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Sonny's-Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Clean Cars Ensure Return Customers and Good Costs

CarWash College™ Tip of the Month

December 21, 2006
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Bi-weekly Volumetrics Testing to Produce a Clean, Dry, Shiny Car and Manage Your Chemical Costs

In July's Tip, I talked about weekly chemical maintenance; more specifically pump station audits. This month I'd like to address what we recommend be done on a bi-weekly basis to produce a clean, dry, shiny car every time.

There are a myriad of problems that can arise with all types of pump stations. Whether you find there is a problem or not, performing a bi-weekly volumetrics test to determine proper per-car application is always a good idea. It will ensure a clean, dry, shiny car and help you tightly manage your chemical cost.

Supplies Needed: 500ml graduated cylinder and a sample of the product being tested

Step 1: Fill the graduated cylinder with the product being tested up to a whole number. For example, the 200ml mark would suffice.

Step 2: Put the hose with the foot valve into the test sample inside the cylinder.

Step 3: Allow one cycle of diluted product to be expelled by running a test wash. Make sure the main ball valve to the hydrominder is turned off so the hydrominder won't draw any chemical out of the drum.

Step 4: Turn the ball valve back on after the wash cycle is complete so the hydrominder float will perform its function and draw chemical out of the graduated cylinder.

Step 5: Record the amount of product used (in milliliters). Divide the milliliters used by 29 to get the ounces of product used per car.

Step 6: Figure out the cost per ounce of product by dividing the cost per drum by the number of gallons in the drum to get the cost per gallon. Then, divide the cost per gallon by the number of ounces in a gallon (128) to get the cost per ounce. Next, multiply the cost per ounce by the number of ounces applied per car to get your cost per car.

Sample Calculation:

35ml used divided by 29 = 1.2 oz of product per application

Cost per drum ($300) divided by the number of gallons in the drum (30 gal.) = $10/gal

$10/gal. divided by the number of ounces in a gallon (128 oz.) = $.08/oz

Cost per ounce ($.08) times the number of ounces of product per car (1.2 oz.) = $.10/car

Your cost per application is $.10/car

Savings:

In July's tip, I talked about pump station audits and how they can bring thousands of dollars to your bottom line with instantaneous results by performing diligent maintenance. The same applies to bi-weekly volumetrics testing. The above six steps done on a bi-weekly basis will aid in managing your bottom line and help ensure you are getting a clean, dry, shiny car.

If you are not currently performing volumetrics testing or inventory, you have no idea what your cost per car per application is. If you don't know, how can you manage it? What if you have a problem with your G57 pump station drawing too much chemical into the mixing tank? What if you have a CTA (Chemical Tire Applicator) that should be running at $.10/car and you perform a volumetrics test and realize it is running at $.20/car? I just came across a wash operator that had mistakenly been running a 515 hydrominder with no tip. If I were to guess, I'd say that would be well over $1.00/car for one CTA. How long has this been going on? If it has been a problem for the last 10,000 cars, you lost $10,000. And how about your other pump stations?

It is not a difficult decision taking on the minimal task of bi-weekly volumetrics testing. The whole process only takes 30-40 minutes every two weeks and can save you thousands of dollars in lost profit.

Rob Madrid is the Director of Education for CarWash College™. Rob can be reached at Rmadrid@carwashcollege.com. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit www.carwashcollege.com, or call the registrar's office at 1-866-492-7422.