‘Uber for car washing’: UNC students run on-demand, waterless car washing company

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Spawned from a childhood of washing cars for extra cash, and a trip to London while studying abroad, “Waterless Buddy’s” is a waterless, on-demand car wash run by college students.

waterless buddys

The company is run by two University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill seniors.

Using an eco-friendly spray, and a little elbow grease, Austin Helms and Randy Short currently employ 10 fellow UNC students as “Buddy’s” who wash cars throughout the Triangle – and now they’re looking to expand.

The process is simple.

“Hit “schedule a wash,” tell us what kind of car you have, your license plate, things like that. They can pay right online and then we send one of our workers, our buddy’s, they wash the car exactly where they’re parked…we send you a before and after picture, it’s as easy as that,” Short said.

Helms described the company as an “Uber for car washing.” For $25 you get a bottle of spray, a microfiber towel, one of their cool T-shirts and you become a buddy yourself.

“So it’s like you’re in a mini-franchise type deal so you can become not an Uber driver, you don’t have to buy a vehicle, but you just buy into our buddy system,” Helms said.

“If you need some flexible work or just need some extra money it’s a really easy way to do it, and really anyone can do it,” Short said.

A Waterless Buddy’s car wash typically takes between 15 and 30 minutes. Along with saving customers time, it also saves water.

“So we save 45 gallons of water per wash, so far since we’ve started this we’ve saved several thousand gallons of water,” Short said.

Even without the water, the Buddy’s said they can wash anything.

“We’ve done a car that went all the way from New York to North Carolina during a snow storm, so it had the snow, the salt, the grit, everything and it took a little elbow grease and some time but we were able to handle it so we haven’t come across anything we haven’t been able to wash yet,” Short said.

A Waterless Buddy’s wash costs $20 for a sedan and $23 for a truck or SUV.

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