Have you ever thought about running a mobile fleet washing business, but weren't sure where to start? Maybe you've seen YouTube videos about how successful it can be. Or perhaps you're a truck driver tired of waiting in long lines at the truck wash, only to end up with streaks on your rig, thinking you could do a better job. Well, you can!
But before you quit your day job or take out a loan to start your mobile fleet business, there are quite a few things you should do first to give yourself the best chance of success.
Shadow an Existing Company
If you're truly interested in starting a mobile truck washing business, a possible first step is to find another successful wash company to shadow. Because they're unlikely to want to teach a competitor, focusing on finding a successful company outside of the same area you want to eventually operate in will increase your chance of finding a mentor. Many existing companies are willing to collaborate with those new to the industry. They might share their industry knowledge in exchange for some extra hands-on help from you - as a bonus, physically doing the work can help you determine if this might be a good fit for you. Make sure to ask lots of questions, this is your chance to learn from their mistakes and successes, as well as gain insights into their operations and challenges they face.
The Weekend Grind of Truck Washing
Another thing to consider is that you will likely be working long hours every weekend washing trucks. Fleets are typically on the road Monday through Friday, especially during daytime hours, and are often only parked in their company lots in late evenings or on the weekends. It's not uncommon to wash late into the night, or for long days on the weekends - sometimes up to 18 hours a shift! This sort of schedule can regularly interfere with family, sports, or just hanging out and kicking back a few.
Understand Physical Demands
Washing trucks is physical work, plain and simple, no matter the method you choose. Videos online can make it look much easier than it is. We recommend that you go out and learn the different ways to wash, and figure out what process is the most efficient and effective for you to clean not just one truck, but an entire fleet.
If you struggle with some physical challenges on a regular basis or have limitations, you might need to consider hiring someone else to do the actual cleaning of the trucks. Creating a list of the problems that your wash technicians could face, and brainstorming solutions will help your truck washing business be more efficient and profitable.
Start with the Basics
If this industry still sounds amazing to you, then you should get yourself some of the basics to get started. By starting small, with minimal investment, you'll learn if you have what it takes to do the hands-on work of this business, and decide if it's worth the cost to upgrade your equipment and turn it into a full blown business.
Begin with washing a few trucks for friends to test it out - see if you like the work, and if they like the results. You can easily get started with a relatively inexpensive cold water pressure washer from a big box store (I.E. Home Depot or Lowe's), some dish detergent or a local store's 'truck wash soap', a few buckets with wheels, and some soft brushes.
After you've decided to dive in further, we recommend you speak with companies that can suggest ways to slowly upgrade to the right equipment, detergents, and methods to help you to be as efficient and cost effective as possible while minimizing headaches.
Learn About 2-Step Washing
When cleaning fleets consistently there are two ways that have been proven to remove the road-film from fleets. One method is brushing, which most folks are aware of, and the second way is using a 2-Step chemical application process and then rinsing with high pressure.
In our experience of running a mobile fleet washing business, and working with many across the country, we found that the 2-Step cleaning process allows companies to be more profitable - and have less physical effort required to wash.
You can still employ the same amount of labor, but increase the number of accounts that you are washing because you are no longer brushing 100% of the time. You will still need to scrub from time to time, but if you are brushing now, you can easily reduce your brushing by 80% or more on your weekly or bi-weekly accounts. This will allow you to wash your fleets faster, and get new accounts without the need to hire more people.
Still Considering Starting a Mobile Fleet Washing Business?
Think of washing trucks kind of like mopping floors. You know the minute that someone walks on your freshly mopped clean floor, it gets dirty again. The same thing goes for a truck, the moment it starts going down the road again, it will get dirty again and needs to be cleaned, usually on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.
This is only the beginning of your journey down this exciting path of running a mobile fleet washing company. There is so much more to consider and learn before jumping all-in. We recommend that you speak to one of our Detergent & Truck Wash Specialists for further information and guidance down this new venture. We wish you well and look forward to helping you on this journey!