The average Fairfield County commuter spends about 49 hours stuck in traffic every year, according to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. That’s 49 hours too many for most people, but nonetheless, it results in dirty vehicles few people feel like spending the time to wash.
Eric Birdsall, owner and operator of Birdie’s Auto Spa, is working to take the burden and hassle of vehicle maintenance out of the picture for Fairfield and Westchester County residents with his mobile steam cleaning auto spa.
“Most people don’t have time to clean their car inside and out,” Birdsall said. “I really enjoy seeing the satisfaction our service brings to customers when they come out and their car looks good as new.”
A full list of auto spa services for interior and exterior vehicle maintenance is available at birdiesautospa.com.
Appointments can be made by calling 914-438-5729 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birdsall opened his steam wash business as a brick and mortar store in Rye, N.Y., in 2011. He soon realized it wasn’t a viable model for steam washing, which takes anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours, compared to 15-30 minutes for a traditional car wash.
People didn’t want to sit and wait at the car wash that long, Birdsall said. In fact, they didn’t want to go to the car wash at all. So in 2014 he decided to bring the car wash to the customers.
Steam washing, unlike a traditional car wash, uses an average of one gallon of water to clean an entire vehicle and doesn’t require soap. The machine used for steam washing is portable and fits easily in the back of a utility van, and, with a couple five-gallon jugs of water, can wash dozens of vehicles in one day. Microfiber towels and wax for detailing are the only other tools required.
Steam washing also cuts the environmental impact. According to a study conducted by the International Carwash Association, traditional car washes use an average of 43 gallons of water per vehicle.
“When I first opened I was the first stand-alone car wash in the nation without a drainage requirement in our zoning,” Birdsall said. “The concept is being green and environmentally friendly. We don’t need drainage, there’s no soap, no brushes, no scratches on the vehicle.”
Birdsall also expanded his customer base. As a stand-alone car wash, it would have been unreasonable for residents in Greenwich and other Fairfield County towns to take their vehicles all the way to Rye for a wash. Now, he’s able to serve people throughout the area.
Greenwich resident Clarke Futch has had Birdsall wash all four of his vehicles two or three times a year for the past four years. He said he used to take his vehicles to a traditional car wash but after hearing about Birdie’s from his brother, was hooked on the idea of never having to do that again.
“It’s a very high-quality service, it’s a good value and it’s environmentally friendly,” Futch said. “It’s so much better than a regular detailing service and it’s so much more convenient for them to just come to the house and do it when I don’t need to be here.”
KKrasselt@scni.com; 203-625-4411; Twitter: @kaitlynkrasselt