By Wally Makowsky | Apr 05, 2012
I really need to purchase some new washers and dryers for my store. I’m constantly repairing the machines I have. In addition, the parts bills are killing me. However, because of the uncertain economy, I’m not sure what I should do. What do you think?
If you are making a decent profit at your laundry, I think you should definitely invest in new washers and dryers. This new equipment will help you to maintain your current customer base. What’s more, it will give you the opportunity to increase your vend prices, and because today’s new machines are more energy-efficient, you should also see lower utility bills each month. Lastly, the new washers and dryers will require less maintenance and, thus, you will not have all of those parts bills.
The state of the economy doesn’t affect a self-service laundry business in the same manner as it does other businesses. People still have to eat – and they still wash clothes. They may not wash them as often during harder times, but they still have to wash them.
What you need to keep an eye on is a population or demographic change in your marketplace. Often during tough economic times, people lose their jobs and then move to where they can find work. You may notice a decrease in your store’s traffic, especially if a large percentage of your customer base consists of migrant workers, for example.
So, look closely at your laundry’s market. If you’re making a fair profit and it appears that you’ll continue to earn a fair profit in the foreseeable future, I would strongly recommend that you upgrade your laundry equipment.
I was wondering if you could give me some advice on updating my old dryers. I own a small laundromat in Montana that currently has only five 30-pound dryers. However, I’m considering purchasing five used stack dryers to better meet my customers’ needs. What is a good brand to consider, and how would you recommend I properly ventilate these new machines given our colder climate here?
All of the major manufacturers today make excellent dryers. Most of the dryers that were manufactured within the last five or six years are comparable to one another and are very good products.
As far as ventilation, no matter what brand you end up buying, carefully follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for makeup air. Also, be sure you have the proper-sized ductwork for your exhaust air. Remember, the shortest and most direct route for your exhaust is always the best route to take – so try to avoid any angles or bends in your vent pipes. Any resistance to the heated air can cause a backup.
Regarding dryer maintenance, every couple of years (depending on how busy your laundry is) strip the front end of the dryers, and clean out all of the lint and other debris that collects on the outside basket. Also, disconnect your elbows and exhaust ducts and be sure to clean out any lint buildup in those areas to prevent the possibility of dryer fires. With maintenance, as with ventilation, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully to keep your dryers operating at their safest and most efficient.
I manage a self-service laundry that has 25-, 40- and 50-pound frontloading stainless steel washers. I have created signs for these washers, explaining to my customers exactly where to put their soap and softener – and I have tried to glue these signs to the inside lid. However, the signs just keep falling off due to the water. I have experimented with a number of different adhesives, but nothing seems to work. Do you have any suggestions?
My suggestion would be that you go to someone who can create plastic signs and nameplates. Engrave your instructions into a plastic sign, drill holes through your upper lid and pop-rivet the engraved sign on the inside of the lid. A sign like that should last as long as your washer lid will.
That’s really the only way to keep the signs in place. After all, those signs are being constantly bombarded by a combination of hot water, cold water and chemicals. Most glue will last only for a certain period of time under those conditions; you’re trying to adhere two surfaces, and you have elements that are just not conducive to that type of adhesion.