Pro's Corner

How to Choose the Right Truckmount or Portable for Your Business

If you do a quick search on YouTube or Google you will find a wave of contentious opinions about whether Truckmounts or Portables get better results when cleaning. 

I think that these debates miss the point. The truth is that in order to obtain the best results possible for your business, you want to have a truckmount and a portable that is tailored to your organization's needs.

I’ll give a more detailed reason below that provides context, so keep reading to learn more.

How to Choose a Truckmount: Your Business Needs are the Most Important Factor to Consider

What kinds of jobs are you doing? What training do your employees have? What is your budget? Are you going to be doing multiple jobs at once? What are you going to do if your equipment breaks down and needs repairs?

These questions are important and there isn’t one right answer. The needs of every business are different based on the services you provide and your goals.

There is no one “best” Truckmount or “best” portable because the answer is dependent on context and your individual situation.

As a contractor, it’s critical to answer these questions first because once you have the answer you can get clarity on which unit you should buy.

Key factors to consider when choosing the right Truckmount or Portable

Truckmount 1


Heat and Pressure

With today’s technology, all truckmounts are able to heat water to a temperature that is perfect for cleaning. By the time the water is delivered through the hose, it will be at the ideal temperature to create a powerful reaction with your chemistry.

It has become increasingly popular for cleaners to offer new services to their arsenal, and a truckmount is optimal for supporting jobs like tile and grout cleaning which typically require a pressure of 800-1,000 PSI. Many truckmounts can also support pressure washing.

The best portables in the industry such as the Nautilus and Olympus are also capable of exhibiting this pressure. 

However, most Truckmounts typically clean with higher pressure and can complete a job faster than a portable.

Where will you be cleaning?

Are you cleaning at an apartment complex, high-rise building, or any type of building that is hard to access? These factors can make using a Truckmount difficult or ineffective.

I recently watched a video on Facebook of a contractor that pulled up to an apartment complex that had a low clearance height. His van was too tall to fit under the narrow underpass, so it wasn’t capable of reaching the customer’s door. His only option in this situation was to clean with a portable.

The higher you are in a building, the further your hose will be, meaning that you are going to lose heat.

Law offices, banks, or businesses that house sensitive documents are not places that you will be able to clean with a Truckmount. If you don’t have a portable in your cleaning arsenal you run the risk of having to turn down these jobs.


Nautilus Portable

Installation and configuration of your Truckmount

The configuration of your vehicle is something that you will have to work with on a daily basis. Are you working with a Cargo Van? Box Truck? You’ll want to carefully consider the limitations, space, and accessibility of each one so that you pick the right one for your operation. You will be in and out of your vehicle every day, and if you overlook these factors it can be a giant hassle.

When considering space and ease-of-operation you will have to decide between a slide-in or direct drive Truckmount. A slide-in truckmount is easier to move from one van to the other and they have their own source of power, but they also take up more space and might require more maintenance. Direct-drive truckmounts are powered by your vehicle's engine, take up less space, and are easier to operate.

Vehicle configurations


The Versatility of the Truckmount or Portable 

There’s always the possibility that a customer will call you to re-service their home to touch up a spot. When you receive this call, it can be much more efficient to swing by with a portable to hit the area that you missed.

Truckmounts are mechanical, and just like a car, need regular service in order to work properly. If you only have a Truckmount, you won’t be able to clean during the time that repair work is being done.

Depending on the unit, more expensive truckmounts are capable of running a long line of hose and can even support a dual-wand system.


How will you be perceived by Your Customer?

The way that your customer perceives you is almost just as important as the actual service you provide. Your customers like what they can see and will judge your performance accordingly.

Just think about it: if your target audience is wealthy homeowners, there’s a good chance that they are paying for luxury and the experience. Owning a truckmount will build credibility and bolster the image of your brand.

A truckmount will give your customer the impression that you are serious about what you’re doing, and positive impressions keep you in business!

Do you know what You’re Doing with your Truckmount and Portable?

A cleaning tool is only as reliable as the person using it which means that the best Truckmount or Portable can never bridge the gap created by a lack of knowledge. If you are new to using cleaning technology or unsure of what you are doing, it’s essential that you take an IICRC class that teaches you how to properly clean. This is true for both beginners and cleaners that have been at it for years: if you invest in yourself you’ll get your money’s worth out of your machine, be more efficient on the job, and avoid costly errors that can arise from improperly running equipment.

Considerations of Pressure, Vacuum Motors, and Heat for Portables

Have you ever read marketing material that says you can buy a portable with features including high pressure, dual three-stage vacuum motors, a heater, and an auto pump out? This is not entirely true. You cannot run all of these features of a portable at the same time. If you want heat, you’d have to turn off one of the vac motors.  If you want max vacuum efficiency (you do) you have to turn off the heater. 

You don't want to pay for extra features that you can't use. The only way to get all of the above features outlined above is with three power cords (no one has that) or, you need an auxiliary heat source or vacuum source.

If you want a unit like this, you will most likely need a custom-built portable. 

Some Final Thoughts on Purchasing a Truckmount and Portable

Scott Warrington has said multiple times online that “You can’t pick the right tool until you decide which job you want to do with the tool.”

Above all else, you have to know what business you are in before you decide which tool is right for a job.

So first, make sure that you have an accurate idea of who your customers are, where they live, and what the job entails so that you can get the right answers.

It’s ideal to have both a truckmount and portable so that you are prepared for all of the nuances that you face on your job.

Remember, at the end of the day that as the operator you are the most important asset at every job; your experience and understanding of the nuances of each service you perform is what matters most.

We’ve also put together a special guide for buying a Truckmount so that you can pick the right package for your business. The guide goes into MUCH more detail about the installation of a Truckmount than this article can cover and is complete with diagrams and a checklist that walks you through the decisions that you have to make. If you're looking to buy a Truckmount or Portable, take some time to read this and our experts will be glad to help.


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