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Event Updates

This weekend I have been in Charlotte for an Event that has provided me with some information that will change my life.

Below is a picture of me on stage at the event.

 

I will post updates over the next few days about the information from here.

When you are able to meet and listen to experienced pros in the the industry the notebook fills up quick.

Ken

I Have A Location, Now What?

I Have A Location, Now What?

     So you have a location for your laundromat but what are the next steps?

     I’ll skip over the distributor in this article as we have covered that previously or you can send me an email and we can get things set up. Ken@WashinCoinLaundry.com

     There are a few items that you can look into. You should check on cost, time to implement and application forms.

      – Business Name- Personally I set mine up with a Generic Brand that I can use in different locations. All of my stores are “Washin __________ Coin Laundry” I add the location and use separate LLC’s. This is part of a long term strategy of building a chain and being able to sell in part or as a whole. In the past many laundries were named as the street or “Bob’s Laundry” or had no name at all.  Branding is part of business so think about it early.

 

     – LLC – Name and Doing Business As (DBA)- Talk to a local Attorney about the corporate stucture and set it up early so you can get the bank accounts in place.
 

     Accountant- You may not need one right away but if you have the time it’s good to get things setup and understand the costs involved. 

     -Building Permits and Zoning-
This is normally my first stop once I have a location.- Confirm the zoning is approved for this use.- Check requirements and cost for  Building Permit. Also any requirements for restrooms, exit lights, etc.- Check on what inspections will be required. Normally the contractors will contact the Building Inspector when they are ready but it’s good to know so nothing gets overlooked.  

– Business License- Cost

– Utilities-

     Water- 
-Confirm size of water supply and sewer lines and determine if cahnges need to be made. The Engineering Department will need to review and approve any changes so the time required for approval needs to be understood.

     Sewer-
– Some areas will have an Impact Fee that is charged for each machine that will be connected to the sewer. This can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands or dollars per machine. This amount may change in neighboring communities.

 

     Deposits- Check if a deposit will be required. Some require a couple of months use as a deposit and other cities are more. Usually a Bond can be used to cover this. I used my insurance company but there are other companies as well. For one of my stores I was required to provide a $1,000 cash deposit that they hold as long as the business is running.

     Gas-
– Check on requirements to install a larger line and meter if needed. I have not had to pay for this but it may be different in your area. Laundries are a year round consumer so gas companies tend to be happy to hook them up. There is also a High Pressure and Low Pressure setup. Low Pressure requires larger piping in the store but is a dirrect connection. High Pressure has smaller piping but requires a regulator on each piece of equipment. This can add $50- $75 to each dryer and water heater.
– Check on deposit required.

    -Power- Same as above items- Check on deposits and costs of required feed if an increase is needed. 

Scheduleing of the above items can have a big impact on your startup. Some areas may be able to do the work in a week or two, other may need much longer to schedule.

     Cable / Internet / Phone- Price local companies and check contracts. These are optional services but make a big difference to customers. If all of the other Laundromants have internet and you don’t people will drive past your store.

     Security- I used SimpliSafe on one of my stores. It’s easy to install and reasonably priced. I also have some of the large companies at my other stores. I prefer to purchase the equipment up front and avoid long term contracts. You may have local companies that offer cameras/ security etc but be careful of the contracts and monthly cost. There is the advantage of someone else setting it up and fixing any issues.

     Insurance- You will need to know a lot more details before you can apply but you could determine who you are going to use. I use the CLA (Coin Laundry Association) Insurance. You may have a local agent that can provide insurance. http://www.coinlaundry.org/membership/laundry-insurance/ 

     Contractor- If you have one already you may want to talk to them and see if they can handle everything.This will include- Electrical, Plumbing, Ductwork, Gas, plus general demolition, framing and finishing of new walls, adding intake vents for dryer air, ceiling tiles, flooring, painting etc.

      And in your spare time you may want to take a load of towels and visit a few other laundromats. Run them through the wash / dry cycle and look around the store to see what you like and don’t like. It gives you a chance to talk to people and/or attendants and find out what they like. 

     Back at the top I made a comment about Branding. That also includes the colors in your store and some of the features. I have common colors that can be found in each store and although they are not exactly the same layouts or styles people recognize they are part of the same company.

If you have any comments please post them below.

Ken

Looking for more online exposure and training….. It All Begins Here.

CSI Camp, a beautiful day and too much air conditioning.

CSI Camp, a beautiful day and too much air conditioning.

     Today is the first day of a week long summer camp for my oldest daughter. The camp is being held at UAB- University of Alabama, Birmingham (or the University that Ate Birmingham). It is a big campus with a strong medical program that is really holding a lot of life in downtown.

     Downtown Birmingham continues to see signs of recovery not just from the most recent economic downturn but from years of transition from the iron and steel industry into modern business. Like many cities old buildings are being turned into loft apartments and supporting businesses are starting to open..

     Back to the camp. The camp is actually called Camp CSI and is run by the Department of Justice Sciences “Camp CSI: Birmingham is designed to show high school students, grades 10-12, the reality behind the forensic science depicted in such television dramas asCSI, CSI New York, and NCIS; to develop their interest in science and the scientific method; and provide them information on forensic science education and career opportunities.”

     The program involves collecting samples and testing them in the labs and using the equipment that the full time students in the forensic evidence courses use. Students and under-grads from the course are assisting as well.

The details of the Camp can be found HERE

     My daughter previously discussed this type of career and having just finished Grade 10 it’s a good time to see if it’s a good fit.

     As I am spending the day in Birmingham with my other two daughters we decided to spend some time at the library. They wanted to read some books and they have free wifi. After about 2 hours it was time to go get some lunch and get some feeling back into my body. I’m pretty sure there was a side of beef hanging in the corner behind the cook book section.

     Recently with the cost of utilities and other factors I have noticed many malls and businesses have increased the temperature in their buildings by a few degrees. Six or seven years ago when I went to see a movie I would put on a long sleeve shirt so I wouldn’t get cold in the two hours I was there. When the temperature outside is 85 and up and humid not too many people are wearing jackets so being inside a building at 75 with low humidity is not too bad.

     Now as we all know the library is not a privately owned building so some costs are just considered to be “normal” and the thought of reducing expenses by cutting utilities has probably never been brought up. The kids run into some of the same issues in school. They take a sweater to class so they don’t get too cold.

     I moved from the Great White North to Alabama and I can’t say that I miss the cold. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to live in a house here with no air conditioning and I run it in my stores but there is a temperature in most places that is a good mix between being cool enough and not feeling sticky.

     We moved into our house a couple of years ago and had normal, southern insulation. After changing a few lights and exhaust fans I added about 16″ of insulation to the attic and brought it up to about R-50. Our power bills dropped in half the next month. So now we keep the house at a comfortable temperature and we don’t need to cover up with blankets to watch TV.

     Now that we have taken a walk, finished lunch and spent some time in the park it’s time to go back into the deep freeze so the kids can finish their books.

 If  you have any comments please post them below.

Play Safe

Ken

Interested in promoting your business online? Check out how I’m doing it HERE

Renovation Realities, an MRI and Cake.

Renovation Realities, an MRI and Cake.

     A couple of things to touch on today.
      First I have been offline for a few days as I renovate my daughters bathroom. It was almost a complete gut job. I removed the built in, tile shower that could have been used in a number of bad movies, removed the vanity, pulled out the toilet (it will be reused) and moved some electrical.

 


One part of my plan was to install a four foot tub and surround as that is all the space we had and the room is actually the original master bath so it would have been a great feature in a small bath but the cost and availability did not work in my favor.
I don’t understand why a decent four foot tub cannot be made and supplied for a few hundred dollars.

      In the end I decided to install a two piece fiberglass shower stall. The room is fifty two inches wide so I would have to make some changes to fit the four foot shower stall but that wasn’t a big issue. The isue was getting the upper part into the room.
Going down the hall was easy enough but there was no way that it was going to make the turn into the bedroom. So off came the door, door frame and a couple of wall studs and it was in the bedroom.
Next was removing the door, frame and eighteen inches of bathroom wall to get it in the rest of the way.

      There is no way that a bathroom renovation can happen on a weekend. I don’t care how many people they have.

      A few days later the shower is in, light roughed in, plumbing complete and the drywall is install. Now it’s on to the vanity.

      The old vanity was installed before the tile so the floor under it was about an inch or so lower. The new vanity was deeper so that wasn’t an issue and we knew we could put in a strip of tile along the one edge but there was another bump in the road.

      Back up to the original planning. Most vanities come with double doors or one door and a couple of drawers on the right side. This was going to be an issue due to the door swinging into the room and the cost and rarity of a left-handed drawer. Easy fix… replace the door with one that swings out into the room. Not quite as conventional but it opened up a lot a of space in a small bathroom.
On to the install. I pull the new vanity from the box and do a test fit. It fit as expected with the exception of the plumbing being too far to the right and being blocked by the drawers.

      Out comes the drywall saw and I open up another wall only to find the main plumbing stack and the drain from the other bathroom sink.

      After another trip to the building store and nothing we really liked I decided I would just go to a local cabinet shop the next day and have one made. The cost is slightly higher but the cabinet will have two doors, two drawers on the bottom, built with plywood and no particle board and it will be made locally.   

      It will take a few days to complete but that leads into another issue.

      I am the tear out and build guy and my wife is the one that makes it look good. The lipstick and mascara of renovations. After the initial taping of the drywall wall she stepped of the stool and felt a twinge in her knee. About 20 minutes later the pain started.

      Today involved some doctors, x-rays and MRI’s.  Results to follow tomorrow.

      So our daughter gets to spend a few more days in the rec room with the big screen TV. I’m not hearing  a lot of complaints but she is excited about the new bathroom.

      There are a couple of other things I wanted to mention but  it’s late and I’m still a little sore form installing the drywall. But I did find out that I can have my cake and eat it too, unless I was a baker and then it technically isn’t my cake.  Confused? Welcome to my world.

If you have any comments please post them below.

Play Safe.

Ken

Where I am getting all this?….. It All Begins Here.

How To.. Quit Your Job (Using Facebook) — 8PM EDT Tonight!

Are you ready?  (Be sure to settle kids down so you can be present) …

My business partner Kevin is opening up his home office to you …

–> 8:00PM EDT (Tonight) Wed Jun 18th …

–> (Registration Link)
–> This link will be “live” at 8PM …

He will actually be teaching you some important
techniques you can use online to generate an income
online in any business …

–> “How To Use Facebook To Quit Your Job,
Live By The Beach and Triple Your Income
This Summer!”

–> (Registration Link)
–> 8:00PM EDT Tonight!

Bring a pen, paper and be ready to take notes!!  

http://fb-beach.kenbarrettevent.com/

If you have any comments please post them below.

Ken