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How carwashes can cut utility costs

With the right strategies in place, carwashes can reduce water and sewer payments while boosting profits.


Finding a way to balance expenses and revenues is a goal for most, if not all, carwash owners and operators. And when it comes to utilities, cutting costs is no different.

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In this article, we will take a closer look at ways carwashes can reduce utility costs, such as water and sewer payments, to help lower expenses while boosting profits.

Rising rates

Water and sewer costs have increased at exponential rates throughout the U.S. In fact, a USA Today study evaluating water rates over the past 12 years for large and small water agencies nationwide found that monthly costs doubled in 29 localities.

For some municipalities, such as Atlanta, Georgia, San Francisco, California, and Wilmington, Delaware, water costs tripled or skyrocketed even higher.

Since water/sewer costs, like other utility costs, are predicated on consumption, when it comes to determining utility costs by wash type, a full-serve, express and/or in-bay automatic wash model will benefit more from water reduction strategies, in terms of cost savings and service, than a self-serve.


So, how can carwashes, regardless of type, better manage and reduce costs? The truth is it’s not as difficult as it may seem.

Water payments be gone

Incorporating a water recovery system effectively allows the operator to take control of his or her water/sewer costs. In-bay touch-free automatics and tunnels using high-pressure applications, for instance, are effective in cleaning vehicles, but are high consumers of water.

The addition of a water recovery system allows the operator to use processed water from the reclaim system as opposed to fresh water, reducing fresh water consumption and the associated costs.


Another best practice approach to reducing consumption is to incorporate a checklist for leaks at fittings/nozzles and even at any sinks and toilets on-site into your normal routine maintenance program. For example, a slow leak in a toilet can result in losing as much as 3.5 gallons per minute, which equate to more than 5,000 gallons per day, or 450,000 gallons per quarter.

Moreover, if your site has a spot-free rinse system, or you are planning to add one, be sure to install a reject recapture system to capture and use the reject water in the wash process. This will minimize your fresh water usage.


Ride the wave to profit

The knowledge of water quality and smart management practices, such as incorporating a recovery system into a wash model as mentioned, can significantly reduce usage without negatively impacting wash quality — all while positively impacting your bottom line.

Many municipalities offer incentives for incorporating water saving equipment, such as water recovery systems. And, you can proactively promote your environmental stewardship within the community through green programs, such as the International Carwash Association’s WaterSavers® program.

Additionally, directly advertising your eco-friendly initiatives can help drive in more of the environmentally conscious motoring public — such as the dominating millennial generation. This is a win across the board. These customers will frequent your location for all their vehicle washing/servicing needs because they feel they are making a difference while also supporting a business that shares similar values they believe in. This in turn helps establish a stronger customer base and increase revenue while also helping our environment.


Don’t waste a drop

Significant advancements in water recovery technology have occurred in the last 10 years, and the long-term benefits of installing these systems help ensure a healthy return on investment.

Most, if not all, wash locations would benefit from adding a water recovery system to reduce water/sewer costs and increase their bottom lines.


Gary Hirsh is president of New Wave Industries Ltd., PurClean™ and PurWater™. New Wave is a company dedicated to developing innovative solutions for the carwash industry. The company continues to revolutionize the industry by offering solutions that deliver unsurpassed results and reduce waste while increasing the customer’s bottom line. You can find more information at

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