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Tommy’s Express: Making Waves in the Car Wash Industry

by Assessor


Tommy’s Express, a Holland-based car wash company, is making a significant impact in the industry. With its rapid growth and innovative approach, Tommy’s Express has become one of the largest and fastest-growing car wash chains in the nation.

Riding the Wave of Success

In 2022 alone, Tommy’s Express opened 48 new locations, with over 400 more in the pipeline. This expansion is taking advantage of the booming car wash market, which is projected to reach $20.7 billion by 2028, according to Grand View Research. With approximately 60,000 car wash establishments in the U.S., the express conveyor belt segment is predicted to capture up to 50% market share by 2027 or 2028.

The Express Car Wash Revolution

Tommy’s Express CEO, Alex Lemmen, compares the current state of the car wash industry to the fast-food revolution of the late 1960s. The rise of express car washes, featuring automatic conveyor tunnels, offers customers the convenience of quick and efficient service, fueled by membership programs. This trend has been gaining momentum in the past decade, similar to how drive-thru service revolutionized the fast-food industry.

A Legacy of Excellence

Tommy’s Express has deep roots in the car wash industry, dating back to 1969 with the establishment of the original Quality Car Wash brand in Holland. In the 1990s, the company adopted a franchising model, constructing unique buildings and using proprietary equipment to create a distinct brand experience. This approach has proven to be more successful than competing “shoebox” car wash companies.

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Empowering Franchisees

Since its launch in 2016, Tommy’s Express has provided franchisees with comprehensive support, including top-of-the-line equipment, services, and training. Each car wash location generates an impressive average of $3 million in annual revenue. Over the past five years, the company has achieved remarkable revenue growth of 25 to 50% across its corporate-owned stores and equipment.

Recognitions and Future Plans

Tommy’s Express has been widely recognized for its achievements. It secured the eighth spot on DRB’s list of the top 50 conveyor car wash companies in 2022. Additionally, the company claimed the prestigious title of the No. 1 Smartest Growing Franchise in Franchise Times’ Fast and Serious list. Looking ahead, Tommy’s Express has ambitious plans to open up to 100 new locations every year.

A Bright Future

To support its rapid growth, Tommy’s Express is investing in a new $30 million headquarters, set to open later this year. While private equity firms are increasingly entering the car wash industry, Tommy’s Express has chosen a franchise-oriented path to domination. Consolidation is inevitable in this fragmented industry, where the top 10 companies currently control only 3% of the market. Eventually, these top players will make up 50% of all car wash locations.

A Strong Competitor

In West Michigan, Tucson-based Mister Car Wash presents the primary competition for Tommy’s Express. With 430 locations across the country, it is the largest conveyor car wash company in the U.S. Nonetheless, Tommy’s Express remains optimistic about its success, even with Mister Car Wash operating over 20 locations in the greater Grand Rapids area. As long as convenient access to car wash locations is maintained, the demand for services will continue to grow.

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Tommy’s Express has emerged as a leading force in the car wash industry, with its rapid expansion, commitment to quality, and focus on customer convenience. As the industry evolves and consolidates, Tommy’s Express is poised to solidify its position as a trusted and innovative brand in the car wash market.


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