WASH IT AUSTRALIA SPLASH OUT ON ISUZU TRUCK FLEET
If you take a closer look into the depots of major supermarket and transport giants around the country, you’ll be sure to find the team from mobile truck washing venture Wash It Australia scrubbing hard to keep truck fleets clean, safe and presentable.
Founded in Brisbane, the company washes around 4,500 trucks every week: that’s around 70 to 80 prime movers and trailers per day, or 100 small rigid trucks for each team of well-drilled washing experts.
It’s a sharply branded operation, with every one of its 120 employees dressed in custom high vis and ‘bubble’ blue uniforms. Their own transport equipment is similarly outfitted—following the theme that, ‘first impressions can really mean everything.’
Maintaining this united front, founder Ben Hennock, recently upgraded Wash It Australia’s truck fleet with four of Isuzu’s NQR 87-190 Crew Cabs and two FTR 150-260 Auto Crew Cabs (retro fitted with Hendrickson airbag suspension) to assist expanding daily operations.
From custom accessories and livery to an impressive penchant for mirrored stainless steel, the Wash It truck fleet always looks the part. Putting appearances aside though, the decision to go all-in on Isuzu trucks was driven by a concern for staff safety, explained Ben.
“In the early days, we started off with a ute, trailer and a few pressure cleaners. This ute… you’d pull up to a set of lights and have that much water in the tanks on the trailer that it would almost push you through the intersection on braking.
“We then moved onto smaller European trucks with brush machines on trailers but had to get away from those after I almost took my hand off disconnecting one of the trailers.
“I knew without everything properly weighted that we’d have a safety incident like that again.”
With a motorised fleet washer now fitted directly onto the larger FTR Autos, and each truck carrying a generator and water tanks up to 15,000 litres, Ben incorporates research and smart design to keep the crew safe, while offering customers an all-in-one turnaround service.
“I travelled to a lot of exhibitions overseas—America, Italy—gathering bits and pieces of information and ideas from around the world, trying to put something workable together,” he said.
“On the FTRs, the mobile brush machine comes off the truck and stands up vertically. We then drive the machine around the truck or trailer that needs washing, which saves us time and manual labour.”
Long gone are the days of the old clunker turning up with a sponge and few hoses to wash trucks. Ben is exploring all avenues to ensure their equipment is best-of-tech, and environmentally conscious.
Wash It has even designed a water recycling system specifically for Australia, featuring a large mat that sucks up dirty excess and pumps it back into on board tanks for recycling.
“We now have self-sufficient trucks in a fully mobile setup… everything is diesel or petrol driven so we can go anywhere and operate without the need for mains electricity.
“The FTRs are unique in how we use them in the business. They were born out of the desire to carry more water with us and take back more wastewater.
“We use the smaller NQRs to get into the tighter sites like a customer’s wash bay or smaller undercover carparks.
“I’ll go out and get feedback from the guys around Australia who use these trucks and build all the ideas into the next truck to make it even more efficient.”
Brisbane Isuzu is only too happy to lend a hand building the perfect truck for Wash It’s requirements. And with Ben’s ambition to offer nationwide truck washing services now a reality—in spite of the pandemic—he’s enjoying Isuzu’s wide service and dealership footprint to take care of the fleet’s regular servicing and maintenance.
“We get all servicing done through Isuzu dealerships and we’ve done that from day one,” he said.
“We plan to get a lot of years out of these trucks, we’ll hold onto them until we can’t drive them anymore.
“That’s part of the reason why we chose Isuzu… we wanted to go with a well-known, reliable brand with good servicing and warranty.
“Isuzu is standing up to the reliability name too… they’ve been a big supporter of us.”
Taking a niche idea from a one-vehicle operation at the age of just 17, to a nation-wide enterprise today, it’s clear that Ben isn’t afraid to spend some to get some, securing Wash It Australia’s name as the country’s premium truck wash service.
He speaks confidently of his vision for Wash It Australia to become ‘Wash It International’; and there’s no doubt this 36-year-old entrepreneur has the drive to make it happen.
“We’ve identified a few key locations, New Zealand will probably be our next big target,” Ben divulged.
“I would have loved to start it six months ago but given the pandemic, that’s been put on hold for the moment.
“Once we get the green light, we’ll be prepared and ready to rock and roll.”