By Wally Makowsky | Apr 27, 2009
There is a lingering odor that comes from one row of my stainless steel washers. When I open the door to the washer, the odor is very strong and unpleasant. I have had plumbers, equipment installers and sewer experts investigate the issue. Unfortunately, none of them can determine the origin of the smell.
My coin laundry's pit is pumped out monthly, and the odor does not come from the pit area. It comes from the row of washers and that odor fills the entire store. Do you know any other laundry owners who have experienced similar problems?
More than likely, the washers in question are your larger machines, which are gravity-drained. There are no pumps in the larger machines; the discharge water is not pumped out but drained out through gravity.
Your problem could be two-fold. One of the problems could be that your pitches aren't correct on your discharge line. That line has to be pitched toward your outside sewer so that the water runs as quickly as possible in one direction. If your pitch is off, your water will sit in your main line. Of course, when it sits there — especially in the summer when it's warm and humid — you can get algae and bacteria growth.
On the other hand, you might have the proper pitch and a proper sized line, but your washers may not be vented properly. Venting allows the odors rise up and out as the water goes through.
First of all, I would check to be sure than the machines are draining properly, that your main line is pitched properly to the outside sewer and that your machines are vented properly. If your coin laundry is a relatively new one, these are all areas that you have to check. If you have an older store, there is the possibility that your vent lines are plugged up. Lint can get in there and clog them. If this is the case, you must rod from the roof down.
Most likely, your problem is in those areas. Check your pitches. And be sure that your machines are draining and vented properly.
I am looking to open a coin laundry in a strip mall. What types of stores make the best neighbors for laundries? Conversely, what types of businesses make the worst neighbors?
The best neighbor is a grocery store. This is because grocery stores attract only local business. A salesman or truck driver passing through the area is unlikely to stop at a grocery store. As a result, the people who go to grocery stores are families, which are your potential customers.
Also, people shop for groceries about twice a week, every week. Therefore, you are exposing your coin laundry business to the local community more frequently being next to a grocery store than any other business.
The worst business to be next to is a beauty shop or barbershop. When you're located in a strip mall, parking is valuable. Therefore, you don't want to be next to a business that takes up parking spaces for long periods of time. Because of this, beauty shops and barbershops are probably the worst, with sit-down restaurants a close second.
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.