Keith Cunningham said he never imagined himself as a car wash owner. But after repeatedly hearing the business local residents most wanted was a car wash, in 1988 Cunningham opened shop.
Thirty years later the Finish Line Car Wash remains a strong local business in Westlake with more than 2.3 million cars washed, he said.
To ensure top-quality customer service, Cunningham begins with treating his employees well—many of whom have worked there for 10 to 20 years. He said his annual turnover rate is less than 7 percent.
“If you take good care of employees, they take good care of the customers,” Cunningham said. One of the perks he offers workers is a fully stocked pantry, where employees can help themselves and even cook meals.
When it comes to the customers, Cunningham strives to have them in and out of the car wash line in about 20 to 25 minutes. That can be quite the challenge on a busy, sunny Texas day, he said, and The Finish Line reaches that goal about 90 percent of the time. While they wait, customers can take advantage of complimentary shoe-shining or a chair massage.
It’s not just about washing someone’s car. Cunningham says he is committed to The Finish Line being part of the community. Over the decades he said the business has donated more than $600,000 to various local charities. About half comes from the charity snack bar located in the car wash lobby. Stocked by the business, customers are welcome to help themselves to snacks, sodas, ice cream and popcorn. They are asked to make a donation to the charity of the month to say thank you.
“The customers are the benefactors,” Cunningham said. “We simply provide the opportunity for them to give back to the local community.”
Every month The Finish Line selects a new charity to donate to, with an emphasis on children’s and women’s groups.
Every holiday season the business supports the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Brown Santa program and also works closely to raise funds with the Westlake High School drill team.