“People are going to stop coming to car washes,” Frank Roman, owner of the Sunny Day Car Wash told the TV station.
The minimum wage hike was approved this spring. Lawmakers have said it must be phased in through the year 2019. In the meantime, car wash owners said they’re looking to automate parts of the car wash process currently carried out by workers, just to save some cash.
That means less people will be needed to put in the elbow-grease many customers prefer at a hand wash. And even though the automation could save car wash owners in labor costs, the equipment itself is expensive and can cost even more to have installed. Either way, owners said the cost will ultimately be passed on to customers.
“The more our labor price goes up, the more our selling price goes up and obviously the sales go down, why?” said Steven Rotlevi, Association of Carwash Owners of New York City. “Because people would like to pay $10 for a wash.”