An automated or automatic truck wash can clean a fleet up to nine times faster than washing it by hand. But how much money can an automatic truck wash save you?

To answer that question, it's important to note three things:

  1. The upfront cost of an automated system is much higher than purchasing a pressure washer.
  2. The number of trucks, tractors, or other vehicles and how often you are cleaning could influence the amount of money you spend.
  3. The amount of money you could save varies on whether you use a commercial wash to keep your fleet clean or use your drivers to wash their rigs, or an outside service to come to your lot and wash your trucks. 

Keeping those three things in mind, we're going to look at five ways an automated truck wash system could impact your bottom line. 

To see a realistic example of dollar amounts, feel free to click here


1.  You can wash more vehicles in the same amount of time

The manual truck washing process may cost less upfront but will require considerably more time, labor, and effort over the years.

The traditional method of washing involves an employee or two with a power washer, detergent, and often a brush. From start to finish, this can typically take about 45 minutes for a single truck.

This doesn't include cleaning the interior!

An automated truck wash can clean a truck in a fraction of the time. The only big drawback is the upfront cost.

Combining this with a 2-step fleet washing method makes the entire process more efficient.


2.  Automatic truck washes can reduce labor costs

If an automatic truck wash can clean a truck up to nine times faster than washing it by hand, you could clean your entire fleet in a fraction of the time.

That means you don't need to have your employees cleaning your fleet all week or have to outsource your cleaning needs so that it doesn't take so long.

This would save you thousands of dollars in annual labor costs.


3.  Automatic truck washes can reduce downtime

Downtime is an enemy to just about every business there is.

Every minute your fleet is on the sidelines getting cleaned is a minute each truck isn't helping you increase revenue.

The speed at which you can clean each vehicle in your fleet with an automated wash will allow you to forecast each vehicle's schedule so you are reducing downtime, maximizing efficiency, and growing your business.


4.  Automatic truck washes offer a more consistent clean

Washing a truck by hand not only takes longer but is also exhausting too.

And if you have many trucks to wash, it will take you days to get through them all and it will be next to impossible to clean each one well.

Depending on your industry, you might even avoid having to clean the same vehicle twice to remove thick mud or road film.

An automatic truck wash ensures that heavy dirt is removed, vehicle smears are eliminated, and the undercarriage and wheels are adequately cleaned — every time.


5.  Automatic truck washes are safer for your truck

One of a truck's most important features is its body paint - after all, that's where you display your brand logo and increase your exposure.

In the past, using hard brushes caused scratches and would ruin many body paint jobs.

With an automatic truck wash, you can complete the task without causing harm by using a touchless 2-step method.

This offers the most thorough clean available and will help extend the lives of your vehicles.


Breaking down the numbers

Now that you know the five ways an automated truck wash saves you money, let’s calculate how much that could be after three to five years. 


The initial investment

Installing an automated truck wash takes a considerable amount of time and investment up front. There is the cost of the equipment and machinery, the plumbing, and the electricity to consider. 

On average, this initial investment could reach almost $240,000 including contractor costs. 

But that is when you begin to see your return on that investment, and the equipment you pay for lasts for years. In fact, we’ve had many customers with a wash system that lasted more than 20 years.


Ongoing costs

If a fleet has about 80 vehicles washed twice a month at about $60 a wash using a mobile washer or Blue Beacon, the total expense is about $9,600/mo. This is purely the cost for a wash, it doesn’t include driver waiting time, or if the vehicle is waiting on your lot instead of working on the road.

With an automated wash, still washing 80 vehicles twice a month, that cost is reduced to less than $1,200/mo including the cost of resources. That’s a saving of more than $8,000 per month or $96,000 per year. 


Return on investment

So how long will it take to realize your return on investment?

At $8,000 savings a month, that will take you a little over two years to make that money back on your initial setup costs. But after that, your return on investment makes a direct impact on your bottom line. That’s where the true benefit of having an automated wash kicks in.

  • Total savings after 3 years: $65,722
  • Total savings after 5 years: $269,537
  • Total savings after 7 years: $473,328

But the biggest financial benefit of the automated truck wash isn’t reflected in those figures. It comes from returning your trucks to the road much faster and having them last longer. 

If your fleet spends considerably less time sidelined, that’s more time they will spend in action working for you.


Should you invest in an automated truck wash?

Over the past 20 years, the world has been revolutionized by technology and automation.

But just as technology has revolutionized the way we live, it can also make some of the tasks in the logistics industry easier or more profitable in the long term.

For instance, an automated truck wash can help you save time and money in the long run while providing a consistent clean.

But that doesn't mean it is the correct decision for your business.

Our experienced, professional staff are here to answer your questions and help you discover all the value an automated system can bring to your operation. 

Give us a call at 616-531-6420 or email us at and we'd be happy to help you figure out if an automated truck wash can save your business money in the long term.

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