Preventive Maintenance: The Secret Cost of Inactivity


preventive maintenance tools
Preventive Maintenance. (Photo: ©

Lee Ferguson |

CHICAGO — Now that I have written several columns, I’m wondering what you are really thinking. I’m guessing some of you are thinking:

  • “I don’t have time to do preventive maintenance (PM) on all my equipment. That would take forever!”
  • “If I don’t have time to work on all my equipment, what’s the sense in doing any work?”
  • “I’ll wait until I absolutely have to do it, then I’ll start.”
  • “Lord knows I don’t have the money to pay someone to do PM on my equipment.”

Be honest, do any of these excuses sound familiar? Being an experienced distributor whose background is solidly based in service, I’ve heard all the excuses. But I’m here to warn you that if you don’t do PM, it will cost you in the long run, as well as in your daily operation.SITUATIONS TO CONSIDER Are you thinking about selling your store? If so, you probably believe the “new guy” can do all the PM; it will be his worry, not yours. Guess again. That type of thinking will cost you a great amount in terms of your current utility bills — the same bills that a prospective buyer will be studying to see if the store turns a profit. Let’s say you are at 29% utility costs when you should be no higher than 25%. An educated buyer will know something is wrong with your equipment. Most likely, he will back off the purchase or substantially lower his offer. What if you’re not selling? If someone told you that by doing PM you would be putting additional income in your pocket instead of sending it to the utility company, how would you react? Well, I’m telling you this: Perform PM and put more money in your pocket! Don’t overlook the fact that every time you have a piece of equipment down, statistics show that it has an adverse effect on the way customers view your store. Having just one unit down can create the perception of inadequacy to the customer. This may have customers looking for a new store to patronize. Performing PM keeps your equipment up and running, and continues the positive perception of your store. If you aren’t worried about utility costs and customer perception, are you at least worried about the dangers that can arise from dirty, faulty equipment? If you ignore your dryers and don’t clean them, you’ll have a fire. We frequently receive calls from customers asking us to inspect a dryer because it caught fire and a claim had to be filed with their insurance company. Dealing with an insurance company, filing claims and waiting for a decision is quite a nuisance. Talk about being inconvenienced. All of this could have been avoided by properly maintaining the equipment. Try not to think of PM as an option, because it’s not. It’s a necessity that every store owner needs to handle. Whether you hire a professional or not, just do the work. If you have any maintenance questions, please send them to [email protected].

About the author

Lee Ferguson

Laundry Equipment Services, Inc.

Service and Parts Manager, Laundry Equipment Services Inc.

Ferguson has worked as a service technician, and a service and parts manager for 13 years. He is currently the service and parts manager at Laundry Equipment Services, Inc., in Berkeley Springs, W. Va.


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