Supporting Undergraduates Driving Sustainability, or SUDS, is local, student-owned company that provides waterless car washing and detailing services. Now, you may be thinking, “I know that a waterless car wash conserves water, but what problem does that actually solve? Can this one company really have a significant impact on the local community?”
One of the largest health risks in the world today is contaminated water. Contaminated water continues to threaten the quality of life and public health not only in developing nations, but also right here at home in the United States. When water from rain or melting snow runs off into our rivers it picks up dirt, trash, toxic chemicals, and potential disease-carrying organisms along the way. When we run into unfortunate situations, such as the crisis in Flint, Michigan, the water that SUDS conserves helps to address the increasing scarcity of clean water in many areas of the nation. SUDS’ mission helps to protect clean water and promote water efficiency here in the US!
The idea for a waterless car wash first came about while Larry Long, a student at UNCG, was enrolled in a class that taught students how to create valuable business ideas that could operate on campus. Larry’s original idea was to bring his pressure washing business to UNCG and to clean the vehicles of students on and around campus.
As time went on, Larry discovered that his original business idea would run into mobility issues due to the large size of the pressure washer. His business advisor, Scott Millman, encouraged him to explore waterless car washing methods used in other parts of the world. Larry saw that conserving water and protecting the environment by using biodegradable products would have a larger impact on the community while also differentiating the business model.
During the spring of 2015, Robin Moulton would join the team. Together, Larry and Robin took the idea through a feasibility analysis to test the possibility of bringing this new venture to the Triad. During this time, the duo was looking for a name that would tie together car washing, college students, and sustainability. After many hours of brainstorming, Robin came up with Supporting Undergraduates Driving Sustainability, or SUDS for short. Eventually, the name was expanded to SUDS Waterless, and this remains the official name of the company today.
Recently, SUDS Waterless has entered into the Triad Startup Lab business accelerator program, and it has been an amazing experience so far. The mentors in the program really push us and support us to work hard to build this amazing company here in the Triad. Before the Startup Lab began three weeks ago, SUDS was still somewhat in the idea stage. Now, we have concrete goals and objectives to meet each week. Our business model has changed from B2C (business to consumer) to B2B (business to business). Instead of merchant or retail services, we service companies and their employees. We still have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, but it will all be worth it in the end. It is very tough building a business while being full time students, but getting the practical experience of building and operating a business outside of the classroom is a life-changing opportunity.