It started with a billboard. Several billboards, in fact.
I was just driving through the Valley in the summer of 2017 on my way to a friend’s house when I saw a billboard for “MobileWash.” Something about it caught my eye: it was brighter, had a unique design to it, something like that. I remember looking at it so long at a red light that someone honked at me.
Mobile Car Wash: It Intrigued Me
I didn’t think about it for a while until I saw another billboard a few months later. That was in an entirely different part of Los Angeles. I thought that was interesting since it meant that they were trying for a different audience. Then, I started seeing the vehicles.
I was parking my car one day about a year ago and I saw someone with a big MobileWash sticker on the side of their truck. It took me a second to connect it to the billboard. What intrigued me more was about a month later I saw someone with a MobileWash decal on the side of their van, a completely different vehicle. I was struck by the fact that I saw the latter when I was in Palm Springs. It hit me that I was far from the valley, but I’m seeing this company everywhere. Who are they? What is MobileWash?
At that point, I figured I should do some research. I’m one of those people who enjoys being ahead of tech trends (which yes, makes me a bit annoying sometimes at parties, but I like my apps). Also, full disclosure: I hadn’t gotten my car washed in a long time. Whenever I would think about doing that, I thought of a million other things to do.
It turns out that MobileWash is a company that offers, well, a mobile car wash. The idea is that you download the app and then someone comes to where you are and washes your car. I had a million questions about this. But, I also had a car that hadn’t been washed in a very long time. Before I downloaded the app, I wanted to see the mobile app car wash business. Was this some kind of new tech frontier that I had missed?
The truth was… well, not exactly. I had missed the rise of MobileWash, sure. But, I hadn’t missed the rise of their competition because it didn’t seem to exist. Sure, there were a few other companies that said they offered a mobile car wash online. However, none of them seemed to have much reach. They certainly didn’t have the billboards or anything like that. I never saw vehicles on the street with a decal of these other companies. I just saw MobileWash.
There was one called “Washos,” (which made me giggle when I read it, as it sounded like an interesting kind of cereal and maybe not a car wash) but it looked to be a much smaller organization than MobileWash. I figured if I’m going to get my car washed, I’m going to have it done by a company I’ve heard of, one that’s substantial. The closest I can make is that it’s like McDonald’s. MobileWash is McDonald’s and this other company wasn’t Wendy’s or Burger King, but rather some local chain that only a few people had heard of. That led me to MobileWash.
How it Worked
It turns out that MobileWash is a service that brings car detailers to you. The app was pretty easy to use, as it felt similar to when I’ve used Uber or Lyft. I downloaded it quickly (not always a given. I have an old Galaxy S5 and seemingly a million pictures / recordings on it). Then, it wanted my location as well as what kind of car wash I wanted.
There were different options from MobileWash. I knew I wanted the inside cleaned as well as the outside (I kind of live out of my car). So, I went with the “Deluxe.” What I found especially great is that the “Deluxe” was only about $30. The other sites I had looked offered what seemed like less than “Deluxe” services at a price that seemed well beyond “Deluxe.”
I really wanted to check this out, but I didn’t have a lot of time. So, I clicked on the “Wash Now” option. This made me spend a couple more bucks, but it made sure that someone would be right on the way to me to wash my car. I figured that was worth it. It proved to be so when the team actually arrived quickly. I live in a part of the Valley that’s not necessarily always easy to get to. Indeed, when I have people come over for the first time; I do a lot of explaining “well, you have to make this turn, and then another one, and then fight for parking,” and so forth.
That didn’t happen with my MobileWash detailers, though. They knew exactly where to go and got here fast. After having been in more than my share of Ubers and Lyfts, I fully expected to get people just going through the motions, but that’s not what my detailers were. These guys really knew about washing vehicles. I couldn’t stop myself from asking questions, so they very patiently walked me through their entire set up.
They had a big decal on the side of their truck, which let me know immediately it was them. A portable generator was in the back, as well as all kinds of, as they said “commercial stuff.” This commercial stuff was a gas operated pump in addition to what could only be described as an arsenal of different spray bottles. I’ve been to actual car washes I had to drive to that were less prepared than these guys. Wax soap, all kinds of tanks of water, a place for a seemingly endless supply of towels – within a few minutes of them washing my Jeep, I realized that I was probably done taking time out of my day to go to the car wash.
New Kind of Car Wash
Speaking of my Jeep, that was one of the most unique parts of the experience for me: the dynamic pricing. I just figured a car wash was a car wash – there’s really nothing different about one against another. Either you pay for one service or another. That’s not how this MobileWash works, though. This “dynamic pricing” means that one car has a different price than another. I drive a 2013 Jeep Patriot. The price for that was higher than a smaller vehicle would’ve been, yes – but it was also much smaller than it would have been if I had driven a bigger vehicle.
It felt unexpectedly good to realize that I was paying a fair price for my car wash. I definitely said something like “ohhhhhh” when one of the car detailers explained this to me, as it had never occurred to me before. I think it’s one of those things that really makes sense to you as soon as you think about it.
As I said, these guys (the main guy was named Guadalupe) really knew their stuff. For example, I had not washed my car in a long time. I had sort of hoped that they wouldn’t notice that, but they were so good at their job, they clearly did. Guadalupe explained to me that something called “clay bar” would really help my car. Knowing nothing about cars and less about clay, I asked what that was. Instead of him just telling me, he showed me. He explained that it could take all of the spots and more off of my car’s paint, helping it to look even better. This would go beyond what the car wash could do otherwise.
No one had ever done something like that for me at a car wash before. The most human interaction for me at a car wash is figuring out how much to tip the guy who dries it. This was a real, human touch that I certainly never expected that I would get from a car wash.
Great Car Wash
In short, I recommend MobileWash. I was actually able to start writing this while they were washing my car, so it’s great for fitting it into your schedule. I was able to learn about how to better take care of my car when they washed it. I’m glad I saw those billboards a couple years ago. You can download their app for Android here and for Apple devices, here