The haulage industry in Nigeria in most parts of Africa and the world has continued to grow. In Nigeria, the emergence of big industrial sector leaders like the Dangote Group, the increasing consumption of petroleum products in remote locations in Nigeria and the movement of agricultural products from the largely rural sector of Nigeria and most African countries to the few over-populated urban centers have meant that the trucking business continues and would continue to grow in the coming years.
Trucks have become and would continue to be an essential part of the business of distribution network all over the world. Consumer goods, industrial equipment and materials and critical fuel transportation would ensure that trucks of all types, shapes and sizes would continue to ply our roads all year round in all kinds of weather condition. The implication of this is that the trucks would continue to gather dirt, grime and mud. No particular weather condition would produce less dirt. There would instead be different types at different times.
Professionals and trucking companies wash their vehicles regularly to keep them clean and remove corrosive chemicals that are gathered on the trucks in the line of work. This, therefore, means that a truck wash business would be a lucrative venture worthy of investment with reasonable expectation of financial success and profitability in the new future.
Here are a few basic steps to starting a truck wash business:
Find A Suitable Location:
Location seems to be everything here. If the location is suitable for the business and the use of trucks, then the chance of success is almost fifty per cent guaranteed.
Places to consider would be in the middle of interstate roads where trucks break their journey daily. Other suitable places would be near truck mechanic workshops.
In Nigeria, spots where truck drivers normally stop to rest, refuel and do minor maintenance are found on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Obollo-Afor Nsuka in Enugu State on the road to Makurdi, Lokoja and Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory. There are similar locations in Lokoka on the way to Abuja and Ore on the road to Lagos. All countries have similar locations where a truck wash business has a great chance to thrive.
The space for the truck wash business should be sufficient enough for trucks to easily move and turn with ease without being stuck in between other trucks and structures especially during peak periods.
Register Your Business Preferably As A Limited Liability Company:
Plan on registering a limited liability company for the operation of the truck wash business. This would ensure that your liability is limited to the assets of the business and your personal assets are protected from the consequences of a truck accident on your business premises.
Organize your location:
Organizing your truck wash location is another critical thing you need to do before you really take off. One of the ways to do that is to designate a particular spot in the space that you have for washing the trucks. Then, mark out the path to enter the location and the path to use to exit. The best way is to ensure that the entrance gate is different from the exit gate to avoid accidents or traffic jams and delays. Think about installing a pit or ramps so that you could easily wash the under of the trucks and to enable lubrication.
You should also consider the locations for your equipment and materials and different activities connected with the truck wash business on the premises and set these out also.
Consider putting up a roof over your washing spot so that you can wash during all weather conditions – rain, snow or shine.
Acquire Equipment And Supplies:
After you have designed and organized your space, obtain requisite equipment and supplies. You would basically need the following equipment and materials among others:
· Power or pressure washing machine with extended hose
· Scrub brushes
· Vacuum cleaners
· Cleaning chemicals
· Water de-ionizing system
If you would use the scrub and rinse two-step method, add acid-based soap and alkaline neutralizer among your materials to help remove heavy dirt and grime from the trucks.
Establish A Financial Framework For The Business
Open a merchant corporate account with a bank in the name of the business so you can take both credit and debit card payments. You would need Point-Of-Sale (POS) machines on your premises. Some large company’s drivers are required to make payments by credit or debit cards. So you would need to accept payments through debit or credit cards. This would increase your customer base and ensure that you do not lose any business. This method of payment would also ensure that there would not be lots cash left around your premises which could be susceptible to being stolen either by fraudulent employees or robbery attacks.
Provide professional outfit for your employees that have your company badge or logo:
The common sight at many car wash sites around the country is haggard looking boys or men who really appear scary. Have your employees to wear uniforms and over-all that look really professional. This would make your customers feel at ease around your businesses premises. It would also indicate the level of seriousness of your operations. If you are doing the truck yourself, you too should turn out each time in a uniform that gives professional appearance.
Put Up Your Signpost And Start Marketing And Washing:
Strategically and prominently set up your signpost near your business premises to attract customers. Set signposts along the road or at strategic locations where passing or newly arriving truck drivers to the truck stop locations would see it and be able to find you.
Think about different forms of advertisement – word of mouth, posters, handbills, newspaper ads. Give out your handbills generously to trucks you have washed or anyone you could find around you. Go round the truck stop and distribute your handbills and posters.
Use your first customers to showcase your efficiency by giving quick and efficient service to them to build loyal customer following quickly and these would soon become your part of your army of marketers.
This business can either be started in a small scale or large scale level. Big corporations of someone with huge capital can start sophisticated versions in multiple locations in a country like Nigeria.
Individuals small scale operations could also easily start with basic equipment and materials in single locations.