CHICAGO — In a market where money is becoming tighter and tighter, you better be willing to change with the times. If you are one of the old-school laundry owners, you’d better wake up and get with today’s new-era way of managing your business. If you are not applying some of your earnings toward marketing and customer service, you will find yourself closing your doors sooner than later. The days when you would simply build a laundry and attract people are over. You need a plan of attack that is focused on retaining and gaining customers. People are holding back, and are being careful with whom they do business.Is your laundry old? Do you have broken machines? Are supplies lacking? If so, then you are destined to fail. When you look in the mirror tonight, the person looking back at you is at fault.Customers want service, and they deserve it now more than ever. It’s time to do some serious thinking. My best guess is that 80% of laundry owners are probably going to try selling or are going to close up shop in the next five years because they simply don’t get what’s going on.THE NEW BREEDAfter what you just read, you may find it hard to believe that it’s a good time for prospective owners to think about getting into the industry. Many, and I mean many, existing owners are stale, and are bitter about their situation. As a new owner with fresh energy, ideas and ambition, you will find that most laundry situations have a nice financial upside once a plan of attack is executed.I have been doing this for 20 years, and I can say that if you follow the theories espoused in my past columns, you, without question, will be part of the 20% or less of good operators who are making money and enjoying being part of the business.I would like to take a moment to thank and applaud the 20% or so of you who are representing the industry in a professional manner. You keep me passionate about what I do. It’s like a marriage; you don’t mind paying the price to have a good marriage. It’s no fun to pay the price and still have a bad marriage. Be smart and have some fun while you follow the steps necessary to succeed in this business. This means changing with the times.The next time you drive around, look at how many laundries are closing because poor owners continue to milk the business, and run it like a cheap brothel. That’s bad for them, but good for you. Are you ready for the opportunities that will be presenting themselves all over this great country? Are you “studying” the material in publications like American Coin-Op? If so, you can be on the path to financial success.If any of you reading this have never owned a laundry, contact me and I will do my best to make sure you have the tools necessary to generate the best possible business results.