DORCHESTER, Mass. — Michael Shaffer, owner of the new Soak Laundry Center here, says he loves technology and is always looking for ways to do things more efficiently.
“Efficiency is what this laundry represents,” he says.
In just three months, the 1,200-square-foot Soak Laundry Center has doubled business, significantly grown its customer base, and launched multiple services, including drop and lock, wash/dry/fold (WDF) and concierge pickup and delivery, according to equipment manufacturer Continental Girbau. It’s a far cry from the laundry it replaced.
“Now it’s a state-of-the-art laundry center that allows self-service customers to complete their laundry in less than 60 minutes,” says Shaffer. “Customers like the quick turnaround.”
Designed and equipped with assistance from Daniels Equipment Co. Inc., in Auburn, N.H., Soak Laundry Center features an equipment mix of Continental ExpressWash® Soft-Mount Washers (six 20-pounders, six 40-pounders and four 60-pounders) and ExpressDry® Dryers (three 30-pound stacks, five 45-pound stacks, and two 75-pound single pockets).
“When I first took it over, I brought in four different distributors, but I liked the concept of the Continental soft-mount equipment provided by Daniels Equipment,” Shaffer says.
The laundry space, which sits above a basement, wasn’t configured to support the new design; concrete support columns were not located in the right places. That is one of the reasons why Shaffer chose to install soft-mount equipment rather than traditional hard-mount laundry equipment.
By choosing the soft-mounts, Shaffer says he avoided the expense of added building preparation, plus gained greater efficiency and customer turnover.
“The price for the soft-mount equipment is more, but I thought it would be offset with faster turnaround time and accommodating more volume,” he says. “I made the right decision.”
Thanks to high-speed extract reaching 400 g-force, Continental soft-mount ExpressWash Washers remove more moisture from each load when compared to typical hard-mount washers that produce extract speeds of 75-200 g-force, Continental says. And because the ExpressWash Washers extract more water, they also slash dry time by as much as 50%. This results in more potential turns per day, plus utility bills are lower because dryers run less often.
“The equipment is super-efficient, and Daniels Equipment did a great job fine-tuning the wash program,” says Shaffer.
Meanwhile, customers enjoy more control over how they wash their laundry. The washers feature the ProfitPlus Control®, which allows customers to add an extra wash, rinse or spin to the standard cycle selections. And each “extra” selected means 25 to 75 cents more added to the vend price.
Customers utilize the laundry’s FasCard payment system to operate the machines, adding value to their card and then swiping it at a machine. They can also use the FasCard app on their smartphone.
Shaffer says he easily tracks machine turns, store revenue and more: “I have the ability to look at turn statistics anytime during the day,” he says. “I like knowing how many customers use the laundry, as well.”
While Soak Laundry Center’s self-service business is “booming,” its WDF business is also gaining strength and makes up 10% of revenue.
A unique drop-and-lock service makes drop-off WDF convenient, he adds. Customers are assigned storage lockers and an access code. They leave their laundry in their locker anytime during business hours. When attendants complete the order, it’s placed back in the locker and the customer is alerted that it’s ready.
The laundry also serves commercial accounts, such as nail salons, fitness centers and medical clinics, with complete pickup and delivery services.
And not wanting to turn anyone away, Soak Laundry Center also provides same-day rush WDF, according to Shaffer.