Dealership owners and their franchise brands go to great lengths, for good reason, to create an inviting and appealing showroom to welcome visitors and buyers. Let’s call it “sellin’ the sizzle!”
Along with making ir inviting, the showroom has to be functional for the sales team to conduct business, but also a fluid area to move their inventory while creating a tantalizing and persuasive marketing “staging” area. Add to that the design needs the right amount of creature comforts to make it a relaxed setting, one that is ‘user friendly’ and purposeful for ‘selling the sauce’. And finally, the showroom has to be a welcome place that transitions the client from the sales area to the finance area, and eventually to the service and delivery department. Frankly, from the outside let’s say it’s ‘the start’ that sets the race to the finish line.
So from a cleanliness perspective there are unique challenges for the dealership, the sales staff and detailing department all in one. The selection of flooring in the showroom and requirement for ease of vehicle movement can make or break the very essential “showcase” critical to their success. And, although considered secondary, the cleanliness if the showroom pays huge dividends, frankly to the success of the dealership. Just like their cars, the showroom should be ‘spit shined’ as well.
Big bucks are shelled out to create the perfect atmosphere, but long after creating it and installing it, serious effort should be given to maintaining it. Nothing like having a dirty facility dampen and dissuade a stressed buyer’s nerves while they wait for the dreaded application submission and approval process. You know ‘the deal’— sitting for what seems hours on end staring at the sales associates desk, the floor, the corners, the glass, the ceiling, everywhere a really bored, nervous and edgy applicant sits (with their family members). Most times the wait is successful, other times not. Patience can wane and prospective clients, with buyers remorse builds (a head of the deal), and they walk out, out of frustration.
Whether they buy or not, they get a front row seat-chance to evaluate the cleanliness of the facility, and perhaps a lasting impression of the quality of the facility they are dealing with. (A side bar suggestion from an accounting professor Wendy once had– ‘arrive early to the business entity you are meeting, ask to visit the bathroom. Evaluate the cleanliness of the bathroom. If it is clean, then the books are probably clean. If it is dirty, then the books are probably dirty, and make you’ stay or break decision’ whether you want to stay and get involved, or leave. The Accountant-CPA says that quick test served him effectively over the years!) You could argue, same here.
Also, years ago (and not for this client, but worth telling), a luxury brand we were doing on-going maintenance for opened a new, state of the art dealership. Installed was a porcelain type tile that absorbed every last bit of oil based film inherently “released”. From the oils and lubricants emitted from running engines and greased components to transfer from the rubber tires, it was one red hot mess! Although considered state of the art from a performance standpoint, what the tile installer did was disastrous to the functionality of this showroom. Ditching this floor and starting over was ‘off the map’ expensive.
Although unknown for how long this rubber composite floor has been in this dealership’s feature showroom floor, Harry (the dealership owner) was insightful enough to wonder if he and his wife’s carpet/tile cleaner, us, could help him.
Daily efforts are a regiment for this dealership, but the owner could not help but question if what his carpet/tile cleaner does at his house could clean his showroom more effectively and restore it to a ‘like new’ appearance. He was right.
Although what we do, which we consider for this application as “technical cleaning” does not replace daily, on-going efforts, periodically it sure helps. In fact, a bi-yearly visit and cleaning restores a cleaner appearance they cannot do themselves. With the overall appearance improved, it gives the cleaning crew a better shot at keeping the place ‘spit shined’ for a little longer, while making it easier for the crew ‘at the mop’.
It’s pretty simple. We have a bi-yearly schedule where we come in and spray a cleaning agent geared to attacking solvents or oil based soils which accumulate on the floor. After allowing it to ‘dwell’, or begin the chemical-cleaning action, we machine scrub it with a rotary floor machine (a buffer). This ‘revs up’ (heats) the chemical reaction which is further kicked up by the ‘agitating’ process provided by the buffer. (A similar experience happens when you apply Spray n Wash™ to a fabric spot, then rub it together with your hands- which stimulates the chemical reactive process, before placing the garment in the washer, as a pre-treat process.)
Years ago once our steam technology blasted on to the scene we were thrilled to share it with others. First up was diving in deep, right in to a service bay. Now mind you this particular dealership has an automatic scrubber they use regularly in the repair shop. However, steaming a well loved (over 30 yr old service bay), we blasted thru the 30 year buildup and got it back down to the original paint layer. Frankly it was amazing!
Not long after that our technology was brought on board to solidify a launch of a new age vehicle, the VW. Brought out of mothballs, this radical re launch with its target market, the environmentally conscious consumer, required a pristine backdrop. For us, we steamed their showroom monthly for over three years, solidifying it’s impact on its customers and market for everyone’s benefit.
After the solution continues to dwell, the floor is then steam extraction rinsed with a rinsing agent at temperatures as close to boiling as possible. It is delivered in a steam chamber, which is created by the round dome wand design. The wand delivers the hot water “steam” at a strong PSI volume, exiting the wand tip into the steam chamber. It then simultaneously extracts the dirty water back up thru the steam wand’s vacuum recovery portal, all with one pass. Kind of resembling a high tech frisbee with a spinneret sprinkler like fitting, and a huge suction line all housed in one wand, this wand emits and recovers the cleaning solution without flooding the floor. In fact, you can use this in areas right up against contents in a room like furniture and décor, without causing damage. Common sense prevails, precautions taken and details to clean up as we go, we successfully clean in and around expensive décor, both in commercial and residential settings.
After doing this floor several times the staff added the adjacent service department ceramic, and a wise move indeed.
Maintaining one floor might well depend on what happens to an adjacent floor. They are interconnected. Soiling buildup in an outlying area will eventually affect the area of concern. Consider the technical term “track off”. Soiling buildup will be carried by foot traffic from one area to the next available fuzzy surface. There it gets deposited, the clean shoe moves on its merry way.
Dealership dirt revealed—You have the repair shop with dirt, mud, oils and soils. Not only on the floor, you have it in the air and settling everywhere. Mechanics and staff track it inside, and a natural target is the service counter and waiting area, also the public bathrooms. From there the service staff, finance and sales staff, and customers pick it up on their shoes and track it further into the dealership.
The result, the oils and soils get carried into the showroom. Case in point, it takes a dirty shoe wiping or walking exactly “six” lefts and “six” rights to rid soils from a contaminated surface, a practice no one does!
So to sum it up, cleaning the ceramic tile in the service department definitely helps the showroom stay cleaner longer. Hats Off to Harry, he gets it! He gets it, his staff get it, and his showroom gets it! A clean floor, and a conducive environment for lots of visitors and clients, and lots of happy new car owners!