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Do I legally need permission from Tesla or the supercharger property owner to conduct Tesla mobile car washes?

I live in Santa Monica, where Tesla is building a first of it’s kind supercharger station with bathrooms among other amenities.

I had an idea several months ago to start offering waterless mobile Tesla washes at various supercharger stations. I tested the waterless wash/wax on my 2022 M3 Performance with astonishing results (I am a perfectionist). In addition I’m very tech savvy and somewhat of a Tesla expert, I know the ins and outs of the cars along with all of the features, shortcuts and everything that changes with every update. I would even be offering in person tutorials to Tesla customers among a plethora of other services including wheel touchup, scratch fill/repair, tire pressure check with nitrogen fill up (not air), headlight restoration, and à la carte services such as basic window washes. I’m also offering customers complementary pH alkaline waters and windshield washer fluid top offs. I’ve done a lot of research to find the best products to use on Tesla exteriors/interiors and additionally I’ll be using my $650 Dyson hand vac which by far does the best and fastest car vacuuming job I’ve ever seen.

Yesterday I went to the new Santa Monica supercharging station to take customer surveys and offered free vacuums, waters and windshield fluid top offs in exchange for feedback. I even answered a lot of questions that some Tesla owners have had for years during the ownership of their cars. Needless to say I got all positive feedback and every Tesla owner I talked to were super stoked about the services I plan on offering.

HOWEVER, I was eventually approached by a non-Tesla Owner who was wondering what I was doing there. When I explained to him I was taking surveys for the business I’m starting, the guy got kind of upset and explained to me that it is HIS business and HIS territory is that particular Tesla station. He claims to be licensed and said he called the main Tesla phone number and easily got in contact with a Tesla representative who gave him permission to conduct his services on that property which he said Tesla was the sole owner of (therefore not needing permission from Tesla in addition to a leasing property owner). However something seemed off about the guy and his claims. I just called the LA County property assessment office and it turns out Tesla DOES NOT own the property and they are indeed leasing it (turns out the property owner is a former business associate of one of my best friends). Ntm I find it hard to believe he was able to call Tesla and easily find the right person to speak to in order to get permission to conduct his business at the location. Being an actual Tesla owner myself, I know it’s almost impossible to get a hold of anyone by calling the Tesla phone number for even the most basic things.

Before offering any of my services at a given supercharging location, I want to make sure I cross my t’s and dot my i’s. I will be getting licensed, insured, bonded in addition to getting a car washing permit from the city of Santa Monica.

What I’m trying to figure out is who would be the proper entity to talk to in order to get permission to conduct my services; should I be talking to Tesla, the leasing property owner or both? Or should I just go about business until if and when someone from property management says something to me?

Additionally should I call this other mobile washing guy out on his BS? He didn’t have any business cards or a company logo on his Honda pick up truck that he had parked at the supercharger station and wanted cash for payment, so I’m doubting he’s even licensed. I found it comical when he tried to discourage me by saying it takes AT LEAST three months of comprehensive training programs to learn how to properly wash a car haha. However when I washed my own Tesla in front of him as I was supercharging, he applauded the amazing job I did and offered me a job for $20 an hour lol. When I declined he proceeded to offer to bring me on as a partner, I declined that offer as well. I believe what I’m offering is top quality service to my fellow Tesla owners and I want to stick to those values.

Any thoughts, feedback, suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated! Additionally, how many of you be interested in my services if they were available at your local supercharger?

P.S. I’ve attached a YouTube Timelapse of the wash I did, unfortunately I didn’t have time to get all the door jams and am waiting to receive the wheel cleaner and brushes. Will post an update in the near future!

Waterless Tesla Wash Video
 
Property owner controls all that happens on their property, and the lease they sign with their tenants contains their rights (outside of other legal rights afforded by their state/county/city/etc) during said lease. So I would start with the property owner, who MIGHT give you permission with potential ignorance to how his lease with Tesla is structured. I'd ask to review that if he is willing. The other angle is that the guy you spoke with may have already done exactly that, OR based on the lease, did it with Tesla directly (perhaps through a service center connection/"territory" he might be referring to).

If your story is 100% true to tale, and you believe he actually called and spoke to Tesla right infront of you, you might be fighting more of an uphill battle than its worth. For a sample size of n>1, go sit at another couple stations away from the greater SM area and see what happens.
 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
11,859
10,878
Visalia, CA
Any thoughts...
Serving Tesla owners who need services is a great idea.

Legally, thíngs need to be documented. Getting a lawyer or paralegal to get your paperwork done is better.

A lease person has some rights too. For example, a lease to run a restaurant doesn't mean the restaurant has no say even though it's being leased from a building owner.

Thus, I would get a contract from both the property owner and the leasing company Tesla.

I won't be surprised if someday, Tesla/property owner would see there's a revenue running here and take over your business.
 
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Property owner controls all that happens on their property, and the lease they sign with their tenants contains their rights (outside of other legal rights afforded by their state/county/city/etc) during said lease. So I would start with the property owner, who MIGHT give you permission with potential ignorance to how his lease with Tesla is structured. I'd ask to review that if he is willing. The other angle is that the guy you spoke with may have already done exactly that, OR based on the lease, did it with Tesla directly (perhaps through a service center connection/"territory" he might be referring to).

If your story is 100% true to tale, and you believe he actually called and spoke to Tesla right infront of you, you might be fighting more of an uphill battle than its worth. For a sample size of n>1, go sit at another couple stations away from the greater SM area and see what happens.
I’m going to look into it further and gather more info. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you but he did not call Tesla in front of me, he just claimed that he called them before. I do find it hard to believe that it would be as easy as he said to get a hold of the right person at Tesla by calling them, anytime I’ve called them for something simple it’s almost impossible to get a hold of a person (and I’m an actual customer).

The fact he told me that Tesla is the owner of this property was completely untrue, that was after he acknowledged that they typically don’t own the property where they have superchargers.

He also mentioned that he has a permit to wash cars in California, however upon further digging SM requires you to also have a permit directly through the city, due to how strict the city of SM is with regulations.

I floated the idea that perhaps we could keep in touch and I could be there on days he’s not working there. He told me he works there 7 days a week almost the whole day and that he’s been doing it for a while. However I’ve charged at that location 35 times over the past couple months and this was the first time I saw him, I overheard him telling other customers that he just started doing washes here. Some things just didn’t add up with his story.. Anyway I’m working on doing my due diligence to make sure I’m doing everything down to T. I’m going to try calling Tesla myself to verify what he said and see if they’ll give me permission at other locations, but I think it will be difficult if even possible to get a hold of a Tesla rep that can make that decision.
8F3D0DF3-5AA9-4F56-8923-593C51ACD409.jpeg
 
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Which Dyson vac do you use?
I use the cordless Dyson V11 Animal Pro with the motorized upholstery attachment. I’ll probably upgrade to the V15 in the near future when I have an additional $800 to drop on that. Either way the V11 series is awesome! One Tesla owner whose car I vacuumed had cigarette butts, ashes, chips and about anything else you can imagine stuck into the carpet. He didn’t have confidence I would be able to make much of a difference, in the end he was shocked because the carpet looked almost new after I was done. It only took me a few minutes too.
 
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Serving Tesla owners who need services is a great idea.

Legally, thíngs need to be documented. Getting a lawyer or paralegal to get your paperwork done is better.

A lease person has some rights too. For example, a lease to run a restaurant doesn't mean the restaurant has no say even though it's being leased from a building owner.

Thus, I would get a contract from both the property owner and the leasing company Tesla.

I won't be surprised if someday, Tesla/property owner would see there's a revenue running here and take over your business.
I agree with you 100% and I am planning on finding a business attorney to assist me with agreements and contracts to make sure I have all of my bases covered.

From the sound of it the guy didn’t had anything in writing, according to him it was just a phone call with a Tesla employee who said it’s fine. He then dismissed it and told me that Tesla really doesn’t care about this and they aren’t concerned because they’re working on more important things like the Cybertruck. On the other hand I disagree with his statement because as a company they could face liability issues if anything were to ever happen, in addition they have a reputation to uphold which would include anyone they allow to conduct business on their (leased) property.

My goal in doing this is to provide top-notch, high-quality service for my fellow Tesla owners which goes well beyond just car washes.

Anyhow thank you for your constructive feedback!
 
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Do I legally need your permission to run a brothel on your front lawn?
I see your point and great analogy by the way haha. I guess the reason I’m asking is because if you look at the websites of mobile car washing businesses, most of them state they will come to your home, apartment or workplace to wash your car. I highly doubt that any of them get permission beforehand from the apartment building or workplace before doing the wash on their property. I’ve even seen mobile detailers performing washes on cars that were parked on city streets and city owned parking lots. It’s possible a lot of these guys don’t care and just do it until someone reports them, personally I prefer to do some due diligence beforehand.
 
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If you're planning to set up shop at a specific SuperCharger, I think the lot owner is going to be pretty unhappy with you... although the actual lot owner may not be on premises very often.

If you're planning to roam to wherever the client is, then you probably won't be in any one location often enough to experience any issues.

My opinion is that guy was full of crap, and you should just advertise your mobile detail service... not specifically at SuperChargers, but anywhere your clients are.

Good luck to you!
 
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ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
9,546
18,498
California
There’s a business that does this up north - looks like they’re “coming soon” to Santa Monica so you might have some competition… ;)

 
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Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
11,859
10,878
Visalia, CA
some due diligence beforehand.

I don't think mobile washers ask for permissions because they don't stay in one place very long. By the time the security guard call to get that mobile washer, it's all done and gone for the next location.

However, if you plan to stay in one place for hours, it's a good idea to get all the paperwork done.

There will be competitions so it's good to be prepared with paperwork and call police to get rid of the unauthorized loitering washers.

You should offer free air for tires even to non-customers as well.

It's a good business model and I think you'll get support from most people.
 
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