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Owning a Coin Laundry Is Harder Than You Might Think

Robert J. Renteria |

Many of the potential investors that I meet on a daily basis believe that just because they have the money necessary to buy a coin laundry that the deal is done. How hard can it be? It’s just collecting quarters right?Wrong!Although it’s a cash business, and yes, you collect quarters, there is a huge time commitment necessary not just in owning a laundry business, but any business. I can understand why someone who is strong and confident would say to themselves, “I know what I’m doing so what’s the problem?” I will admit that yes, I too fell into that silly egocentric mentality, and when I finally pulled the trigger and opened my own business, it was a rude awakening, and that myth of easy ownership quickly vanished.Truth be told, owning a business is bottom-line hard work, and you had better be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. I will admit that I have licked a lot more envelopes than I would have ever imagined, and have burned the midnight oil more times than my vanity cares to admit.Be prepared to commit the time and effort it will take you to not only run a good operation but also have a financially successful and rewarding experience for you and your family. It’s like building a house, so to speak. You must first build a solid foundation, and then make sure you are reaching out and touching customers so that the demographics you serve know who you are and what services you are providing. Let’s not be the best-kept secret in town!I strongly suggest that each of you becomes a part of your local business community and chamber of commerce, and you had better plan on making sure you know your business and having the best-trained attendants in your marketplace. The laundry business is a good-will industry, and if you fall asleep at the switch or are simply not watching, your attendants will destroy your business. Nobody is going to care about your business more than you, so make sure you have video surveillance, not just for your customers’ security and safety, but also to keep your eyes on your attendants and keep them honest and in check.Make sure you have a quarterly marketing plan in place, and it’s a must that you know your competition. This means getting in your car and visiting each laundry in your surrounding area so that you know exactly what you are up against. Take a load of laundry and survey each location. Find out what they offer and what they do and don’t have, and then take that information and make your laundry everything they’re not. It’s all about being the best you can possibly be and giving yourself that much more of an opportunity to make money by catering to that many more customers. Be prepared to dig in deep, especially in the beginning; you will only get what you put into it, so passive efforts will only get you passive results.I was recently asked what the secret was to my own business success, and I had to pause for a second, because there is no secret. It’s bottom-line hard work! Business is all about survival of the fittest. Like any great champion, you need to be prepared to fight the fight, and you can’t come into the game believing that the laundry business is only about collecting quarters.You must be passionate about owning a coin laundry and have a plan that is clear, precise and specific. There is no other way to say it: If you decide to own a coin laundry, it’s going to be harder than you think! 

About the author

Robert J. Renteria

Consultant

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 robert@fromthebarrio.com.

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