When your car inevitably gets dirty you have two options; either waste time driving to the car wash and waiting for the car wash, or take the time out of your day to wash it yourself, provided you have all the cleaning supplies needed. Now, thanks to Washos, there is a third option. The Washos app saves you time and money by allowing you to schedule on-demand car washes at your convenience. With already 36,000 active SoCal clients and a growth rate of 25% month to month, Washos is making your life a little easier and you car cleaner, one car wash at a time. It’s also good for the environment by using methods that use 26x less water than traditional car washes.
LA TechWatch chatted with cofounder and CEO Bertrand Patriarca about the company and how it plans to expand to multiple cities.
Tell us about the product or service.
Washos is the first and largest auto detailing app in Southern California. Via the app and web platform, we deliver on-demand mobile car washes directly to customers using professionally trained detailers. All detailers are fully insured, have graduated from the Washos Academy and undergo an extensive background check to guarantee 100 percent satisfaction for customers. Washos’ approach to auto detailing provides an ecofriendly alternative to auto detailing by using 96 percent less water than traditional methods and non-toxic cleaning agents. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Washos currently serves Los Angeles County and most areas in Southern California.
Washos is different from traditional car washes in that it takes the time suck and traffic out of getting your car detailed. It is also ecofriendly, employing a near-waterless process which uses just one gallon per car versus 26 gallons for traditional car washes and all non-toxic cleaning agents. In addition to using 96 percent less water than traditional car washes, Washos uses all non-toxic cleaning agents to ensure the safety of the environment.
We also separate ourselves from other on-demand auto detailing apps in the market by investing in our people. WashOS invests the time to identify, train and produce the best detailers. We have created the WashOS Academy which is an intensive four-day training program where the best come away with real marketable skills. We’re not only training people to become professional detailers- we’re also helping our technicians build careers. WashOS detailers feel involved and elevated thanks to a progression system based on their involvement and their client satisfaction ratings. We recognize the value of our people and we reward their hard work. We rely on a unique network of professional detailers we have trained and empowered to deliver the most consistent and enjoyable experience to our clients.
Finally, our technology combined with our recruitment processes guarantees quality and reliability for hundreds of bookings per day. In addition to requesting a car wash on-demand, you can also schedule a wash for a time in the future with a detailer of your choice should you have a preference.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are in the car care business. It represents 8 million cars cleaned per day in the US and an annual revenue of $15B.
What is the business model?
We act as an assisted market place. We offer 4 packages and 15 add-ons. We keep a commission on each job delivered. Our contractors are paid per job with a flat fee.
What are the plans to expand outside of SoCal?
We have spent 2 years experimenting and perfecting our model in LA and Orange County. Now that we have become a leader in the space and have been able to scale appropriately, we are ready to expand to other cities. The expansion will rely on a very specific playbook. We have 10 cities in our sights. Characteristics they all share are urban density, a car culture, populations over a million and upper-middle class neighborhoods. The first cities we target will also have similar weather patterns as LA: sunny and high temperature.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
My partners and I are all French. I founded 3 companies in France and sold the last one to a large online media group. I arrived in LA in 2014 and was struck by the intensity of southern California’s car culture. Unlike Paris, people drive all the time and really love their cars. Driving on the PCH one weekend, I saw several car clubs on drive, vintage cars on display and customized motorcycles cruising by. A light bulb went off and suddenly it struck me… all of those cars and motorcycles on the road may create a lot of traffic by they also create an opportunity. I started considering the market and found there are over 17 million registered cars on the road in both Los Angeles and Orange County. I was really surprised to see that the car wash, a true American tradition has not evolved in the last 50 years.
Convenience is number one for most people, especially millennials and city dwellers who put a high premium on their time. Who wants to spend their valuable weekends fighting traffic to get to a carwash and then sit around waiting? From grocery shopping to having laundry and even an app for having your car refueled in the parking lot while you’re at work, all aspects of our world are moving into an on-demand space. It’s time the auto-detailing sector catches up.
I have also been very impressed by the dedication and the passion of some detailers I met. Building a network of professional detailers and giving them the place to adapt to the modern world, thrive and grow was an important part for us.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
Building Washos in Los Angeles has been great and it’s still an amazing journey. We love this city because it’s actually like a combination of a hundred different cities with its many different cultures, neighborhoods and diverse environments. LA is the car paradise, making it a perfect fit for Washos.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Within the next six months we plan to launch Washos in San Francisco, San Diego and Miami. Additionally, we have a few new features planned to roll out in the app to provide more convenience, comfort and options to our clients.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
Mark Suster. He is the godfather of the VC scene in LA!
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
Being “Made in LA” conveys a certain coolness and calm in our attitude. It also relates to our style of thinking: bigger and faster! LA’s unique mix of culture and origins also reflects our own ideals- we embrace and respect the world differences and cultural differences.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
More pitch contests and more meetups for Startup founders is a great way to promote early stage entrepreneurship in LA.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity in LA?
I really enjoy hiking in the canyons LA has to offer. From Runyon to Malibu, there are hundreds of paths available.