Whether Buying an Existing Store, Building a New Facility or Just Trying to Maximize Your Current Laundromat, Don’t Neglect the Roof
• Laundry 101: The Road to Laundromat Ownership • Digital Marketing: Current Fads to Avoid • Up Close: An Interview with Tim McNichols of LIG Solutions
$3.00 December 2020 planetlaundry.com / coinlaundry.org
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DECEMBER 2020 • VOL. 31 NO. 12
FEATURES 14 Laundry 101 The Road to Laundromat Ownership Should You Build a New Store or Buy an Existing One? By Cary Lipman 18 Cover Story Keeping a Roof Over Your Head Whether Buying an Existing Store, Building a New Facility or Just Trying to Maximize Your Current Laundromat, Don’t Neglect the Roof By Bob Nieman 22 Up Close Here’s to Your Health An Interview with TimMcNichols of LIG Solutions By Bob Nieman
COVER STORY PAGE 18
COLUMNS 02 Viewpoint Silver Linings By Bob Nieman 10 Digital Marketing Marketing Fads to Reconsider
DEPARTMENTS 04 Laundry Business 09 Association Update 24 Laundry Equipment & Services Directory CLA Manufacturer Members 25 Laundry Equipment & Services Directory CLA Distributor Members 30 PlanetLaundry Marketplace 39 Advertisers Index
When It Comes to Promoting Your Laundromat, Jumping on the Latest Marketing Bandwagon is Not a Great Idea By Dennis Diaz 12 The Business Mind The Psychology of Risk Mastering the Uncertainties of Laundromat Ownership By Stephen Bean 40 Wash with Wally PlanetLaundry’s Industry Expert Answers Your Stain Removal and Garment Care Questions By Wally Makowsky
WASHWITHWALLY PAGE 40
Publisher: Coin Laundry Association Editorial & Advertising Office 17W635 Butterfield Rd., Suite 145 OakbrookTerrace, IL 60181 Tel: (630)953-7920•Fax: (630)953-7925 www.coinlaundry.org | www.planetlaundry.com Director of Editorial & Content Development: Bob Nieman , email@example.com Graphic Design Manager: Jennifer Gabris, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Sales & Business Manager for PlanetLaundry Magazine: NikaThomas, email@example.com
The articles appearing in PlanetLaundry are submitted and written by authors and are not necessarily the official views of CLA.These articles are intended as information and items of interest to our readers. For assistance in any business category, please consult a qualified service professional.The publisher has the right to reject or edit any manuscripts received for publication. The Coin Laundry Association reserves the right to reject any advertisement for any reason at any time, whether or not such advertisement was previously acknowledged, accepted or published. Advertiser/agency shall not submit advertising to CLA that contains derogatory and/or comparative content about the advertiser’s competitors, or about any competitor’s organization or products.
PlanetLaundry (ISSN: 2159-6379) is published monthly by the Coin Laundry Association, at 1S660 Midwest Rd., Suite 205, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181. Phone (630) 953-7920. Periodical postage paid at Villa Park, IL and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to PlanetLaundry , 1S660 Midwest Rd., Suite 205, OakbrookTerrace, IL 60181. EDITORIAL OFFICES: 1S660 Midwest Rd., Suite 205, OakbrookTerrace, IL 60181. Phone (630) 953-7920. PlanetLaundry (ISSN: 2159-6379) is published monthly by the Coin Laundry Association, at 1S660 Midwest Rd., Suite 205, OakbrookTerrace, IL 60181. Phone (630) 953-7920. Subscriptions are available without charge to qualified personnel in the coin laundry and drycleaning industry. Subscription rates: United States: Single copy, $ 3; one year, $ 36 Canada/Mexico: $ 40/year.
Coin Laundry Association will not accept advertisements from companies whose products and/or services may be deemed to compete with those offered by Coin Laundry Association including, but not limited to: insurance agencies, trade associations, laundry-focused websites, and companies offering laundry-related educational products and services. Acceptance of advertising by PlanetLaundry does not constitute endorsement of the advertiser or its products or services; nor does PlanetLaundry make any claims or guarantees as to the accuracy
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Typically, December is a time to pause, look back and take stock of your life and your business. It’s normally the perfect opportunity to reminisce about the 365 days goneby (366, in this case) – and to try topredict what the next 365 have in store. Not this year! No way! Good riddance to thedumpster fire that was 2020. I thinkwe can all heartily agree. However, let’s not turn the page before acknowledging a few genuine silver linings to emerge from the gray skies of this past year… Laundromat operations have never been better – and they’re only getting stronger. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, successful laundry owners naturally have increased the overall hygiene and cleanliness of their stores well beyond what they’ve ever beenbefore. Inaddition, many operators have upped their technology games – adding cashless payment options, ozone injection, etc. – while all laundry owners have been forced to refocus and double their efforts with regard to staff training. What’s more, with necessity being the mother of invention, many laundry entrepreneurs chose to diversify their businesses in 2020, adding new wash- dry-fold and/or pickup-and-delivery services to their product mixes. This all bodes well for the future of the business. There has never been a better time to givebacktothecommunitiesyouserve. Laundromats have long been the social
hubs of the neighborhoods they serve, and this year, like never before, those communities needed safe, welcoming, interactive spaces for their residents to tackle the necessary chore of doing the family laundry. To that end, the LaundryCares Foundation welcomed nearly 900 store owners, librarians, educators and philanthropists to its 3rd annual LaundryCares Literacy Summit, which was a three-day virtual event held in September, focused on delivering early childhood literacy opportunities through laundromats nationwide. LaundryCares continues to thrive, grow and develop creative ways in which store owners can reach out and truly give back to the local customers who support their businesses. There have never beenmore tools available to help you build your laundry business. This month, I had the pleasure of interviewing TimMcNichols, who serves as the executive director of partnerships for LIG Solutions. The Coin Laundry Association recently teamed up with LIG to offer CLA members, as well as their families and employees, access to exclusive healthcare insurance coverage. This is part of CLA Business Solutions, a suite of products and services developed to help laundry businesses become more successful. Also new to CLA Business Solutions is Atmosphere TV, the world’s first and largest streaming TV platform, which offers laundry owners an opportunity to eliminate cable television (and the costly
monthly bill) and provide a unique video platformthat offersmore than40 channels of content to fit any laundry business. In addition, the CLAprovides programs geared toward helping laundry owners save money on their energy costs; digitally market their businesses; and obtain themost accurate, comprehensive demographic reports available. Laundromats are indeed“essential.” At the very outset of the virus outbreak, as businesses were beginning to receive mandatory shutdown orders, the CLA knew there was no way laundromats could be closed during this most critical time – not businesses that meet such a crucial need and are indeed a part of the very fabric of the fragile communities many of them serve. With tireless lobbying efforts and some well-placed legislative connections, the association was able to achieve an “essential”designation for laundromat services all across the U.S. Clearly, this was a huge victory for an industry that has long-touted itself as being recession-resistant. This year, all of you have proven that the laundry business is quite pandemic-resistant as well. So…has 2020 sucked? Yes, without a doubt. But maybe – just maybe – it has set the wheels in motion for bigger and better things to come for the laundromat industry in 2021 and beyond.
Bob Nieman is the editor of PlanetLaundry magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Magazine of the Coin Laundry Association
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LAUNDRY BUS INESS
Clean Show Postponed Until Summer 2022
in the industry’s best interest. Our entire company will look forward to the opportunity to meet face-to-face again in Atlanta in 2022.” Another key exhibitor representing the industry, Jesper Munch Jensen, CEO of JENSEN-GROUP, also showed his company’s support for the postponement. “The Clean Show has traditionally been a very important platform that allows us to showcase and demonstrate our industries’ leading automation equipment,”Jensen noted.“We appreciate Messe Frankfurt taking the global scheduling concerns of themanufacturing sector into consideration, and we stand behind Clean in their decision tomove the next show to 2022.” As the show pivots to its new dates, the team will release communication around important changes and deadlines for exhibiting companies and individuals planning to attend. In addition, Jira advised all to “stay tuned,” as the team is working on alternative opportunities for the industry to do business until meeting in person again in 2022. The Clean Show is recognized as the largest exposition for laundering, drycleaning, textile-care services, supplies and equipment in North America. In addition, the event offers educational seminars on the latest technology, business management, sustainability and more. The show is organized in collaboration with five industry-leading associations: the Coin Laundry Association, the Association for Linen Management, the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, theTextile Care Allied Trades Association and theTextile Rental Services Association of America. Apart fromThe Clean Show, Messe Frankfurt organizes trade shows and conferences for the textile-care sector throughout the world. and every month in the interim, Wallace noted, encouraging all laundromat owners to use the association as a resource of information, best practices and the professional services needed to thrive in the industry. “I believe Clean 2022 will be a force for the further re-ignition of our industry post-COVID,”Wallace continued. “I’m floored by how our stakeholders have risen to the challenge – continuing to grow and innovate as the pandemic lingers. The flow of new product from our manufacturer members continues to impress, while I see a tremendous interest from first-time laundromat owners looking to invest in essential businesses. Our current laundry professionals continue to retool and add locations with the support of their trusted distributor partners – all raising the level of service to the millions of families who rely on us for clean clothes every week.” “Obviously, we’re all disappointed by the news,”added CLA Chairman Brian Grell. “However, at the CLA, we certainly understand Messe Frankfurt’s decision to postpone the show, and we fully support it. “With that said, anyone who knows me knows that there is no one who wants in-person, face-to-face meetings more than me. I can’t wait to get back to see everyone again – and themoment registration opens for Clean 2022, I’ll be the first person in line.”
Messe Frankfurt has announced that the 2021 edition of The Clean Show will be postponed due to the continued global impact of COVID-19. The next edition will be held July 30-August 2, 2022, in Atlanta. After months of strategic conversations withMesse Frankfurt’s global leadership, partner associations and representatives from the show’s keyexhibitinggroups,theteamhasdecidedthatreschedulingtheshowand its subsequent edition is in the best interest of the industry as a whole. The decision will affect at least the next two editions, with Clean 2023 also being moved to now take place in August 2024. “Although this has been a tough decision to make, we are confident that moving The Clean Show will allow us to provide the quality experience and return on investment our exhibitors and visitors have come toexpect fromClean,”saidGreg Jira, showdirector forTheCleanShow. Showmanagement reports that the decision to reschedule the event has been met with a positive response from exhibitors. “I have been very pleased with the response fromMesse Frankfurt to understand the issues the exhibitors face in light of the world- changing event of COVID-19,”stated Jeff Frushtick, chairman and CEO of Leonard Automatics.“I feel that Messe has been very open with their conversations and very understanding of the exhibitors’ issues in this very troubling time.” Engelbert Heinz, managing director for Kannegiesser, served as an advisorduringthedecision-makingprocessandendorsedthemoveto2022. “We have always valued our relationship with The Clean Show and are proud to have established such a prominent role in the event,” he explained. “While postponing the show is regrettable, we believe it is Like most within the textile-care industries, the Coin Laundry Association has received the news of Clean 2021’s postponement with a mix of disappointment, unwavering support for the decision, and true excitement with regard to the future of the laundromat business. “With news that Clean 2021 has been rescheduled for the summer of 2022, we already miss our favorite opportunity to meet with our peers,”said Coin Laundry Association President and CEO BrianWallace. “The CLA is solidly behind Messe Frankfurt’s decision to postpone next year’s show. My thanks extend to Messe Frankfurt, my peers on theCleanAdvisoryCouncilandourfriendsinAtlantawhohaveworkedso diligently to guide the decision-making for next year and beyond, while putting the health and safety of our attendees and exhibitors first. “I appreciate the ongoing support from our exhibitor members during such an uncertain time. It is my hope that this news, while disappointing in the moment, will help all of our member companies to better plan for next year.” The CLA will continue to serve the market with virtual events each CLA Responds to the Rescheduling of The Clean Show
Magazine of the Coin Laundry Association
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Happy Birthday to an Industry Legend!
CLA Adds New Healthcare Insurance Program
The Coin Laundry Association has teamed up with LIG Solutions – a division of Lighthouse Insurance Group – to offer CLA members, as well as their families and employees, access to exclusive healthcare insurance coverage, as part of CLA Business Solutions, a suite of products and services to help businesses be more successful. The offerings through this new agreement include a full suite of medical, dental, vision and disability coverages, along with the new Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) finalized in June 2019 for employers/employees. This program also features access to informationon the latest healthcare, personal wellness and lifestyle trends. “We want to provide access to quality healthcare products that fit the specific needs of the Coin Laundry Association’s members,” said Jason Farro, CEO of Lighthouse Insurance Group. “The plans can be tailored to fit the individual needs of members, their families and employees that off-the-shelf programs may not be able to provide.” The health insurance coverage offered through LIG utilizes plan options frommany of the leading national carriers, and the program is designed to be a vehicle to promote healthier lifestyle choices and preventive care options for the association’s membership. “This is a wonderful and valuable asset for our membership across the country,” noted CLA President and CEO BrianWallace. “This is an affordable and comprehensive health plan that you or your employees can use today.” Coverages are offered concierge-style to members in a centralized portal, thus cutting through the confusion that often accompanies shopping for healthcare insurance. The offerings – which are culled from nationally recognized carriers in all 50 states – offer solutions that are designed to meet the specific health needs and budgets of CLA members, their families and employees. “Healthcare coverage is a concern of nearly every single American and their family, and this program is a valuable tool in a membership organization’s member growth and retention arsenal,” explained Tim McNichols, executive director of partnerships for LIG Solutions. “Organizations can leverage this exclusive member benefit to build an even stronger bond with their members. And, with the new Health Reimbursement Arrangements program, we can offer options that cover nearly 100 percent of the membership – including employee classes such as part-time and seasonal workers, as well as full-time and 1099/independent contractors – with individual coverage options.” LIG Solutions – headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio – specializes in offering comprehensive, turnkey insurance solutions for associations, societies, membership organizations and other groups.Withmore than 30 years of combined experience in the health, life and Medicare insurance industry, LIG has successfully distributed more than 60,000 new insurance policies nationwide per year.
EVI Industries Inc., headquartered inMiami, has executed a definitive merger agreement to acquire commercial laundry distributor Yankee Equipment Systems Inc., based in Barrington, N.H., for $13.5 million, to be paid in a combination of cash and EVI common stock. The acquisition will add approximately $31 million in revenue to EVI, distributed over 2,200 vended, on-premises, multi-family and industrial laundry customers, according to EVI. “Yankee Equipment Systems has a long and magnificent legacy, and we are proud to become part of their family,”said EVI Chairman and CEO Henry M. Nahmad.“Consistent with our operatingmodel,Yankee Equipment Systems will continue to be led by Peter Limoncelli and will operate under its current name, from its present location, and with its existing team to provide its customers, employees and vendor partners business continuity.” This purchase complements other EVI acquisitions completed in 2019, including the purchase of PAC Industries and Professional Laundry Systems. In connection with this growth, Limoncelli will be named president of EVI’s Northeast Operations, which will consist of Yankee Equipment, PAC Industries and PLS, and boast a staff of 120 laundry professionals. Since October 2016, EVI has acquired 14 commercial laundry businesses. A true laundry industry icon, Jerry Giangrasso, who helped co-found Super Laundry Equipment, recently celebrated his 90th birthday with some of his closest friends in the business. Jerry is still going as strong as ever, even after 60 years in the laundry industry. “I am just one of many peoplewho Jerry has influenced over his long historic career,” said CLA Chairman Brian Grell, executive vice president of Eastern Funding, based in NewYork City.“No one in this industry has built more stores or sold more machines. The list of happy customers is endless – and now extends to a second and even third generation of laundry owners. To my mentor, thank you for leading by example and your infectious passion for helping others. Don’t ever stop!” EVI Industries to Acquire Yankee Equipment Systems
Magazine of the Coin Laundry Association
LAUNDRY BUS INESS
Payment systems provider ESD recently teamed up with Cents, a business management software company. Through this partnership, laundromats that currently feature ESD’s card reader equipment now have access to the Cents operating platform– with a no-cost delivery system, payroll and employeemanagement, a POS system, and full-service order management. In essence, ESD and Cents have created an integrated product enabling laundry businesses utilizing ESD’s hardware and cash-card technology to leverage Cents’in-store and remote management platform. According to Cents, the demand for this partnership has been“amplified through the accelerated growth of on-demand and full-service laundry, due to the impact of COVID-19.” “ESD has been a market leader in the laundry industry for decades, supporting the growth and accessibility of laundry for business owners and consumers through our hardware and payment systems,”saidWayne Lewis, CEO of ESD.“We are excited to enable our customers to be part of the Cents network and to integrate their powerful software to create something that will truly elevate our industry.” “At Cents, everything we do is focused around creating the largest network of laundromat owners that can leverage the Cents platform to increase margins and revenue through operating efficiency and larger order volume,”explained Alex Jekowsky, CEO of Cents.“We are so excited to be working with ESD to grow that network, integrate with the best hardware in the industry, and create a truly complete offering for business owners in the industry.” ESD, Cents Announce New Partnership The LaundryCares’mission is to utilize laundromats in an effort tomeet basic needs and deliver essential services to underserved communities – including free laundry services through the organization’s Free Laundry & Literacy Days, learning resources geared to spur early childhood development, and disaster-relief assistance. The Coin Laundry Association’s LaundryCares Foundation was recently recognized as a finalist in the prestigious Chicago Innovation Awards program. The Chicago Innovation Awards, celebrating its 19th year, is the Chicago region’s foremost recognition of the most innovative new products or services brought to market each year. In all, 272 organizations were nominated for this year’s awards. As a group, these nominees are responsible for generating more than $5.6 billion in new revenues, 7,322 new jobs and 1,683 patents from their nominated new products and services. “We are proud to have been awarded as one of the top 100 for the Chicago Innovation Awards for our powerful pairing of laundromats and early literacy,”said Dan Naumann, executive vice president of LaundryCares. “Being recognized by this prestigious organization honors the work of laundromat owners, as well as the vision of the CLA and LCF Boards to create better outcomes for kids and families. We are both honored and galvanized by this recognition and sincerely thank the CLA network for its ongoing support.” LaundryCares Named Finalist in Chicago Innovation Awards Program
Star Distributing Names Vice President of Sales
Star Distributing – headquartered in Nashville, Tenn. – has named John Herron vice president of sales. In his new position, Herron will be responsible for the company’s sales efforts within the vended laundry and OPL segments. He will serve operators in Tennessee, Kentucky, northern Alabama and northern Georgia. Prior to joining Star Distributing, Herron – who also is a laundromat owner – was as a regional sales manager for ElectrostimMedical Services, based in Tampa, Fla. During his time with the company, he oversaw the hiring, training and management of a 28-person sales team covering an eight-state territory throughout the northern Midwest.
Daniels Equipment Hosts ‘Hybrid’ Profit Symposium
Laundromat owners from six New England states recently attended the first hybrid Daniels Equipment Co. Inc. Profit Symposium: Next Steps Together. The event, which focused on laundry sanitization and disinfection, blended online presentations and panel discussions with face-to-face vendor experiences and equipment discounts. “Our goal was to reach customers and ensure they receive the critical information needed to thrive and succeed in today’s COVID-19-impacted market,”said LisaMahan, executive sales coordinator for Daniels Equipment. “The content of the show targeted building-owner profits, providing peace of mind to vended laundry customers and the SAN-O3-WASH ozone solution.” Show presenters included Coin Laundry Association President and CEO BrianWallace and Anderson Chemical Director of Sales Craig Kronbeck –
as well as a SAN-O3-WASH customer panel that featured Art Jaeger, David Menz, Howard Lee and AdamDixon. This event was co-sponsored by Anderson Chemical, Card Concepts Inc., Continental Creative Services, Continental Girbau, Cost-Less Parts, Eastern Funding, High Mark Manufacturing Inc., LG and Paystri.
Connect. Learn. Grow
LAUNDRY BUS INESS
Laundromat franchise WaveMAX Laundry has announced its 100th development agreement. In addition, the company plans to havemore than 50WaveMAX facilities up and running by 2022. Recent agreements have been signed to bring the brand to New Orleans and Houston, and the franchise has immediate plans to expand into New Mexico and central Florida before the end of the year. Founded in 2012 and franchising since 2017,WaveMAX – based in Jacksonville, Fla. – currently has 18 locations open throughout six states. WaveMAX Announces 100 th Development Deal
CLA, LaundryCares Receive ‘Power of A’ Award
ASAE recently honored the Coin Laundry Association’s LaundryCares Foundation with a 2020 Summit Award, which is the highest recognition under The Power of A awards program. This awardwas presented virtually at the ASAE Summit Awards reception on September 30. “On behalf of everyone at the Coin Laundry Association and the LaundryCares Foundation, I would like to thank ASAE and the Power of A for recognizing the work of the CLA and its LaundryCares Foundation,” said CLA President and CEO BrianWallace. “The Summit Award is ASAE’s highest
honor, and we are both excited and humbled to be among the handful of associations receiving this award in 2020.” These prestigious awards are part of an overall Power of A campaign, which brings attention to the association community’s valuable contributions to society at the local, national and global levels.
GNA Salutes Long-Time Staffers
and Strategic Business Kelly Zabel, and Commercial Technical Service Trainer Gary Clark. Other GNA staff who celebrated service milestones include Sales Manager-Eastern U.S. Ed Ziegler, Director of Operations Andy Davis, and Office Operations Coordinator Julie Zeitlow, with 20 years; Director of Marketing Tari Albright, Girbau Industrial National Sales Manager Seth Willer, and Director of Finance Administration Christine Skupas, with 15 years; and Vice President of Continental Girbau West Tod Sorensen and Sales Manager-Central U.S. Wes Kraemer, with 10 years.
Girbau North America recently recognized more than a dozen employees who have accrued 10 to 25 years of service to the company. “The fact that our employees continue to find our company a favorable career choice lends itself to the idea that our work environment, customer base and philosophies are leading edge,”said GNA President Mike Floyd. “We are grateful to them for their contributions over the years.” Five team members celebrated their 25th year with company, including Floyd, Director of Customer Experience Laurie Kilgore, Manager of Inventory Control and Operations Jay Leitz, Director of HR
Magazine of the Coin Laundry Association
ASSOC IAT ION CALENDAR
Register Now for the Final Vir tual Programs of 2020
LEARN MORE & REGISTER NOW: www.coinlaundry.org/events/calendar The Basic package is free, and Atmosphere TV will waive the $150 setup fee for CLA members. Upgrade to the Pro package for $50 per month to also receive access to digital signage to help promote specials and community events or to advertise local businesses. The CLA has signed an agreement with Atmosphere TV, the world’s first and largest streaming TV platform, to offer laundry owners an opportunity to cut cable and provide a unique video platform that offers more than 40 channels of content to fit any business. Family-friendly channels, which are refreshed eachweek, provide endless hours of entertainment for your customers. “For the last 10 years, I’ve always had televisions in my laundromats, usually three of them – one for the kids, one for local news and a third on another channel,”explained Ken Barrett, owner of Washin Oxford Coin Laundry. “I have had to add ‘packages’ to get something the kids will watch and enjoy. Atmosphere TV has let me provide a range of free videos that I’ve noticed more and more of my customers are actually watching, including the kids.” It’s your last chance to attend the Coin Laundry Association’s virtual programs for 2020. Register now for the following programs: • “CLA Holiday Happy Hour” December 10, 3:00-4:00 p.m. central • “FinancingYour First Laundromat” December 17, 2:00-3:30 p.m. central, sponsored by Prime Capital and Eastern Funding In 2021, the CLAwill continue to offer three programs per month, with one focused on wash-dry-fold, as many laundry owners are adding this service to their businesses due to COVID-19. The other two programs will include one focused on improving store operations and another for new investors looking to get into the laundromat business. For more details and to registration, please visit the CLA’s event calendar at: www.coinlaundry.org/events/calendar. CLA Announces NewDigital Entertainment, Signage Program
“I have Atmosphere TV running at two of my locations,” said Stacey Runfola, who owns Laundry Stop. “Installation was easy, and the cost savings – free! – is noticeable. As I looked for ways to reduce my operating expenses without taking away the overall customer experience, this programwas the right solution at the right time.” Atmosphere TV is the newest benefit added to CLA Business Solutions, a suite of programs and services developed to help your laundry business becomemore successful. For further information about this and other CLA Business Solutions programs, please visit: www.coinlaundry.org/membership/benefits/cla-business-solution s.
Danielle Bauer is the director of membership for the Coin Laundry Association.
$ 27 FOR AS LOW AS ion T Be a Part of Our Essential Industry’s Associat oday! Advocacy Community w www.coinlaundry.org/joinclano JOIN THE CLA PER MONTH Education and Research Events Tools to Help you Grow
Dennis Diaz DIGI TAL MARKET ING
Marketing Fads to Reconsider
When It Comes to Promoting Your Laundromat, Jumping on the Latest Marketing Bandwagon is Not a Great Idea
But it’s totally possible! Still, I get the temptation to buy leads. It seems like an easy in/out for your business. In theory, you buy a certain number of leads, and if you convert a certain percentage, you get a return on your investment. It’s simple math. Except it’s never really that simple. For one thing, most paid leads are completely cold . They have no knowledge of your business, and you’ll likely send your marketing materials into a void. You can’t even know for sure that the leads you’re following need your business. What if they have in-home laundry machines?What if they live in a completely different community? You just don’t know when you’re buying a lead, despite any assurances otherwise. So let’s stop this in its tracks. There are better ways to win leads – like inbound marketing, incentivized customer referrals and influencermarketing. If 2021 presents an opportunity to pay for leads, run (don’t walk) in the opposite direction.
like it’s built on memes these days. For those who may not know, memes are images (usually tied to popular culture) that present a humorous take on a topic. They’re sort of a shorthand for jokes, and often make references to whatever is going on in the world at large. Go to any popular social site, and they likely represent about 75 percent of the content you’ll see. So, as a business, the natural inclination is to try to take advantage of their popularity in a way that makes people remember you. There are a few hiccups with memes in laundrymarketing though. One is that they’re always evolving. Many build off of templates and ideas that were popular years ago, and a failure to understand the basic underpinnings can make it hard to create something that resonates. It’s practically a language at this point, and we all know how uncomfortable trying to speak a new language can be. The complications involved can lead to some fairly uncomfortable and confusing results, such as this meme claiming to feature Bill Nye:
Remember fidget spinners? It seems like 2017 was decades ago, but it’s only been a few years since the spinning fad took the world by storm – then disappeared to a well-deserved footnote in the history books. Thank goodness, right? Here’s my point: fads come and go. While some are pretty innocuous and innocent (or annoying), some can be pretty detrimental. Think fad diets. And when it comes tobusiness, a short-sighted fad can lead companies down a path that leads to less growth and less revenue, or even put your reputation at risk. So, this month, I want to put a few fads under the microscope and see if they’re good for laundry businesses. I’m not saying that all of thesewill always be bad, but I want to at least advise caution. Let’s dive in… Buying Leads... At ALL Winning leads is hard. I get that because, at the end of the day, that’s my job. I have to win leads for laundry businesses in a variety of communities and niches, and it’s… Just. Plain. Hard.
Advertising withMemes The social side of the internet seems
Magazine of the Coin Laundry Association
And the Next Fad Is... Let’s be real – no one knows whether the next innovation to come along is going to stand the test of time. There were people who thought the internet would be a passing fad, but look at us now. There are billions of websites, with billionsmore on theway. So what’s next? Nobody knows. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to push forward. The future will be built by those who turn over the right rocks and probably make a fewmissteps along the way. Marketing has evolved tremendously over the last 20 years, and it will continue in the decades to come. My goal is to continue learning right alongside the laundromat businesses around the world to find out what works – and to then make magic happen. I hope you can say the same! DennisDiaz is theowner and founder of Spynr Inc., whichprovides companies with cutting edge graphic design, contentmarketing, customer engagement and community-building strategies. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Although the image above tried to tap into popular culture (dabbing and Bill Nye), the execution missed the mark. For one,
it’s fairly clear that Bill Nye isn’t in that photo. It’s also puzzling, because why would detergent make one do a popular dance move? The story presented doesn’t make much sense. When it comes to trying to tap into the humor and culture behind a meme, it’s all too easy to miss the mark. And missing the mark can leave your customers wondering what you’re trying to say, as well as potentially turning them off to your brand altogether. Of course, there’s always a caveat. If you follow the templates in your spare time and understand the underpinnings of a meme, you can absolutely use them occasionally to bring some humor to your brand. Look at Wendy’s Twitter account – they get it, and they’ve embraced it as part of their brand. My only advice is that, if you use them, do so with caution – and always keep your audience’s needs as the top priority. I’m just as guilty as anyone when it comes to focusing too much on metrics that don’t mean anything. I used to watch every social post like a hawk to see howmany likes and comments came through. But I don’t do that anymore. Why? Because at the end of the day, those pieces of data don’t mean much to the bottom line. When was the last time you won a customer because they liked your social media post? Or because they saw your banner ad, and your impression count went up? Or even because they received your ad mailer? You can’t know for sure that any of those instances led to a sale, which is why they’re called vanitymetrics. You can get hundreds of likes, thousands of impressions and send letters toevery address in your zip code – but, if it’s impossible to trace that to a sale, it’s a vanity metric. They need to stop taking the limelight. It’s high time that laundromat owners started digging deeper into data to win customers. I’ll share more about how to do this in 2021 and beyond – so be sure to revisit PlanetLaundry for future columns. Vanity Metrics It’s time to say goodbye to meaningless data.
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THE BUS INESS MIND Stephen Bean
The Psychology of Risk
Mastering the Uncertainties of Laundromat Ownership
“Ninety-five percent of thought, emotion and learning occur in the unconscious mind without our awareness.” – Dr. Gerald Zautman, Professor Emeritus, Harvard University It’s a well-accepted fact that all business ownership involves the acceptance and experience of risk. When you own a small business, such as a vended laundry, there are no guarantees. Of course, laundry owners know this. But the big question is how they deal with the risks involved on an emotional and intellectual level, while still doing their best work. There’s an old saying about going into business: “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”Some individuals can accept the risk, and others simply can’t. Some people choose to take a risk and start their own business, while others choose to work for an employer. By definition, owning a laundry business means that you cannot be fired in the traditional sense, while being an employee of a company or some other organization certainly does not preclude that possibility. In essence, both paths carry a degree of risk that merely differ in kind. And, in my view, the difference between the path-takers is their inherent personality structure. Clearly, I’m here to discuss entrepreneurs – those of you who choose to own and grow a laundry business – and why, from a psychological standpoint, they essentially are content but not necessarily always comfortable. If I were to ask a group of laundry owners why they have taken the road to small-business ownership, I would get a number of intellectual answers. However, the real answers go deeper than that, as I have learned frommy experience in the world of clinical psychology. Your mind is made up of layers of consciousness. No doubt, there is the conscious level. An example of which is what you think about daily and remember all the time. But then there also
is an unconscious level, which forms early in life in response to the influences of parents, teachers and caregivers functioning as the unconscious template around which your entire life is organized – and this holds the real basis for your personality. These levels work together, but you are aware of only the conscious level. In short, your unconscious level keeps your personality stable and is the foundation of your personality. One of the enduring principles of individual psychology is that “nobody can turn around fast enough to really see themselves,”meaning that the dynamics of your unconscious mind remain hidden from you, yet are extremely influential to your personality and your world view throughout your lifetime. In reality, the difference between risk-takers – defined for this article as small-business owners – and others is what is contained in their unconscious minds. This subject should be highly interesting to all laundry owners, because I know that from time to time, when business get“challenging,”many of you have been heard muttering such phrases as: • “What on Earth am I doing owning a laundromat?” • “Who needs this aggravation?” • “I should have gone to work for GM or been a career Navy man like my dad.” • “Dealing with my employees and these outrageous customer demands are going to put me in an early grave.” • “I should have had my head examined when I decided to go to work for myself.” Do any of those sound familiar? Let me give you a quick“head examination”– with the hope that it not only will be intellectually interesting to you, but also will help you to adjust to the inevitable tough times of business ownership, but providing some reasons as to why
Magazine of the Coin Laundry Association
THE BUS INESS MIND
you may be here in the first place… reasons that you’re not aware of on a conscious level. Typically, most laundry owners can be described as being able to stay on target andmaintain an appropriate level of motivation in the face of a stressful business climate and demonstrate a willingness to remain committed to a specific result. Additionally, small-business owners tend to not get distracted by their own self-doubts and are generally proactive, rather than reactive, in style. Also, most store owners understand on an intellectual level that there must be some benefit to taking risk; otherwise, why would anyone ever do it? The short answer is that handy saying:“No gain without pain,”or to put it another way, “No reward without risk.” It’s also true that most small-business owners are able to learn to deal with the uncertainties and ride out the various discomforts that arise, and function daily in what is referred to as “the zone,”which is not some magical place of positive thinking, but rather a mindset of forward-action focusing on the present moment without being overly concerned with their emotions or past mistakes. In a nutshell, risk-taking means acting outside of the vicious cycle that fear creates. The psychology of risk is really the psychology of confidence. Owner confidence to the entrepreneur often means knowing what to do in all situations. What really underlies the personality dynamics of the risk- taker, as defined as the owner of a small business such as a laundromat? In other words, why do you choose this direction, regardless of the risks and discomfort involved? Great question, isn’t it? Perhaps you’ve wondered about it in the past – or maybe somebody actually asked you, and your response likely was something along the lines of “I really have no idea, because I’ve never really thought about it. I guess it’s just who I am.” If you answered in such a manner, you were absolutely correct. It’s just who you are, and you most likely don’t know exactly why because the mind is structured in such a manner that keeps it that way. So, let’s learn more about the psyche of an entrepreneur. “To understand the entrepreneur, you first have to understand the psychology of the rebel,”according to Dr. AbrahamZaleznik, a psychoanalyst who teaches at the Harvard Business School. His remark is not entirely facetious – the hallmark of the entrepreneur is a drive for autonomy, for a freedom from restraint that bespeaks an inner (unconscious) rebelliousness and fearlessness in the face of risk. Deep down, the typical entrepreneur is absolutely sure that he or she cannot fail. Even if they’ve failed before, they are convinced it won’t happen again. They only see the side of the bread with the jelly on it.
Psychoanalysts who have studied entrepreneurs have discovered that, in many cases, lurking within these supremely self-confident businesspeople is a small child who is striving to create, within their businesses, the world they craved in their childhoods, a world with them as the star, outrivaling even their father or mother. In a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review , Dr. Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries – a psychoanalyst who has taught at McGill University – points to the almost insatiable need of some entrepreneurs for applause, which he says grows out of the deep-seated fear of being insignificant. Of course, it’s important to note that, if an entrepreneur’s extreme self-confidence becomes an egotistical sense of infallibility, dangers can arise, such as the inability to tolerate those within the organization who may dare to oppose him or her. Hopefully, you’ve gained some additional perspective as to just what likely propelled you into entrepreneurship. There are indeed many unconscious original motivations, and all of them are valid. The need to stand out is valid. The need for attention is valid. In fact, no matter what the unconscious motivation is, it’s valid. And, by virtue of having these motivations, you benefit society by offering employment and providing services and, on occasion, even inventing new and exciting products that contribute to the world in general. We all have different personalities, and in the long run society is the beneficiary of this diversity. The conclusion to be drawn is that, by virtue of his or her tenaciously solitary course, the entrepreneur sends out a hopeful message that life is not limited, but instead holds extraordinary promise. Stephen Bean is the owner of Universal Coin Laundry Machinery, LLC, based in Royal Oak, Mich. Mr. Bean holds a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a member of the American Psychological Association. He is available for marketing consulting and public speaking engagements. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cary Lipman LAUNDRY 101
The Road to Laundromat Ownership Should You Build a New Store or Buy an Existing One?
After much time thinking about it, you’ve decided that 2021 will finally be your dream year – your time to become an independent owner of a vended laundry business. The question then becomes should you buy an existing laundromat, a turnkey or franchise operation, or build a brand new store? A long time ago, I was staring at this very question when considering opening my first laundromat. At the time, I was a district sales manager for a large insurance firm, and I was convinced I could build and operate a laundry as a side business and earn some extra cash while continuing to sell insurance and manage a crew at the same time. For the veteran operators out there that may sound familiar. Many of us in this industry have done just that, as we all know that a vended laundry is perfectly suited to be successfully operated as an unattended, partially attended or fully attended business. More important is the fact that clean clothes are a necessity of life, so laundromats will always be considered “essential”businesses, thus making them highly recession- resistant, even in the worst of times. Once you’re ready to take the plunge, the real decision for you to make will be whether you want to design and build a shiny, new, state-of-the-art facility and grow your laundry business from scratch, or purchase an established laundromat with the security of already-existing cash flow. Both of these options present their own distinct set of challenges. Another concern is whether or not you can effectively run a busy laundromat while working a full-time job. Or will you, at some point, have to choose one or the other? Personally, I left my day job shortly after opening my first store, and within 36 months, I owned three laundromats. Thirty-four years and
seven laundries later, I never looked back. As you can imagine, there are several major differences between building a new store as opposed to buying an existing one, starting with the actual site itself. When looking to build a new vended laundry, you must first be certain that it’s an allowable use by the landlord, the shopping center and the local municipality – and also that there are no water/sewer issues with which to contend. An existing store purchase typically comes with no such concerns. However, you must be mindful of the fact that – when you find a potential site for a new laundromat – the idea is not to try to“create”new laundry customers in an isolated area, but instead to be situated in a location where you can draw people who are already doing their laundry at other stores nearby and make them your own customers. A comprehensive demographic report will be a crucial tool to help determine the viability of the marketplace you’re considering. Another key component of your market research is to fully check out all of the other laundromats in the area. Look at the square footage, the age of the building, the condition of the facility, the age and condition of the laundry equipment, whether the business is unattended or fully staffed, and if other laundry services such as wash-dry-fold or drop-off drycleaning are offered. The next topic to consider is the lease, assuming you’re not buying the building or the entire shopping center in the process. A new store will require a new lease, typically drawn up by the landlord. An established store most often comes with an existing lease, which you will be inheriting from the current store owner in the form of a landlord’s assignment with the