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It’s Our Policy… (Part 2)

Communicating, educating on your business guidelines integral to fostering success

CHICAGO — From the moment you contemplated opening a laundromat, you probably had at least a vague idea of how you wanted to operate it: the work schedule, the level of service, the cleaning and maintenance, you name it.

And if your laundry was going to be attended in some manner, you’d need some way to organize your thoughts about its day-to-day operation, how certain tasks were to be performed, and whose job it would be to fulfill those responsibilities. The time would come for you to establish your policies and procedures.

American Coin-Op polled a handful of store owners around the country to learn a little about the guidelines and protocols they produce, how they inform and educate their workforce about them, and what these owners say could happen if clear guidance in operations isn’t given to a laundry’s employees.


Setting policies and procedures is only a first step to seeing that your workforce conducts your business in the manner you want it conducted. The usefulness of these guidelines and rules can be limited if they aren’t openly and often shared with—and acknowledged by—your personnel.

Communication is always integral, and it is just as difficult to communicate as always,” says James (Clark) Sowers, who co-owns four laundromats and two drycleaning plants in South Dakota with son Randy. They employ 22. “Too many distractions. We have worked with our managers to make sure (they) communicate policies, especially with new hires, actually going over the policy book word by word to make sure they understand how things roll.”

I communicate policies and procedures via the Employee Handbook, during job training, and by modeling expectations,” says Sharon Sager, who has six part-time employees at her Sierra Madre (Calif.) Laundry. “We also have a whiteboard in the office for communication between staff and management. Here, we share information, tips, suggestions, requests and kudos.”

Printed and digital copies are available 24/7 to (our staff),” Travis Unema says of the policies and procedures in place at his Brio Laundry in Bellingham, Wash. “Reviewed in person during hiring. If someone goes against store policy, meet with them and show them exactly where in policy they went wrong and then explain why that policy is in place.”

“The employee handbook is on our payroll portal. The terms of service is on our website,” shares Kristyn Van Ostern of Wash Street, Manchester, N.H. “We also discuss these policies as needed in our weekly staff meetings and more regularly if necessary through our Slack (productivity platform) channels.”

We meet annually face to face individually with each person,” says James Radovic, who owns two fully attended stores in the Florida communities of Jupiter and Stuart. “We discuss the work rules, the laundry procedures and their performance.”

“For new hires, these items (are) incorporated into the on-boarding and orientation presentation conducted one-on-one,” Cathy Neilley, owner of Spin Doctor Laundromat in Hamilton Township, N.J., says of her approach. “With existing staff, reminders are posted on a whiteboard, and discussed at either an impromptu or formal staff meeting.”

“Recently, the SOP that I made to help the stores is a winterizing checklist,” Mark Vlaskamp, director of 2ULaundry central operations, says. “All of our stores are slightly different: different operators, build-outs, climates, etc. When the recent winter storms came through, we realized all stores knew what to do but there wasn’t one source of truth to connect all the stores under the same expectations and standards.

The SOP is not the important part, in my opinion. The plumbing that you have to distribute the information to your workforce is the important part. Distribution of the content is more important than the content itself.”

In Thursday’s conclusion: The perils when lacking guidance

It’s Our Policy

(Photo: © Wavebreakmedia/Depositphotos)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].