THE FEMALE boss of Europe’s largest truck wash is urging more women to join the industry as the firm invests £2.3m in a new site.

Laura Cardwell, the owner and managing director of Lymm Truckwash, said: “As a woman in the male-dominated HGV industry, I can make the sector more accessible.

“I tend to stand out, drawing attention to the important and necessary service our company provides.”

Laura has been director of the 52-year-old family firm – the largest and oldest truck wash in Europe – since 2014, and she bought the business in 2018 when her parents retired.

She took charge of finding the new site, planning permission and build.

Without this input, the business would have been forced to close in December this year, when the lease for the old site runs out.

The 40-year-old has taken the reins at a key turning point in the company’s history, as it invests £2.3 million in relocating to a new, purpose-built site, just 100 metres from its current base at Lymm Services on the M6.

Lymm Truckwash will move to its new site on the opposite side of the A50, only 100 metres away from the old site, in autumn this year.

Founded in 1967, Lymm Truckwash washes more than 60,000 trucks a year for customers throughout the UK and across Europe, ranging from owner-drivers to major fleet operators such as BP, DHL and AW Jenkinson.

Laura said: “When you look at the figures and see how many vehicles we wash, and the calibre and quantities of businesses who use us, it’s obvious we’re a crucial service. It is also a legal requirement for HGV’s to be clean, lights and number plates especially.

“Companies have to keep their trucks clean, not only because they are mobile advertisements for themselves, but if they are not kept clean then the DVSA are more likely to pull a wagon over – if they are not keeping the vehicle clean, then what else are they not doing to ensure it’s safe running?”

Started by Laura’s parents, John and Anne Cardwell, in 1967 the firm has a dedicated team of staff who have been with the company for many years.

Laura added: “Being a woman in this sector has its advantages and disadvantages.

“Like any industry, you feel you have to prove yourself more, and it’s hard juggling children, home and work. However, I think it is vital that women work to set an example to their children and the next generation - I thrive on the challenges of the work and family life balance, it is possible, you just have to be organised.

“The site will be quicker and easier for our customers to access from the motorway because they’ll no longer have to enter and exit Lymm Services."

While there are no female truck washers among the firm’s staff, Laura insists women are perfectly capable of taking on the job.

Asked what it takes to be a truck washer, she says: “They need to be hardworking and physically fit, because the job can be tough and they have to work in all weathers. They also need to be flexible with a good work ethic, attitude and be able to interact well with our customers, many of whom are always up for a chat after spending many hours in their cab.”