QUESTION I’m losing about five or six laundry carts every year to theft. As a result, I’m thinking about placing extensions on the hanger poles so that the carts won’t fit through the doorway and customers cannot take them out of the store. What do you think? ANSWER I think that’s a terrible idea. Just imagine your customers – especially women, who make up a majority of the laundry customers in many markets – trying to physically lug 40 pounds or more of the family laundry across your parking lot to your front entrance and then again back to their vehicles when they’re done. Just to save a few laundry carts? Seriously, you’re much better off losing a few carts here and there, rather than losing those customers forever. What you suggest would be extremely poor customer service. In addition, even with the extensions you mentioned, if someone were to simply lay a cart on its side, that cart could then be easily removed from your store. A motivated laundry cart thief is going to figure that out rather quickly. QUESTION I’m purchasing an existing laundromat, and I want to know what belongs with or to the business I’m buying – both interior and exterior. ANSWER Without knowing anything about your particular situation, the best answer I can give you is that whatever is specified in the contract or purchase agreement is what you will get. So, go over that document very carefully before signing it. Also, as a general rule, personal property, unless specified, typically does not come along with a laundry business. QUESTION I’m building a new laundromat and am considering purchasing soft-mount, high-spin machines. What do you think of this type of laundry equipment? What are the advantages and disadvantages of it? ANSWER There are a few major advantages to soft-mount, high-spin washers. First of all, the high-extract speeds can cut drying times in half, thus providing you with much quicker turnaround times and the ability to get more customers in and out of your laundry more efficiently. Essentially, this increases the capacity of your laundromat. Also, you very likely will save money on the installation, because you won’t have to install the washers onto bases, as you would with hard-mount machinery. And, lastly, servicing these washers may be easier because, if necessary, they can be moved much more easily than their hard-mount counterparts. The one “disadvantage” – and I hesitate to even call it that – is the fact that these machines cost more. However, this discrepancy in price will be more than offset by the advantages I just outlined.
QUESTION I offer a drop-off laundry service at my store, and I’ve been doing so for years. However, a local business inspector recently visited my laundromat and told me that I need a special license to provide this type of wash-dry-fold service. Do you know anything about drop-off laundry licenses? ANSWER It’s true that some towns and cities require operators to obtain a license in order to perform drop-off laundry services. This is due to the nature of the service, and the fact that the laundromat is temporarily taking possession of the garments and actually performing the cleaning process. However, with that said, most municipalities do not require any sort of special license for wash-dry-fold services. Therefore, I suggest you visit your city hall’s licensing department to verify whether or not such a license is required. Perhaps the inspector was confused and thought that you were actually drycleaning the garments that are dropped off at your store. The opinions and views expressed within this article are those of the author and don’t necessarily reflect those of the Coin Laundry Association.
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