Stress Relief for Fleet Managers

Posted by Melissa Bennett | June 18, 2015 | blog

As a fleet manager, you already have to deal with what seems like 101 worries and keep track of 500 other things. With so much on your plate, it makes sense to let others handle some of the details for you. If those people are experts, all the better.

Let’s look at one concern in specific. Keeping your fleet clean.

Keeping your fleet looking clean is important for avoiding inspections and fees, but it also gives your company a positive image. With everything else you have to worry, about how do you make sure your fleet gets cleaned on a regular basis?

Some common solutions

  1. Have your drivers be responsible for their own truck
  2. Using a specific wash bay
  3. Building your own wash bay
  4. Hiring some local guys
  5. Hiring the cheapest company
  6. Hiring a quality conscious company.


Not all solutions are created equal. To take the guess work out, we have deconstructed the most common solutions. We then came up with the best solutions for the vast majority of companies. Hint: its the last one


1. Driver being responsible for their trucks.

It sounds great, doesn’t it? You are already paying them, so why not make them work a little bit harder to make sure their rig looks great? You imagine them finding endless wash bays on the road where they can easily take a small break and come out with a sparkling clean truck. It is smiles all around and you never have to worry about those pesky washes, right?


Well, not exactly. For new drivers especially, it can be very difficult to find wash bays on the road. Here at Fleet Clean,  we get calls day after day from frustrated drivers who just want to wash their truck. They simply cannot find anywhere to wash their semis. For many of them, we are the third or fourth call they have made, searching for a place to bring their trucks. They can’t find any information on the internet and they need it done, now! They aren’t lazy drivers, or unwilling to clean their trucks, but it is an unnecessary burden for them. Drivers who are doing everything in their power to do what employers ask of them, still are not able to guarantee washes on a consistent basis, let alone a wash the will pass an inspection. Drivers are good at driving, so let them drive. Forcing them to pull over to scour the internet or a  phone book for someone, who can wash their truck doesn’t help anyone. It only creates one more headache.


2. Using a specific local Wash Bay

Some companies say “Okay, maybe drivers can’t consistently find a wash bay on the road, but we can just use one close to us!” This seems like a great, money saving move at first. Not only can the driver be responsible for their own truck, but they will always have a place to take it! This is not such a bad solution if you don’t mind extra cost. That’s right, this solution may seem cheap on the surface but once you add up the cost it look something like this:

Truck wash+ gas+ 1 hour labor downtime+ wear and tear=total cost

45+7+15= $67 and that is not even including wear and tear, liability ect…

$67 a truck! That is quite a bit of pocket change for the sake of “saving money”.

It’s not a very elegant solution to begin with, but to have it cost even more than using a vendor just adds insult to injury. There has got to be a better solution. Next!


3. Building your own wash bay.

Building your own wash bay is a step up from having your drivers find their own bays on the road, but it is still not a very good solution. For one thing, it is costly to build! Even if a wash bay is already built, it is costly to operate and keep up. Once the costs of water, brushes, pressure washers, hydraulic brushes, water recyclers, electricity, labor and other miscellaneous costs, are factored in, our experts estimate $175,000 per year for a medium sized company and over $250,000 for a large company in annual operating costs. The upside of this solution is that companies can wash their trucks whenever they want, but the downside is that it is very time consuming. Only one truck can be driven through the wash bay at a time, and that driver must have a CDL license. A mobile fleet washing company can wash multiple trucks at once and be done in no time. Let’s look at some more options.


4. Hiring Local Guys

So you have seen the value of hiring an outside company to do your washes for you! Most companies assume that the mom-and-pop shop around the corner will be just fine. However, they quickly see that small operation who advertise as “truck cleaners” might not know much about the business at all. Some of them are experts are detailing passenger cars, and may come highly recommended, but washing a semi is completely different than washing a car. Of course, not every operation is unprofessional. There are some high quality small businesses, but finding one can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Keep in mind, that once you do find the needle, mom and pop shops still are unable to provide the consistency of a larger operation, or service multiple locations. Complaints we have heard from old mom-and-pop customers include: changes in invoicing, changes in scheduling, no shows and poor wash quality.


5. Hiring the cheapest company

Many transportation companies see the value of outsourcing their washing and think, “If we are doing this to save money, why not save the MOST money?” You can find some pretty cheap companies who will wash your trucks for you, but be careful. You get what you pay for. Time and time again, I hear upset customers who just don’t understand what is so hard about washing a truck. They don’t understand why the company they are currently using is doing such a poor job. Invariably, these same people are paying absurdly low prices for their washes. Be careful!  If a company is charging you very little, it’s likely they are cutting corners.


6. Hiring a quality conscious company.

This solution is the best of both worlds, you get to pay significantly less than if you had a wash bay or were having your drivers wash their trucks themselves; and you get a better wash. We see time and time again companies happy they are using us. Many times, we hear that we are so unobtrusive and quick that  they wouldn’t have even noticed we were there at all– expect for the fact that we left behind a sparkling clean fleet.

At Fleet Clean, we are all about quality and it shows. We have a 100% customer satisfaction rating. That is no accident. We don’t cut corners or water down our cleaning agents. We know how many details you have to juggle, so we made our business model work around you. That’s why we don’t need babysitting like so many other vendors. We commit to you without making you commit to us. We come when needed every time and won’t make you sign a contract to get our exceptional services.


Final Thoughts

So there you have it; all the most common solutions for keeping a fleet clean deconstructed. In case you missed it, we recommend using a quality wash vendor. We know that Fleet Clean is a great option, but that doesn’t mean we are the only wash vendors who is capable of doing a good job. Feel free to shop around, but if you want to take the guess work out, Fleet Clean has an excellent reputation for a reason.

You have a lot on your plate. You don’t have to juggle every single aspect of the trucks you oversee. We can handle the washes. Let us take a few things off your plate and help you save money in the process. That is what we call a win-win situation.

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