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The Idea Exchange (Part 2 of 2)

Paul Partyka |

Looking for a few good ideas? Does your laundry need a little fine-tuning? Are you looking to expand? We covered a wide variety of topics in American Coin-Op this year. As a busy owner, it’s not unusual to miss a story now and then. Maybe a brief recap is in order.Here’s Part 2 of our look back at some of the more interesting ideas/information presented in American Coin-Op this year.DREAMING OF A GREAT LOCATIONDistributors from across the nation sounded off about finding an ideal location. While they didn’t agree on everything, they all agreed that the process requires a good amount of due diligence.When it comes to demographics, distributors are looking for things like a strong Hispanic presence, income level, total population within one square mile of the location, and the percentage of renters.Distributors agree that there is no “magic” number of people needed in an area to make a laundry successful.When it comes to avoiding location mistakes, here are some concerns:

  • You have to understand the demographics and how they can be balanced against other factors.
  • Look at the size of your competitors.
  • Don’t put too much emphasis on foot traffic. Instead,  look at people who might be good laundry customers.
  • Don’t assume anything, such as apartments not having washer/dryer availability.
  • Make personal visits to the location, and look closely at the parking and store visibility.
  • When studying your competition, focus on the quality, not the quantity.

SOCIETAL TRENDSThe coin/cashless store debate is ongoing. However, is society starting to influence this long-time industry issue?Our society has been trending toward going cashless during the past decade. More people buy all of their products/services with their bank card or credit card.  One study shows that the average amount of cash carried by a 16-34-year-old is only $2.25. The 40-plus demographic now even shows considerable card use for essential purchases, such as groceries, gas, and dining out. Plus, in the last three years, credit card use is on the rise.Educating customers about card use has always been a major part of the cashless debate. Will customer education in the future be a concern, given current trends?ENSURING YOUR SUCCESSHow much do you really know about your insurance coverage? Two firms, Wells Fargo Insurance Services and NIE, shared their views on insurance issues.Fire and liability are the top risks. Keep a close eye on wet floors; uneven floor surfaces; dryers (fire risk); children playing with equipment; tables and chairs with little support; extra profit centers (such as tanning beds, kiddie rides, pool tables, etc.); and any climbing toys.Unattended stores can certainly pose a risk. There may be an additional cost for stores that are unattended or open 24 hours. One of the concerns is that a fall can seem much worse if no one is there to witness it or to assist the injured person with the care that is needed.Laundromat owners who have business-interruption insurance use it when they have a severe loss such as fire or hurricane. There must be a direct physical loss to the premises for the coverage to apply.Deal with a solid agency that specializes in the industry. Select someone that deals daily with the lenders in the field. Also, reduce risk by doing these things:

  • Conduct interior/exterior walk-around inspections.
  • Clean lint on a daily basis.
  • Put emergency phone numbers in a prominent place.
  • Arrange a yearly review with your insurance agent on coverage needs.
  • Remember to include all costs in choosing your insurance limit.
  • Promptly report all claims and incidents that could result in a claim.

SLOPPY FINANCIAL PRACTICES DOOM THE QUEST FOR CASHWhile lenders have cut back during the challenging economy, there are still stable lenders seeking strong applicants, says Eastern Funding LLC.Your best financing bet is to stick with the companies that specialize in this industry. You also must be thorough to obtain financing. Don’t hastily fill out personal financial statements that contain inadequate, incomplete or erroneous information. The same thing holds true for accounting records on existing laundries or other businesses. Watch for inflated values of assets, especially in a declining real estate market. Lastly, frequent NSF (non-sufficient funds) notices on bank statements are not good.Click here for Part 1 of this story! 

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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