Southwest Wake News

Local car wash owner, tech CEO launch mobile car wash service

A local car wash owner has teamed up with technology entrepreneur Scot Wingo, the co-founder and CEO of publicly traded ChannelAdvisor, to create an on-demand mobile car washing service that you schedule through an app on your smartphone.

“What we are doing can be pretty disruptive,” said Wingo, who has provided an undisclosed amount of financial backing for the startup venture, Spiffy, and is its executive chairman. “I think the convenience factor will really appeal to people,” he said. Wingo will continue as CEO of ChannelAdvisor.

Spiffy, which is officially launching its app-driven service in the Triangle on Tuesday following a successful beta test, expects to expand to at least one other city – most likely Charlotte – and perhaps two by the end of next year.

In addition to using an app to schedule a Spiffy van to come to your home or workplace to wash your vehicle, consumers also can track the service and pay for it via their smartphone. Spiffy has a fleet of about 10 vans.

Prices start at $19 for an exterior wash for a sedan, or $29 for an SUV or a minivan. The app is available at getspiffynow.com.

Spiffy’s roots are in the mobile car wash and detailing service launched in late 2011 by Karl Murphy, the owner of Carolina Auto Spa, which operates at sites in Cary and Apex.

That service relied on 20th-century scheduling – by phone or in person at the car wash sites.

“We were pleasantly surprised at how much response we got,” Murphy said.

Seeking to capitalize on a good thing, Murphy approached Wingo, whom he has known for years. That led to Wingo’s involvement and, inspired by companies such as Uber and Lyft that are changing the rules of engagement with customers, the development of an app that upped the convenience factor.

“In two minutes, you can schedule your first car wash,” Wingo said. “Scheduling your second car wash literally takes less than 30 seconds.”

Spiffy already is serving clients at a number of downtown Raleigh parking decks, where the company needs permission to operate its service. A key selling point for these commercial properties is that the vehicles are washed on a special mat that makes the service environmentally friendly.

“We recover all the water that goes onto the mat,” Murphy said.

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