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On-Campus Car Wash

Background:

A car wash that is held during class time that offers interior (trash removal and vacuum) and exterior (wash, dry, tires) cleaning for ten dollars. The car wash begins in the morning when classes start for the day and continues into the evening, about 6 to 8 hours max. Students drop off their keys on the way into class and come out after to a freshly washed vehicle. What’s important is the ability to gather keys, line up cars, and clean them in an assembly line fashion. A successful 8 hour shift should yield 50 cars, and at around $10 each, minus minimal recurring expenses, adds up to around $450 for a single day’s event. Another enticing aspect is that this is repeatable every few months and only requires one major investment.


Degree of effort:

Minimal to set up and promote. Most work is done the day of the event.

Investment: 

Cleaning supplies – approximately $40 for non-reusable cleaning supplies, and a $75 – $300 one time expense for the reusable items.

Limiting Factors: 

An adequate location is a must; there must be access to water, electricity, and parking.

Supplies: 

Cleaning supplies – sponges, soap, buckets, squeegee, towels to dry, scrub brushes for tires, shop vac, extension cords, water hoses, spray handles, garbage bags, etc… Also a table to set up operations (keys and cash).

Rundown and Pointers:

Ideally the carwash will be set up on campus by a high traffic parking area. The necessities are access to water and electricity, traffic, and the ability to line cars up. Getting in with physical plant / facilities management is very important for this, as they can help you set up.


RunDown & Pointers

Before:

Get permission from the physical plant and school to hold the carwash. Find out what items the physical plant can let you use, i.e. hoses with adapters and spray handles, extension cords, etc… Make a detailed list of needs. See which items can be donated from Brothers or borrowed. For example, someone in the Chapter may have access to a shop vac. Also, be sure to pick a day where everyone is on campus and for the longest amount of time possible. If everyone has class on Wednesdays from 8 to 5, then that’s your money day. See what in-class assignments are due that day, as picking a day with student presentations or such could kill the event. Try to build shifts that do not force anyone to skip class. Some schools frown at missing class and may even have an attendance policy, so using the different classes is very important!

Day Of: 

Arrive at least one hour before classes to set up. The goal is to get as close to a main entryway as possible (which may obviously be limited by water and electricity supply). If possible, try to have some reserved parking for finished cars and an area to line cars up that need to be washed.

During:

Divide the brothers into shifts. Ideally, no one will have to skip class if you use Brothers from various years. During class breaks, be sure to make announcements and collect keys. Keys should be organized in such a way in that they are not mixed up, lost, or locked inside a vehicle. During down times have people scour the campus to promote. Most faculty will either let you wash their car or just donate outright.

After:

Closing up is very simple: pack up all supplies and rinse down the wash area. Make sure to return any school items promptly. It is recommended to thoroughly wash the sponges and towels and then let them air dry.