SPRING HILL –
Marc Taglienti vacuumed cars while an undergraduate.
There was a lot of sweat and grit involved.
“It’s not easy work,” he said. “It’s hard.”
While studying at the University of Central Florida he knew he wanted to run a business. He turned to what he knew. He wasn’t afraid of hard work.
Taglienti, 33, owns and manages Blue Lightning Car Wash. He has two locations – one in Spring Hill and another in Hudson.
Before putting in his own money for a car wash, he moved up the latter at a large chain. He was a regional trainer, general manager and assisted investors with their openings.
Nowadays, he offers Suncoast-area motorists inexpensive washes and free, unlimited vacuuming.
He employs eight people. He oversees all the drums, hoses and brushes and makes certain they are working properly. A computer controls 72 machine functions.
It doesn’t take much to get Taglienti talking about his business. He is proud of it and isn’t afraid to show it. He jumped right into explaining the step-by-step washing system in full detail.
It is more than merely a sales pitch. He is proud of his business. He believes he provides quality and services not found at a garden-variety self-serve wash, let alone a gas station.
“For the top washes, you should do it about once per month,” said Taglienti, the proud owner of a sparkling Infiniti M35, which he washed twice Friday. “When the summer comes around and you get all those bugs, you need to get them in here quickly.”
Taglienti regularly sees a Rolls-Royce Phantom roll onto his lot, not to mention several Corvettes, Mercedes Benzes and Lexuses.
The washes last three minutes, which provides the owner with an irresistible gimmick – a three-minute wash for $3.
He also offers higher-end washes, which range from $5 to $12. The latter is an Ultimate Express wash, which includes UV fade protection, wheel cleaner, weather-shield spray wax and of course, a free vacuum.
Rain-X also can be added to any wash for an additional $3.
There is a touch screen, which is accompanied by an audio response that provides easy-to-follow instructions.
The driver selects which wash he or she wants and can pay with cash or a credit or debit card.
There are three lanes at the touch screen, but only one gate will open at a time.
Two attendants guide the vehicle onto the washing track. They also point to a large sign that reminds drivers to put the car in neutral, take their foot off the brake and keep their hands off the steering wheel.
The rest of the wash is predictable – the sounds of whirring brushes and micro fibers spinning against the front, back, sides and top of the car. Brushes clean the tires and rims and the underbody also is cleaned.
The high-pressure system “hits all the fine grooves of the car,” Taglienti said.
At the end of the wash is a set of dryers that dispenses winds of up to 180 miles per hour.
The controls are programmed for energy efficiency. Most of the water is recycled and a reverse osmosis machine ensures there will be no spots on the vehicle, Taglienti said.
Even the water is cleaned before it goes into the sewer.
He uses soft cloth brushes and no harsh chemicals. He demonstrated by sticking his hand and forearm into a drum of soap.
“See? It’s very delicate,” he said.
The sensors turn on and off so that there is no waste of water while the car is going through the wash.
There are no extra charges for sport utility vehicles, vans or pickup trucks.
An early bird special is offered from 8 to 9 a.m. every day. Customers can wash their cars for $2 during that hour.
Biz at a glance:
Name of biz – Blue Lightning Car Wash
Owner – Marc Taglienti
What it is – Hands-free car wash
Where it is – 4330 Commercial Way, Spring Hill
Hours of operation – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days per week
Get in touch – 727-868-7130
On the Web – www.bluelightningcarwash.com.
Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or [email protected]