LONG BEACH, Calif. — For the self-service laundry that also offers wash-dry-fold (WDF) service through drop-off and/or pickup and delivery, when attendants process orders at the same time self-service customers are trying to do their laundry, there’s always the risk of creating conflict, especially if both groups are vying for the same washers and dryers.
Dedicating an area (or, as you’ll read, time periods) to WDF processing will help keep a laundry’s self-service customers happy and the separate revenue streams flowing freely. Of course, laundromats can vary in service needs, store size and design, so what one business can accomplish easily may not come so simply for another.
American Coin-Op interviewed the owners of three different laundry businesses, in three different parts of the country, to see how they have approached the concept of dedicated WDF space.
FREEING UP MACHINES
Super Suds Laundromat & Wash and Fold, located in Long Beach, is an 8,000-square-foot store housing 90 washers and 100 dryers. It offers self-service, drop-off, and laundry delivery service, and Aaron Simmons is business manager of the family-owned company.
Super Suds employs three managers who supervise four customer service attendants, 13 team members dedicated to wash-and-fold processing, and seven delivery drivers. The laundry utilizes five vans—three Ford Transits and two Mercedes Sprinters—for pickups and deliveries.
The laundry’s dedicated WDF space is a back room once known as the “Dryer Room,” which was equipped with a row of stack dryers and a couple of large folding tables. “(Self-service) customers used to go dry there as it was less crowded and had the large folding tables available to use,” Simmons says.
Years ago, after self-service customers complained that Super Suds was utilizing too many machines for wash and fold, the laundry moved all WDF production to the third shift. Over time, the laundry wasn’t able to handle all production during that overnight shift.
“It began to bleed over to the morning, the afternoon, and eventually the evening,” Simmons says. “In order to minimize the impact of the self-service business with the full service, we decided to revamp the Dryer Room.”
The large folding tables were removed and five large OPL washers, including two with direct chemical injection, were added. The door to the room is marked “Employees Only,” and Super Suds doesn’t publicize what lies beyond it.
“We added more racks for additional storage and four folding tables so we could have stations set up for our launderers,” Simmons says. “We still use the self-service area in conjunction with the WDF processing area during the days and nights.”
Early on, Super Suds took some heat for making the change.
“Some vocal customers were unhappy about losing the Dryer Room, as they enjoyed the area being quieter to work in with the large folding area,” Simmons says. “We explained how we were doing that in order to free up more machines for them to use and the objections quickly went away.”
The dedicated WDF space minimizes impact on self-service customers visiting the store during the day.
“At nighttime, our team takes over the entire laundromat, including the WDF Employees Only area,” Simmons says. “The space isn’t large enough to handle all of our processing, and we do appreciate that we can use all of our equipment with the third shift and keep those machines turning 24/7.”
If considering setting up dedicated WDF space in your laundry, he has a suggestion.
“Think about the customers/commercial accounts you have and think about the ones you would like to have,” Simmons says. “Do you need space for large OPL (equipment)? Do you need an iron? You never have enough storage space for the orders being dropped off and the orders being delivered. If you have the option to go bigger, do it.”
Check back Tuesday for the conclusion
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE
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