HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Mowing the lawn, washing the dishes, weeding the garden, making the bed or doing the laundry. They’re all chores, and they usually aren’t fun to do.
But doing the laundry — including washing, drying and folding — shouldn’t be included in that list thanks to the increasing popularity of wash-dry-fold (WDF) services at many Laundromats. WDF services allow customers to cook dinner or attend their children’s sporting events, instead of worrying about when they will find time to do the laundry.
THE RIGHT STAFF MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Finding and keeping employees, especially during a pandemic, is one of the biggest challenges Laundromats face, since employee turnover can be high. But by hiring the right people from the start, you’ll be much more likely to keep those employees and grow your WDF business.
One of the first questions to ask potential employees is what makes them interested in working at a Laundromat. If they answer, “It’s just a job,” they’re not the right ones to hire. Instead, you should try to hire people — both men and women — who truly enjoy doing laundry. Look for people who find it relaxing since it allows them to go to their “happy place,” where they can chill out while they sort or fold the laundry. (Really, those people do exist.)
Spot Laundromats employs men and women who have been working almost 10 years processing WDF laundry. My father always said that life is too short to do something you don’t enjoy doing. So, do random employee reviews and check in and see how well employees like their job. And if they aren’t happy, ask what you can do to change that. It’s important for employees to like their job, since customers will notice if they don’t. Consumers can hear a smile when they’re being greeted over the phone, and like being assisted with laundry as they are going in or out the door.
You should also try to treat employees like family. Try to make employees feel like they’re not in a warehouse assembly line. Acknowledge their anniversary dates, and introduce them to your customers on social media, such as a regular “Worker Wednesday” post on Facebook. At Spot Laundromats, we also try to give employees a schedule that fits their lives so it is more enjoyable for them to come to work.
FOCUS ON BEST PRACTICES
We want our employees to share with us any ideas on how to improve our efficiency or business. For instance, we may ask them to fold a certain way, but if they have a different way in mind, show us. While we likely have tried that way before, we may try it again or explain why we feel it doesn’t work. We appreciate employee input, as they are the ones working directly with our customers.
Spot Laundromats doesn’t offer incentives to keep staff and build the WDF business. Instead, we market the service directly to consumers.
Most of our marketing is done through Facebook or by word-of-mouth; however, we offer a “Refer a friend” discount, an email sign-up promotion, move-in specials to new residents, and contests to make laundry fun.
Other types of advertising and marketing can be effective, too, in increasing your WDF business. Put cling-on stickers on your business windows, calling out your services or special promotions. Use radio advertising and have the DJ explain how affordable WDF is for families.
Even logos on delivery vehicles can help to spread the word about your services as people drive around the city. While sitting at a red light, that busy mom behind your vehicle may think, “Wow, what a cool idea.”
With novel coronavirus cases rising across the nation, it’s also smart to promote the sanitation aspect of WDF. For instance, Laundromats are able to use hotter temperatures and give special attention to specific articles of clothing and sanitize more than people can do at home in their washing machines and dryers.
Spot’s motto or tagline, “We do laundry so you don’t have to,” sums up our service succinctly and has been very effective. Customers really like the idea of having more time to spend with family and friends since we’re taking care of the laundry for them. So come up with a motto or tagline that highlights the benefits of your WDF services, and make sure it is something that your customers can relate to. Then you’ll likely see your business increase, and your profits, too.
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].