Recycling in the Coin Laundry Industry

Robert J. Renteria |

The economy is squeezing tight, and people are watching their dollars. In the coin laundry industry, this leads to something I like to refer to as “recycling.” This means that some laundries close because of high rent, being oversold by distributors, employee theft, bad management, etc., and when the failed laundry goes under, a new, stronger business takes its place.The fact is that when a laundry closes, for whatever reason, that laundry’s customers need a new place to wash their clothes. The industry rebuilds on these businesses to create a stronger marketplace. This may sound brutal, but this is how free enterprise works, and if you’re not taking care of your business, then your downfall is self-inflicted.In order to avoid getting caught up in this vicious cycle, you need to quit thinking that the coin laundry industry is a retail business. If you want to come out on top of the recession, then you need to pay attention to your business and run it as such.With quotas going up for local distributors and salesmen trying to keep their jobs, you must be very careful not to be oversold. Take the time to search out the right distributors who understand what the marketplace can bear. It’s critical that you find someone who has not only longevity in the industry, but also a proven track record.There are ups and downs in any industry, and the owners who have a deliberate attack plan in place will leave many others open to being recycled. Laundry is a basic necessity for everyone, and that can lure some owners into falling asleep and believing this is a hands-off business.To improve the industry and help avoid these pitfalls, we must have a collaborative effort from the manufacturers, distributors and owners to work more cohesively. Remember, there is no single machine that is necessarily better than the next. Distributors must realize that they work for coin laundry owners, not manufacturers. The owners must quit buying into a single brand of machine. The industry is simple and basic, and if you keep focused on the bottom line, you can find ways to get there.If you own a laundry or are looking to get into the business, have a game plan. If you don’t, someone else will soon be meeting your customers as the industry continues to recycle. 

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 [email protected].


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