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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I Didint realize you do Fleets barry
Yes, with resi only about 6 months long we also do fleets.

What did you need, Barry?
I was just doing some research on pricing tractor/trailers. I wasn't sure how many fleet guys were on this board, that's all. Nice site by the way.

I know not too many guys are going to talk pricing openly but on a tractor/trailer do you guys charge more for the trailer and how much more do you charge than the tractor?
 

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To answer your question:Yes, we do charge more for a trailer wash than a tractor wash, which is stupid, but that is what the industry has seemed to set. The trailer has nice, easy-to-wash flat surfaces and it isn't as necessary to get a trailer as clean. A tractor is much more difficult to wash, gets a lot dirtier than a trailer, and the driver is much more likely to complain if it isn't relatively clean. A person can spend twice as much time on a tractor than a trailer to get it clean, all for less money. Obviously, pricing varies dependant on numerous circumstances, but we typically charge anywhere from $2.00-$5.00 more for a trailer, hoping that the extra money we get from them makes up for less profit on the tractor. Are you strating to test the "fleet waters" a little? What kind of experiences have you had so far?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I obviously did my research before submitting a bid but after I did I just got to thinking like you said, the trailer is easier to wash so I second guessed myself. I charged $2 more for the trailer in this particular instance.

Yes, I am getting into fleet washing, I have been up north and worked with another fleet washing contractor. He showed me the ropes and of course we've talked on the phone for countless hours. Still I believe the only real way to get good experience is to be out there doing the work. I recentley landed a nice little biweekly account of 24 step through vans (route trucks). It's the perfect size to go out and knock out by myself and get some experience. I have a very good lead on another account and I've submitted quit a few quotes to numerous companies that my produce work down the road.
 

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Barry, I have one fleet account too. It was too good to pass up and its very easy but we are still feeling our way around the efficiency aspect. Our friend up north would do this account in two hours but as of yesterday, its still taking three of my guys 7 hours.
 

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Barry, I have one fleet account too. It was too good to pass up and its very easy but we are still feeling our way around the efficiency aspect. Our friend up north would do this account in two hours but as of yesterday, its still taking three of my guys 7 hours.
If I know you, it's because your so darn anal. That's the fine line I can't figure out how to make money on fleets. Prices are too low for spending much time on them doing extreme quality. I can't seem to figure exactly "how clean" is clean enough to make money. How do you clean a $15 Tractor in 5 minutes and get it CLEAN? That's how fast I would have to be to make the same money as a House wash.

If I am understanding right, fleets are all about setting expectations as to what you get for $xx.00. Otherwise, a guy could spend an hour washing a Truck for $15 because it wasn't explained that $15 only gets them 5 minutes worth.

Am I correct? How clean do guys get them for these amounts I see everywhere?
 

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WOW! Three guys seven hours? That must be a pretty good sized account! As long as you're making the money it's O.K, but I can see why you'd want it to go a little quicker...
Yeah thats pretty embarassing I know. Its a total of 42 50-passenger busses. They are not all housed in the cleaning area (which has sanitary drains and 3 high flow water outlets) We have done them three times now. First two times was ten hours (Michael's right, that was because I was there the first two times LOL). Its the moving of the busses that causes problems. They have one guy there and its a 50/50 chance as to whether he is on the phone with his wife or ready to move the next set of busses into the wash area. Two guys are washing, one guy is brushing and there is plenty of stepping over each others toes and/or standing around. I bid this job at $32 not knowing if that was high or low but we got it so its worth filling in a Sunday and the guys get time and a half so its easy to get them to work but soon I will be down to two guys and I am a bit worried about the time.
 

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Barry, I have one fleet account too. It was too good to pass up and its very easy but we are still feeling our way around the efficiency aspect. Our friend up north would do this account in two hours but as of yesterday, its still taking three of my guys 7 hours.

After the hassle that you've described I can surely understand why it takes the time it does. I don't know how your friend would be able to do this in 2 hours, though. From what you've described, you have to wait for over a cumulative 2 hours just for this driver just to move the buses around. While some time may be save in your washing procedure, it sounds like a lot could be gained in bus rotation efficiency. Is there some way that someone else could help this guy shuttle buses? We have similar problems with school buses. I can't believe these schoolbus drivers transport children around because I've seen them run into my wash truck before, they can't back up the bus, they've almost run into each other, they've almost run myself and my helpers over on numerous occasions, and they take forever to shuttle them around, adding hours to a normal workday. Sounds like you're making a little money at least...
 

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That's the fine line I can't figure out how to make money on fleets. Prices are too low for spending much time on them doing extreme quality. I can't seem to figure exactly "how clean" is clean enough to make money. How do you clean a $15 Tractor in 5 minutes and get it CLEAN? That's how fast I would have to be to make the same money as a House wash.

If I am understanding right, fleets are all about setting expectations as to what you get for $xx.00. Otherwise, a guy could spend an hour washing a Truck for $15 because it wasn't explained that $15 only gets them 5 minutes worth.

Am I correct? How clean do guys get them for these amounts I see everywhere?

That is a good question. I feel that we do a very good job for what we are able to charge. We two-step which is the most effective way of breaking the dirt bond loose, and we have a unique way of applying the chemical at pressure, which helps break the bond and bugs loose, and we can change immediately right at our wash gun which also helps with speed aspect. However, it still takes 7-10 minutes to wash a tractor in most cases.We have 3 guys washing at the same time which helps, but some quality is sacrificed. I don't brush the stacks or backs of cabs because I don't want my brushes full of grease, so I smear grease all over later on if I come to a nasty tractor or one that I want to "mint" out. I also wash only what I can hit from the ground, so this means that some bugs are left on the tall sweeping fairings on the OTR sleeper tractors during bug season and I don't get all of the grease off the stacks and cabs. Everything else gets hit, including backs of cabs(they still look pretty good with just a regular wash), inner and outer frames, mud flaps, top rails on trailers, complete cleaning/brightening on diesel tanks on reefer trailers, frames on belly dumps, etc., I even do the wheelwells on most trucks; usually the places that all of our competitors skip. You're right though. It's a tough business at times. The biggest beniefit is that it's consistant money, and we've grown over the years to our present size while competitors have come and gone, so we must be doing something right!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Barry, I have one fleet account too. It was too good to pass up and its very easy but we are still feeling our way around the efficiency aspect. Our friend up north would do this account in two hours but as of yesterday, its still taking three of my guys 7 hours.
Yeah but our friend up north would only get $8 a bus with their economy :huh:
 
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