Mobile Auto Detailing and Mobile On-Site Car Washing – How Much Water Do They Use?

Having built the largest mobile car wash business on the Planet and the most efficient systems in the industry over a 27-year period before retiring, folks still to this day email me and ask me questions about the industry. Not long ago someone emailed me claiming to be interested in setting up a mobile car wash business and he asked the following questions:

  1. “How many gallons of water does one wash use?”

  2. “How many gallons a day does a mobile car wash use?”

  3. “How many cars can you do in an 8 hour day?”

Well, for our systems, a really dirty SUV might use 7-10 gallons max, once you get good at it 5-6. Cars between 3-5 gallons, and once you get good about 2.3 gallons per car. This is because pressure washers only put out about (5.5 hp at 1800 psi) 2.3 gallons per minute (20-seconds spray down, 40 seconds of rinse). How many gallons per day, figure a crew of two on a busy day 60-car washes, or 80-100 if you do NO Wax jobs, which hardly ever happens.

A 200-gallon loaf tank is plenty, I recommend that you use a 110-gallon loaf tank if you have a pickup and put it in the back, if that truck is less than a 1-ton. Also this requires a little more patience when driving.

You need to know that this business is not an 8-hour yuppie business day type of industry. You work when the customer needs you. You might get up early one day for rental cars, work late another day cleaning school buses up until 10 PM (BusWash.com) and some customers will demand weekends, fleets mostly, including Sunday if you want to get it all done on time.

If you are a wimp about working more than 8-hours, get a job, join the union, and forget this industry all together. Sorry, for being blunt, but if you don’t have what it takes you have no business being in this industry, it will eat you alive, take all your money too.

It’s like an Ocean Wave; you can surf it, turn your back on it, but it is coming and doesn’t care what’s there. It will bring you a fish or knock you on your butt and drown you, see that point? Again, sorry if you are the academia type, government worker or were a sheltered child all your life, but that’s the way it is.

Auto Detailing – Save Your Knees and Find a Knee Pad Solution

A couple of years ago, I talked to a gentleman at Starbucks who was on disability. He had worked for a carpet installation company and had blown out his knees, both of them and could hardly walk, and one could not be repaired, although they tried by putting in some titanium. He admitted it did help for a while, but his knee was simply to tore up inside. You see, those that install carpets often use their knees to help pound the nails in the baseboard during installations as he explained it to me. Interestingly enough, I understand how important it is to save your knees because previously I was a tack star and later had raced street motorcycles, and also had done quite a bit of auto detailing. Okay so let’s talk shall we?

If you are in the auto detailing business you will be on your knees quite a bit cleaning wheels, under carriages, and putting on wax of vehicles which are very low to the ground, like most exotic sports cars. This means you have to get down and dirty, but in doing so you will be working in a parking lot if you are doing mobile detailing with gravel around, or you will be working on a cement floor inside of an auto detailing shop, those are very hard surfaces, and they can be quite challenging if you are in that position on your knees for long periods of time.

There are several auto detailing catalogs which have very small cushioned mats which are between six and 8 inches wide and 2 feet long with a handle on them, on one end. These work perfectly, and they are an ideal solution for an auto detailer. Best of all you can clip them to a work cart using a carabiner that rock climbers use. Another strategy is to get ahold of the type of knee pads that soccer players use from a sports store. Although they are not as good, they will save your knees. If you are an auto detailer you may put one on only one knee, and kneel down on that each time. Every few days you might wear it on the other knee, so you are not favoring one leg over the other. Always buy the fabric washable kind.

It’s amazing how simple things and proper ergonomic procedures can help you in your auto detailing this. If you are detailing aircraft, especially light aircraft, or small business jets, it is often very hard to clean the underbelly, or the bottom of the wings with one knee on the ground, either on the flight line or in a hangar on the hangar floor. Protect your knees so you don’t have to become a disabled auto detailer. Please consider all this and think on it.

The Pros and Cons of Auto Detailing Clay

When detailing clays first came into the scene they were heralded as the answer to people’s detailing their cars as safely as possible, that is, without damaging their car’s paint work and removing the toughest stains that people used to have to seek the so called professional to deal with. Suddenly, it wasn’t such hard work anymore to remove nasty gunk that stuck to cars, just an application and a mere swipe no elbow grease, no possibility of having to scratch our car’s paint work and your car would have that show room brilliance again.

Clay bars have the combined effect of mild abrasives and powerful powdered detergent to effectively clean any car of almost anything. They have become the thing to have for people who are fussy about their cars. They can remove stains as stubborn as grease and tree sap; even tar that attaches itself onto the exterior. The great bonus is that they work just as well on other materials like glass and plastic removing the need to have different products for different parts of a car’s body. You can cut out most of all the other cleaning products you would need to keep the shine on your car, which means with detailing clays you get the effects that far outdo premium polishes and waxes for cars. The only other product you will need though is a lubricant, Clay bars tend to streak if too little lubricant is used and or stick to the surface. This sticking leaves a film of residue which looks chalky and unattractive on the a surface that should be shinny. If improperly used, clays pick up grease during the cleaning process and you don’t want that as you could easily transfer this grease to the entire car. No matter how good a particular brand of clay is said to be it will not remove oxidized paint nor will it fill in blemishes. The best thing to do for a car that has mild oxidization is to remove the oxidized paint by washing and polishing the car first. Most detailing clay kits have pre-wax cleaners that fill up minor scratches and can be used to pre-wash oxidized paint work

Auto clay bars remove mostly anything but not necessarily everything. There are some types of dusts that don’t come off as easily with clay bar. Moreover they should never be dropped on a dirty floor as that might just render them unusable that’s only because they are sensitive to dirt and because dust will still to your clay that is why most are sold with hardened plastic containers that you should really always use to store your clay bars if you mean to get the mileage you want to from them. There aren’t many cons at using clay bars, that’s why most car detailing shops always use them as the best method of cleaning the car exteriors, it’s a good thing that ordinary person can now buy their own clay an cut costs by detailing their own vehicles.