Aircraft Washing Business Tip – Interior Private Jet Cleaning
So you love airplanes and you want to start an aircraft washing service? I cannot blame you, as I did the same thing. After cleaning Thousands of aircraft over the years, I have paid for my flight school, first aircraft and then started an aircraft washing franchise as a module of another franchising company I had founded.
Named the Aircraft Wash Guys we learned early on what it takes to satisfy aircraft owners, FBOs Fixed Based Operators and Chief Pilots. We always specialized in washing and polishing aircraft. We’ve cleaned thousands of private planes, corporate jets, flying clubs, flight schools and helicopters. My Car Wash Guys company was originally founded over twenty years ago and started as an aircraft washing service.
As you know, aviation people are serious about flying and a clean plane makes flying more fun and enjoyable. Corporate Aviators need you to maintain their positive image. When in the aircraft washing business you will not only wash exteriors of planes, you must also have carpet-cleaning capabilities. Many of our crewmembers are also private pilots and it pays to have pilots as part of your employee team. To learn more about aircraft washing, I have put some additional ideas online to assist you.
We have always kept our prices low and gone for volume, you may wish to do this or charge the going rate. Our rates are at the lower end of the spectrum and this will give you a good starting point on pricing.
Single Engines $20.00-45.00 wash, waxing $60.00-140.00, weekly wash $20.00;
Twin Engines $45.00-90.00 wash, waxing $90.00-240.00, weekly wash $40.00; Corporate Jets $90.00-140.00 wash, waxing $180.00-400.00, weekly wash $80.00;
Helicopters $30.00-100.00 wash, waxing $45.00-180.00, weekly wash $30.00. Carpet Shampooing, Bright Work and Aluminum Polishing, etc. generally we will give the customers free estimates.
You will need to perform these services the customer’s schedule and usually accommodate, immediate services, day or night, evenings and weekends. Customizing your services with the customer’s requirements must become your specialty. You will also need the following things:
Two Million in Liability Insurance
Quiet Machines and Professional Crews in Uniform
Monthly Invoice by “N”-Number
Water Reclamation Device Onboard, EPA Compliant
Truck or Trailer Mounted Unit, Fully Self Contained, Painted Safety Yellow
Owning an Aircraft Washing Service small business can be quite rewarding and although hard work, it can be an extension of your flying hobby. Just think getting paid to wash some of the latest and greatest aircraft and hanging out at the airport all day? And yes, they will even pay you very well for doing just that. Think on this.
Aircraft Interiors of personal and corporate jets have hundreds of thousands of dollars invested. We have had an opportunity to speak at length in Tucson, AZ recently about the special custom interiors the weight they cost in performance and the needs in cleaning. There is a large company there that specializes in putting in new aircraft interiors for several large biz jet manufacturers and also does custom work for nearly anyone in the world who wants it right and perfect;
Most aviation carpet is 85 lb count the ones that are less you have to be very careful in cleaning so you do not damage them. When spraying led lights with cleaner you must be careful otherwise you can get yourself into an electrical issue.
Often spot stain remover or moist towels with cleaner on them are best. Most small spots are merely Pepsi or coffee stains and come off relatively easy, the less you use a tool to clean inside an aircraft the better. Be also careful to ask manufacturer before treating with Scotch-Guard, it can cause problems and some of the various products of this type are flammable.
FAR 25.853b talks about carpet treatments and flammability, check it out if you are unsure before using an off shelf Home Depot name Brand household product.
FAA Advisory Circular 23-2 also has some things to be said and information references from former NTSB reports of incidents. Another issue we take seriously is the problem of gold plated seat buckles, ashtray covers, etc. Strong cleaners can remove the coating.
Also a problem with ink stains on leather, it is not wise to use strong cleaners or chemicals on such stains. Many of the leather dye types are very light. Discoloration is all too easy. For some additional information on this subject check out;
Stevenson Aviation http://www.StevensAviation.com
We hope we have assisted you in your research that brought you to this page. Continued Success in everything you do.
Aircraft Cleaning To Get Easier In The Future – Plane Washing And Debugging
Let’s face it, it’s hard to get bugs off the leading edges of helicopter blades, corporate jet leading edges and aircraft tail sections. It’s the aircraft cleaner’s worst nightmare to see an aircraft sitting in the sun while all those crushed bug guts bake into the paint.
Yes, in an aircraft cleaners dreams our nightmares are Bugs, Bugs and more Bugs, and yes, the occasional bird strike too, guts everywhere, that’s simply no fun. Now then, there is a new method and technology being developed which might be a god’s send for us plane washers. So, let’s discuss this shall we?
There was an interesting article in NASA Tech Briefs recently (September 2017 Issue) titled; “Aircraft Cleaning To Get Easier In The Future – Plane Washing And Debugging,” which noted:
“NASA Langley Research Center, in collaboration with ATK Space Systems, has developed a method to reduce insect adhesion on metallic substrates, polymeric materials, engineering plastics, and other surfaces. The method topographically modifies a surface using laser ablation patterning followed by chemical modification of the surface.
This innovation was originally developed to enhance aircraft laminar flow by preventing insect residue buildup, but the method provides a permanent solution for any application requiring insect adhesion mitigation as well as adhesion prevention of other typical environmental contaminants.”
Although this new technology method helps the laminar airflow over the wings, blades, airfoils and control surfaces for better aircraft performance, lower stall speeds and overall safety, the benefits for the aircraft cleaning company employees is golden.
It means we will use fewer chemicals to remove the bugs, thus, taking off less wax meaning no need to recoat so often. It also means less elbow grease spent debugging. Fewer man (woman) hours means more profit and less cost, all contributing to a more successful aviation services company.
When I discussed this with the researchers, they’d never considered the benefits to aircraft cleaning companies, which quite frankly surprised me, as it is a huge problem. Scraping bugs also means removing a little paint coating each time, eventually costing the aircraft owner in expensive repaints or touch ups on the leading edges of all surfaces.
My questions to all this is how tough is this new method? The researchers assured me it is just as tough as the paint surfaces, if not better, than most aircraft use now, perhaps much longer lasting too.
What other applications would this technology be good for? How about Wind Turbine Blades, allowing less frequency of cleaning, or how about bullet trains allowing for better airflow lessening wind resistance which at the higher speeds really matters as the coefficient of drag curve starts to head vertical. Think on this, especially if cleaning off bug guts is something that really bugs you as much as it does me.
How Long Does it Take to Wash a Small Cessna Aircraft – Airplane Cleaning 101
Many folks are still out of work, and the other day when I was in Wichita, KS I did note that the general aviation manufacturing capital of the world was hurting pretty bad still. When discussing this with a local at Starbucks there, he mentioned he’d been laid off for quite some time.
It seems that President Obama made some derogatory remarks about CEOs flying around in corporate jets, and literally over night used corporate jet aircraft sales tanked even worse than before, and corporate jet orders just stopped like they hit a brick wall.
We got to talking, mostly hangar talk, airplanes and flying stories, he said he’d like to start an aviation type business but didn’t know what he should do. Since, I’d previously built up a rather nice aircraft cleaning business, he asked; “How Long Does it Take to Wash a Small Cessna Aircraft, or similar plane?”
Good question and my answer was this. For exterior washing, one person with a 5.0 hp pressure washer can clean, remove bugs, clean windscreen, and degrease the belly of a C-152 in about 15-20 minutes if it is washed weekly. A Corvalis a few minutes faster since it is a low wing, but not much faster because it is a four-seater.
For interiors, well it matters if it is a private owner’s plane, or a rental. Interiors for Flight School, Clubs, and FBO aircraft take longer due to the number of flights and people who do not own the aircraft flying it. Private owners quite quickly, as you can use a quick dust buster portable, wipe down the dash, detail out the instrument panel and pump-spray bottle the doors and interior plastic, leather and vinyl.
Indeed, I’d say 5-minutes, a little longer than a car due to the tight quarters and difficulty moving around inside. Add an additional 5-minutes for flight school aircraft, they really get messy, especially as food items get between the seat tracks and things like that.
The big money in cleaning aircraft really is the corporate jet market, but until things drastically improve, I mentioned he’d have a tough go of it. But he could still do well detailing light aircraft, single engine jobs, as not all aircraft owners were in tough times, it really depends on where their money is coming from and the type of business they are in. “Aircraft washing is hard work,” I said “make no mistake about that.” If you are considering starting an aircraft cleaning service, perhaps you will consider all this.
Aluminum Cleaner for Aircraft Detailing by Alcoa
There are many choices for aircraft detailing when it comes to aviation uses. One product we like after tying them all out was a product by Alcoa Corporation. The product is distributed by CLB Enterprises at Alcoa Corporation for aluminum polish in all aspects of detailing.
We used this on some museum pieces and noticed the ease of use as we polished out an all aluminum T-33 the trainer version of the F-80 Korean War Vintage “Shooting Star.” It took approximately 22 man-hours with Alcoa’s Aluminum Polish to complete this project. We bid the job at 40-hours because generally that is what it would take with other brands.
My company, the Aircraft Wash Guys, has plenty of experience with aluminum polishing and bright work. http://www.aircraftwashguys.com . And who better to trust than the producers of over 1/3 of all the aluminum mined and recycled in the world.
Alcoa has with stood the test of time. Alcoa has also been instrumental in the legislation to require citizens to recycle aluminum that is necessary for so many of the needed products we take for granted everyday. Whether it is a beer can, aluminum rail car, Boeing 747 or Apollo Space Craft, you can bet it is made with Alcoa products.
We have tested these products and samples have been sent to all Detail Guys Franchisees. All our teams agree that this is a top notched product indeed. We use this product after testing it on Aircraft and aluminum trim on vehicles, trucks and boats.
There is no easy way to clean aluminum and to make it shine; ask any Harley Davidson Motorcycle enthusiast, aircraft owner, yacht owner or show truck owner. There is no easy way. Yet one of the best products we have ever found is Alcoa’s Aluminum Polishes. Not only is the product awesome, it is politically correct.
Many might argue that Mother’s Polish is the best for motorcycles and we have to agree Mother’s is an excellent product, but when using large amounts to do large surfaces, there is a certain profit motivation with our team. Mother’s Polishes of course are great also.
We thank Alcoa for licensing it’s polish from it’s state of the art, high tech Research and Development Group, to worthy distributors such as CLB Enterprises so it is available to our team and aviation enthusiasts at a low and fair price.
It is this level of commitment to the market place that keeps our team in the winner’s circle and Alcoa at the top of their game. And it surely saves the arms of an aircraft owner who needs to polish out their aircraft, because God knows there is no easy way.
Aluminum is a perfect alloy for so many of mankind’s most prized possessions and innovations; from the wheels on your hot rod to parts and components of the World’s highest performance jet aircraft and it has been for decades. Choose the right aluminum polish and save your muscles and time for flying. Think on this.