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Building the future of car wash payment technology

Helping WashCard create new revenue and new freedom for car wash operators

The challenge

Car wash operators yearned for a way to modernize their offering and capture new revenue without a gigantic investment.

The outcome

WashCard’s UWash helps operators leapfrog expensive fixed infrastructure using the point-of-sale system customers already have: their phone.

Next Mile helped WashCard build a successful digital offering from scratch. Jump to the problem (modernizing car wash), solution (UWash), or outcome (operators succeed).

Modernizing car wash

Unpredictable conditions

Car wash operation can be a fickle business. Seasons, weather, and the economy impact operators’ revenue, whereas maintenance, chemical, regulation, and labor changes burden their expenses. Fluctuation produces uncertainty, putting operators’ growth and livelihoods at risk.

Wash Card Dan

WashCard: a legacy of critical car wash equipment

As a car wash operator himself, Dan Yarusso lived the feast or famine cycle. Dan founded WashCard to help operators escape the ups and downs by building consistent business through increased customer convenience.

Customer behavior drives payment technology

For 30 years, WashCard has helped operators navigate every transition in customer payment behavior, from cash to card, to credit card, and now to mobile. Previous payment technologies required operators to invest in fixed physical infrastructure, retrofitting entry stations or digging up concrete. Mobile payments using customers’ smartphones could help operators bypass that risk, expense, and hassle.

The question was how? One app? Multiple apps? Mobile web? NFC? New hardware? The spectrum of possible solutions was broad, and not all were appropriate.

The answer: UWash

Architecting the right solution

WashCard’s experts had already brainstormed dozens of potential features for a mobile solution, so Next Mile first determined which mattered most to real customers. Next Mile researched prospective features with live customers through WashCard’s industry contacts, producing surprising, inspiring, and above all, focusing results.

Learning from the pilot

Next, we helped develop a pilot that could test the technical, operational, and business case unknowns in one go. It also served as a practice run for WashCard’s engineering team. To motivate the effort, we chose the car wash industry’s primary trade show as the deadline and an invite-only debut to gauge real interest. It was a smash hit, producing sales leads and first-hand feedback.

Planning clean execution

With good news from the pilot, we got serious about production. Next Mile helped specify the 1.0 experience and requisite technical architectures, toolsets, design approach, and development methodologies. From there, we determined ideal vendor options and missions for each, then helped WashCard select them.

Governing toward launch

Finally, all teams concentrated on launch day.

Car Getting Washed

Throughout production, Next Mile drilled WashCard’s engineering team on modern project management, software architecture, code management, quality assurance, deployment, and release practices. With a little help, WashCard’s designers, engineers, and product owner overcame every challenge.

Execution went smoothly enough that WashCard gained an extra month for vigorous quality assurance testing and careful go-to-market planning.

Immediate incremental impacts

Next Mile’s initial research eliminated ambiguity about the solution and the offering, setting WashCard’s small team down the right path. Their momentum intensified as we progressed through pilot, production, and launch.

Solution specifics


Solution architecture, execution planning, implementation governance, opportunity exploration


Activate, Prove, Architect, Monetize, Bid, Drive


Ainsley Shea, Build Labs

Making a splash

From concept to UWash

What began as an undefined concept became UWash: a carwash-specific Android and iOS application enabling users to pay for and activate car washes with their phone.

Behind the scenes, WashCard created hardware that can activate any manufacturer’s automatic car wash as well as the connectivity layer and backend systems required for device communication.

Everybody wins

UWash embodies one of Next Mile’s golden rules of connected product development: everyone in the value chain must succeed. Together, we delivered value across the board:

  • >Wash customers get a solution that genuinely simplifies buying while earning loyalty rewards, special access to services, and exclusive offers from wash operators.
  • >Operators expand their business without a burdensome investment.
  • >Operators get a low-risk way to generate new traffic, capture bigger transactions, reduce costs, and increase profit.
  • >Wash chains and integrators gain new insight, using the monitoring portal to review activity and transactions or administer changes.
  • >Retail data systems employ a powerful new data source.
  • >WashCard gets a new line of business without refactoring its organization.

WashCard made the leap.

UWash launch accomplishments

  • > Round-trip testing (app to cloud to car wash hardware) immediately successful
  • > Pilot garnered over 100 interested leads from one trade show
  • > Pilot pre-sold multiple licenses
  • > UWash active at 60 locations in first six weeks
  • > UWash demonstrably increasing traffic and transaction value
  • > WashCard team obtained new skills and methods
  • > WashCard team delivered a new technology
  • > WashCard gained new line of business
  • > Saved at least $350,000.00 versus design/build firms’ proposed approaches

Success for operators and their customers

Digital traction

Operators see higher traffic, hear positive customer feedback, and generate increased transactions from UWash. WashCard jumped from back office tool to true retail technology that increases loyalty, profitability, and revenue. WashCard created and delivered another sustainable success.

Try UWash yourself

UWash is live, operational, and expanding throughout the carwash market! Download the iOS app here or the Android app here.

What’s next for WashCard?

Feedback on UWash has been positive, with operators and end users asking for valuable features, not fixes. Since Next Mile helped WashCard develop a sustainable digital practice, WashCard owns the road ahead.

Digital Traction Image

Next Mile helped, but this is WashCard’s success.

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