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Planning Your Laundry for Full-Service Work (Part 1)

Tips for designing or renovating store for operational diversity

OSHKOSH, Wis. — A growing number of vended laundries offer full-service wash-dry-fold and/or residential/commercial laundry services. And for good reason. Through this diversification of services, laundries can better penetrate their demographic and geographical service area for additional revenue and profit!

But, to do it well, planning is essential. So, if your goal is to develop or renovate a vended laundry — and design it to maximize full-service work — peruse the following planning tips before jumping in:

Evaluate the Lease — If you’re leasing a space for your laundry, consult people in the business to negotiate your lease. Get several legal opinions before signing. Be certain a competitive laundry cannot move in next door in the same strip mall, for example, because this happens and could be detrimental to your business, even if it performs well.

Space Needs — Plan for extra space inside your vended laundry, or near your store, to house the right equipment and to store linens before and after processing. If you plan to launch commercial laundry processing for vacation rentals, spas, hair salons, small hotels, catering companies and restaurants, a flatwork ironer is also critical. You’ll need to dedicate about 200 square feet to the installation and operation of a 13-inch flatwork ironer. An additional 100-200 square feet of shelving for storage is recommended.

Consider Investing in Point-Of-Sale (POS) System — If you really want to grow your business efficiently, a POS for full-service work is an absolute necessity. Look for one that includes a website for your business — making online orders and tracking simple. A good website is essential for marketing and managing full-service offerings. A POS not only allows customers to schedule and pay for wash-dry-fold services online, or via their phones, it simplifies management and tracks payments, laundry processing, scheduling and deliveries.

Equipment Needs — If you only want to offer residential wash-dry-fold, you can get away with using basic vended washers and dryers. Just be sure you have plenty of them. But, if your intent is to process both residential and commercial laundry, commercial washer programmability and automatic chemical injection are essential to generate consistent, high-quality results. So is a flatwork ironer for ironing flat goods. Residential customers and commercial businesses will be happy to pay more for premier service.

Washer Capabilities — Choose highly programmable washers with automatic chemical-injection capabilities and programmable water temperatures. Getting consistent, quality results using preprogrammed vended cycles can be difficult. Body oil, lotions and food stains are hard to remove using the one- or two-rinse cycles typical of vended programming. The good news? There are vended washers on the market that do double duty.

More tips to come in Wednesday’s conclusion...

Planning Your Laundry for Full-Service Work

The customer service counter at a laundry center offering wash-dry-fold services. (Photo: Girbau North America)

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