SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. — As a vended laundry investor, wouldn’t you like to be as certain as possible that your money and efforts result in a successful, profitable outcome? As you look to invest in an existing vended laundry, or develop a new one from scratch, there are multiple critical factors to consider that will ultimately shape your business’ success. Nobody understands these factors — site selection, store layout, equipment mix, financing, lease negotiation, design — more than your local laundry equipment distributor.
As laundry experts who know the markets they serve, distributors can and should become lifetime business partners who’ve got your back — and provide ongoing services — before, during and after the equipment sale.
Do your research and interview distributors in your market. Make sure the distributor you select can offer you not only a price for equipment but services, training, parts and marketing support. You’re making a large investment and the dealer you select will be critical in your long-term success.
Additionally, your distributor should encourage you to join the Coin Laundry Association (CLA), where membership can immediately put you in contact with best-in-class operators and a network of valuable resources.
Remember, this process is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and you need to partner with a full-service, high-quality team of experts.
In Part 1, I discussed how a distributor can assist with location selection, evaluating sales potential, conceptualizing equipment mix, generating a proforma, and financing. Read on to see how a quality distributor might help turn your vision or plan into a viable, profitable reality.
Once financing is approved, you and your distributor will typically engage an architect and a general contractor to perform necessary plans, process for permits and build out your space. The general contractor coordinates subcontractors, and your distributor provides all your store’s laundry equipment, laundry carts, vending machines, electronic payment systems, etc.
This is the point where you start marketing your new vended laundry. Some distributors can help you in this arena, as well. If you’re lucky, your distributor might partner with an advertising agency that specializes in vended laundry with affordable marketing packages tailored to new store development. If so, you might gain access to help with branding and logo development, signage, door hangers, websites, social media management, public relations and grand openings.
When the laundry is complete — or nearly complete — some distributors provide training on maintaining equipment, operating machines, programming machines, serving customers and providing services such as wash/dry/fold. Most will gladly share their knowledge. Some distributors offer hands-on training at existing laundries and provide services like hiring and training attendants, as well as offering preventative maintenance schedules and service contracts. After all, they want you to be successful.
Of course, a quality distributor also delivers after-sale services, including preventative maintenance, technical repairs, replacement parts and replacement equipment.
Some host events and seminars where vended laundry owners are briefed on industry trends and technology. Such events are great venues for swapping ideas; learning ways to improve efficiencies and profits; connecting with industry experts; and examining new technology or programming.
Finally, your distributor business partner should always be looking for ways to help improve your profits — whether it’s two, five, 10 or 15 years down the road!
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.