Henry Richard Featured

8:00pm EDT September 25, 2007

Technological wizardry has done wonders when it comes to providing convenience in the modern motor vehicle. At the leading edge are cars that virtually park themselves, and the time between introduction and ubiquitous availability for most advances is closing with each new innovation.

But a sedan or an SUV that keeps itself clean has yet to roll off any assembly line, and it’s unlikely that one will be on the horizon any time soon.

That fact hasn’t been lost on Henry Richard, who has found a lucrative enterprise in providing products and services to existing and prospective car wash operators, a market he found was under-served. A veteran of the service station business, Richard launched Car Wash Technologies in Cranberry Township in 1998.

Car washes employ lots of motors and moving parts, and the failure of even the smallest component can bring the whole system to a stop. More than anything else, Richard found that operators needed a quick turnaround on service and parts, something that wasn’t readily available. The key to Car Wash Technologies’ success has been fast response to service calls, minimizing the time that a customer is out of action.

The business, on the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing companies in 2004, has expanded into providing turnkey services, including site selection, financing, project management, installation, marketing and maintenance for entrepreneurs who want to open car wash facilities. Richard has grown the company, which has enjoyed an annual revenue growth rate of more than 25 percent, to nearly 50 employees.

HOW TO REACH: Car W ash Technologies, www.carwashtech.com