(Photo by Hunter Willis Photography)
Social distancing has many closed car washes, but service is still available from a Baltimore-based startup that developed a contactless model.
With SpotWash, cofounders Freddie Ephraim and Mike LaRoque built a model that allows folks to book a car wash via app. Then, the $22.50 service is performed while folks are working or sleeping. The users don’t have to meet the person who is doing it or drive their car.
The progress refining the model and growing earned the company a $100,000 investment to close out last year’s Accelerate Baltimore cohort at ETC, and a spot on Technical.ly’s RealLIST Startups for 2020.
With the specifics of the service already in place, SpotWash is going wider with an emphasis on limiting interactions: This week, the company is making the service available at a driveway or outside a home in Baltimore. Called SpotWash Anywhere, it makes the service available beyond parking garages at larger buildings, where it was originally available.
Within the app, users can type in their ZIP code, then book a time when a SpotWasher is available. They then receive a lockbox to keep a refundable deposit, and the service is performed in their driveway or parking spot. The company is also keeping a feature that allows users to get a free touch-up if there is something wrong.
SpotWash is letting Technical.ly readers try it out for free: Enter the code “firstfree” into the app for one free wash.
It’s a move that expands the total addressable market to 500,000 people, LaRoque said. The cofounders had already planned to launch the wider service, and the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that move.
The company is also seeking to hire washers, which are W2 employees. Under the company’s model, the SpotWashers work in a designated geographic area, and also help with local-level marketing. Being a startup, LaRoque said there’s room for growth, as well. The service is currently available in most areas of Baltimore, and it is seeking to add to the team to expand the amount of ZIP codes it can reliably cover.
“We’re trying to add as many as possible as quickly as possible,” LaRoque said.
The service also has a way to thank people on the front lines of the pandemic: Users can donate a car wash and write a message to a healthcare worker. It’s a way to bring a little shine to their days.
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