You sign up through the Cherry website, then schedule and geo-locate your car, either on the site or through its iPhone app. Within about 15-20 minutes, someone shows up at your car, wherever it happens to be parked. They wash it and leave. Your payment is processed through the app, so you need not be present, or even meet the person cleaning your car.
Cherry says it vets its car washers and trains them to use its environmentally friendly cleaning products, which allow for washing as many as six cars with just three gallons of water. We haven't seen the process ourselves, and frankly, it sounds too amazing to be true. But Cherry told us that it wouldn't be a viable business were it not for the reduced-water cleaning method, which is apparently popular on the West Coast, where car washing bans are becoming more common.
The other key to Cherry's business model is that California's terrible job market has created an eager pool of applicants looking to score a car washing gig. With unemployment rates topping nine percent in 13 states, Cherry's plans to expand outside of the Bay Area may just succeed.