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Going the Commercial Route (Part 2 of 3)

Paul Partyka |

When it comes to generating extra revenue, one’s thoughts often turn to extra services. Have you ever considered taking on commercial accounts? Like anything else, there are pros and cons, but operators are doing it, and with some success, according to recent surveys and interviews.I think it’s always best to hear from the people who are doing this type of work to get a better feel for the challenges and benefits.SELL YOURSELFJoe Bellino has been doing commercial work for 13 years at his 2,500-square-foot store in Stoneham, Mass. It started with items from a sports medicine/therapy business — customers would even bring the work in and pick it up. Now, Bellino also deals with barbershops and salons. Specifically, he handles plenty of towels.“Some of the work just came in right off the street, and some of it I get myself,” Bellino says.When looking for more work, he enters a business, introduces himself, and gives out business cards. He’s learned of some potential accounts by chatting with store customers. His store window and business cards say, “Commercial accounts welcome.” Bellino even lists his personal cell phone number in the phone book for those interested in commercial service.While business has slowed recently, one thing hasn’t changed: he guarantees that he will beat the price of the account’s current work provider.He processes about 1,000 pounds of commercial work a week, although this figure was larger in the past. His largest washers have a 50-pound capacity, and his largest dryers have a 75-pound capacity.Bellino has utilized educational material to aid with commercial cleaning, and is always looking for cleaning tips. “Knowing a few drycleaners doesn’t hurt,” he jokes.He urges those interested in commercial work to stay away from the large accounts. “There are many concerns, such as OSHA.” The biggest challenge, however, is balancing walk-in customer and account concerns. Currently, the attendants do the commercial work during the day, but a night shift would be added if needed.Networking is also a key. “Get to know all the local businesses,” he says. “I go to the businesses personally, boast about what I can do, and tell them that all my machines are factory-set, that I have water filtration, etc. Sell yourself and what sets your laundry apart from others. Don’t go for the big account right away — that’s the one that causes you to sweat!”Click here for Part 1.Click here for Part 3. 

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.

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