Calculating Your Cost Per Car - Professional Carwashing & Detailing

Calculating Your Cost Per Car

Volumetrics is an essential process for precise measurement of chemicals used per car wash application.


Volumetrics is an essential process for precise measurement of chemicals used per car wash application. Methods of completing volumetrics are measuring product in its original container or drum, graduated cylinders or using a digital counting scale. These methods are measuring the volume of product used per application. With any method, it is critical that the volumetric is completed on a stable, level surface to achieve the most accurate results.

The oldest method for calculating cost per car wash to simply take the total amount of cost of solution used during a given period of time and divide it by the number of cars that were washed during that same period of time will provide you with a general cost per car.

The graduated cylinder method for measuring requires two cylinders: a 100-milliliter cylinder and a 250-milliliter cylinder.

  1. Fill the 100-milliliter cylinder and the 250-milliliter cylinder with the product you are measuring.
  2. Put the foot valve of that product into the 250-milliliter cylinder and run multiple vehicles, at least four, through the wash to achieve an accurate read of product utilization.
  3. Once the vehicles have been run through, take the 100-milliliter cylinder and fill the 250-milliliter cylinder to the original start line.
  4. Read the amount of product taken out of the 100-milliliter cylinder and divide it by the number of vehicles washed.
  5. Make any and all changes to tips or pump settings as needed.

The most recent and accurate method for performing volumetrics involves the use of a digital counting scale. This procedure tends to be quicker and is the most accurate, especially when using ultra concentrated products.

  1. Place the scale on a stable, level surface.
  2. Turn on the scale and let it run through its start-up routines.
  3. Place the container of product onto the scale.
  4. Put the drawtube into the container, making sure not to let it to touch the bottom. Keep it suspended and secure during the reading.
  5. Draw the product through the system if needed.
  6. Press the "Tare" button to set the starting weight to 0.0 kilograms.
  7. Run the application for the desired number of cars. For greater accuracy, use at least four cars per measurement.

Once multiple cars have gone through, you will want to calculate the use per vehicle by the below process.

  1. Read the decrease in product weight on the scale and multiply by 1,000 to convert kilograms to grams.
  2. Divide the number of grams by the product's specific gravity to determine the number of milliliters used.
  3. Divide total milliliters by the number of cars to determine the milliliters per car.

Specific gravity by product is available through your distributor.

These procedures can be repeated for each product. Accuracy in volumetrics, whether through the use of graduated cylinders or the scale, is important in providing accurate cost per car. You can view the instruction video at

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