Large bays for tractor trailers, construction equipment, and other oversized vehicles have great profit potential for some owners. Large bays can attract a whole new customer segment that generates new revenue without interfering with regular car wash customers. Even better, these types of customers may visit your wash on a daily basis once they know they can rely on your facility for effective, convenient washing of larger machines.
That’s the optimistic, positive side to large bays. Of course, there are harsher realities about adding large wash bays that operators must consider before moving forward.
Factors to Consider Before Adding Large Bays
Having the Space
Beyond just having room for the footprint of the bay structure, it’s important you have a spacious surrounding area where oversized vehicles can safely move around without causing accidents or traffic blockages.
Demographics and Location
It’s highly recommended that car washes only put in large bays if they’re near a heavy industrial area. This can come in many forms, such as trucking, construction, oil drilling, and warehouses, but it’s crucial that there is something from a demographic similar to this that is close enough to provide volume to your big bay.
Constant Pit Cleaning
If you get the volume required to sustain your large bay, it will require constant pit cleaning well beyond what you do for a normal car wash bay. That means daily waste removal, and possibly even multiple clean-outs every day. Depending on the material in the pit, you may also need deodorizing chemicals.
You should be well aware of environmental regulations in your area. With oversized vehicles, there can be a lot of contaminated water getting out of the bay and pits. This can cause environmental problems, and consequently, potential legal problems for your business.
You should either be prepared to do a lot of structural repairs, or have a reliable person/company who can do those fixes quickly at a reasonable rate. With large vehicles constantly moving around, extending booms, lifting beds, and squeezing into tight situations, accidents are inevitable.
Products Needed to Have Success with Your Large Bays
So, you’ve taken all of the factors into account and decided you still want to add a large bay—or multiple bays—to your facility. Once you move forward with the remodeling or building of the new infrastructure, it’s time to start thinking about what products you’ll need to stock that are designed for these new bays. There is overlap with regular car wash bays, so in some cases it’ll just be a matter of ordering more. But there definitely products suited to these expansive spaces where larger vehicles will be the focus.
A great starting point is to find pumps that are durable enough to withstand long duty use at higher pressures. This makes sense for two reasons:
- The vehicles are simply larger than standard vehicles, and more surface area requires more spraying time.
- Services like wax, bug remover, and other premium services are usually of less concern to larger vehicles (with the exception of possibly RVs and other super-sized luxury vehicles). That means this type of customer is more interested in spraying continuously to make sure crud is off the vehicle rather than making it look pretty.
While getting pumps with higher pressure capabilities is smart, it’s equally important that they can withstand rigorous duty cycles. Marc Palasek, General Pump sales manager, suggests these models from the General Pump Emperor Series:
- General Pump HTCK3623S Emperor Series Pump – 21 GPM, 1500 PSI
- General Pump HTCK4050S Emperor Series Pump – 40 GPM, 1500 PSI
Brushes will take a beating in large bays, so you want options that are tough but also economical. Since you’re dealing with rugged vehicles that are looking for a thorough cleaning more than a showroom shine, nylon bristle brushes are often an excellent, affordable option for large bay applications. Try these brushes:
- TRK-NYL-BR – Value Line 10″ Green Nylon Truck Brush
- 73146 – Weiler 10” Heavy-Duty Green Nylon Truck Brush
- 44510 – Weiler 10” Heavy-Duty White Nylon Truck Brush
- 70312 – Weiler Grey Bristle 10” Hardwood Block Top Brush
- 232650 – Erie Brush 10″ Truck Brush with Yellow Nylon Bristles
- 235500 – Erie Brush Lime Green Nylon Bristle 10″ Brush with Bumper
- 232300 – Erie Brush Orange Synthetic Bristle 10″ Truck Brush with Bumper
- 235581 – Erie Brush Red Synthetic Bristle 10″ Truck Brush with Bumper
- 231700 – Erie Brush White Synthetic Bristle 10″ Truck Brush with Bumper
- 232200 – Erie Brush Orange Synthetic Bristle 10″ Truck Brush No Bumper
If you still want the premium experience of hog’s hair for your larger bay customers, choose ones with long bristles:
- TRK-HOG-BR – Value Line 10″ Hogs Hair Truck Brush – 4″ Bristles
- KRV1102-BK – Hog Daddy 4″ Bristle Premium Hogs Hair Foam Brush with Aluminum Head, Black
- 233500 – Erie Brush 10″ Wide Hog’s Hair Truck Brush with Bumper
- 233400 – Erie Brush 10″ Truck Brush with 4″ Exposed Trim, No Bumper
- 212491 – Erie Brush 5 1/2″ Bristle Hogzilla Hogs Hair Brush – Aluminum Head, Black Bumper
Make it easy for customers to easily reach all areas of their large vehicle without having to uncomfortably reach or dangerously balance on tires and fenders. Long handles are superior to steps because steps are more dangerous, can cause liability issues, and often get run over and ruined by vehicles.
- 711A72MFV BLACK- Hamel Black Heavy-Duty Aluminum Coated 6′ Foam Brush Handle
- 711A72MFV BLUE – Hamel Blue Heavy-Duty Aluminum Coated 6′ inch Foam Brush Handle
- 222300 – Erie Brush 222300 Wooden 6′ Handle
Super-sized booms allow customers to easily get around their big vehicle without stretching hoses or getting hoses caught on parts of the vehicle. Mosmatic has excellent options:
- 66.079 – Mosmatic 360 Degree Ceiling Mount 9′ Boom
- 68.589 – Mosmatic 180 Degree Wall Mount 9′ 10″ Boom
Don’t forget, Kleen-Rite is also the best source for bulk high-pressure hose at the lowest prices around. You’ll need extra-long hose sections as the perfect complement to your long booms.
Large Bay Chemicals
Simoniz offers a special cleaner designed specifically for vehicles on the bigger side. Simoniz Big Rig is great for cleaning road film and diesel smoke off of cars, trucks, and equipment. It also works as a highly effective degreaser, too! Available in 5, 30, and 55-gallon sizes.
High-Strength, Corrosive-Resistant Stainless Steel Fittings
We highly recommended using stainless steel fittings if you’re going to add a large bay. They simply stand up better to the demands of higher pressure levels and long, continuous usage times versus brass and other softer metals.
Find all the stainless steel fittings you need by clicking here!