Laundry Tips for 2011

Robert J. Renteria |

CHICAGO — If you’re looking to build business a bit more this year, it never hurts to consider a wide range of ideas.
I’m going to suggest some low- and no-cost tips. Depending on your situation, some of them should positively impact your bottom line, while also providing a better customer experience.

  1. Sell nachos — Yes, I’m serious. Your cost for each plastic cup and cheese with jalapeno peppers is about 36 cents. If you sell 200 orders per week, that’s about $17,000 a year net.
  2. Don’t ignore the Internet — Internet terminals are making their way into laundries, with customers paying by the minute. If you’re a 24-hour operation, you can make the cash register ring even while you’re sleeping!
  3. Get a theme going — A theme can transform your store into a fun, exciting place for customers. Creating this type of buzz is great advertising — advertising that continues without any cost down the line.
  4. Tighten it up — Utilize any open space. Remember, the more places you have to put quarters, the more money you will make.
  5. Keep an open mind — When considering purchasing equipment, give serious consideration to refurbished and rebuilt machinery. You will be able to save about 50% on your investment.
  6. Get social — Create a Facebook page for your laundry. It’s time to realize that people connect and stay connected in different ways.
  7. The front line — Be willing to meet and greet all of your customers. If you don’t, your business will become a fish out of water.
  8. Sit down with the landlord — Make an effort to renegotiate your rent. Given today’s rental situation, now is the perfect time for such a meeting.
  9. Utility shopping — Check out the utility brokers. These firms may be able to slash your high gas and electrical bills.
  10. Spruce up — Make sure your laundry looks the best it can at all times, and that your washers and dryers are always operational.
  11. More extra-profit centers — Give some thought to adding jukeboxes, video games, over-the-counter bulk sales, commercial accounts and drycleaning (farmed out).
  12. One lucky customer — Create a special promotion, such as the Gold Quarter. Simply, insert a specially colored quarter into your changer, and reward the person who receives the quarter. Make it a “wow” prize.
  13. Make the seller work — Don’t buy a laundry from an independent broker who provides no service after the sale. You want dependable service for years to come.
  14. Some light reading — Go back and review some of the past columns and stories on You may have missed or forgotten a moneymaking idea.
  15. More marketing — Every family is worth about $700 per year to your store. Do the math. Market.

I hope 2011 is a happy and prosperous year for all of you!


Robert Renteria, along with Writers of the Round Table Inc., has created a graphic novel about Renteria’s three secrets to success. The book is available in English and Spanish (due out shortly) from

About the author

Robert J. Renteria


Robert J. Renteria is a national consultant based in Chicago. He has more than 23 years of industry experience, having helped develop more than 750 coin laundries nationally and abroad. The author of three books, he was named the 2010 Chicago Latino Professional of the Year and is the sole recipient of the 2011 International Outstanding Humanitarian Award. In 2013, he received two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards for his work in civil rights advocacy and educational reform. He can be reached at 312-933-5619 or


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