Every vehicle business needs access to a wash bay – and it’s not just about looking good when you’re out on the road.
It’s about protecting your vehicles, keeping your repair costs down, and staying compliant for annual inspections.
But if you’re running a fleet that outsources its vehicle washing — especially if you’re in the construction, agriculture, or refuse industries, you might start to wonder if it’s worth it in the long term.
Here’s what you need to know about bringing wash bays in-house:
You have complete control
If you’re outsourcing your vehicle washing to a third-party company, you’re working to someone else’s schedule. They’ve got their own capacity to worry about, and other clients they need to keep happy.
You might not be their top priority. And that could mean you end up waiting around while they find gaps in their availability — when your dirty vehicles should be out on the road earning money.
On top of the scheduling problem, you’re also working to someone else’s costs. If they’re running an inefficient business, they’re passing those bloated costs on to you. And that makes your own business inefficient, just by paying their fees.
But there’s one other area of control that you don’t always get with an outsourced wash bay — and that’s quality control.
When a third-party service does a poor job with a vehicle wash, you won’t always notice it straight away. You’ve got to drive back to base, find the problem, schedule a new wash, and then drive back to the third-party site to get a second cleaning.
It’s a huge waste of time — time that should be spent on client jobs, bringing revenue into your business.
But with your own in-house wash bay, you’ve got complete control:
You can wash your vehicles as frequently as you like, with a precise fleet washing schedule that makes the most of each vehicle’s downtime between the journeys you’re scheduled to make.
You’re washing vehicles with your own carefully calculated overheads and labour costs — so you know you’re being efficient with the budget you have.
And if the washing isn’t up to scratch? You can inspect your vehicles immediately, and go straight back for a deeper clean without any extra hassle or unnecessary trips.
You’ll save money in the long run
Make no mistake: installing your own in-house wash bay is a serious investment.
But with a large fleet of vehicles that needs frequent washing, the costs of outsourcing your cleaning can make that investment look small — and an in-house wash bay could pay for itself after a few years.
It’s not just the service fee of the third-party cleaning. It’s about the fuel costs of every vehicle making unnecessary trips to another site. It’s about the added mileage that’s bringing down the value of your vehicles — and the extra wear and tear that’s leading to more money spent on maintenance and repair.
And ths before you start to think about the labour costs:
Your drivers are skilled workers, and you’re paying them a salary that matches those skills. They should be spending their valuable time making deliveries and transporting goods — not ferrying your vehicles back and forth to a third-party cleaning company.
With an in-house wash bay that’s installed in your premises, you won’t need to drive your dirty vehicles anywhere.
Your maintenance workers can spend their time washing vehicles while your higher-paid drivers get back out on the road — bringing in revenue and helping the business deliver. You’ll be maximising the output of every worker and making the most out of every paycheck you sign.
In-house washing gets more value from what you have
We all know that the costs of running a workshop can add up. So, if you’ve already invested in something, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.
If you’re lucky enough to be running a workshop with extra space — and you’re still outsourcing your vehicle washing — that means you’re effectively paying twice. You’re paying for the rent on a premises that’s not being fully used, and you’re paying another company to do a job that you could be doing in-house.
If you’re unlucky enough to have salaried workers who aren’t at full capacity, you’re paying twice again. Once for the third-party service of vehicle washing, and once for the hours of your workers who aren’t being utilised.
And if you’re lucky enough to own a fully galvanised vehicle lift — or you’re thinking of upgrading soon?
You’ll end up paying twice: for the wash bay-ready lift you own, and for the use of the lifts at the third-party company.
But if you bring it all in-house with your own on-site vehicle wash bay, you’ll be squeezing more value out of the assets you already have — your premises, your workers, and the equipment you use on a daily basis.
Ready to ditch the outsourced washing?
If you’re running a large fleet or you need frequent cleaning, it could make more sense to invest in an in-house wash bay with your own wash bay-ready lifts.
And if you’re ready to make the move, we’re ready to get you kitted out.
We’ve got a full range of vehicle lifts built precisely for wet work — from the fully galvanised versions of our Y-MECH and Heavy Duty Four Post Lift, to the wash bay model of our signature mobile column lifts, the G8AC.
They’re all DVSA-approved and IP-rated for protection from water ingress, with the same reliable functionality and safety features you’d expect from a Totalkare installation.