a7c286df725df540e684b2b2ec992008-1Another year will end tonight at the stroke of midnight, and we thought it was the perfect time to reflect on the biggest stories of the past year. While these headlines might not have made ripples outside of the industry, they were important for those working within it and helped set the tone for changes and innovations to come. Here’s our list of the top five stories of 2016.

  1. The industry is booming. Believe it or not, the car wash industry is seeing a bit of a renaissance these days as people look to pay others for services they once did for themselves. This is probably of little surprise if you’ve opened a carwash in the last few years and have seen that uptick first hand. But for those in areas like California where the drought has plagued traditional methods, it might be counter intuitive.
  2. Minimum wage is increasing. Whether you’re an employee who will benefit from this or an owner who might now struggle to keep your business afloat, minimum wage hikes that begin at midnight tonight will be a big factor in the coming years. Some owners are worried they might have to pass the cost onto their customers, while others plan to absorb it and continue with current prices. Either way, the wage increase has been highly talked about in those 20 states it will affect.
  3. Waterless products appeal to consumers. Like we said before, the industry is booming and much of that is in part to the ways its been able to innovate. Waterless products aren’t just environmentally friendly, they were also practically necessary in places like California where droughts prohibited water use on certain days. Customers like the idea that they’re helping the planet by conserving resources, and the method make it easier to deliver services directly to consumers.
  4. Mobile apps make life easy. This is where a few factors combine. Waterless products and innovation have bred the mobile app and business where car washes now choose to bring their business to your home or work any time of the day for a quick wash while you go about your day. We’ve written about the development and use of these apps in their infancy and we know they will only continue to improve.
  5. Chains buy up competitors. This is a story that takes place in every industry and has for decades. But this year we’ve seen it affect lots of small businesses across the country. Mister Car Wash is just one of those examples.