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Avoiding Equipment Nightmares

Larry Larsen |

WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. — When purchasing an existing self-service laundry, there are plenty of things that needed to be checked out. Equipment is always a major consideration. What can you do to verify that all the machines are working before you make your purchase?Larry Larsen, with more than 30 years of experience in the ownership, management and construction of Laundromats, offers 11 tips on how to verify that all the machines are working before you make that laundry investment.

  1. Start each machine using a card or coin. Do not allow them to be started with a service key. The coin mechanism itself can be broken, and many models cost more than $200.
  2. Switch between the cycle settings to ensure that all cycles are working, not just hot.
  3. Listen to the washers for grinding noises or loud, high-speed “whirs” to judge if the bearings are good.
  4. To save money, visit the store on a Saturday. Your future customers will start most of the machines for you. You just have to watch and listen.
  5. Look at the front of the washing machines to determine if any of the door gaskets leak.
  6. Once the washers have started, try to open the door to see if the safety lock mechanism is working correctly.
  7. Look behind the washers (lift the bulkhead) to spot any water leaks from a drain hose that might be cracked, or a water hose that might have a pinhole leak.
  8. Reach into each dryer and lift the basket to judge any excessive play (movement up and down) indicating a bad trunion. When compared to other dryers, any extra movement will be obvious.
  9. Do the same lifting test with the front loaders.
  10. Insert the new types of bills into the bill changers to verify they have the latest upgrades.
  11. Vend each column of soap and vending machine.

These tests should take you two to three hours, and save you from giving a repairman about $300 to look at the machines, Larsen says. 

About the author

Larry Larsen

Crusader Insurance Co.

Owner, Manager

Larry Larsen has more than 30 years of experience in the ownership, management and construction of Laundromats. He also serves as an insurance agent for Crusader Insurance Co. in Woodland Hills, Calif.

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