If you follow baseball, the subject of this Operator Spotlight may be a familiar name to you. Daniel McCutchen had a solid career as a professional baseball pitcher, even making it to Major League Baseball for a significant amount of time. After his time as a pro athlete, he went into the car wash industry. He continues to build his business in Texas, now running three different locations in the New Braunfels area. We had a chance to visit the Big League Car Wash location on Hillcrest Drive, chat with McCutchen, and grab some snapshots of the beautiful baseball-themed wash.
For those unfamiliar with the path to become a big leaguer, it’s more complicated than it seems on the surface. Players put in a lot of tough work, make a lot of strategic decisions, and move up down through the ranks of the minor league system before seeing major league success.
McCutchen’s Professional Baseball Career
McCutchen played college baseball for Grayson County College and the University of Oklahoma. During his college career, several teams drafted him. The Yankees drafted him in 2003, the Devil Rays in 2004, the Cardinals in 2005, and again by the Yankees in 2006. McCutchen signed with the Yankees after they drafted him the second time, and spent time working through their farm system. He was traded to the Pirates in 2008 and only had to wait a year before his big league debut in 2009.
McCutchen had the most success during his years with the Pirates, holding a spot in their rotation for large chunks of time over about a four-year span. After entering free agency in 2012, he spent time with the Orioles, Rangers (saw MLB time with them), White Sox, and Padres. He retired from professional baseball in 2016.
Opening the First Big League Car Wash
McCutchen was smart enough to use his baseball career as a foundation to build the rest of his life. He knew he wanted to run some kind of business after baseball, and the car wash industry was very strong on his radar. His brother-in-law was already a seasoned car wash owner, operating the successful Today’s Car Washes in central Texas, so opening car washes seemed like a move that made sense for McCutchen.
“I knew I was going to get into business when I got done with baseball. This (the car wash) was mainly on my list. I was thinking of developing some shopping centers, or doing something like that, but I dove right into car washing. I opened up my first location a year after I retired (from baseball).”
McCutchen retired in September 2016, and the first Big League Car Wash opened in 2017. As he describes it, they “washed a ton of cars” at that location, and it became a great starting point for him in the industry.
Expanding Big League and Exploring Other Businesses
He’s now on his third car wash location, and is in the early stages of opening more. He also has a plan to build a coffee shop near one wash, as well as an express coffee shop directly on the property of another wash location.
While McCutchen does stay somewhat active on social media and sends advertisements by mail, he understands that location is key. He positioned his washes on busy roads with “30,000 plus” vehicles a day. He takes advantage of that traffic by heavily playing up his theme with large signage and baseball-styled design. Already sounding like a seasoned car wash veteran, he said, “You find the right location and it advertises for you.”
If you’re not a baseball fan, you can still appreciate the cleanliness and functionality of Big League Car Washes. They’re not a gimmick, they are fully functioning washes that offer a premium cleaning experience. If you are a baseball fan, it’s next level. The attention to detail is absolutely awesome. Big League has a large strip of AstroTurf out front that almost looks like a bullpen, a “Season Pass” unlimited wash club, a logo that uses McCutchen’s pitching silhouette to mimic the MLB logo, and wash package options named Single, Double, Triple, Home Run, and Grand Slam!
Balancing Big League Car Wash and Family Life
It’s obvious that McCutchen has invested more than just money in the business. He has also invested time to truly understand the car wash industry, both from personal experience and learning from his brother-in-law and other owners. It shows, and it bodes well for his long term success.
The life is “busy, but fun.” McCutchen balances time spent on the business, community involvement, and family life. The family includes a wife, who runs a thriving dental practice, and four bustling children. Maintaining balance means quickly recognizing the importance of having the right staff. He noted, “I hire good people, pay well, and try to provide a fun environment. I mean, really, they are the ones that create the fun environment. Hire nice people, treat ‘em right, create a good environment… it works out.” We can vouch for that. The Big League staff was incredibly welcoming and pleasant for our entire visit, and it was clear they all got along and worked well together.
McCutchen relies on Kleen-Rite for his vending and towel needs, and we’re happy to share in his success. If you live close to Big League Car Wash in Texas, or happen to be passing through, make it a point to check out one of their locations – you won’t be disappointed!