TRAVERSE CITY — Nathan Farrier describes himself as a young entrepreneur with a timeless approach to business.
“Yeah, I’m young, but I go with old-school, traditional, hard-working values,” said Farrier, owner and founder of Northern Lightning Wash.
The Traverse City-based business goes on the road to clean commercial truck fleets in the Grand Traverse region, allowing Farrier, 29, to soak in real success. He started power-washing pretty much anything and everything five years ago out of his pickup. He now owns a sizable fleet of trucks with high-tech equipment for cleaning business vehicles.
“There is no modern or hip thing here,” Farrier said. “I’m just working hard and being professional. We are very client-driven.”
The business serves companies like Team Elmer’s, Fed Ex, American Waste, and Cherryland Electric Cooperative. A crew of employees showed up at American Waste recently at 4 p.m. on a Friday afternoon and scrubbed away, leaving 40 white trash trucks squeaky clean in less than five hours.
“We’ve got a touchless system now, too,” Farrier said. “Nine times out of 10 we physically don’t have to touch the truck. We create a chemical reaction on the surface. When you put a brush on it you can’t get in every nook and cranny. Also, every time you put a brush on it you risk scratching it. We use the right combination of water volume, water pressure and chemical reaction to take the dirt off.”
The business emphasizes being environmentally friendly. It uses heat generated by its own trucks to heat water on the way to job sites. Lightning Wash’s newest wash pumps are powered by the truck itself, eliminating the need for a separate small engine. The company blends its own soaps in large batches to prevent shipping water. Farrier said the business carries out a waste water recovery program, complies with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, and uses “non-toxic microbe-based remediation techniques” to degrease equipment.
“We’ve got about five employees and are adding another one to two for our summer work load,” said Farrier, who is purchasing more equipment and vehicles for his fleet.
“I’m reinvesting so I can grow quickly,” he said.