Truck and fleet washing can be a very steady and profitable venture
allowing the Mobile Power Washer to have a steady income regardless of the
Although many owner/operators are inclined to want your service, it is
probably better to seek the truck fleets such as:
Most of the fleets are interested a twice a month or weekly service which
allows you to more easily work out a schedule.
So how does one go about building a clientele? We’ll take it step by step.
The best way to locate potential customers is to take a drive during the
evening hours or on the weekend. It is then that you will find the trucks parked.
Not only does this give you an outlook of how many and how they are parked, but
also allows you to scope the parking area for water recovery required. Another idea
is, as you travel your daily route, pay attention to trucks you see on the road. Keep a
small pad of paper in your vehicle to write down names of truck lines and phone
numbers. A sizable “call list” can be made very quickly.
Once you’ve located the fleets or made your call list, contact the company by
phone or stop in. Try to get to the person from the warehouse door as that is usually
where he is. Going through the frond door usually allows you to chat with a receptionist.
Upon meeting with the person in charge, introduce yourself and your service.
Ask him or her if they are presently using a washing service. If they are then they are already aware of the convenience so it is just a matter of if they are happy with the service. If they aren’t using a service explain what the service is, what you will do for them, the convenience of having the vehicles washed on a day when they are idle, and the cost savings compared to bringing the trucks to a wash rack and using their own employees. Always carry a copy of your insurance and references to present to the customer.
Remember.........a truck or delivery vehicle creates over 1 million visual impressions a year.
Although pricing will vary in different areas, the norm is usually as follows:
Tractors: $6.00 to $10.00
Trailers: $10.00 to $18.00
Straight Trucks: $8.00 to $15.00
Don’t try to just cut someone else’s pricing. If you do it’s just a matter of time before someone cuts yours. A customer obtained by the offer of good service will be around much longer than a customer obtained with a discounted price.
What makes truck washing efficient is solely related to the chemicals and equipment used. GPM’s are more important than pressure. Usually 5 or more are needed to wash efficiently. The more GPM the more flow and therefore the more water that will hit the surface. Hot water is also important to help remove any grease or oil on the truck.
An alkaline soap, usually with a ph of 13, works very well with little or no brushing. Applied through an injector on the pressure washer, soap the cab and wheels. The frame can usually be cleaned with hot water saving time and soap.
After applying the soap rinse with clear high pressure, paying more attention to the windows, mirrors, bugs on the front of the truck. Very quickly you will get a “feel” for how much of the vehicle you soap at one time. Rinsing is much like spray painting.....pay attention to what you have sprayed....not what you are spraying. Focus on the area behind the fan of water this way you can see any potential striping. The front windshield especially should be rinsed a few times to avoid any soap film running from the roof.
Washing a straight truck or trailer is the same except you have the back doors. Usually soaping the front cab or front of the trailer, the side, and back doors can be done at one time since the surfactants in the chemical keep the surface wet for a while. This of course can vary depending on the temperature. Again....you quickly get a feel for this.
Acid (a mixture of hydrofluoric, sulfuric, and surfactant) is used to brighten aluminum. It can be also used as the first chemical in a 2-step process. In this process, the acid is applied to the surface first and the alkaline is applied right over the acid. The reaction between the two causes the dirt and film to lift from the surface allowing for a quicker rinse. This process is used when the surface has an exceptional amount of road film or rust runs from the mirrors or rivets. If after you wash a vehicle you can still “write” on it with your finger....then a 2-step process is needed. Once 2-stepped it is usually easy to maintain with just an alkaline wash.
Remember...you are selling a service...not a one time wash.
A water tank is a very helpful tool. Some stops where they only have five or six trucks can be serviced more quickly by running off the tank. Your schedule can be arranged so as the next stop may have more trucks and you can hook up to a water source filling your tank while washing the trucks therefore leaving with another full tank. Most contractors use a 200 gallon up to a 500 gallon tank.
A couple brushes and poles are a good idea to keep on hand. Every once in a while you will run into a truck that requires brushed. Usually a standard 6” and a 14” are good sizes to have.
Keep a variety of wants on hand ranging from the standard wash lance to longer ones for those times when the air shields need a direct wash. These can either be purchased from your parts supplier or made with quarter inch pipe available at hardware stores.
Water softeners are needed if you decide to wash car lots. Cars are usually rinsed with water only. Only the wheels are hit with soap if they have brake dust on them. Although the going rate for cars is usually $1 -2.00 each, they wash quickly and it is not uncommon for a lot to have a couple hundred cars. The water softeners are usually canisters that have replaceable cartridges. They can be leased through various water softener companies. The “deionized” water allows the vehicle to dry spot free.
In conclusion remember....it has to be efficient. Discuss various options with your equipment supplier as far as type of equipment, layout of equipment in your truck and little “tricks of the trade”. You will find that your supplier very much wants you to be successful. After all....the more successful you are ....the more you will be requiring additional equipment