Skip to main content

Episode 19 – What if you market to Everyone?


“If you are marketing to everyone, you are marketing to no one”

     Determine exactly who an ad is targeted to and adjust as needed.

     Last summer we spent a weekend in Washington DC. We took the kids out of school for a few days so part of the deal was that for it to be considered a school trip they would have to write an essay about what they saw and where they went.

     It was an interesting trip, I had been there years ago but my wife and kids had never been so I had a general idea of the layout and how to get around.

     One of the things that I think caught them by surprise was the size of the monuments and The Mall. Walking between the buildings of the Smithsonian and over to the White House could wear out a good pair of shoes.

     We did get to see Marine One approach and land at the White House, I’ll attach the video to the Show Notes at LaundromatHowTo.com/PodCasts

Marine_One

     Some of the other sites we were able to see were some of the old battlefield locations from the War of Independence and the Air and Space Museum.

     So you’re probably wondering why I am talking about a family vacation on a Business PodCast?

     Back at the beginning of the PodCast I mentioned that they had to do a report to cover it as a school trip.

     During the drive back home we had them work on their reports and read them to us. This was mainly to make sure they actually got done and weren’t too lame.

     But here is the interesting part.

     All three of the kids on the trip are girls, all teenagers and within 2 years of each other. We had all been to the same places, at the same times but based on the reports they wrote you would think they were on completely different trips.

     Some of the highlights of one report were not even mentioned on another, in fact there were only a couple of instances that overlapped between reports.

     So how do you market to them?

From the outside they would all seem “the same”. Home environment, trip, attractions, ages yet they are completely different.

     The answer? If I could give you a definitive answer the world of marketing would be a flat playing field and all of the adds would be the same.

 

     The thing to keep in mind with your marketing is, everybody is going to look at something a little bit different. What might seem just great to you, the right information, written correctly, the right colors, it looks great but somebody else might just click right over it. So, it’s important when you’re doing any marketing to try a few different things.

I have run ads on Craigslist, some of you may have found this PodCast from them, but they had slightly different headings and information and at times were side by side but one had more response , or conversions, than the other.

     A common phrase in marketing and sales and there are some variations, “If you are marketing to everyone, you are marketing to no one”

     Think about the customer you are targeting and what their problem is, then provide a solution to their problem.

     I mentioned in a PodCast a few weeks ago about a recent radio ad targeting hunters preparing for the season. Since that time I have had an animated video made and promoted it on Facebook to a specific audience. I also used some Google Ads with hunting related search terms as the targets.

    The video was also shortened from 32 seconds to 20 seconds to run on a local Cable Show

     You will not get 100% response to any target market but look for different methods and ideas, think about it from your customers point of view and keep copies of everything so you can use it again in the future.

     All of the links mentioned including my recent ads will be in the Show Notes at LaundromatHowTo.com/ PodCast

 

Links


Hunter_Video

Shortened Video

 


Ken

Water Leak In The Parking Lot

Water Leak In The Parking Lot

       I arrived at the store and found a nice stream in the parking lot. Not the way anybody wants to start the day. I called the city as it was leaking out of the ground beside a repair they had done a few years before.

       They said they would check it out and let me know. That was on Thursday morning. I never heard back from them so I assumed that it was something they were going to deal with. We all know what “assume” stands for….

 

        The city my stores are in is a decent size but I have found I always get great response to any calls to the utility companies.

          
       On Monday morning I was back at the store and the river was still running through it. A customer said he called the water department. I mentioned I had called the previous week and not heard back so I figured they were fitting it in to their schedule.

        A few minutes later they showed up and started checking it out. I mentioned about the call the week before and after checking found it had been put on a repair list and not an investigation list.

       They looked at a few things and determined the leak was inside the water meter and it was not their problem.

 

        Next was a call to the landlord. I explained the problem and was told. “OK”. I guess that’s a good thing.

          A few minutes later the plumber showed up and started determining the route the piping takes through the parking lot.

 

         Something I have mentioned before is that you should try and learn about the building and utilities that your store is in. It will help contractors diagnose problems and you can make sure that some work in a neighboring business doesn’t effect you. With 24 hour stores I need the utilities all of the time so I get nervous if a power company truck even pulls into the parking lot.

         At this point I let the attendants know what was going on and asked the plumber to let them know when they were going to shut off the water to make the repair. Normally I like to stay around but I had other appointments so I left it in their hands and everything worked out fine.

        Lessons Learned:
             Do your own investigation and determine the problem as best you can. As I did not even check the meter on the day I found the problem it would have been easy to see it was spinning and the problem was on my side. This was just laziness on my part.

            The water department will reduce the sewer charge on the next bill but the water bill will stand. Based on the conversation I had with the water department about 25 days worth of water usage went through the parking lot in 4 days.
           Fortunately we have very reasonable rates but in other areas this could be enough to wipe out any profit for the month.

An expensive lesson to just take a few minutes for a simple check.

             I lay it all out in here folks. Yes, we all make mistakes and I post mine so others can learn from them. And maybe have a laugh or two.

Ken

 

Episode 18 – An Interview with Ben Sawyer- Part II

Episode 18 – An Interview with Ben Sawyer- Part II

This is the second of a two part interview with Ben Sawyer, a new owner of a Coin Laundry

     There are many paths into the coin laundry industry and we talk with Ben Sawyer on the steps he took to purchase his first laundromat.

     Ben’s background is in corporate life and he has looked at many business opportunities. He decided on a coin laundry and is about a month into the business.

This episode is packed full of tips for new investors.

Ben Sawyer EP 17

All of the links are listed below.

 

Links:

Clean Show  http://www.cleanshow.com/

Clean

 

SCORE  https://www.score.org/
score

 

Coin Laundry Association http://www.coinlaundry.org/home

CLA

 

New Investor Package 
http://www.laundromathowto.info/store/p2/The_Laundromat_Investor_Package.html
Investor

Operation Standards

 http://www.laundromathowto.info/store/p9/Operation_Standards-_Laundromat.html
standards

Employee Manual
http://www.laundromathowto.info/store/p6/Employee_Manual.html

Employee

PodCast Episode 9 http://www.laundromathowto.com/episode9/

 

EP-9-Ten-Things

Ken

How To Install LED Lights

 How To Install LED Lights

     The lights in the overhead sign were out so it was time to get some repairs done. As it was the Fall and the time change was complete the lights in the sign come on before most people head home from work.

 

     I decided to install LED light tubes in place of the T-8 florescent. It is a pretty easy conversion and the label says the tubes will last 45 years.
Maybe I should renew my Lease?

      First step is to check and make sure you have power to the sign and that your photo sensor is working OK. 

     Next shut the power off so you can work safely. I disconnected the wire nut in in the sign and isolated the power feed.. this allowed me to test the new lights by bypassing the photo sensor.

 

 

     The old ballasts are removed and not used with the new LED lights. Cut the wires near the ballast as you will use them to rewire the fixture.

 

      Non-Shunted tombstones must be used with the LED lights. If you are not sure if your are non-shunted ( and they probably are not) it’s not a bad idea to change them as they tend to get brittle over time and may even have some burn marks. And the bulb says you won’t be back for 45 years so why not put in a few new parts now. The tombstones cast less than $4 each.

    Only one end of the tube is wired so I only changed that end. The others were in good shape.

    Wire the tombstones with a power and neutral wire in parallel. The wire just pushes into the base so the only tools you need are wire strippers and cutters.  

 

     After you install a set test them to make sure they work and everything looks good. 

 

     The finished product. I had to cover the photo sensor to get the lights to turn on. The photo sensor must be covered for a minute or two before it comes on. This is to prevent the light from flickering on and off.

    The sign originally had 8′ tubes installed. when I converted it to four foot tubes about 4 years ago the old fixtures were corroded into the sign so I worked around them.
This is part of the reason the the lights can be seen at the top and bottom of the display. The other reason is that this sign is about 40 years old so some of the paint/coating is faded.

    I have considered a new insert to the sign but I like the old look to this one.
    In the next year or two I will be upgrading the sign with the company logo and replacing the lower sign with more of the services and benefits.

    City bylaws prevent the installation of signs above the roof line but this was grandfathered in as it was existing. I was able to add the lower sign when I took over the store as it fits inside the 10% coverage rule and the overhead sign is not included.


Some night pictures.

 

Have a great day
Ken

P.S. Don’t forget top check out the LaundromatHowTo.com PodCast available on iTunes

 

Episode 17 – An Interview with Ben Sawyer- Part 1

Episode 17 – An Interview with Ben Sawyer- Part 1

There are many paths into the coin laundry industry and we talk with Ben Sawyer on the steps he took to purchase his first laundromat.

Ben’s background is in corporate life and he has looked at many business opportunities. He decided on a coin laundry and is about a month into the business.

This episode is packed full of tips for new investors.

 

All of the links are listed below.

 

Links:

Clean Show  http://www.cleanshow.com/

SCORE  https://www.score.org/

Coin Laundry Association http://www.coinlaundry.org/home

 

 

New Investor Package  http://www.laundromathowto.info/store/p2/The_Laundromat_Investor_Package.html

Operation Standards  http://www.laundromathowto.info/store/p9/Operation_Standards-_Laundromat.html

Employee Manual   http://www.laundromathowto.info/store/p6/Employee_Manual.html

 

PodCast Episode 9 http://www.laundromathowto.com/episode9/

   

Listen to Episode 18 for the conclusion of our interview.

Ken

IPSO / Speed Queen Washer Not Draining

IPSO / Speed Queen Washer Not Draining

             A complaint we receive occasionally is that the small Horizon style front load washers “Didn’t spin my clothes out”. There may be a couple of issues that cause this. One of the main ones I have seen is an out of balance load that never gets a good spin. This can happen with a few pairs of jeans or 3 or 4 towels. In a top loader when a load was out of balance you would hear a thumping sound and the machine may walk across the floor. To fix it you just opened the lid, moved a couple of things around and away it went.

              This is not an option on a front load washer so the machines will slow down and try to re-balance the load themselves. In most cases after a couple of times enough of the water is spun out and the load balances so the washer continues through the cycle. 
            The tubs in these washers are mounted on 3 or 4 shock absorbers and offset with a steel of concrete counterweight. As the shocks start to wear they act more like springs and have a harder time balancing the load

          One of the first things to do is to run it through a cycle and see if there is water left in the tub. This can be caused by debris in the pump that is easily cleaned out by removing the insert in the front of the pump and pulling out the items. You will probably find a) bobby pin, b) bra wire, or c) necklace. sometimes there is a coin in there as well.

             In order to avoid a mess you can use a set of Pinch Off Pliers Available Here. Just use them to clamp the hose between the tub and the pump and the water won’t drain out when you work on the pump.

            Occasionally you will have a pump fail and need to replace it. That’s the position I found myself in after looking at everything else. Including checking the water flow out of the drain hose as sometimes they get plugged up with soap sludge.

           First you unplug the washer or turn off the breaker.

                Next step is to remove the cover below the door on the front of the washer.

 

              Inside you will see the pump. The position and orientation may vary between models but they are all very similar. This picture shows the location the pump is mounted in and the hose is the outlet to drain.

To remove the pump:
a) Clamp the hose from the tub to prevent water flow. The pliers don not need to be too tight as you are squeesing a rubber hose so it will seal easily and you don’t want to damage the hose.
b) Unplug the two electrical connectors and move them out of the way so they stay dry.
c) Loosen the hose clamps on the tub and drain hoses at the pump
d) remove the two mounting bolts between the pump bracket and the washer base.
e) disconnect the hoses and remove the pump.

              Once I git the pump out I looked inside and found there was some material behind the impeller.
 This would occasionally bunch up and stop the impeller form turning so the water could be pumped out. Once the pump stopped and the pressure from the material move the impeller it may or may not work the next time.

              I removed the material and bobby pin and reinstalled the pump.

          I put the new pump I had ordered on the shelf in case this was not the root cause and ran a trial cycle.
So far everything is working great .


Ken

Episode 16 – Time For A Kitchen Renovation

  Episode 16 – Time For A Kitchen Renovation

              What does a Laundromat Owner do day to day? That varies a lot between owners and their business plans. In this episode we look at a few weeks of activity in and around the laundromats.

 

Some Before pictures of the kitchen. We always found that the kitchen felt very dark

               The first step was to replace the old window and let in the light. I hired a contractor for this job. When the house was built the windows were installed before the brick. In many cases the brick overlaps the window so in order for it to be removed the glass is taken out and the frame pulled out in pieces.


            Nice clean lines and lots of light.
The window faces North so it never gets direct sunlight. The view is the back yard and a bunch of trees. Plus a great view of the oak tree that provided a non-stop, barrage of acorns through out the project. When the back door was open some even bounced into the kitchen.


Once that was complete it was time for the removal of everything but the cabinet bases and flooring.
The countertop was unscrewed and moved around as needed to provide work bench space.
The section along the window was cut on either side of the sink to allow use of the sink and taps for as long as possible.


      The original drawers were about 12″ deep and used a single slider in the middle. They were not very smooth to operate and occasionally came out of the track.

      We had new drawers built that were 22″ deep and installed full extension drawer slides on each side. There were no supports for the new slides so 1″ x 6″ pine was installed on each side of the opening.

 

Hauling home the new drawers

 

The old tile pulled a lot of the drywall off so it was replaced as well.


And then it was a trip to Seattle for a few days. Originally my plan was to be done before this trip but it was not to be.

      Under this pile of tools is the 3′ x 9′ dining room table. It was covered in plastic and cardboard and was invaluable to keep thing organised.

      I have found with projects like this that it’s good to do a bit of a clean up everyday and after each major step stop, organize and move to the next part. It really helps prevent the frustration of looking for tools and parts and helps clear your head.

 

     Once back from Seattle it was time for counter top, tile, and a list of little steps that took a lot of time to work through.

Time for the old counter to go…

 

      The longest section of the new counter was around 12″. I used some 14′ 2″x4″ to build a ladder type frame to support the counter for the trip home.

 

        Installing the new counter took a few trials fits and a small adjustment to the face of the cabinets so the counter would be flush along the wall. The screws in the back corner were a little tough to get at.

 

 

           Matching panels were installed on the exposed cabinet ends and the back of the bar. The panel on the right has a hinge to allow access to the back of the cabinet. A hole was cut and framed in the bar wall.

 

              In many cabinet doors the panel is inserted into the frame and depending on the tolerance, temperature and humidity may make a rattling sound when the door is shut.
A small bead of caulking around the inside edge firms up the door and it makes a nice solid sound when closing.

 

And finally….

 

 

 

So that’s how I spent the last few weeks. 

 Resources:
 Counter Top: Top Products, Irondale (Birmingham), AL
Drawers: Lott Cabinet Shop, Anniston, AL
Backsplash, cabinet handles, sink and many other ietms: Home Depot, Pell City, AL
Dishwasher: Lowes.com
Cabinet Doors: KitchenReface.com
Window: Home Depot
LED Undercabinet Lights: 724Light.com

Play Safe.

Ken

P.S. Here is a link to the book mentioned on Amazon

Want a free copy? Email a screen shot of your iTunes Review to Ken@WashinCoinLaundry.com and I’ll send you a copy.