Detailing Against Covid-19 and Other Germs
By Meline Beach
The Covid-19 virus has created a heightened awareness about the easy spread of germs – from liquid particles expressed through sneezing, coughing, talking, and singing to touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your own eyes, ears, nose, or mouth before cleaning your hands. Many businesses have suffered from low to no sales due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, including carwashes, except those that offer interior detailing services.
“We’re down approximately 30 per cent of our usual car washing business, but our sales in car detailing have gone up with a number of cars coming in for Covid-19 disinfection,” says Dave Watson, owner of the Chamois Car Wash and Detail Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With three locations across the province, they’ve managed to stay open on reduced hours, seven days a week. “We’ve received an increase in sales from emergency service vehicles and car dealerships from trade-ins and auction vehicles.”
In addition to their regular detailing practices, the Chamois offers an ozone treatment, using a machine that takes out the oxygen of a vehicle to kill bacteria.
New safety protocols
Established in 1998, the Chamois carwash company has been providing carwash services for over 20 years across three locations throughout the province. They take pride in the safety of their customers, team members and the vehicles they service – before and during the current global pandemic.
“We’ve taken extra precautions due to Covid-19. Before team members enter the vehicle, they spray everything down with a disinfectant to prevent the spread of the virus. Before entering any vehicles, all team members must be wearing masks and latex gloves, which they sanitize between vehicles and discard between shifts.”
While Watson says they haven’t actively promoted Covid-19 disinfection services, they do tell all customers of their safety protocols when they call. Part of their protocols involve using a spray chemical germ guard treatment that kills viruses within seconds after application. They’ve also dedicated certain tasks to team members in a manner that creates safe distancing from one another, and towels are no longer shared between vehicles.
In order to accommodate these new safety protocols, the Chamois locations have had to remove a vacuum install and one carwash bay. They’ve also changed their exterior carwash practices, allowing customers to remain in their vehicle and just drive down the line.
“I think we’ll continue with the option for customers to remain in their car for exterior vehicle cleaning even after all restrictions are lifted,” says Carlo Occhino, detail manager at the Chamois’ Waverley location, who has noticed a change in his customers’ behaviour since the start of the pandemic. “We’ve had to require our staff to say hello to customers as people are not as outgoing or talkative as they once were.”
Natural disinfection solutions
Christine Teschl, president of Specialty Fuel Improvers Inc. quickly shifted her focus from fuel and engine performance additives to disinfectant solutions as soon as the pandemic negatively impacted her business venture.
“All contract negotiations and business meetings were instantly cancelled due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and sales halted,” says Teschl, who is a spirited entrepreneur and easily adaptable to change. “Having an established network of scientists, we quickly pivoted to develop a disinfectant spray that would be effective against the Covid-19 virus and other germs.”
Within 60 days, Teschl launched Sunbee – a Canadian manufacturer of premium hand sanitizers, 100 per cent natural surface disinfectants and wipes.
“The world is hyper focused on helping their family, friends and employees,” says Teschl. “We found ourselves in a position to respond quickly with an extremely safe, natural solution in a highly competitive market that was crowded with a number of toxic options. Our disinfectants are safe and easy to use on all surfaces. When disinfecting your vehicle, you definitely want to stay away from using bleach or hydrogen peroxide; those products could easily do damage to your car’s upholstery.”
Licensed by Health Canada, Sunbee’s products feature a Natural Product Number (NPN), and are proven to kill 99.99 per cent of bacteria and viruses without the detrimental side effects of other toxic chemical products. Their Select-Bio products contain powerful sporicidal, fungicidal, and bactericidal agents and serve as a highly effective disinfectant on hard surfaces, such as sinks, toilets, floors, walls, vehicles, and personal protective equipment – perfect for use in corporate offices, reception area, restrooms and carwashes.
“We noticed that Health Canada issued a number of recalls against toxic sanitizers originally approved to disinfect against the Covid-19 virus, that not only smelled terrible, but were also causing skin irritations,” says Teschl. “We wanted to offer a natural alternative to chemical solutions and came up with the Sunbee line of products, using organic Aloe Vera and essential oils rich in antioxidants and natural cleanings powers, known to protect skin against harmful organisms.”
Sunbee’s products are formulated for personal and medical applications and can be used for travel, pets and in cars, including leather interiors. Available for retail and wholesale interests, their products are packaged for individual use and bulk sizes, in a variety of scents, including lavender, vanilla, citrus, tropical, Yogi and natural – with vanilla being the top selling scent.
According to Teschl, their 100 ml hand sanitizer spray is the perfect size to sell to C&G customers. With a suggested retail price of $8 to $10 per unit, the product offers a 20 to 30 per cent profit margin, depending on volume.
A customer’s perspective
Brian McAllister likes to keep his Ford Escape clean from pet hair, food crumbs, dust, and germs. A resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario, McAllister relies on his local carwash and detailer closest to his home for quality service, competitive pricing, and its loyalty program.
“On average, I have my car cleaned inside and out once every two weeks in the summer and once a month in the winter,” says McAllister, who pays $30 for a platinum wash, which includes a 15-minute detailing session. “I get my car cleaned regularly because it’s an expensive investment and I feel it’s important to take care of it. Plus, there’s nothing worse than getting into a dirty car.”
Charlea Sivazlian from Sudbury, Ontario takes pride in cleaning her own car but happily purchases a gift certificate from her local carwash for her boyfriend twice a year. Valued at $150 each, Sivazlian says car detailing is part of routine maintenance in owning a vehicle.
“My boyfriend is thrilled with his gift certificates to have his F150 cleaned inside and out,” says Sivazlian. “He’s able to drop off his truck and pick it up three hours later looking and smelling brand new.”
Meline Beach is a Toronto-based communications practitioner and frequent contributor to Convenience & Carwash Canada. In addition to freelance writing, Meline provides communications and public relations support to businesses across Canada. She can be reached at www.mlbcomms.ca