Truck washing (Soaps, Tips and Tricks)

Tomorrow I have a demo at one of the largest furniture stores in America. They have 71 box trucks that they want cleaned twice a month, possibly more if I can sell them on it. They currently have a guy that does it now and does a good job but the paperwork is the issue with him. Guy charges for the same truck twice on the same trip. The paperwork is probably the easiest part of this job for me, I like to be very detailed. The one downside with this account is they don’t have access to water so I have to bring it. Told him I would normally charge $75 to haul my own water but I cannot with this one as they would not pay for it. But this is just a step to a larger fleet account so I am thinking I should just suck it up on this one to secure the next. Is that thought process a good “business model” to move forward with a startup company? I’ve told myself that I give it 90 days to secure the other account or walk away from this one if they will not pay for the hauling of water.


Is $75 worth fighting over for a potential five figure account?


That is why I am just going to do it. I wish this one was close to 5 figures though :frowning: They are only paying $15 per box truck, not having to be brushed just soaped and rinsed is all they want. Thinking of trying to talk them into doing it weekly for $12.50 instead of twice a month.

$1000 every two weeks guaranteed sounds like a winner to me…how long will it take you to do them?

Shouldn’t take too long just soaping and rinsing. Will know better tomorrow. I’d like to foam some Hellcat soap on them and let it dwell for a minute and then rinse.

I’ve actually told a few clients that I would use my own water to give them a break

Usually a brushless soap and rinse entails two stepping with an acid and high alkaline soap.

Spraying on soap and rinsing is going to give you garbage results,

Is the guy that’s currently doing it 2 stepping? Or just soaping and rinsing?

Do you have hot water unit? How much water can you carry on your rig?


Can you clean all of them in one day?


Listen to @Patriotspwashing.


This doesn’t make sense when you’re washing fleet. I can only clean 4-5 units on a 325 gallon tank. Maybe could get 6-7 small box trucks. I doubt you have such a large tank, so you’ll be at an even smaller number. There’s no way you clear the lot in a day having to drive back and forth to your water source 10-20 times a day and consequently no way you make money. You either 1) tell them they find a way to get a water spigot near you, 2) buy a water truck, or 3) go broke trying to make this work.


Is there not a hydrant somewhere nearby? Be easier getting a hydrant meter and running 500’ of hose if you had to. Or rent or buy a used water truck like pressureguy suggested.

I know the 2 stepping process. We will be foaming on soap, letting it dwell for a minute and brush if needed and rinse. I can carry 525 gallons and I have a hot water unit (Landa PGHW 4.7 GPM) Once I get this going I am stepping up to an 8 GPM machine.

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Water is the issue, I’ll have to leave and get some to finish them all in 1 day

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I am going to search the forum for this. Not sure who I need to talk to about hooking up to a hydrant and where I get a meter.

This is why I am doing the demo today of 2 or 3 box trucks. Want to see how the logistics works, cleaning the trucks is the easy part.


I’m not sure what kind of dirt these trucks will have on them but in my experience you don’t want to use a foamer and if you’re downstreaming one soap you’ll have to brush the entire truck. You also have to use high pressure to get any bugs off the mirrors and windshields.

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Nothing your own truck doesn’t have on it. They are in city furniture delivery trucks.

Going to try a couple of different methods. Guy just wants soap and rinse. But I am going to try the foam and dwell, then the foam and brush, then downstream another truck washing soap. All hot water rinses. Downstream will also be hot. I think the foam and brush will be the way to go due to not having a water source I can save water by doing that. Once this behemoth of a water tank fills I am heading out and will let you all know how it goes and if it is cost effective to even take on this job

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Learned a few things today.

  1. Tried the foam and dwell and then rinse off - 100% did not work
  2. Tried the foam/dwell, brush and rinse - worked but time consuming
  3. Tried foam, brush and then rinse - this is the only way to do it

So here is why I am using foam, water is the logistical nightmare for this job. If I downstream I use water, then I rinse. So I am using almost twice as much water going this route.

My son and I tried different techniques on 1 truck before we foamed it, brushed and then rinsed it. When we rinsed we opened up the downstream (put pick up line in a bucket of water) which helped save water by not pushing out the whole 4.7 GPM (I think). I didn’t have a 5 gallon pail with me so I can’t say how much water I am saving by doing this. It rinsed the soap off very well even though we weren’t getting the PSI and assuming the GPM (will have to do a test to see for sure).

Another thing we learned was that we used 40 gallons on the second truck and it took 18 minutes for my son and I to do. At that rate we would be able to do 13 trucks before we run out of water and it would take 4 hours to do these 13 trucks. And then to finish 71 trucks we would be right around 24 hours of labor. I need to figure out how to increase productivity because $45/hr doesn’t cut it for me.

This is where I can use some mentorship from the experienced guys. What are some techniques to improve productivity? How can I keep my soap wet longer?

Honestly I just don’t think there’s any way around the water issue. You could do a lot of things to make the washing easier and decrease your time per truck but there’s no getting around the amount of water you’ll need.

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There is a fire hydrant about 300 feet away. Gotta research the metering system

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