As we visit hundreds of prospects and customers each year, the number one question usually goes unanswered: "What does it currently cost to wash your vehicles?"
In today's fiscally responsible world, it's difficult to imagine a cost that is so variable and important to company image, employee satisfaction and the bottom line that goes unrealized.
Don't get me wrong, it can be a minor cost compared to tires, engines and new vehicles, but some are shocked at the overall cost when we do the analysis with them.
Here are the questions to ask:
- Do we have the proper methods to capture this cost?
- Do we have all the ancillary costs captured in our budget or cost centers to analyze?
- Do we know how much water we use with our current methods?
- Are we charged for both water in and water out by the municipality?
- How many hours do we spend washing?
- Who is doing our washing? Is it satisfactory to our image and employee satisfaction?
By having your CFO do a little research, you can figure out what the material costs of washing are yearly. The easiest method is to call up the vendors that you purchase these supplies from and find out what you spent with them last year. Step one complete.
Step two is how much water do you use? That depends on the method you use. If you have an automatic washing system, call your vendor and ask for the gallons per minute use of the machinery. If you are using the old fashioned hand wash method, the water hose uses 17 gallons of water per minute while it is on. Now determine the time of a wash cycle and how many washes per week/month.
Step three is using your current labor costs of the current method to wash. How many hours do you have your staff washing per week/month? Multiply hourly wages by hours spent washing.
Now adding all these together, you will come up with numbers that may shock you. Or do you use a mobile spray company? Many have a misnomer on this cost. To truly find out what your cost is per vehicle, just add up your invoices from the mobile company for the year. Yes, another shocker to most.
Money is literally going down the drain if you don't find a method to determine this important part of business. Or as others have told us, we just stopped washing! As one truck executive told me, "Now we are paying for the bad decision of not washing, we are replacing equipment 5 years earlier than before."
Either way, if you aren't paying attention to your cleaning, you are letting money slip away, let alone the image, employee satisfaction and of course the DOT inspections you may see more frequently.