best car wash detailing trade shows

If you are in the car wash business in the United States at any level –from a convenience store owner, car wash owner, or mobile detailer, I wanted to take the time today to list a few of the best trade shows and conventions to add to your calendar this year. While COVID-19 has proved to be unpredictable, hopefully, 2021 will offer more in the way of trade shows.

If tradeshows aren’t your thing, and you are simply looking for training to advance your skill set, check out these 5 online training options I think are a good place to start.

Networking with other detailers and business owners is a great way to check out the latest technology and detailing products, and many don’t cost that much. In this post, I’ll break down these tradeshows based you should check out this year, when and where they are located, and a brief overview of the type of show or event!

1. SEMA

sema logo

SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) is probably the largest automotive show most people have heard of, and really a great place to be as an auto detailer. You will be exposed to SO many detailing products and is really quite the experience if you have never attended. All the big names in auto detailing will be there, as well as the IDA (International Detailing Association) which offers a certification day (which is pretty cool).

If you have a detailing business, it’s pretty easy to receive a badge and one of the better product-focused shows you can attend as an operator. You’ll be able to meet many of the product suppliers in the detailing industry you’re probably familiar with and is really one of the best opportunities to network with a lot of people and vendors. Plus, it’s always in Vegas :)

Date: November 2 – November 5, 2021

Location: Las Vegas Convention Center —Las Vegas, NV

Ideal for: Auto detailers and specialty detailing shop owners

www.semashow.com

2. Southwest Car Wash Association Convention & Expo

scwa car wash logo

If you own a car wash of any kind and live in the southeast United States like I do, this is a great event to attend. This organization not only puts on an Expo each year, but they also help to lobby for car wash owners. If you are looking for a place to not only become educated in the latest and greatest technology but network with other owners and operators, this is the place to do it.

Due to COVID-19, the organizers of the event moved it from February to June, noting that they are hopeful the first large car wash show of the year will take place. This year’s speaker is CEO and chairman of Forbes Media, Steve Forbes.

Date: June 9 – 11, 2021

Location: The Fort Worth Convention Center —Fort Worth, TX

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.swcarwash.org

3. Northeast Regional Carwash Convention (NRCC)

nrcc carwash logo

If you are in live in the Northeast and are a car wash owner, this is the convention to be at. As a car wash operator, this one is great if you are looking to attend helpful educational seminars in addition to checking out the latest tunnel and car wash technology.

This is one of the smaller shows if you are a car wash operator, and is made up of an alliance of volunteers from several New England States.

Date: October 4 – 6, 2021

Location: The Atlantic City Convention Center —Atlantic City, NJ

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.nrccshow.com

4. NACS

nacs logo

If you are a convenience store and car wash owner, NACS is a show you’re probably already familiar with. While not really a car wash show, it is great for networking with other convenience store owners, sharing ideas, and see other automotive products to include in your store.

Thinking about those wash-code-at-pump systems? NACS is the place to go. The actual Expo for 2021 begins on October 6th.

Date: October 5 – 8, 2021

Location: McCormick Place —Chicago, IL

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.nacsshow.com

5. Mobile Tech Expo

mobile tech expo logo

If you are an advanced detailer that also specializes in paint correction or advanced methods, the Mobile Tech Expo is a great show for this. MTE is also known as the Mobile Auto Recon and Dent Repair Show. There are two of these per year, and a great opportunity to learn from professionals in the detailing industry, how to deep clean just about anything, and really a great show for learning new advanced detailing techniques.

This expo includes both an education day and 2 show days in an exhibit hall.

Dates & Locations:

  • August 26 – 28, 2021 | South Point Hotel & Casino —Las Vegas, NV
  • CANCELLED due to COVID-19  | Gaylord Palms Resort  —Orlando, FL

Ideal for: Auto detailers and shop owners

www.mobiletechexpo.com

6. The Car Wash Show

the car wash show logo

Put on my the International Carwash Association (ICA), this is a great medium-sized show for just about anyone in the car wash industry (as the name suggests!). Geared towards managers in the car wash and detailing industries, this show contains several sessions if you are interested in franchising, tips on making more money with your car wash, and much more.

If you are interested in anything from quick-lube franchises to car washes, this is the show for you. They also have an Executive Management Institute for advanced car wash professionals you can read more about here. This year’s event is at the University of Indiana and is slated to begin on August 8th, 2021.

Date: November 15 – 18, 2021

Location: Las Vegas Convention Center —Las Vegas, NV

Ideal for: Car wash owners

www.carwash.org/car-wash-show

7. SECWA: American Car Wash Expo

SECWA logo

If you are a detailer in the southeastern United States, this is a 2021 option to pay attention to. SECWA also is planning a Detroit roadshow on July 27th 2021 at the MGM Grand, where you can tour manufacturing companies and carwashes.

The host hotel is the Omni, and the event is planned to take place at the Georgia World Congress Center. There will also be a welcome reception at the College Football Hall of Fame.

Date: September 27 – 29, 2021

Location: Omni Atlanta Hotel —Atlanta, GA

Ideal for: Carwash Owners

www.autogeek.com/detail-fest

Conclusion

As a detailer or anyone in this industry, trade shows are a great way to stay sharp, and pretty affordable compared to other industries I’ve been exposed to. These are not only great for checking out the latest products in detailing, but also awesome to attend just for the educational sessions on different topics.

Keep in mind that while 2020 was a disappointment for all trade shows (including car wash and detailing shows), many shows later in the year are worth paying close attention to.

Have any other car wash or detailing events that you really like that aren’t on the list? Let me know below. 

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