Managing a fleet of your own demands a considerable amount of time and resources — from scheduling pickup and delivery to maintenance to fleet washing.

But if you don’t have high-quality chemicals or an automated truck wash, you probably experience considerable downtime. Especially if your fleet spends a lot of time on the road and is covered with dirt, grime, and debris. 

If you want to make sure these issues aren’t hurting your bottom line, you need to perform a cost analysis across your labor, chemicals, fuel, and shipping. Once you know how much money is being spent, you need to look for more efficient alternatives.

But don’t worry. We went ahead and did the hard part for you. Here are some fleet washing tips to help you save more money and speed up your cleaning process.

Tips to Reduce Your Fleet Washing Chemical Costs

  • Pre-treat tough to clean areas

By pre-treating the trouble spots, you make it much easier to clean. It also allows you to use a more diluted soap on the rest of the surface and avoid having to re-wash those troubled areas.  

You can pre-treat dirtier areas by using a pump-up sprayer with bug soaker on the windshield, bumper and hood; a degreaser for heavy areas of film, oil and soot; or an aluminum brightener for oxidized and pitted surfaces.

Once an area is pre-treated, follow up with your normal wash process. 

  • Choose a more practical truck wash soap

Sometimes, a more simple product can give you a decent clean instead of a GREAT clean, but at a lower cost-per-wash.

If you’re not as worried about attaining a perfect wash, then you can always talk to your advisor about which chemical might be a more affordable solution. 

  • Adjust dilution ratios 

If you have a regular washing schedule, you may be able to dilute chemicals in your blend more than usual when your fleet isn’t that dirty. 

This is also true during summer when the warmer temperatures accelerate the cleaning reaction. 

  • Use soft water 

Use “clean” or soft (DI/RO) water to blend your soaps to help them work better.

The same water could also be used for washing to improve results, chemical efficiency, and reduce spots.

Tips to Reduce Your Fleet Washing Labor Costs

  • Upgrade your equipment

Fleet washing technology is always evolving to help you achieve a faster and more effective wash. That’s why upgrading your equipment can help maximize your labor efficiency.

This could include investing in a higher GPM pressure washer, additional pressure washers, or a process that allows you to apply soap at a higher pressure (such as a 2-step gun or a remote system) without manually switching detergents at the pressure washer.

  • Use a touchless wash process

Brushing your truck is one of only two ways to ensure it gets cleaned properly but it takes a lot of time and you risk damaging your branding and your paint. With a touchless wash process, you can do the same job and get into hard-to-reach areas in a fraction of the time.

  • Wash your fleet regularly

This may sound ironic but it works. The longer your trucks stay on the road, the dirtier they get. That means when you eventually do wash your vehicles, it’ll take longer to remove all the dirt and grime. 

With a regular fleet washing schedule you can clean your fleet faster because it isn’t as dirty. 

If you have a regular washing schedule with a 2-step process, you might be able perform a single-step wash every other wash to speed up the process (if results are acceptable for your expectation level).

Tips for Fuel Efficiency (Gas or Diesel)

  • Switch to cold water during summer

Gas and diesel prices are reaching record highs all over the world, which is a huge issue for the trucking industry. Not just because your fleet needs fuel but you might have a gas-powered pressure washer. 

You might not know this, but your pressure washer uses additional fuel to heat up the water first. One of the best solutions to this is switching to cold water when it’s warm outside. 

  • Reduce the amount of idle time

It’s normal to turn the pressure washer on and then forget to turn it off when you aren’t hosing down your vehicle.

But you could save some money by reducing the amount of idle time for your machines when you’re not using it. 

  • Prioritize your operation

This can be a game-changer if you operate a mobile washing operation. By adjusting your wash schedules based on the priority of your routes and customer locations you can limit excess travel. Right now, nearly all businesses understand the need to prioritize travel routes and will work with you to adjust timing to make it more mutually beneficial. 

Tips for Dealing with Shipping Costs

  • Be proactive

The global supply chain crisis is causing havoc the world over; from computer chips to car parts to the ingredients in your truck wash chemicals. The worst part is that it’s showing no signs of easing up. 

The best thing you can do is buy in bulk and store the extra product to reduce the cost of shipping per product. This will also give you a little leverage when prices inevitably increase because of low supply.

  • Combine orders

If you are close to another company that operates locally, you can combine orders to split the cost of shipping. Depending on the volume ordered, it may also greatly reduce the amount of shipping costs per individual item; many suppliers offer reduced shipping for full pallet orders. 

How to get more cost-saving fleet washing tips 

While all of these tips will help you save money on your fleet washing, especially during the warmer months, the best way to make sure you’re getting the lowest cost per wash is to by talking to a Hydro-Chem advisor.

Not only do we have the best detergents and soaps to clean your whole fleet, but we have also dedicated account managers who personalize solutions to fit your unique business and help you obtain the lowest cost-per-wash.

And if you have an authorized HCS distributor near you, you can ask if there is a local pickup location to reduce freight costs and transit times.