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Operations and Management

Keeping Track of Inventory

It is essential to manage your car wash chemical inventory so that you don’t end up ordering too much or having too little.



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It is essential to manage your car wash chemical inventory so that you don't end up ordering too much or having too little. This is very important in order for your business to run cost effectively and smoothly without losing any customers or revenue.

It is easy to order too much inventory. The fear of running out of product and not being able to provide the customers the wash they want can cause a manager to order more than is needed. Ordering too little is also a factor. You need to make sure you have an adequate supply without ordering too much. Pay special attention to your premium products. These premium products are important in helping you upsell your car wash packages.


With inventory, you need to make sure that you properly store the chemicals so they won't get damaged or accidentally spilled. In addition, you need to be aware of the proper storage temperature for your inventory. Chemicals have a recommended temperature range that they need to be within in order for them to optimally perform. Also, check on the shelf life of your chemicals and always rotate stock so you utilize the first-in-first-out method.

Keeping good records of your monthly usages and inventory levels month-to-month can help determine which chemicals and what quantities need to be on hand for the upcoming month. There are programs that can help you accurately track your inventory – Quickbooks and Peachtree are two accounting programs that can be used. With these programs you have the ability to add additional information, thereby providing more accurate data. It is also a good idea to have a backup for all of your accounting records.


Utilizing only spreadsheets for your inventory accounting can cause issues. There can be errors in the set up, items entered in the wrong areas, or the file could become corrupt or it could be accidentally deleted giving you no record at all.

Estimating from memory of the previous year isn't reliable. Car washing is dependent on the seasonal weather. The need for chemicals varies from month-to-month and from year-to-year. Tracking the weather month-to-month throughout the year and looking forward to the upcoming month can help you in more accurate ordering of chemicals that are needed.


Remember, there is always a possibility of human error. Make sure to check and double check the amount of chemicals used each month and the amount of chemicals that are received within that month. This task might not always seem important but it is in helping improve your bottom line.

From the Lustra Team – Keep Shining

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