Keeping Good Laundromat Employees (Conclusion)

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(Photo: © iStockphoto/Kevin Russ) 

Brian Brunckhorst |

Give staff clear expectations and goals, then enable them for success

SAN FRANCISCO — One of the biggest challenges facing most coin laundry owners is staffing.

Getting the most from your attendant starts at the very beginning when you begin the hiring process and continues for as long as they work for you. There are lots of people looking for a job, but finding someone who has the qualities that you want representing you and your business and who will actually work is not so easy. The first step to keeping a good employee is to make sure you hire one.

So, what traits make a good laundry attendant? Here are some of what we look for when hiring an attendant (in no particular order): trainable/follows directions; honest; good work ethic/hard worker; bilingual; friendly/smiles a lot; outgoing; bubbly personality; shows up on time/reliable; attention to detail; and is a problem-solver.

Once you hire an attendant, there are some things that you must do if you want to keep them:

PROVIDE THEM WITH TRAINING

After providing the resources to make your attendants successful, you need to provide them with training—lots of training!

To start, we have each attendant watch the Coin Laundry Association’s attendant training video. It is a good general video and provides a clear base upon which we build. What I like best about it is that it is produced in both English and Spanish. Next, we train the attendant on our specific processes and procedures. We go over step-by-step our procedures for:

  • Cleaning the store
  • Maintaining the equipment
  • Processing wash-and-fold orders
  • Handling the money
  • Selling items over the counter

Another area we focus on is customer service skills. We train the attendants how we expect them to interact with our customers and how to handle challenging situations. The customers need to come first, and treating them with respect goes a long way when a customer is having a problem.

Lastly, we train them on emergency procedures. Safety is job No. 1 and we teach them what to do in the event of robbery, dryer fires, customer injury, utility shut-offs, power outages, and when the need arises to fill out incident report forms.

ENABLE THEM FOR SUCCESS

Once your employees are trained, you need to enable them for success. Never forget that your people are your business. For 90%-plus of the hours you’re open, the fate of your business rests with the lowest wage earner in your organization. Empower them by giving them predetermined decision spending limits and support their decisions. Listen to their feedback and incorporate good ideas into your company procedures. Allow them the ability to swap schedules, following your guidelines.

Keeping good employees is not always easy, but by giving your staff clear job expectations and goals, providing them with the resources they need to be successful, training them and giving them feedback, and enabling them for success, your employees will come to work with purpose and finish each shift with a feeling of accomplishment.

Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.

About the author

Brian Brunckhorst

Store Owner

Brian Brunckhorst ([email protected]) is the owner of six Laundromats in the San Francisco Bay Area, president of the Golden State Coin Laundry Association, a real estate investor, author of Secrets of Buying and Owning Laundromats, and the Coin Laundry Association’s 2013 Member of the Year.

Brunckhorst went from the high-tech testing of computer networking software in Silicon Valley to the low-tech business of owning several Laundromats. He is dedicated to teaching fellow entrepreneurs how to find, evaluate, analyze, and buy a Laundromat (www.buyalaundromat.com) as well as improve its operations.

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