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Beating your annual sales goal by more than 200 percent is a major accomplishment, especially when you’re the new person in the sales division. While Brandon Burk was pleased to reach this milestone after his first year with Mark VII, he was a little frustrated during the award ceremony.
“I’m competitive, and I wanted to win a trophy,” says Burk, 33, who found out this required at least $1 million in sales. “While I was kind of upset at first, this motivated me. I knew I’d be back.”
Burk learned all he could about Mark VII’s products. He grew his network. He made more sales calls. By the end of the next year, not only did he qualify for a trophy (surpassing the minimum threshold by nearly $1 million), but he earned an even bigger award. “I was nominated to the Champions Club, which totally surprised me,” says Burk, referring to one of the highest honors awarded by Mark VII and its parent company, WashTec.
Competition helps you discover what you can achieve and how much more you’re capable of, adds Burk, who has been promoted to distribution management with Mark VII. “Mark VII does a great job of mentoring employees and promoting from within,” says Burk, who has worked for Mark VII since February 2019. “It’s a great place to turn a job into a career.”
Car wash brochures sparked curiosity
Burk didn’t start off in the car-wash industry. His first job during college was in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) industry. “I liked tinkering with stuff and working with my hands,” says Burk, who grew up in upstate New York.
One day when he was upgrading HVAC equipment in a town home complex in the Carolinas, he noticed one of the tenants had a lot of car wash brochures. Burk asked about them and learned that this tenant worked for a distributor. “As we kept talking, he asked if I knew anyone who was looking for a job,” Burk says.
Burk, who was 20 at the time, was intrigued. He landed a job selling and installing car wash chemicals. He enjoyed the work, but after six years in the car-wash industry (along with a move to California), Burk thought he might try the HVAC industry again. He still had his HVAC certification, and the work paid well. He even had the chance to form a partnership and manage an HVAC business. “I knew it wasn’t for me, though,” says Burk, who didn’t like the stress of being on call. “I wanted to get back in the car-wash industry.”
He took a job in California with a distributor’s pump and tank division. “That division was struggling, but I was able to turn it around,” says Burk, who moved back to North Carolina in 2017 to avoid the high cost of living in California.
Burk got connected with Mark VII in early 2019, when industry veteran Larry McCarty approached him about an equipment sales job. Burk was a little wary of the Mark VII opportunity, though, because he didn’t have a wealth of equipment sales experience. When he accepted the job, Burk knew his work was cut out for him. “Mark VII’s customer base was bare in the Carolinas, so I was basically starting from scratch.”
Burk’s competitive spirit helps customers, distributors succeed
One of Burk’s toughest challenges involved a multi-site operator (MSO) in the convenience store industry who been loyal to a Mark VII competitor for 18 years.
Burk and the MSO ended up on the same flight to Nashville for the International Carwash Association trade show in 2019. “I had the chance to sit by him, so I spoke with him for about 15 minutes,” Burk says.
The MSO wanted to continue the conversation during the flight and at Mark VII’s reception at the show. He was especially interested in Mark VII’s ChoiceWash XT, which provides multiple wash formats in a single system. “He liked the savings this system offers,” Burk says.
Within a week or two of the show, the MSO placed an order with Mark VII. He enjoyed good success with the equipment and has continued to do more business with Mark VII. “I let our brand speak for itself,” Burk says. “When you brand yourself properly, the competition becomes irrelevant.”
Car-wash industry equals opportunity
Burk has found that his HVAC background is a plus in the car-wash business, whether he’s serving new or long-time customers. “I can explain the mechanics of the system at a basic level or a high level,” Burk says. “This builds trust and confidence in the customer, and sometimes it saves them a service call.”
Burk’s focus not only helped him exceed sales goals, but earn a promotion to distribution manager—a goal he reached in January 2022. “My job is to make life easier for our customers and distributors. I look forward to this challenge.”
While Mark VII has approximately 40 distributors across North America, Burk wants to increase this number. “Growth is key. We want to properly train new hires and educate them about Mark VII’s products. The more knowledgeable you are, the more comfortable and confident you’ll be selling our products.”
Burk encourages young people to consider a career in the car wash business. “It’s a fast-paced industry that’s in demand, technology continues to advance, and the growth potential is insane. There are also a variety of job opportunities, whether you’re interested in sales, service, design, marketing, computer programming or accounting.”
Burk has met some of his closest friends through the car-wash business, including the town home tenant whose car wash brochures captured Burk’s interest years ago. “We’re both still in the car-wash business and bounce ideas off each other,” Burk says. “He’s become a lifelong friend. That’s what’s great about this business—you continue to learn and grow, plus you get to work with your friends.”