and vacuum outdoors," says Hans-Günter Nehling having observed typical everyday goings-on at the car wash centre. Anyone who judges the choice of washing technology, will come to the conclusion without any doubt whatsoever that Waschpark Marl car wash centre offers the finest technology. It couldn't have been better in autumn 2016. "We opted for this technology on the basis of the experience we gained from disposing of WashTec car washes and other facilities," says Hans-Günter Nehling.
The customers thanked the four friendly and dedicated employees of the car wash centre. The washing result and, of course, the washing experience scored well with the customers right from the start. "In the first year, we managed around 48,000 washes," said Hans-Günter Nehling, visibly proud of what had been achieved. The products of WashTec subsidiary AUWA played a significant role in the large number of washes. "AUWA chemicals go best with WashTec". Hans-Günter Nehling admits that it is probably not always easy at the beginning to find the right settings for a perfect washing result. However, he was delighted to see how committed they were to getting things done in order to quickly satisfy the needs of the car wash centre customers. "Business brothers and sisters clarify this among themselves better than competitors", so his impression. The AUWA sales representative, who regularly visits the car wash centre to check the settings of the chemical products and adjust them if necessary, also receives much praise. At the same time, it is the exceptional friendliness, the high level of service provided and the commitment of the car wash centre's employees under the direction of plant manager Eldin Sarajlija that go down well with customers. The washing technology and wash bay are as clean as on the first day. That's down to the management. "We have set days in the week when employees start earlier to clean and maintain the system. This service work is carried out according to a certain pattern that we devised," says Hans-Günter Nehling. He also says: "During washing operations and even on bad weather days it is difficult to devote two to three hours to cleaning and maintenance without interruption. If you sell cleanliness, you have to ensure your own cleanliness on a regular basis."
Meanwhile, further thoughts are shaping what happens in the Waschpark Marl car wash centre. "We are currently considering more intensive care for the vehicles and gradually completing our services with vehicle maintenance and vehicle preparation." To do this, the car wash must first be running well. "We are now at a point where we are ready to say that we can and will tackle this project in spring 2018," says the managing director looking ahead. In addition, "we are also currently considering expanding the car wash centre with self-service wash stations. We had all previous work carried out in such a way that we could easily expand the centre at any time. The connections, for example, have been prepared and the technology has also been designed so that self-service wash stations can be easily connected." It is likely that Hans-Günter Nehling and Michael Sendes will again opt for technology from the world market leader in the vehicle wash sector.
Text/ pictures: Bernd Fiehöfer