Reflecting on Risk and Resilience in 2021: How COVID-19 Has Changed the Car Wash Business
If there’s one word that describes today, it’s “disruption.” From COVID-19 challenges to supply chain issues, it seems like everything is in flux. Yet, there is consistency at Mark VII.
Did you know we never stopped making car washes during the pandemic? We kept our employees safe, found the right alternative components when we had to pivot, and kept serving our customers.
Times like this reveal which companies are resilient. While some of our competitors went out of business in the last couple years, Mark VII has proven it can adapt to changing times. In fact, we had our best year ever in 2021, in terms of new orders. We attribute this to:
- Flexibility. COVID-19 is rewriting the future of business and work. Time magazine noted this phenomenon in the 2021 article “Every Company is a Technology Company Now.” For Mark VII, this includes more virtual meetings. Some clients and prospects didn’t want to meet with us face-to-face during the height of the pandemic. We respected that. We also want to ensure our customers make the right decision when they make a major investment in a car wash. We still conduct site surveys in person to assess the location, traffic volumes and more. A hybrid system of in-person site surveys and videoconference calls helps us communicate with customers effectively, efficiently and safely.
- Moving at the speed of business. Mark VII is the North America subsidiary of WashTec AG of Germany. Thanks to video conferencing, it’s much easier to meet with our colleagues in Germany, without the time and expense of always having to travel overseas. This also demonstrates our commitment to being a more sustainable, eco-friendly company. Another plus? Video conferencing allows our various team members, whether they are located in North America, Europe or beyond, to join the conversation. This means we can get answers faster, which allows us to take care of our customers quickly.
- Innovative solutions. It’s no secret that supply chain challenges remain an issue in a variety of business sectors, including ours. We bring in components from all over the world, from stainless steel to plastic, to build Mark VII’s car wash equipment. When we can’t get components we need, our procurement team works hard every day to secure equivalent, high-quality alternatives to keep our factory running. During this time of record-high inflation, we’ve also done what we can to absorb the higher cost of materials. We never forget that you buy our products to make money. We want to help you continue to reach that goal.
- Skilled specialists. Not only do we have customers across North America, but we have service technicians and other key team members across the territory to serve them. Would you be surprised to learn that two thirds of Mark VII’s employees are remotely based? We have team members from the tip of Florida to Canada, and coast to coast across North America. While we maintain this extensive network to serve our customers efficiently, we work hard to help our all our team members feel valued as employees.Even when COVID-19 prevented us from hosting a face-to-face meeting in early 2022 at our Arvada, Colorado, headquarters, we rescheduled a virtual meeting. Keeping our team members up to date on the latest car wash information helps our customers succeed.
- Career opportunities. Everywhere you go in this COVID-19 era, “help wanted” seems to be a common business refrain. We attract and retain the best talent in the industry by:
- Encouraging young people. We love bringing in young talent and giving them opportunities they won’t get from other employers.
- Offering competitive pay and benefits. We benchmark all the salaries of our employees against low, medium and high ranges for each job. If we’re off the mark and aren’t paying a competitive rate, we correct it. We also provide opportunities to improve your salary the longer you work here. In addition, you’ll get excellent health care insurance, a 401(k) match and other benefits.
- Providing solid career paths. We look internally for the right job candidate before we recruit outside of Mark VII. Our employees’ tenure reflects how Mark VII is a great place to grow a career. Our chief engineer, for example, has been with us 45 years.
With all the challenges and disruptions in business today, the Mark VII team continues to find ways to put people first, manage risk, remain resilient and grow. This era of COVID-19 has encouraged us to hold onto systems that serve us well, but it has reminded us we don’t need to do everything the way we always have.
Thank you for joining us on this journey. We appreciate your support and look forward to serving you in the months ahead.