The Wash Tub Mobile Line-Busting Solution Brings Better Service, 15 to 20 Percent Lower Costs

If you're in the San Antonio metro area, chances are The Wash Tub has a location near you. The Wash Tub is a full-service car wash and detail centre with over 21 locations in and around San Antonio. The business is known for its superior service and unique customer experience, which includes boutique shopping while your car is serviced.

Download the PDF Contact Zebra

the story


It's about more than just a clean car at The Wash Tub. When customers drive off with a freshly washed, waxed or detailed vehicle, The Wash Tub hopes they leave with an equally dazzling impression of their experience.

When management noticed customers waiting too long to pay for services, they sought a way to expedite transactions. At the time, customers would drive up, tell the attendant their preferred package, and receive a handwritten receipt to present to a cashier inside. With a handwritten approach, The Wash Tub lacked any customer data to understand sales trends and take advantage of upselling opportunities. Plus, the time it took for cashiers to type in purchase information slowed the line.

"It was not uncommon for eight people to be waiting in line with two cashiers working open to close," said Gary Stinnett, vice president at The Wash Tub.

We are experiencing a 15 to 20 percent reduction in cashier labor at the stores as a direct result of the new system. Now, we only need two cashiers at the busiest times and get by with just one the rest of the time. It also means fewer errors and faster close at the end of the day.

Gary Stinnett, Vice President,
The Wash Tub


The Wash Tub turned to a line-busting solution to streamline and improve customer greetings and payments. The company engaged TAM Retail, maker of The Assistant Manager™ retail software. To process and track all purchases, TAM Retail installed its software on cashier terminals.

For receipt printing, The Wash Tub needed an exceptionally durable solution to withstand the South Texas weather. "It's a high-volume, outdoor environment with lots of movement. The units can be dropped, and it can be very hot and humid," Stinnett said.

The Wash Tub was already familiar with Zebra Technologies, already employing the Zebra® P110™ card printer to create custom membership and gift cards. "We were already comfortable with the Zebra name, having used their printers in the past," Stinnett said.

For the mobile application, The Wash Tub chose the Zebra QL 320 Plus™ direct thermal printers. They are worn compactly at the belt by attendants and print at a speed of four inches per second. Additionally, TAM Retail recommended the Motorola® MC70 handheld mobile computer that wirelessly connects to the inside terminals. This allows The Wash Tub to begin collecting customers' information and details about their purchase as soon as they drive up. The printers connect wirelessly to the Motorola handhelds, and are designed for complex mobile printing demands such as wireless security of sensitive data. TAM Retail recommended the joint Motorola/Zebra solution because of the ease of integration and the working reliability of the units.

Now when a customer drives up, the attendant enters the license plate number into the handheld unit. If the customer is new, the attendant collects the individual's name and information, and inputs the specific order—recommending a service that the customer might like. However, if the customer has been there before, a history of service comes up on the handheld. From there, the attendant intelligently recommends an appropriate service. For example, if the customer has not had a wax service in a while, the attendant might suggest that service.

When a customer goes inside to pay, a cashier simply pulls up the transaction on the terminal and processes the payment. The computer already knows the service ordered, speeding each transaction.

With the Zebra P110, cashiers print customised cards for the Car Wash Club or for gift cards. The Wash Tub prints member information and type of membership right on the card, making cards more personalised.


On average, each Zebra QL 320 Plus printer handles approximately 200 transactions every day. Through each one, the Motorola handheld computers and Zebra printers reliably maintain their wireless connection. The printers have also proven durable in the demanding environment, and show impressive battery life, according to Stinnett.

With customer information at their fingertips, greeting attendants provide better service to customers while also increasing revenue through upsells. "The attendant tailors the greeting to that customer," Stinnett said. "It's resulted in higher average per-car revenue by being able to take advantage of an advanced customer database."

In addition to increased revenue, The Wash Tub lowers its overhead by cutting the time that cashiers spend entering information. As customers walk up to pay, they already have a printed receipt and transaction details are in the computer.

"We are experiencing a 15 to 20 percent reduction in cashier labor at the stores as a direct result of the new system," Stinnett said. "Now, we only need two cashiers at the busiest times and get by with just one the rest of the time. It also means fewer errors and faster close at the end of the day."

Beyond the financial benefits, The Wash Tub has elevated its service to customers by customizing greetings and reducing wait times.

"We have more quality time greeting customers, and there's very seldom anyone waiting in line," Stinnett added.

The Assistant Manager™ also provides The Wash Tub comprehensive and integrated inventory management, sales management, customer tracking and an easy to use point of sale for use in their boutiques. To learn more about TAM Retail, visit

Find a solution that is right for you