Adding on fleet washing to my services?


#1

So I was sitting in the McDonald’s driver thru line and was watching this guy washing an 18 wheeler in the next parking lot over and it got me thinking if I was missing out on some easy money by not offering that service. I’m out of Charleston SC and we have three large ports in this area and tons of 18 wheelers in and out of here daily. Any thoughts on the pros and cons of washing 18 wheelers.


#2

From everything I’ve read on the subject, it’s usually far from easy money.

Need to consider:

  • Where’s the water supply coming from? Do you need to truck it in?
  • Where is the wash water going? Do you need to reclaim it, or ‘catch and release’?
  • Competition can be fierce.
  • You’ll likely need a helper to work efficiently
  • You need different soaps and tools, and learn to use them proficiently
  • You may need additional insurance

#3

I didn’t even think about messing with reclaim. This will be my first full season this year and I plan on sticking with just houses and driveways for a full season while I figure things out. I think I’m going to stick with my plan.


#4

I’m with you I’ve thought about it as well man there’s just so many Avenues to explore and ways that you can twist and turn a pressure washing business here in Charleston


#5

Yeah I just don’t want to stretch myself to thin in the beginning while I’m still learning the basics. I want to feel a 100 % confident with residential washing before I dabble in anything else. But there has to be a decent market for it here in Charleston.


#6

Depends on area, where I am I would never think about it. A lot of drive thru truck washes


#7

Agreed, FAR from easy money. The truck washes charge $45. Unless you are set up to 2 step, you will be brushing the pained body.

I’ve been washing 6 trucks weekly for 5 yrs now, I get $50 each, and it takes me 4 hrs non stop. Lol! $300 for 4 hrs solid, 1/2 of that time is with a brush in your hand. If my truck wasn’t in the deal I definitely wouldn’t be doing it!! Actual fleet washing where you have 20+ trucks lined up and don’t brush, most will only pay $12-&15 each…


#8

Sounds like a headache I don’t want to mess with. @Patriotspwashing are you talking about self service truck washes or ones that are automated?


#9

Automated two step truck wash. Made for semis and trailers


#10

4 hours to wash 6 trucks? You’re doing something wrong man. Fleet is my main business and I’d say it’s not easy money but it’s definitely not that hard.

I guess I’m lucky in that

  1. the nearest drive thru truck wash is 3 hours away and
  2. there are no reclaim laws in my jurisdiction. not that it would really matter as most of clients park in gravel lots

I regularly wash a lot of 30 trucks every Saturday and get $35-55 a piece and clear the lot in 6-7 hours.

You can charge MORE than the drive-thru because by coming to them and washing when they’re parked, you’re reducing driver down-time.

I just signed a new client washing 17 trucks and tanker trailers each month for $115 a piece. Went out and did one today as practice and it took me about 35 minutes.

Yes you’ll need a helper and specialty chems but I’m clearing $100/hr with one machine and one helper and am planning on adding a second machine and helper by the end of Q2.

Is it as profitable per hour as house washing? No. Your chemical and labor expenses will probably be higher, you need a hot water unit, it’s harder work, and you have to commit to working year round (I washed the weekend after Christmas). But as of right now I have over $100k on the books for the year with only 5 weekly/monthly clients and I still have a LOT of room to grow. The benefits of regularly scheduled work far outweigh the cons for me.


#11

Reclaim law is a federal law lol. Many local municipalities have just added to it,…


#12

Pot is illegal federally and yet a few states have chosen to legalize it and many others look the other way unless you’re a big time dealer.

I contacted my local water and sewer departments and both told me unless I’m a restaurant dumping grease into the drain they don’t care.


#13

@charlestonwashing Maybe you could set it up with a church or a daycare to do their vehicles just to get your feet wet see if you want to keep doing it. you can see what works see what doesn’t work and at the same time it’s not a super huge commitment that takes up a lot of your time.


#14

@pressureguy

Your not washing 30 of these.

Or this

Nothing you say will convince me of that. Sorry.
If by some crazy circumstance you are, they do not look like this when your done.

You wash 5 trucks an hour? Obviously my idea of washing and yours are much different.
NOPE. not happening. No way you washed a truck and tanker in 35 min. You MIGHT have rinsed it off, but it wasn’t clean when you got done. Now if that’s what you customer wanted, and was happy, good for you! I could “wash” a 6 unit 2 story apartment building in 35 min also, but it wouldn’t be clean to my standards, and I’d feel terrible charging them $200. But It got “washed”.

I also dont believe your “clearing $100 an hour” washing trucks. Unless your charging $125 each.

You might PRODUCE $100 an hour with a helper, but that sir, is far from clearing $100.

I take my time and make these trucks look perfect, a brush hits all the paint, stack brush on the exhaust, squeegee all the glass, degreaser on the tires and tanks, and a hand mit in the wheels. The guys that drive these particular trucks are very picky and kinda Aholes. I kno because I drive the one in the first pic. :rofl::rofl::rofl:. Should I be charging more? Yes, but I enjoy it, and I get a nice clean truck to drive afterwards, as do the other 5 guys. And I don’t have to waste 1/2 a day of my free time driving 30 miles one way to the closest truck wash to get it.

You might be spraying off something like this

Or this


#15

He’s right in line with what all my trucks produce…6 days a week all year, year after year. I do net a bit more per hour though. Also we run very lean and all my trucks are staffed with one man


#16

He said he has one helper, maybe he pays him $5 an hour! Lol!
In my eyes “clearing “ means after all is said and done, how much money do I have left. Soap, gas, wear and tear, supplies, taxes, equipment, every penny spent making a dollar is not money cleared. If you spend $100 To produce $300, you only “clear” $200.
I spend $4 in soap, aprox $1 in gas, and $2 in degreaser per truck. I don’t count the gas to get to the job because I’m going there anyway.

I don’t wash the trucks to make great money, I do it cause I enjoy it and it’s conv for me. I wash on Sunday, and when I’m done rolling up my hoses, I change boots and then drive that truck 450 miles that night, makes for a $600 Sunday for me! But washing trucks is what got me into other power washing, which definitely make more money. I drive Sunday thru Wednesday, and off Thur-sat. When the weather is right I can make a couple bucks washing on those 3 days


#17

I haven’t washed fleets in 15 years. I got about $15 per tractor and $10 for the trailer. Two stepped the front and back of trailer and rims, quick brush of tractor. Ten minutes total. They wanted them to look good going down the road at 60 mph. They got what they paid for. Different pricing, different expectations.


#18

@ShinedUp

Oh boy here we go.

Your not washing 30 of these.

You’re right I’m washing 30 bigger and taller than those. Here’s one from last weekend that took about 8 minutes.


Here’s a tanker I cleaned yesterday. Took me all of 30 minutes plus about 5 minutes for the day cab.

!

That not clean enough for you?

I also dont believe your “clearing $100 an hour” washing trucks. Unless your charging $125 each.
You might PRODUCE $100 an hour with a helper, but that sir, is far from clearing $100.

Idk what to tell you man I’m certainly not going to send you my spreadsheets and quickbooks info. I’m right at over $100/hr after expenses at the moment and I know I’ll do even better than that once I increase my volume and get a second machine.

He said he has one helper, maybe he pays him $5 an hour! Lol!

Excuse me? I pay my guy $15 an hour from the time he gets in the truck to the time he steps out.

Here are the main issues

I don’t wash the trucks to make great money

and

You wash 5 trucks an hour? Obviously my idea of washing and yours are much different.
NOPE. not happening. No way you washed a truck and tanker in 35 min. You MIGHT have rinsed it off, but it wasn’t clean when you got done. Now if that’s what you customer wanted, and was happy, good for you! I could “wash” a 6 unit 2 story apartment building in 35 min also, but it wouldn’t be clean to my standards, and I’d feel terrible charging them $200. But It got “washed”

Well. Ok. Others like myself are in it for the money and so we find ways to move quickly while still doing a good job. The reason you’re not making money is because you’re offering a detail service at a slightly-higher-than-maintenance-wash price. If you’re putting degreaser on tires, taking a squeegee to the glass, and a hand mitt to the wheels and only charging $50 a piece then you’re getting ripped off. I do a full interior detail and quick exterior wash on just small pickup trucks for one of my clients and get $75 a piece. Now you say you’re doing your own truck and (presumably) those of guys you work which makes about 6 units a week AND you’re not doing it for the money and that’s fine. But don’t confuse that with someone like me who will wash over 300 units this month and IS in it for the money.

Your attitude towards what “clean” is, is just silly. It’s like telling someone they’re not washing a house unless they polish the doorknobs, wash the windows, and sweep off the deck. If you want to break your back doing more work for less money then that’s your prerogative.

But don’t put down an entire industry and my business just because you don’t understand it.


#19

:+1::+1::+1::+1::+1:


#20

Maybe I don’t know because I don’t wash big trucks but what the He!! Do you use on those tankers…it looks amazing…35 min…I’m super impressed…:metal::metal: Rock on!!