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Do you know that every supplier of chemicals should and can provide a written evaluation report that tells you what your chemical usage, costs, strengths and cost percentages are for your wash? So ask yourself this question … do they? Many chemical companies simply install their detergents and tell you — you are “all good” — I have everything “set.” What does “set” mean? This is where many companies fall short of the mark in delivering all of the facts. If your current supplier hasn’t provided this, maybe it is high time that you insist that you get a written report detailing cost usages and other useful information about your chemicals. Maybe it’s time you ask for a report! As you consider what that report should include, follow these guidelines to separate the Quality players from the “Players.”
A quality wash evaluation report should answer these questions:
- What is the quality of the product being applied? In many cases this is done with drops of titration (a measure of the strength of an acid or alkaline detergent).
- How does the quality compare to what the industry norm is?
- How does the quality compare to the “before product” in the case of a new product being applied?
- What is the qualitative rating on foam?
- What is the qualitative rating on color?
- What is the qualitative rating on scent?
- How many ml/ounces were applied per car or per minute (in case of self service wash)?
- What is the cost per car or per minute?
- What is the cost percentage as a percentage of the wash cost?
It should also contain the cost assumptions (what the cost of the product was per ml or ounce) and should specify any dilution tip colors (used to track what the setup dilution was in case of a change).
So ask yourself — does my current chemical supplier supply all of this? If not, why not? Are you figuring your chemical costs by taking your monthly expenditures and dividing by the number of cars washed? Using this method, any variances take a long time to be discovered. Also, a monthly cost evaluation like this can miss things such as: are the strengths where they should be? Could they be better and at what cost?
So this month insist on quality … insist on an installation or quality report. Ask for this and give your supplier a chance to show you what their capabilities really are. Get the service you are paying for when you buy your chemicals and arm yourself with the knowledge. Any supplier can come in after a quality install and “save money” by lowering the strength, color, fragrance and foam. Will you notice? Maybe or maybe not immediately. If you have a record of the history of these types of settings, you will make much better decisions about which suppliers to buy from. This information arms you with more data to help you figure out whose product is the best value. Remember- using 3 ounces of a $5/gallon product is not cheaper than using 1 ounce of a $10/gallon product- especially if the $10 per gallon at this usage differential gives higher quality, deeper colors and stronger fragrance. The easiest way to get cheated is to buy these products without the proper background on how much is being applied and at what resulting quality.
Brent McCurdy, Senior Vice President, Blendco Systems, LLC
Blendco manufactures a full line of detergents and waxes for the professional carwash industry. You can contact Blendco at: www.blendco.com.