Furnawash, why daylight in a car wash tunnel matters

The new Furnawash tunnel in Veurne. Furnawash

An ultramodern car wash has recently opened in the Belgian town of Veurne: Furnawash. In addition to a 50-meter-long and bright tunnel, you will also find three spacious, covered wash bays and a large vacuum hall. Carwashpro got to speak with the owners.

14 years ago, the parents of Furnawash-owners Davy and Karlien Vansteenland opened a garage in Veurne, a town near the west coast of Belgium. Extending the business with a car wash and thus spreading the risks has been a conscious choice. “Until recently, there was not a single car wash in our town”, says Davy Vansteenland.  “We have had the garage for years and actually wanted to do something alongside it. When we got the chance to buy a piece of land nearby, we didn’t hesitate.”

Furnawash opened in the beginning of November and it hasn’t been quiet since, with good customer reviews flooding in. Part of the success is the modern wash tunnel with lots of daylight.

“In many car washes, you effectively end up in a murky tunnel”

The number of express tunnels in Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium) is actually limited to a few dozen, but the people of Furnawash believe in large numbers. So they didn’t hold back on ambition.

During the construction of the car wash, much consideration was given to the use of daylight by installing a huge glass wall along the full length of the tunnel. “In many car washes, you effectively end up in a murky tunnel”, Vansteenland knows. “Given the fact many people are somewhat claustrophobic, we wanted to approach that differently.” This recent American article proves him right. Many modern car washes in the US now put an emphasis on ‘daylighting’.

The tunnel and its glass facade.

Is there enough traffic in Veurne to justify a tunnel car wash?
“There is enough traffic. Veurne is a town in full development. All kinds of apartments are currently being built and even a whole residential area is planned. I think every big city in Belgium now has at least one tunnel car wash. But currently, there is no tunnel to be found in the wider Veurne area.”

Covered wash bays

In addition to the 50 meter long tunnel, Furnawash is also equipped with three covered wash bays and 12 vacuum spots, which are also covered.
The wash bays are generously sized so that they not only fit passenger cars, but also campers and even vans. “There are a lot of campings in the region, so we deliberately made the wash bays a bit bigger. We also kept in mind that we are on a new industrial estate, where there is still plenty of development. Barely 150 meters from our car wash you will now find a shopping area with nine stores. ”

The spacious vacuuming area.

The wash bays are open longer than the tunnel, we noticed.
“That’s right. From 06 a.m. until 10 p.m. at night. We close the tunnel at 8:30 p.m. And it works. we see that plenty of people come to wash their cars during the quiet hours, in the evening.”

How long does an average wash take?
“Depending on the speed we program, it takes between four and five minutes.

How many staff do you need to run the car wash?
“There are two people who operate the tunnel by themselves. Above that there is someone who supervises and who addresses our customers afterwards, thanks them and hands out a small gift.”

You guys have automated quite a lot. Even the soap dispensers for the bays are vending machines.
“Yes, we deliberately wanted to run the tunnel with a small crew. Besides, they don’t have to bother with the money. The customers choose a program in advance and pay at the machine. This can be done either by cash or by bank card.
We hesitated for a while to go completely cashless, but here in Flandres there are plenty of older people who still use cash.
Customers can also register. After scanning their license plate they can drive right through. We are currently putting a lot of effort into registering so that we can build up a good customer base.”

Do you work with a subscription or a credit system?
Both, in fact. You can take out an all-in subscription for €39,95 per month. Then customers can wash their car as much as they want with the most comprehensive program.
They can also put a credit on a wash card. When they buy € 100 we will put € 10 on top of that.
Actually it’s not a physical pass but a QR code that may or may not be linked to the license plate. This is especially useful for companies with a fleet of vehicles. For example, one of our clients is a home nursing company. All of their 150 license plates are in our system.”

Rain water

In the US, most tunnels take water recycling very seriously. How is that regulated at your company?
“It’s no different at Furnawash. We recycle between 85 and 90% of the water we use. We also make great use of rainwater. Our roof has an area of 4,000 m². We collect all rainwater coming from the roof and use it. As a result, we have a buffer of about 320,000 liters of water.”

Christ Wash Systems supplied the hardware.

Which company supplied the machines for the car wash?
“Everything is from Christ. They also supplied the hardware for the wash boxes. We purchased them via Pro-Wash, which is Christ’s Belgian supplier. We deliberately looked for an electric machine that is easy to set up and adjust. At Pro-Wash, they have a lot of experience with car washes in Belgium. I believe they have a market share of between 30 and 40% here.”

You have been open since the beginning of November. Did you encounter initial problems during the first month of opening?
“Mostly lack of small change. In the beginning, we didn’t really know how much coins we should keep in the vending machines. Furthermore, the staff had to get used to the hardware. In the beginning the chain sometimes jammed after someone walked in front of a sensor. Or the sensor needed some adjustment. This is all solved now and the customer reactions have been amazing.”


Monnikshoekstraat 23
8630 Veurne
Phone: +32 58 51 45 81

Express tunnel customers have a choice of three main programs with cleverly chosen names:
– Basic (€12)
– Most Chosen (€14)
-The Best (€16)

With Most Chosen, for a small additional cost, the bottom and rims are also taken along with a Nanopolish. For another €2 more, the customer also gets a Foamwall and a Carprotect Wash.

Additional Car Cosmetix brand washing and maintenance products are available in a vending machine. In it, microfiber wipes and sponges are also offered.

Furnawash even offers a detailing service. For €29, the entire interior is thoroughly cleaned by a specialist. However, a separate appointment must be made for this.

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Author: Rene Passet

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