Taking care of a truck or trailer is a fairly straightforward, simple job. With the right products, some routine maintenance and repairs, and good old-fashioned elbow grease, truck/trailer owners can keep their investments in tip-top shape for years to come.
Here are some factors to keep a lookout for when servicing a truck or trailer, to ensure optimal results, which will lead to happy customers and hopefully a little more cushion in the bank account.
Trash and debris
Make sure to educate customers to clean their trucks or trailers of trash and debris on a daily basis. This will help cut the time when they come in for a service and will also help keep the vehicle in top shape. At the bare minimum, encourage customers to do a thorough check of the cabin area, inside of the vehicle and vehicle bed on a weekly basis.
When servicing a truck or trailer, remove any trash, plant debris or other loose, useless items. Set aside all items that need to stay with the vehicle and do a thorough sweep or vacuum of the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
Do-it-yourself care on top of regular servicing/cleaning is especially important for those engaged in businesses like the garbage collection industry, where the use of used dump trucks seems quite frequent; so their capital expenditure would turn into a lower revenue expenditure for years. Car care businesses with customers who have trucks or trailers must make sure their patrons understand that no matter how hard and tough their schedules are, establishing the habit of weekly (or daily) cleaning will not only eliminate the need for hours and hours of extra cleaning later — but can also save time and expense of repairing costly damages later on.
The following can apply to any vehicle you are servicing, including cars, trucks and trailers.
Protect the paint: Washing and waxing
More than just a pretty color, the paint on a car is the last line of defense for a car’s bodywork. Though automotive paints are formulated to be durable, flexible and strong, many modern cars use water-based paints which can be slightly softer than older paints. Scuffs and scrapes due to weathering and washing can create swirl marks and other minor scratches. This can drastically reduce the level of gloss and shine leaving a car’s paintwork looking dull and tired. Encourage customers to follow the following maintenance schedule to help protect their vehicles’ paint:
- Washing: Ideally done once a week, washing will help maintain a car’s appearance and will remove the buildup of salt, sand, dead bugs, spills, the inevitable bird poop and other rubbish that can cause more permanent damage if left unaddressed. Use soft sponges and clean, unused towels to wash and dry a vehicle.
- Waxing: Optimally performed at least twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall to protect against the harsher seasons. It can be done more often as needed especially if water is not beading up on the paint finish anymore and is running off in streams. Choose a wax keeping in mind the climate as well as conditions and needs of the customer’s vehicle.
Encourage customers to fix or repair any scratches, tears, cracks or other major damage as quickly as possible. What starts out as a small blemish can lead to big problems down the line if not addressed early.
There is paintless dent repair and removal kits that can restore vehicles to their original condition without affecting the original factory paint finish. Minor damage can lead to the need for major repairs, so make sure customers know to invest a bit of time and effort in the minor maintenance if and when it is required. Also, vehicle owners should address any windshield breaks or cracks early, or risk the crack growing to a size that is more noticeable and harder to contain.
Rust is a truck or trailer’s kryptonite, and it can accelerate fast. Do a visual inspection of a vehicle before every carwash and note down trouble spots (and urge your customers to do the same). If bare metal has been exposed to the elements, either from use or damage, it needs to be treated and stopped early. Educate customers on all their options when damage occurs. Make sure they are aware of do-it-yourself rust treatment kits for small problem areas, but that if a trailer or truck is already too far gone, they need to go have their vehicles professionally serviced. Teaching them when it is time to call a professional will boost trust in your credibility, which is essential for any business to thrive.
Although vehicle owners can perform small tasks on their own, which as mentioned it is important to teach them the differences to help establish the all-important trust, lack of time, overwhelming family life, important business obligations and other emergencies may mean it is simply too difficult to make the time needed to properly maintain their vehicles on their own. In these cases, make sure they are fully aware of the services your car care business can provide.
You must establish trust with your customers and let them know that you are there for them when their vehicles need extra care and attention.
Christine Rudolph is a passionate blogger and avid reader of Carwash.com.