There's a reason why owner Bill Lawrence decided to set Bubbles Hand Car Wash apart with upscale services and a pleasant ambiance. As Lawrence relayed to Allison Wollam of the Houston Business Journal, he was charmed by a clean, welcoming car wash he visited shortly after moving to Texas from New York, where car washes typically charged a convenience fee to any customer who smiled. Lawrence knew he could cater better to luxury car owners like himself with a conveyerized hand-wash system that combined the convenience of the tunnel model with the hands-on meticulousness of a traditional hand wash. His idea has caught on with some very high-profile customers. Houston Texans linebacker Mister Alexander trusts his ride to the skilled hands of Bubbles’ technicians, as do Houston Rockets players Hakeem Olajuwon and Kenny Smith, not to mention former president George Bush.
Even patrons without a Porsche or a professional sports career appreciate Bubbles' gentle lamb's wool mitt washes and eco-friendly soaps, sealers, waxes, and conditioners, as proven by the business’s 2010 and 2012 Houston A-List awards for Best Car Wash. Customers seem to be as taken with the company’s facilities as they are with its services; each lobby invites relaxation with free WiFi, a bemusing gift shop, and shoe shines so effective that patrons need only stand beside their vehicle to check its undercarriage. The community-conscious car washes also use less than a quarter of the water typically expended during a home wash, and the locations offer free car washes for military personnel on Veterans Day.
The automated car washes at The Bubble Bath Carwash scrub vehicles to a sparkling sheen in less than three minutes, without leaving a big environmental impact. The drive-thru washes use only nontoxic and biodegradable soaps, and The Bubble Bath Carwash recycles nearly 80% of the water it uses. Customers who wash their cars here can use the vacuums for free to clean carpets, seats, and hitchhikers sitting in the back seat.
Though it originally sold only two things—audio products and wireless phones—Car Toys has gradually expanded its repertoire. Today, with 50 locations spread across four states, electronics-certified technicians install everything from Alpine in-dash navigation units to phone-integration systems that sync iPhones, Androids, and tin cans to car stereos. Meanwhile, in the garage, detailing technicians meticulously spruce up cars inside and out, using deionized water, paint-friendly shampoos, and high-quality wash mitts to protect against scratches, swirls, and water spots. The team also sweeps through interiors with vacuums, hot-water extractors, and ozone deodorizing treatment, which kills airborne bacteria and nasty smells in one fell swoop.
H2O Car Wash and Detail's staff keeps cars in showroom condition with an emphasis on attentiveness and high-quality products. Meticulous hand washes are the team members' hallmark, and they perform each scrub down with soft, wool mitts instead of relying on machines or enormous carnival dunk tanks. To keep every vehicle looking its best, washes incorporate 100% carnauba wax to baby paint jobs and Lexol conditioners to gently maintain inside upholstery. The technicians rid interior and exterior dirt with a suite of washing and detailing services that leaves finishes glowing and interior fabrics looking freshly laundered. While the team does its work, motorists stay entertained in a lounge furnished with free WiFi and cable TV, and a kids' play area complete with video games works even better than hiring the GPS navigator to babysit.
At Genie, nearly a half-century of business success lends an air of wizened experience to locations recently upgraded with $500,000 in renovations. A large staff efficiently shuttles vehicles through a wash tunnel cushioned with foam pads designed to leave exteriors unscratched. Patrons can choose between one of six multistep car washes, or cherry-pick à la Carte services such as leather conditioning, engine cleaning, and headlight restoration. Detailing packages assemble extra touches that subject disheveled cars to white-glove once-overs including trunk cleanings and carpet steam cleanings.
Since 1988, Auto Care Super Saver has been helping car owners save cash with maintenance punch cards redeemable at local auto shops throughout the course of a full year. These cards come loaded with all kinds of prepaid services, including at least three full-service oil changes with up to 5 quarts of oil, lube, and a new filter. Depending on the location, punch cards may also feature tire rotations, brake inspections, engine-light readings, air-conditioning performance tests, and other repairs and inspections essential to a car's well-being. Customers can transfer the punch card's benefits to any ride, ranging from station wagons to sports cars to feral merry-go-round mounts.
Bubbles Express Wash swiftly gussies up sullied buggies with the three-minute Supreme Combo Express wash. The fully automated process begins with a wash, rinse, and dry, before your buggy's formerly spotted pelt is refeathered with tri-color polish, clear-coat wax, and a fast-drying agent. Wheels receive a tread-tickling scrub and high-gloss shine, and the auto's underbelly is showered and bolstered with a rust- and gremlin-repelling shield. Lastly, Rain Protection Plus is lovingly lacquered onto your ride, bringing a gleam to newly cleaned carriages while silently protesting Mother Nature's refusal to comply with "say it don't spray it" ordinances.