Most have learned and repeatedly heard the laundromat trinity "Clean, Bright and Safe".
Very important of course and even though it seems obvious many owners appear to be doing the exact opposite. The other key to success for any store is to make sure your equipment is working.
Again, you walk into many stores and you wonder how anyone can get laundry done or how the owner makes any money with a so many machines that are out of order. But these four things are the basics without which no store can be truly successful.
I am not saying there aren't other things you need to do. You must get people in the door so you need to make some good decisions up front with regard to the location you choose, the type of equipment you purchase and your marketing and advertising efforts. Then what? You shouldn't have to do anything else, right? It's a self service business; open the doors, make sure the place is clean, bright and safe, keep the equipment working and come and pick up the money when you have time in between your recreation, workouts and three hour lunches. After all this is a self service business. Once again"¦.woo hoo!
Self Service huh? Ok, technically a Laundromat is self service (leaving behind the Fluff and Fold aspect of the business for the moment) but many owners take this to a degree that results in a shot in the foot. Even though many that use Laundromats are not the Diamond Jim's of the world I assure you they, LIKE ALL PEOPLE, appreciate nice things, nice surroundings and being treated well. In short your customers appreciate good service!
I think we would all agree that successful businesses or businesses that we like and patronize are masters at providing good service. We all want to be valued as a customer and once we are we return with money in hand.
You have made your first step towards good service by keeping your store clean, bright and safe with working equipment. You may not look at that as a service to your customers but a chore and expense for you. But truly that is the first sign that you have respect for and value your customers and are serving their needs. Way to go!
What are some other simple things you can do, that many other types of businesses do and many of your competitors don't, that will set you apart?
1. Do you know your customers? A Laundromat often times becomes a little community gathering spot. Many people know each other and come at the same time every week. Join the party! Get to know them, a little about them and call them by name.
2. Do you have a database of your customers? Almost all businesses have a database of their customers why not a laundromat? This will help you get to know your customers. Also you now have the ability to send your clients coupons, specials, customer appreciation perks or refunds.
3. How prompt are you with refunds? No one wants to feel as though they have been unfairly treated and though you didn't mean for the washer not to work it didn't. Now your customer is short changed. Don't let that thought linger. Devise a system to get their money back quickly or provide a service for free. Some owners will even give a little extra in service or money beyond what someone lost.
4. Are you attendant's friendly and helpful? Dressed well and perhaps in uniforms whereby they are easily recognizable as customer service agents?
5. Do you ever help a lady who is walking in with 10 loads of laundry? How about just lending a hand with a heavy load in or out or your store?
6. An occasional give away goes a long way. Whether it is a free dry for a steady customer or an occasional raffle of a TV or IPAD your regular customers will greatly appreciate it, likely mention it to a friend who doesn't go to your store and probably have fun with it!
7. How about having free soap or coffee and donuts on occasion or free hot dogs or tacos on a special day. How about a Customer appreciation day once a year with freebies and fun?!
I am in and out of many laundromats and there are many stores that are neglecting customer service and simply limping along trying to live the dream of the successful Laundromat owner. That dream is typically one whereby the owner is not overburdened with work, has a low level of stress, has a lot of time on their hands and is making a lot of money. Most of that dream is actually coming true even to those that are limping along neglecting customer service, that is, except the part about making money!
The owners that are realizing the entire dream are those that are paying attention to all aspects of their business including good customer service in an ostensibly self service business.
These are just a few things you can do to make sure your customers are valued and are receiving the service almost anyone in the world would like. I'm sure you can come up with others! All of these and your personal touch in your store will go a long, long way towards your success!
Keep it clean and have loads of fun in your laundry business!
About The Author: Steve Erlinger specializes in assisting those buying and selling laundromats in the Orange County and Inland Empire areas. He helps potential laundry buyers navigate the many facets of finding, evaluating, and operating coin laundry businesses. He also assists current owners find additional stores or evaluate an existing store in order to help grow their business. Steve can be reached direct at 949-500-5893 for more information.
|Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses|
|Peter Siegel, MBA - SBA Loans, Non SBA Financing Assistance
For over 25 years I have provided niche business purchase financial advisory and loan placement services with SBA and Non-SBA Loans, Retirement Plan Conversions, Private Investors, etc. Financing amounts available: $20K to $7MM. Call today to get pre-qualified or receive financing: 866-270-6278.
|Larry Larsen, Broker, Laundry Specialist - Orange, LA Counties
I have over forty years of experience in the sales, ownership, management, and construction of coin laundries. He is a licensed broker active in the sale of coin laundries, a licensed insurance agent specializing in coin laundry insurance.
|Chuck Post: Laundry Buyer Representation, Consulting, Due Diligence
Chuck Post has 32 years experience in the laundry industry, specializing in assisting laundry buyers (and entrepreneurs) with buying or starting up, building, re-tooling, laundries throughout California. Laundry buyer representation, consulting, due-diligence, lease negotiations, laundry valuations.
|Mike Hurrell, Broker: Coin & Card Laundry Specialist Brokerage
Providencia Properties Inc in association with Golden State Laundry Systems is a full service Coin Laundry Real Estate Broker. At GSLS you will receive personalized attention from our professional staff of coin laundry experts. To sell or buy a Southern CA laundromat call Mike at 310-223-2240 X209.
|Brad Steinberg, Broker - Laundromat Specialists
PWS is the leading laundromat broker in California. Since 1968 PWS has brokered over 2,500 laundromat sales. With over 90 employees dedicated to the coin laundry industry, PWS has 18 licensed agents, a 3 person in-house finance department, 10 service technicians and a 20 person parts department.
|Steve Erlinger: Laundry Broker, Consultant - Southern California
I specialize in the laundry industry broker and consultant in Southern California. I assist buyers navigate the many facets of finding, evaluating, and operating a laundry business. I also help current laundry owners find additional stores, sell, evaluate an existing laundromat.
|Helen Yoo: Escrow & Bulk Sale Services - Southern California
New Century Escrow, Inc. is a fully licensed & bonded independent escrow company. Over 20 years combined experience in handling bulk escrow transactions. Multi-lingual staff that speaks your language, including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese. Call Helen Yoo direct at 626-890-1151.
|Willard Michlin, CPA, Certified Fraud Examiner, Due Diligence Services
Willard Michlin, CPA #106752, offers buyers step by step training & assistance in doing Due Diligence Services when they are thinking of making an offer, or are in process of investigating a business purchase. He helps to determine the actual net profit even when there is cash. Call 805-428-2063.
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