How to Protect Your Car Wash Business from High Wind and Storm Damage
Your car wash provides an important service by helping your customers keep their vehicles clean and looking great. As a business owner, you need to make sure your car wash business is protected from high wind and storm damage. Otherwise, after the wind or storm passes, your business could sustain significant damages and require you to close it down until repairs can be made.
Step 1: Access your landscaping around your car wash.
Make sure any shrubs, bushes, trees, and other landscaping elements are properly cared for year-round. This includes regular trimming and the removal of dead branches. You also want to make sure that there aren’t any tree branches overhanging the roof of your car wash and outdoor vacuum cleaners.
Step 2: Make sure outdoor items are secured and won’t blow away.
Signs, banners, tables, chairs, vending machines, vacuum cleaners, trash cans, and other such things need to be properly secured. There can be specific requirements based on the location of your car wash. For example, in Florida, where hurricanes are possible, there can be state and local guidelines you must follow to properly secure these types of items.
Step 3: Verify the glass used in windows and doors is impact resistant.
Glass windows and doors are among the first things that can break when objects are blown into them during high winds and severe storms. Impact-resistant glass makes it harder for the glass to shatter. If it does break, the glass is designed to stay together better, so loose glass isn’t sent flying.
Step 4: Inspect your roof and rooftop equipment regularly.
Regular roof inspections are important to spot potential car wash safety hazards. If you notice any damages, have them repaired promptly. It is also a great idea to inspect after any severe storms or high winds.
While inspecting your roof, check any rooftop equipment like HVAC units, wash pumps, and so on. You want to confirm they are secured correctly to the roof and are not loose or possible to blow off.
Step 5: Keep your property clean of debris.
Loose debris can become airborne during storms and high winds. Even small pebbles can become projectiles that can do some serious damage. Have plenty of trash cans on your property to encourage people to put waste where it belongs, and not just toss it on the ground. You or your employees should sweep the ground around car wash bays, vacuums, parking spaces, and other such areas at least once a day.
Step 6: Install locking mechanisms on car wash bay doors.
Much like your garage at home, you want to verify all car wash bay doors have a locking mechanism to lock them in place. This will help prevent them from being blown out during high winds and severe storms.
Step 7: Have an area where employees can shelter-in-place.
If the storm becomes too severe or the winds too extreme, have an area inside the car wash, away from windows, where employees can shelter, such as an interior office or storeroom. An underground storm shelter is even better.
Step 8: Review car wash safety high wind and storm protocols with your employees.
You should train your employees, so they know what to do during high winds and severe storms. Your action plan should detail what the employees need to do to secure the car wash, where to seek shelter, and other such information.
Step 9: Review your car wash insurance policy annually.
Take the time to have an insurance review performed annually for your car wash business. Talk to your business insurance agent to find out what coverages you have, coverage limits, and deductibles to verify they are correct. If not, adjust them to fit your current needs.
Keep in mind, you may need separate policies for specific types of events. For example, in California, you may need a separate policy for earthquake protection or wildfire protection. In Florida, you need a separate policy for hurricane protection and one for flood protection.
By taking the time to review these steps and follow them, your car wash will be better prepared should a high wind warning or severe storm warning be issued for your area. Get into the habit of reviewing these steps at least once a week to make sure they are being completed when they should be.
What to Do When a High Wind Warning or Severe Storm Warning Is Issued
If your car wash business is open when a high wind warning or severe storm warning is issued, you want to act fast. The first thing is to suspend car washes until the storm has passed. You and your employees should secure vacuum cleaners by either removing the hoses or securing them in place. Close up car wash bay doors and lock them. Lock your lobby doors as well.
You and your employees should move to your shelter-in-place location and remain there until the storm passes. If there are any customers at your business, provide them with shelter inside, too, for their safety.
In case your car wash is located in a state that gets tropical storms and hurricanes, preparing for high winds and storms will be slightly different. You will still need to be prepared for severe weather like other car wash owners. However, if a tropical storm or hurricane is heading your way, you will have more advanced notice the storm is coming to allow you to do other things to protect your car wash business.
As such, you’ll want to put shutters or plywood over the windows and doors. You will want to move any trash cans, vending machines, vacuum hoses, and tables, chairs, etc. indoors or into car wash bays. You will want to close the car wash bay doors and lock them.
It is also a good idea to put shutters or plywood sheets over car wash bay doors for added protection. Make sure to shut off the water to car wash bays and turn off all equipment. Most importantly, take insurance policies, cash, and other important documents with you when you leave the car wash and evacuate the area.
What to Do After High Winds and Severe Storms
If there are downed electrical power lines on your property, do not enter your business. Contact your local power company to report the downed power lines and wait for them to remove and repair them first.
The next thing you should do is a complete walk-thru of your car wash business. Inspect everything for any signs of damage. Get on your roof and inspect it for damage as well. Verify all car wash equipment and vacuums are operating correctly.
Don’t forget to check your inventories of wholesale car wash supplies and detailing products for damages too. It can be easy to overlook these items since you are concentrating more on the building, car wash equipment, and vacuums.
If you notice damages, take pictures on your smartphone. Once you have completed the walk-thru, call your insurance agent if you need to file a claim. Additionally, before reopening, you will want to clean up your property and remove all debris, tree branches, trash, etc.
Do not reopen your car wash business until you have inspected it and made any damage repairs needed to make it safe for your employees and customers.
For all your car wash detailing, car wash supplies, car wash parts, accessories, vending items, air fresheners, and more, please feel free to browse and shop online at Superior Car Wash Supply or give us a call at 800-554-9274 for further assistance today! We offer a wide range of wholesale car wash supplies from the top brand names!