Having your car cleaned while you're doing your shopping has become big business in Ireland

Shopping centre managements realise that having a car wash facility on site is a sure way to attract new customers. The service saves the customer time-- otherwise spent waiting in car wash queues to have their cars cleaned-- and it also provides an extra level of car park security.

One Dublin-based car wash has stolen a march on their competitors by making their service eco-friendly. Instead of using power hoses, which can soak up 150 litres of water to clear one car, they use a natural spray-on solvent to dissolve the dirt which can then be washed off using less than two litres of water. The process leaves no suds and no excess water in the car park.

The service is proving a winner, and Eco Car Wash Ltd is now franchising the operation. The company offers external hand wash and valeting services at shopping centres, offices, retail parks and multi-story car parks across Ireland. They operate from either a fixed location or from a mobile trolley which can be easily moved from one car to the next.

Kieran Redmond, the company's spokesman, says: 'The service has become very popular, especially in shopping centre car parks. Today's car owner is proud of their car's appearance and values it as a status symbol. They resent waiting in car wash queues and they think having the car cleaned while they are doing their shopping is great time-saving idea.'

Eco Car Wash has just opened five franchised outlets in Dublin and Dunlaoghaire and other locations around the country are under negotiation.

Kieran added: 'We provide the franchisee with a proven business concept, a ready-made market in an exclusive and secure location, full training, local market analysis, and all the equipment he will need to start. The process is simple. The customer parks their car as they normally would and asks to have the car cleaned. Our trolley operator wheels his trolley to where the car is parked and proceeds to clean it. Apart from an external hand wash, we also offer a mini-valet and a full valet.'

Apart from learning the practical side of the business, franchisees are given professional sales and management training to enable them to set up and run their own business under the Eco Car Wash umbrella. Minimum investment is €13,000.