By Wally Makowsky | Jun 27, 2012
I'm considering starting a drop-off laundry service. Should I allow my customers to tip my attendants, or is this a bad idea?
It's not a bad idea at all. If your customers want to tip your attendants, that's fine. In my opinion, that only prompts your staff to do a better job. Of course, the thing you need to be wary of and the type of situation you should not allow is an attendant asking to be tipped. Tipping is not a bad idea, just be sure that your customers' generosity doesn't create an attitude among your employees where tips are expected.
My laundry is located in West Virginia, and I’m considering adding a rental segment to my business – renting work uniforms and washing them. I see a great opportunity for this in my area with all of the coal and oil workers that come into my store.
This type of business is often handled by those in either the commercial laundry or drycleaning businesses. However, that’s not to say it’s a bad idea, especially if these customers are coming to your coin laundry now anyway. Given that, you could probably develop a profitable new business segment, as long as you could actually get the garments clean.
If you’re anticipating tackling that kind of business, it’s crucial to have the proper equipment (large-capacity and programmable), the proper water temperature (hot… probably in the 140-degree range) and the proper chemicals – as well as finishing equipment so that you can service these accounts efficiently and neatly.
Obviously, before you go after any of this new business, be sure you thoroughly investigate it. For example, with the coal workers’ garments, you’ll be dealing with coal dust, which is extremely difficult to remove from fabrics and requires some specific washing procedures.
Again, it sounds like a possibly lucrative idea. But be certain that you know what you’re getting into before you pursue this type of business.
I recently had a customer drop off a quilt with mold on it. The mold is in the form of black spots with a few red spots. The quilt is machine-stitched. It's white on one side and multi-colored the other. I tried soaking it in color-safe bleach for two days with no luck. Is there anything else I can try?
Ask your local distributor if he carries a product called mildicide. If anything will remove mold, it’s mildicide. Of course, if that doesn’t work, the spots might not be mold or mildew. They might be some other type of stain.
I have a question about fragrances and scents. Is there any way to add something different to the wash to get it smelling fresh, aside from the normal scented detergents or fabric softeners? Sometimes I wish there was something to add for customers with pets who need a boost of fragrance in their blankets or comforters. Do you have any suggestions?
There are certain odor-removing and fragrance-adding products that your local distributor likely has available. Some of these items are sold frequently to drycleaners and even veterinarians’ offices. Therefore, I would suggest first calling your distributor to see what types of commercial-level products he carries.
On the retail shelf at your local supermarket, there are a couple of odor-neutralizing products that leave a pleasant after-scent, include Febreze. If you add a product like that to the last rinse of your wash cycle, you not only remove certain odors but you infuse a little fresh fragrance into whatever you’re washing.
Of course, the retail products are on the lighter level. To tackle stronger odors, talk to your local distributor about the many commercial products that are available.