The Future of the Industry

Robert J. Renteria |

People from across the country contact me, asking me the same question: “What is the future of our industry?” The economy has been brutal to most businesses, but the laundry business will be standing strong once it’s all said and done.Now, in saying this, there comes a price; what I call “shrinkage.” Free enterprise is what makes the world go around, but there are always casualties.The shrinkage I refer to is many small and medium laundries closing their doors for various reasons. Some of the closures will be brought on by landlords abusing their tenants and refusing to bend; high utility costs; and overleveraged deals being sold by slimy brokers intent on lining their pockets, with no regard for humanity or ethics. However, new, larger laundries with better parking, new machines, better management styles, etc. will emerge.Customers still need places to wash their clothes. With this in mind, shrinkage will actually trigger an industry rebirth, one that will lead to a healthier climate for those left standing. I know that sounds cold, but it is what it is, and that’s all the more reason to operate your laundry business the right way. Throw out that old playbook — the one that calls for you to neglect the business and the customers, and just collect quarters like you would from a vending machine.DO WHAT IT TAKESI’m sure that you have read many articles about raising prices, marketing, and cleaning up the store — all obvious things that normally don’t get done because of any number of excuses. Even with shrinkage, the opportunity to develop your store is better now than ever, provided you have one of the better laundries still standing.Do some soul-searching. Ask yourself if you’re finally ready to do whatever it takes to build your business and give the laundry marketplace the love and attention it deserves. We can discuss trends, going green, myths about solar energy, demographics, who makes the best washers, etc. In the end, you, and you alone, will determine your business future. Are you ready? If you’re not sure, get out or simply close the doors. If you don’t want to be a casualty, then do what it takes to be a business champion. Quit standing around waiting for a miracle. You need to invest more time and money to be on the front end of the curve, and reap more profits as the laundries in your area begin to close. People have choices, and they will be looking for new choices very soon, if they aren’t already.Again, I ask: Are you ready? If you believe you will win by default, you are sadly mistaken. People, regardless of their income, want the best that their money can buy. If you are from the old school and not measuring up to the elite few, you’re doomed to failure.While this may sound like preaching to you, I’m not preaching; I’m trying to give you sound advice that will provoke you to get off your butt and be ready to face the harsh reality of what is facing you as a laundry owner.BUSINESS CHAMPIONSIn the end, it comes down to a few life principles that I’d encourage you to embrace. Please listen to me. I have better things to do than sit here, share what is happening in the laundry world, and try to guide you if you insist on being stuck on zero.Although you can’t see the air, you still breathe, and although you can’t see God, you still believe. That my friend is called faith. So, if you believe your business can be all that you would hope and want it to be, get with it, and do what it takes to be a winner. Remember, there is no Super Bowl trophy for second place. There is a champion that lies within each and every one of you!Life is all about what you live for, what you stand for, and what you die for!Please contact me with any questions regarding business strategy, developing plans, marketing, or buying and selling a self-service laundry.

About the author

Robert J. Renteria


Robert J. Renteria is a national consultant based in Chicago. He has more than 23 years of industry experience, having helped develop more than 750 coin laundries nationally and abroad. The author of three books, he was named the 2010 Chicago Latino Professional of the Year and is the sole recipient of the 2011 International Outstanding Humanitarian Award. In 2013, he received two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards for his work in civil rights advocacy and educational reform. He can be reached at 312-933-5619 or [email protected].


Latest Podcast

When circumstances beyond your control have your laundry business down, how do you bring it back? Helio Fred Garcia, president of crisis management firm Logos Consulting Group, takes you through the initial response, changing your approach depending on event, the importance of communication, and much more.

Want more? Visit the archive »

Digital Edition

Latest Classifieds