The Benefits of Attending Distributor Events (Part 1)

PWS-Picnic(web).jpg

PWS picnic image
Picnic sales/service school events hosted by PWS at its California facilities in 2013 featured equipment displays, parts specials and service classes. (File photo: PWS - The Laundry Co.)

Jim Rosenthal |

Taking advantage of profit-enhancement opportunities

RIPON, Wis. — As a Laundromat owner, your primary objective is to make your store as profitable as possible while keeping expenses down and standing out from the competition. Partnering with the right equipment distributor is a crucial decision made early on; you should choose a knowledgeable distributor that shares your vision of building a successful business.

One of the things that quality distributors do is organize events to benefit and educate store owners and potential investors on a semi-annual basis to ensure they are up-to-date on the latest equipment innovations, industry trends and technologies available in the market. The best distributor events can provide you with profit-enhancement opportunities that you can use to get ahead of the competition and maximize your success.

INDUSTRY KNOWLEDGE

As the self-service laundry industry continues to evolve, it’s important to stay ahead of the trends. You will want to partner with a distributor that offers expertise and events to stay current on what’s changing and how to make smart decisions for your Laundromat.

Distributor events typically center on thought leadership, industry best practices, and advice and tips to make your business successful. This information can be delivered in the form of expert panels, Q&A sessions and presentations by vendors and manufacturers, and may cover topics such as utility costs, energy efficiency, equipment replacement, marketing, alternative revenue streams, creative financing and customer retention.

“The information presented at distributor events is applicable to everyone, from the interested potential investor to the seasoned Laundromat veteran,” says Brad Steinberg, co-president of Speed Queen® distributor PWS. “No matter how long you’ve been in the business, there is always more to learn, and distributor events are a great opportunity to do so.”

If you’re someone who is considering getting into the Laundromat business but need more information, you can attend investment seminars to learn more and evaluate the opportunity. If you’re just getting started by opening your first store, you can work with your distributor and join sessions focused on determining the right equipment mix; how to design the layout of your store; deciding which ancillary services to provide (such as wash/dry/fold, vending machines, Wi-Fi access, etc.); and how to keep utility and operational costs as low as possible.

More experienced professionals can take away information on how to renegotiate a store’s lease to achieve a better rate, determine the right time to replace equipment, as well as marketing and advertising tactics—all of which can greatly impact a business’s profitability. You can also learn more creative ways to retain customers and increase customer loyalty, as well as which in-store improvements will enhance a customer’s experience.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Even if your Laundromat is well established and profitable, a modern store must keep up with advances in today’s retail environment to stay relevant and competitive. It’s no longer enough for a Laundromat to provide a simple transaction for customers. Expectations in retail environments are higher than ever, and customers are looking for a true experience rather than being provided the simple necessary service of washing clothes.

Distributor events can provide ideas to combat the competition by enhancing store experience with wider aisles, comfortable seating options, more windows and skylights, updated carts, larger machines, clean bathrooms and more.

They can also provide information on how to brand your store and differentiate your offerings from your competitors, with extra profit centers such as tanning facilities, lottery ticket sales, gaming machines and U.S. postage sales. It’s important to note that the success of these services will depend on the demographics of your customer base; distributors can work with you to determine which services will help generate the most revenue based on store location and the needs of your customers.

NETWORKING OPPORTUNITIES

It’s one thing to discuss the aforementioned information in theory, but distributor events also provide the perfect venue to connect with other Laundromat owners and discuss real-world implications and best practices.

“These events bring together store owners with a wide variety of business experience in one place to discuss issues, brainstorm solutions and bounce ideas off one another,” says Steinberg. “Many times, another Laundromat owner has experienced things you haven’t, or run into issues you’re currently facing and can share their advice and insight.”

Distributor events are also an opportune time to touch base with your equipment distributor and share any specific questions you may have.

Check back Tuesday for the conclusion!

About the author

Jim Rosenthal

Speed Queen, Commercial division

North American Sales Manager

Jim Rosenthal is the North American sales manager of Speed Queen’s Commercial division. For more information, visit www.speedqueencommercial.com/CoinOp101 or call 800-590-8872.

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