Scott Caplan is the President and Co-founder of EverWash–America’s fastest-growing car wash network, partnering with your neighborhood’s local car washes to bring you unlimited-use, all-you-can-wash monthly membership plans. A native of Philadelphia and serial entrepreneur, Scott founded Sweat Fitness in 1999 and built a chain of successful fitness centers in and around Philadelphia. Along with EverWash Co-Founder John Cassady, Scott created EverWash based on the idea that other industries could benefit from the gym membership model and the power of a strong network. Recently, Scott and the EverWash team announced raising $11M in venture capital to expedite the company’s growth and expand its product offering.
Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?
I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia — Bryn Mawr, PA — with a very tight-knit, loving family. I was always close to my parents and sister, and remain so to this day. We’re all still in the area and spend time together frequently. A strong work ethic was instilled in me from a young age. My father was a furniture salesman, and I used to join him on sales trips and calls all the time. For me, it never looked like he was working. I admired that a lot. He was always asking his clients about their families, about their lives. They rarely discussed the deal at hand until the end of meetings, and he always left his clients on a positive note. That’s where I learned that the relationships you build are the most important things in business. He developed true relationships with the people he worked with, and that’s a bond greater than business. Of all the things I learned at a young age, that’s what I carried with me most when I went into business myself.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I’m a little non-traditional here. I didn’t go to college — but not due to a lack of ambition. I simply liked paving my own way and trying to create my own opportunities. I knew I had a passion for personal fitness, and also knew I could sell it. So went ahead and opened my first gym when I was the ripe old age of 21. I owned and operated several successful fitness clubs in and around Philadelphia before exiting their day-to-day operations in 2012. That’s when I started brainstorming what I was going to do next. A friend led me to look at the car wash space, and I (along with EverWash co-founder John Cassady) thought that there was a great opportunity for a membership play in this industry. A lack of competition and the need for disruption in what is largely an old-school and unconsolidated industry made it a no brainer for John and me to move forward with the idea that would lead to EverWash,
What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?
Be persistent! I used to tell people when I was in the gym business that “I’m a 17-year overnight success.” Starting a business is not for everyone. Founders need to really have the drive and motivation to succeed because these things don’t happen overnight. But while you’re being persistent, you need to make sure you don’t let the grind get you down. That’s where enthusiasm comes in. You need to be excited about waking up in the morning, and not see things as if they are a daily grind. If you’re not passionate, it’ll show in your work and in the conversations you have with clients and colleagues alike.