An automatic truck wash can wash a tractor-trailer and make a truck clean up to ten times faster than washing by hand.
Can an automatic truck wash save your truck wash operation money yielding higher profits than hand washing with wands?
The answer to this question is yes, but several factors must be considered:
- The initial investment cost in an automatic wash system is higher than purchasing several pressure washers. But keep in mind, in fixed wash systems, the most expensive investment cost is in land and concrete, plus wash equipment seldom costs more than 20% of the total development cost. To scrimp on wash equipment makes no sense unless you truly believe a hand wash with a pressure washer actually provides a better and more consistent wash. Hand washing with wands requires five times more labor to operate.
- The number of trucks, tractors, or other vehicles you plan to wash and how often you are cleaning could influence the amount of money you spend.
- The amount of money you could save varies on whether you use a commercial wash to keep your fleet clean or require your drivers to wash their rigs, or an outside service to come to your lot and wash your trucks in a mobile wash application.
Potential Reasons Automatic Truck Washes May Be Better
The manual truck washing process may cost marginally less upfront but will require considerably more time, labor, and effort over the years. With current labor shortages and minimum wage rising to unprecedented all-time highs, the actual cost of a truck wash is rising dramatically.
The traditional method of washing involves several employees or power washers, detergents, and brushes. From start to finish, a hand wash with pressure wands typically takes about 45 minutes to an hour for a single tractor with trailer wash.
This doesn’t include cleaning the interior or the inside of the trailer, known as a washout!
1. More Vehicles Can Be Washed in the Same Amount of Time
An automated truck wash system can clean a truck in a fraction of the time. The only drawback is the higher upfront cost of the automated equipment versus power wash wands.
Combining automation with an attendant and a 2-step wand makes the entire process much more efficient and reduces time to wash and labor costs considerably.
2. Automatic Truck Washes Reduce Labor Costs and Liability Insurance Costs
An automatic truck wash system cleans a truck up to ten times faster than washing it by hand, an entire fleet can be washed in a fraction of the time required for hand washing.
That means there is no necessity to clean your fleet all week or have to outsource cleaning needs so that it doesn’t take so long.
This will save thousands of dollars in annual labor costs for on-site fleet washing and commercial truck wash operations. Touchless automatic washes can wash a 53’ tractor with a trailer in 6 minutes. Theoretically, a single wash bay with an automatic wash system can wash 10 trucks per hour. Therefore a commercial wash can wash 70 more trucks in an 8-hour operational period.
3. Automatic Truck Washes Reduce Downtime
Downtime is an enemy of just about every business.
Every minute your fleet is on the sidelines getting cleaned is a minute each truck earning revenue.
The speed at which you can clean each vehicle in your fleet with an automated wash will allow you to forecast a schedule for each vehicle. Therefore, you are reducing downtime, maximizing utility efficiency, and maximizing profitability in your trucking business.
4. Automatic Truck Washes Offer Greater Consistency of Cleaning Results
Washing a truck by hand not only takes longer but is also exhausting for wash employees.
And if you have many trucks to wash, it will take days to get them all washed, and it will be next to impossible to clean each one consistently.
Depending on your industry, you might 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 properly cleaned — every time with the same consistency.
5. Automatic Truck Washes Are Safer for Tractors and Trailers
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 upfront. 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.
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 of 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 consistent cleaning.
But that doesn’t mean it is the correct decision for your business.
Our experienced, professional staffs are here to answer your questions and help you discover all the value an automated system can bring to your operation.