Q&A With Dropless: An Eco Friendly Car Wash Delivered To Your Door
Don't you think it would be great if you could get a car wash anywhere you are, at any time, with no water and without the hassle of doing it yourself?
Guess what... Dropless can make your wish come true! This waterless, eco-friendly car wash and valeting service is taking the UK by storm and it's not difficult to see why it's so popular.
We interviewed Christian Duncan, Co-Founder at Dropless, to learn more about their very unique idea, and how it works.
Q. Can you give us some background information on yourself?
A. After finishing my masters in Marketing at Leeds University I began my career in investment banking working for a consulting firm, spending time at both Barclays Capital and HSBC. Following this I moved into sales for a new business start-up where I fell in love with running a business and building something that I felt mattered to its customers. It’s here when I realised that I wanted to always make sure that everyone in a business should have clear visibility of the impact they are making to a company’s bottom line and how their hard work can have a positive impact on the world.
Q. What’s the idea behind Dropless?
A. Dropless, like Uber, Deliveroo, and Amazon have taken a traditional business model and reinvented it to be eco-friendly, convenient and fair to its workers. Firstly we have fully digitised the end-to-end process, making it easy for customers to book, manage and pay for a car wash, wherever, whenever. We have then taken an eco-friendly approach to not only our cleaning methods (saving over 150 litres of water every wash) but also the way we travel. Most of our operatives now travel by electric mopeds, carrying their gear in large cargo boxes meaning we can take car washing to our customers’ door step. We also assure our guys are paid fairly for the work they do. The hand car wash sector is considered the 2nd highest area of slave labour in the UK – we, as well as some other operators, aim to stop this.
Q. How did you come up with this idea?
A. It was actually devised by my business partner’s wife... After visiting a hen do in Mike’s car, Bella (Mike’s wife) struggled to find a suitable company online that could clean the car. Most of them had no app, poor websites, wouldn’t come to you, or simply had astronomically high prices. Mike and I, being close friends and both sharing a passion for new innovative disruptive businesses, set about creating Dropless.
Q. Was Dropless your first project?
A. Yes. Quitting my job that I loved in March 2018 was a shock to the system but I knew it was the right thing to do ....although building a house at the same time may have meant the timing wasn’t ideal! So far Dropless has been the best decision of my life, I love every second of it.
Q. After formulating your idea, how did you start your business?
A. Long nights spent in my WeWork Tower Bridge office. Plenty of beers (within reason!) and early morning coffees allowed Mike and I to devise the strategy for the company. I then worked closely with the developers at Mike’s digital agency, Passion Digital, to build the platform. Once we were live, the rest of the tasks were to find amazing people, win customers, and have fun.
Q. What’s your business model? How do you make money?
A. We have multiple models depending on the type of work and what our operatives prefer. We keep things flexible (to an extent) to support their needs. Some are on full time contracts with us, others are on a job-by-job payment plan, and others per hour of work. This is how we are able to keep our incredible staff so happy. The customers pay for the wash by registering their bank details and paying online, so there’s no cash involved.
Q. What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome at the beginning?
A. Finding great people. Customers love us and we tend to now get tonnes of organic traffic from word of mouth, however the experience mainly lies with our staff. Amazing staff providing great customer experiences are what define a business - we work hard to assure our team know the importance of this and incentivise / reward them when going above and beyond.
Q. Is there anything you would have done differently if you could go back in time?
A. Hmm.. I'm a strong believer in buy cheap buy twice and unfortunately to save costs I went against my own advice once. I would go back to start smaller and grow slower with the right equipment. We had issues with vacuums, generators etc and all could have been avoided.
Q. Where do you see Dropless in 5 years from now?
A. In 5 years we expect to be operating in at least 2 more countries. We are going to be very selective with the UK cities we target and believe operating overseas in countries suffering from water shortages and deprivation will be very well suited.
Q. What’s your advice for budding entrepreneurs?
A. Dream big and go for it, you'll be surprised at what you can build in such a short amount of time. Also, surround yourself with good people who share your vision and more of those people will be attracted to your business without you needing to find them!
Q. How do you think developments in Mobility-as-as-Service (MaaS) is going to change the way we live in the next ten years?
A. Companies such as Evezy and Carpe are shaping the way for vehicle ownership. HP (hire purchase) and long lease will be a thing of the past.. monthly rental with fully included insurance and ancillary services, such as charging, vehicle cleaning and maintenance will take over.
For an eco-friendly car wash with no hassle, visit Dropless.