Truck wash offers quiet country ambiance with professional tank cleaning service
Mar 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
Volume versus pressure
“We have found that volume is better than a high pressure for our business,” Tony says.
The salt processor requires washouts lasting five minutes at 120° F, and the equipment works well for that standard. In addition, some customers request a cold water cool-down service to prepare the tank for certain temperature-sensitive products.
He also built a sprayer in an auger-like snake design to clean product and aerator lines. For safety, he constructed a 130-foot-by-20-foot stainless steel guard rail that is lowered atop the tank trailers for personnel fall protection.
“Finally in 2000, we washed two trailers in a day,” Tony recalls. “I decided to draw plans for a bay and said if we have three customers in one day, we're calling the concrete people.” Soon the call was made. Miller constructed a covered bay on a concrete slab and is gradually adding concrete block walls so that the bay eventually will be enclosed.
Wastewater is captured in the bay and pumped into six, 750-gallon underground storage tanks where solids typically are removed and hauled away. One customer required a cleanout after transporting molasses. The wastewater was used as fertilizer for the hay fields, Tony says.
Residual wastewater is used to irrigate the surrounding meadow, which produces a significant number of hay bales each year. It's not unusual to produce 118 rolled bales in one cutting with three cuttings a year.
In addition to the advantages for hay production, the tank wash location appeals to truck drivers, who enjoy its restful ambience, says Renee. “They often comment on how much they appreciate the quiet,” she adds. “They seem to love to park here, put their windows down, and enjoy the fresh air.”
Renee handles the office management for the tank wash, applying her expertise from working in a bank. In 1998, she resigned from the bank to take on the company's accounting, scheduling, and other duties full time. She uses QuickBooks accounting software to track bills, invoices, and payroll.
About 40 regular customers in the database are billed directly while drive-up customers pay by the service. “We provide three copies of the invoice to the driver, one for the shipper and two for the trucking company,” Renee notes.
Two people typically handle the washouts. Tony's brother, Todd, does most of the work with an assistant and completes the jobs usually in about 20 minutes. The tank wash is open 7 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday but is available weekends and nights by appointment.
It's not unusual for the Millers to awaken in the morning to find a truck and tank trailer parked on the property with a driver happily awaiting service — relishing the scenery and fresh air. Although the couple's decision to leave the city for the country wasn't originally calculated to develop a tank wash, their move has paid off for them and their customers.
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