This article by Wendi Winters originally ran in the December 2016 issue of Wash Trends Magazine.
My 18-year-old daughter rolled up to the menu a few yards from the drive-through window at Starbucks and proceeded to order a venti cafè mocha grande with whipped cream.
Instead of handing over cash or her credit card at the window, she held up her phone. The screen had a Starbucks logo, the amount of her order and a bar code.
The barista zapped it with a handheld device and the amount was deducted from her checking account. Then, he handed the steaming cup of coffee to her with a smile.
She has a Starbucks app on her phone that is tied to a gift card and a rewards program that awards points for frequent use.
This is how she and her college friends buy coffee.
More than 24 years ago, long before the birth of my daughter or the evolution of apps, Philadelphian John Cassady started changing how people viewed their health club memberships.
Now 52, he spent his childhood in California and moved east in 1989, shortly after college.
Active in high school and beyond in track and field and wrestling, his first job in 1984 was in the health club industry. Then, as now, it is a membership-based business.
By 1992, computers were accepted as the norm in Americans’ professional lives. Email became increasingly ubiquitous by the end of the decade. Facebook launched in early 2004, following then-hot social media sites like Xanga and Myspace.
In May 1992, utilizing his health club industry experience, Cassady founded GlobalFit. A person enrolled in GlobalFit could travel across the country or around his or her hometown using gyms that were involved in the program. GlobalFit provides fitness club memberships from its national fitness club network of over 8,515 clubs to more than 50 million individuals who are eligible through their company’s employee benefits package.
It has been ranked among Philadelphia’s 100 fastest growing privately held companies from 2003 through 2007, and was ranked in Inc. Magazine’s Inner City 100 for 2005 and 2006.
Through his work, Cassady met Scott Caplan, 42, a founding owner of Sweat Fitness, which has grown to eight Philadelphia locations. “He was a provider of gyms in our network and we became close friends,” says Cassady.
GlobalFit was eventually sending Sweat Fitness monthly checks of over $100,000, or about $1.2 million annually.
Other gyms in the GlobalFit network include the national athletic clubs 24 Hour Fitness and L.A. Fitness.
Through the years, Cassady founded or was involved in other companies, including Phoenix Capital Resources and Fitness is Medicine, which offered to “bridge the gap between doctors and health, wellness and fitness centers.
In January 2013, Cassady and Caplan co-founded EverWash Car Club. Headquartered in Philadelphia, it is a subscription-based sales and management platform to the carwash industry. The company develops, markets and operates the EverWash mobile application, which allows consumers with smartphones to buy a monthly membership to a carwash, granting users unlimited, all-you-can-wash access for one low monthly fee at that carwash or any participating carwash in the EverWash network.
“Carwashes can double their revenue with no work,” Cassady asserts. “We work on a commission basis and have a stand-alone POS (point of sale). The carwashes have zero investment.”
The firm is completely commission based. “It’s a volume game,” says Cassady. “We make money once a wash has 2,000 to 3,000 members. We are invested in getting 2,000 to 3,000 members to each wash.”
The EverWash program, developed and tested over the past three years, has already rolled out to 20 washes in Philadelphia and is now being introduced, via trade shows, to the carwash industry in Pennsylvania and nationwide.
A wash in Redmond, Washington is already signed up, and Cassady and Caplan hope to have several hundred more across the country within the next 20 months.
EverWash doesn’t charge for a carwash’s involvement in the program. It also provides signage to the carwash to encourage customers to sign up for an EverWash membership and handles all the marketing.
“Scott and I are the experts in membership,” says Cassady. “We know how to work with members, keep attrition low and market to those members.”
A member rolls up to a carwash in the EverWash program and shows a QR code on his or her cell phone. The QR code contains the customer’s name, car make and model, and payment information. The scan includes the customer’s preferences like type of wash.
In turn, customers are rewarded when they refer other friends to the program, available on the Google Plan App Store or on Facebook. For each friend referred, the customer is given $5 off on the next wash. The Facebook site is https://www.facebook.com/EverWash.
The customer pays a low monthly fee enabling him to unlimited use of carwashes in the EverWash network.
“We do it all—100 percent of a customer’s journey,” says Caplan.
The two men claim they can increase the value of a customer by 400 percent and double revenues and volume of a carwash. They chose to adapt Cassady’s fitness club model to the carwash industry because both industries have a very similar high fixed costs and low variables.
Their company manages every aspect of the program’s sales and marketing.
On the consumer’s end, Cassady says, “A member pushes a button to find a wash, sign up or make a payment. For each member, we generate a unique QR code on the customer’s phone that is scanned at each carwash. It is a stand-alone system with cloud-based technology.”
The company, including Cassady and Caplan, has 10 employees. One is Jerry Goldstein, a third-generation carwash owner.
The co-founders initially used Goldstein’s carwashes as a case study and doubled the wash revenues in 24 months.
EverWash handles the monthly billing and collecting, pays the service provider and does the marketing. EverWash doesn’t make money unless its member carwashes make money.
“We become true partners with the carwash,” says Caplan. “To be successful, each wash should have 1,500 members. It will double their revenues.”
After three years of research and development, the EverWash founders are happy to attend carwash trade shows, like the recent “Splash!” industry show in Las Vegas as members of the International Carwash Association.
What’s next? What other industry could benefit from this kind of program?
“There are many other service industries that could benefit greatly from the subscription/ membership model, “Cassady says, “but we are keeping those close to the vest for now.”