Workplace Culture — At a Car Wash? Prepare for Your Assumptions to be Challenged

Training

This piece is courtesy SiouxFalls.Business.

Consider these elements of workplace culture:

  • Fast-paced
  • Inspirational
  • Second chances
  • Opportunity
  • Growth
  • Fun
  • Family
  • Collaborative
  • Rewarding
  • Professional

Would you want to work there?

“What if I told you, you had to work for a car wash?” Andrea Vetos asked the audience during her speech at the most recent CultureCon event.

The audience didn’t exactly start applauding.

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“That’s exactly what I expected,” Vetos continued. “But why?”

It probably starts with how people picture a car wash, Vetos acknowledged.

“The car washes I went to when I was a kid, you pull in, wash it yourself, you make a big mess, and you leave.”

Grimy.

Grungy.

Dead-end job.

Low wages.

Minimal staff.

Vetos, who has grown into her leadership role as operations manager of Silverstar Car Wash, is used to countering the stereotype of a car wash career. That much is clear in the picture she paints for potential hires.

At Silverstar, “it’s a little different,” she begins. “You’re going to see clean, bright facilities staffed by numerous smiling, friendly faces in clean, crisp uniforms and opportunities here to work alongside your leaders.”

Ultimately, “at Silverstar, we’ve always tried to be more than just a car wash.”

While it has taken many iterations and continues to evolve, the culture that sets Silverstar apart is “our focus on investing in growth and development for our team members,” Vetos said.

“We don’t think of team members as entry level. We look at levels of opportunity.”

The truth of it is, Vetos herself is an unlikely person to opt for a career at a car wash company. Eight years ago, barely out of college with a degree in accounting and a job at a bank, she called her mother to share that she was quitting her job to help open the second Silverstar location in Sioux Falls.

“It was one of the best career decisions I’ve ever made,” she said. “I believe that growing people is insanely rewarding. My ‘why’ is helping people learn and grow. I just happen to do that at a car wash.”

The stories could fill an entire workplace culture conference all on their own: the cashiers who grow into site managers, the woman who had never touched tools and now helps repair her site, the people who started as teenagers and still are growing their careers.

“These generations are looking for a career,” Vetos said. “They’re not looking for a job to clock in and out, but a company that cares and invests in them so they can learn daily.”

At Silverstar, the mindset is that nothing is done without someone watching and learning. Training manuals speak to every role, and new hires immediately learn the paths forward available to them – and what it will take to achieve those career milestones.

“They’re checking off their boxes as they’re learning,” Vetos said. “This is part of our culture. It’s part of our DNA.”

Questions continually are encouraged as the best path to learning and growth.

“We’re looking for leaders,” Vetos said. “We’re building leaders.”

To learn more about growing your career at Silverstar, click here.

To hear from Vetos in her own words, click below.