What Our Successful Investors are Saying About Comtec
My partners and I own two car washes in Northern Colorado and Southern Wyoming. The three of us all had successful careers in Hi Tech manufacturing (70 + combined years) but around 2004 we began to realize that the industry and the companies we worked for were no longer headed in a positive direction and certainly did not have our best interests in mind. That realization caused us to begin looking for alternatives outside of corporate America. We researched everything from fast food restaurants to garbage recycling. Eventually that investigation led us to the car wash industry and ultimately to Comtec – who seemed to be the only car wash vendor willing to take the time to educate us about the business of washing cars. This advice included site acquisition success factors, equipment selection, P&L estimates, etc. Once we committed to the project they worked closely with our architect to incorporate proven facility attributes. During the construction phase they attended weekly meetings with the general contractor to coordinate site development and building construction. Comtec basically led us thru the entire process from initial conception to opening day.
We have now been washing cars for almost eight years. When recalling all the decisions we made correctly and those we wish we had done differently the one we really got right was adding a car wash to our service offering and the other is choosing Comtec as our car wash partner. Our business results have consistently exceeded the estimates we forecasted at the beginning of the project – which for anyone who has ever started a business will find amazing. Our customers love the wash quality provided by the Karcher equipment and seem to be willing to pay a premium price to get it.
Our two original sites are now fairly mature and don’t require the attention they did for the first few startup years. That has allowed us time to step back and think about future expansion. These investigations seem to always lead back to the car wash business as the one we understand and the one that offers the best ROI. We have reviewed this conclusion with both our CPA and with various financial planners/wealth managers and all have told us that these car wash opportunities provide superior returns to those currently offered by CD’s, equity, bonds, real estate, etc.
We are happy to share our experiences and learnings with anyone considering an investment in the car wash industry.
As you know, I have been the owner and employing broker for Eastcor LLC, a commercial real estate company in Colorado since 1991. Over many years of doing real estate brokerage and living from commission to commission, I started looking for an investment that would give me a steady monthly return, as well as provide a tax benefit for that return.
After some research, I decided to build a car wash in Castle Rock. I was very pleased with the immediate traffic that came to the wash. As the car wash provides a need-based service, I found I had a lot of traffic with little initial marketing. I quickly met my revenue goals within 6 months of opening.
One nice advantage to the business is that business expenses track revenues very closely. The largest expenses, soap and utilities, are low when business slows down and increase as business increases, so I never found myself having to deal with a month of slow sales and high expenses.
Another pleasant advantage was the accelerated depreciation that I was able to take advantage of for the car wash equipment. The equipment is a large cost to the construction of a car wash, and it can be classified as personal property and, therefore, eligible for accelerated depreciation. I found this to be a very nice tax benefit I had many partners and business associates express an interest in the business, and I assembled a group and purchased a second wash in Colorado Springs. This wash has also met or beat my revenue goals.
I continue my commercial real estate business and manage my car washes with part-time attendants. Kids pitch in, too, now that they are old enough. Not only has this business given me the steady income that I was looking for as a self-employed real estate broker, but has also turned into a great investment.