Why We Ride

Team IRON EAGLES is a group of friends and family dedicated to fighting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We join forces to raise money for the NATIONAL MS SOCIETY to support the great PROGRAMS they have available to help members of the community and to support the exciting RESEARCH being done in the field. We blog about why we ride, our experiences at fundraising events, our fundraisers and training tips. We also have links to information on MS and MS research. JOIN US!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Car Wash Adventure

Big thanks to Texaco and Fresh Market for helping out with our car wash fundraiser!!  Marianne worked with the Texaco people.  I never met them.  I'm sure they are really cool though :-)  I did meet Dennis Jensen at Fresh Market though and he is AWESOME!  Everyone should run to Fresh Market and buy something.  Anything.  Dennis was great to provide balloons for our signs and even offered to give us soap for the car wash.  Really nice guy.  And, as a bonus, he's a runner.  Athletic people are really cool.

And a special thanks to our surprise "sponsor" Lone Peak High School Drill team!  Special note:  I know that many of you that read this blog live and breathe Caveman.  I have to give a little shout-out to Lone Peak though.  They were really nice to work with us at the car wash.  Turns out the car wash spot got double-booked.  Even though we booked first they had pre-sold tickets and were much bigger and better organized (not to mention they started their car wash earlier than we had planned to start :-).  They could have easily just blown us off.  They didn't though.  They let us pass out our fliers, solicit their pre-sold customers for donations and wash cars with them.  So, even though they are the rival of the High School my neighbors' kids go to (and the one Bill went to!) they are still pretty dang cool!  Thanks Lone Peak High Drill Team!  YOU ROCK!!  And I'm sorry that some of you got harassed by some die-hard AF drive-by fans.

Well, Marianne wrote a great blog about the event so I won't go into it too much.  I wanted to mention though that car washes are a LOT of work and we learned a lot!!  Friday night I bought some great micro-fiber sponges and towels and soap specific for car washing.  I thought we were set.  We learned a lot from Lone Peak High though.  They had special spray for the tires and windex for the windows.  They had working spray nozzles for the hoses :-)  In the end I wished we had gotten our car washed when Lone Peak was there to help us :-)

Here are some things we learned about car wash fundraisers (in case you are considering doing one :-)

Start early.  It gets hot in the afternoon.

Bring hoses.  For some reason I thought the hoses were provided by Texaco.  Silly me.  And make sure the nozzles for the hoses work!  I brought nozzles but didn't check first to see if they worked well.  Luckily LPH had working nozzles.

Pre-sell tickets.  Most of the cars that came through were pre-sold tickets.  One of the drill team girls told me that they were required to sell 10 tickets each.  There were at least 20 or so drill team members at the wash so they must have pre-sold at least $1000 worth of tickets.  We had less than 100 cars come through during the day -- although it seemed like a million cars!  Ohhhh my back is aching! LOL  So if LPH hadn't pre-sold tickets the take would have been less than half of what they ended up getting.  A lot less than half actually.

We need bigger sturdier signs and more people to dance and hold the signs.  We just needed more people in general.

So.... the million dollar question --- was it worth it?  Yes!  In terms of bringing awareness to the general public.  Maybe we'll get one more person to read the blog.  Maybe they will help spread the word.  Maybe we'll get some virtual car wash donations (much easier on the back! :-).  Who knows.  Marianne spoke with a bunch of people that had an MS connection.  One lady was tested for MS just last week.  Marianne said we should partner with the drill teams of America and see if we can just have a solicitor at all their car washes :-)  Raising awareness one car wash at a time! :-)  We made almost $200 ($196 -- actually pretty dang good considering the numbers discussed in the final paragraph of this blog and the fact that we didn't pre-sell.  Pre-sell.  Pre-sell.  Pre-sell.  Must.  Pre-sell!).  I still think there has to be a better way though.


How much money can you make at a car wash?  Is it a good source of fundraising?  I've been thinking about this.  Best case scenario -- wash a car every 5 minutes.  No, let's say you wash 3 cars every five minutes consistently for 4 hours.  That's 144 cars.  Each car pays $5 each.  That's $720.  In order to wash 3 cars every five minutes (assuming you can get that kind of traffic randomly) you would need at least a million workers.  Ok.  I'm exaggerating.  Let's take a look at today.  We had up to 20 or so drill team members and six of us (five, Marianne did the soliciting) and we worked our tails off!  We constantly had cars.  At times we had lines up to 10 cars long and we were there for almost 4 hours.  We had 100 fliers copied and we gave out less than 70 of those.  I don't have exact figures.  Each car got a flier.  So with 20-30 workers we physically did about 70 cars.  $5 each car -- that's $350.  Yep.  Lots of people.  Little money.  Pre-sell tickets!  Even pre-selling though is a lot of work.  They pre-sold at least $1000 worth of tickets but they also had 20 or so girls ($50 each = $1000) to canvas neighborhoods, and solicit 40 sets of grandparents :-).  For a fundraising bike team of seven (all in the same family :-) I don't know that car washes are the most effect use of time and money.  Too bad because I have about $40 worth of really nice car wash sponges, towels and soap :-)  Anybody need a car wash? :-)

Post Script:  I've decided that we could use the 20/50 principle above to possibly make the car wash thing work.  Pre-sell 50 cars at $20 each.  Offer both a good outside wash and a vacuum/dash conditioner etc. for the inside.  Give each person a specific time to come so we don't have lines.  It would still take work (both in washing and selling) but it could be done in a few Saturdays at home and we could, theoretically, raise $1000. Anybody up for more car washing?  Ok.... maybe I'll ask again next summer after our muscles have had some time to recuperate :-)


  1. Me - I need a car wash. Thanks!

  2. I want to see your new car! I want to drive your new car LOL And phone people while driving :-)