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Episode 39 – The Basics Of The Industry

The Basics Of The Industry

 

Welcome To The Coin Laundry Industry

          Congratulations on taking the first step.

          Owning a coin laundry, or two, or three allows you the freedom to own a business that does not require your time to operate. Customers will pay you while they do the work.

          My Team and I are here to guide you through the process from design to operation. Many of our team own multiple, successful stores and are experienced in all areas of design, construction, operation and marketing to make your new store the best in the area.

            Please take some time to read through the attached article and become familiar with the industry and trends.

          Should you have any additional questions or would like to discuss the location of your new store please contact me at:

           Ken@WashinCoinLaundry.com

            WashinCoinLaundry.com

            800-792-1941 ext 2

 

Definitions and Background

          The term coin laundry is defined as commercial-grade, self-service laundry equipment placed into service in a retail space. Coin laundries generally occupy the retail space on long-term leases (10-25 years) and generate steady cash flow over the life of the lease. Coin laundries are unique small businesses in that they have no inventory or receivables. A minority of coin laundries employ attendants.

           Coin laundries can range in market value from $50,000 to more than $1 million, and can generate cash flow between $15,000 and $200,000 per year. Business hours typically run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. The stores usually occupy 1,000 to 5,000 square feet of retail space, with the 2002 average being 2,260 square feet.

           Coin laundries are perfect examples of passive income generators.

           Coin laundries are also referred to as coin-op laundries, coin-operated laundries or Laundromats.

           The primary customer base for coin laundries are people living in rental housing. Between 2000 and 2012 the number of people in rentals increased from 86 million to 94 million based on US Census information. The secondary customer base consists of the non-rental population, which also uses coin laundries. 

           As the chart below shows the home ownership rate in the US continues to decline.

 

          Coin laundries thrive in periods of both growth and recession. During periods of recession, when home ownership decreases, the self-service laundry market expands as more people are unable to afford to repair, replace or purchase new washers and dryers, or as they move to apartment housing with inadequate or nonexistent laundry facilities. The market size grows proportionately to the increase in population.

           While coin-ops are found in virtually all neighborhoods across the country, stores seem to perform exceptionally well in predominately renter-occupied, densely populated areas. These areas are increasing in number with each year throughout the country. The intense population growth, coupled with the expansion of rental housing, has increased the customer base for coin laundries.

          The public will always need this basic health service – people always need to wash clothes!

 

Trends and Characteristic

          Industry growth is based on the demographics of population density, population mix and population income. The more concentrated the population, the greater the need for quality coin laundry facilities. National and regional demographics indicate renters, the primary users of coin laundries, are the fastest-growing segment in the nation. As of the 2011 U.S. Census, 35.4 percent of the nation’s 113 million households were renter occupied.

Operations and Performance Levels

Coin laundry operations consist of three basic areas: janitorial, maintenance and the handling of money (which consists of collections and loading coin changers). Bookkeeping, administration and banking are typically off-site management areas. A standard profit and loss statement for a coin laundry typically includes the following line items:

  • Income, consisting of wash and dry
  • Other income, which would include vending, dry cleaning and/or wash-dry-fold service Expense categories would typically consist of:
  • Accounting
  • Advertising
  • Insurance
  • Legal costs
  • Licenses
  • Maintenance (includes parts and labor)
  • Payroll (usually limited to on-site work–i.e., janitorial or employees)
  • Personal property tax
  • Rent
  • Common Area Maintenance (CAM) charges, also known as Net charges including: real estate taxes, maintenance, insurance and other charges
  • Utilities (gas, water, electric and sewer)
  • Vending expenses
  • Miscellaneous costs (including: wholesale drycleaning costs, fluff-n-fold supplies and labor)           The percentage for each category will vary from store to store and region to region. Interest charges, depreciation and other nonstandard items, such as owner salary, generally appear on tax returns, but are excluded from the standard profit and loss statement for purposes of valuation and determination of cash flow. There are some general ‘Rule Of Thumb” percentages that we can discuss. 
  • Sales volume, and/or individual store performance varies, based on a number of factors. These factors may include demographics; overall services offered; design and general condition; equipment selection, condition and vend prices; hours of operation; exposure of the building; parking; and competition.
  • The industry terminology for individual equipment performance is cycles per day, or turns per day (TPD). These designations refer to the number of times per day, on average, each machine is used. While this statistic varies widely the range for washing machines is generally from three TPD to as high as eight TPD or more. The primary factors affecting TPD include: population demographics, such as density and percentage of renters; capacity and quantity of the washers; the vend prices charged; and the prevailing market vend prices.

               Dryer income can vary greatly due to: total wash poundage generated; overall vend prices of both washers and dryers; heating efficiency of dryers; total number of dryers in relation to washers; and dryer size and capacity. Dryer income is usually expressed as a percentage of overall income.

    Summary

              Today’s coin laundry industry is a strong and vibrant one. Even more appealing is the fact that this dependable public service industry continues to grow and thrive. The demographic trends toward an even greater apartment dwelling segment of the population predict continued prosperity.

If you have any comments, please post them below.

Ken

Episode 38 -Construction Pitfalls

 Construction Pitfall

 

There are a number of items that can impact the construction or retrofit of a Coin Laundry.

          The intention of this post is not to scare you but to make you aware of issues that need to be addressed.

          If you are hiring your own contractors or purchasing a turn-key store your level of involvement with these issues will vary but they will help you understand the details involved.

         • Not matching the store to the location. Sometimes the location won’t support a laundry as large as the owner wants to build, or the laundry is way too small for the location.

 

          • Failing to secure the required permits. For your business to operate, a Certificate of Occupancy may be required by your city or town. So be sure to check. The permits that you and your contractor initially file with your local authorities are the documents which, when final inspections are completed, will facilitate your store’s being granted the Certificate of Occupancy. Make sure you receive and maintain copies of these permits. Contractors sometimes fail to file for such permits, even though they have collected the appropriate fees from you prior to beginning work.

 

          • Improper equipment mix. It takes some experience to lay out a laundry correctly – the right amount and capacity of machines, along with ample aisle space, customer service areas, etc.

 

          • Not making sure you have adequate utilities available. If you don’t have utilities close by, it can be almost impossible to open your laundry.

Your store’s utilities are the lifeblood of your business in many ways. After all, water, gas and electricity are, in essence, what you are truly providing your laundry customers. Therefore, whether you are building a store from the ground up or converting an existing building into a self-service laundry, you’ll need to know whether you can get enough of each of these utilities to meet your business’ needs.

Typically, a letter to the utility companies that supply these essentials will be answered within a four to six weeks (this will vary widely depending on area) and will provide you with information on availability, procedure and estimated costs.

 

          • An insufficient set of architectural drawings. Those drawings need to show isometrics of plumbing, plumbing sizes, electrical service and ventilations. It shouldn’t be just a couple of pieces of paper scratched out showing some machines here and there. There should be some detail.

 

          • Not having enough money left over for your grand opening. You can’t spend your entire budget on just the construction phase alone.

Money is not going to come in that fast when you first open up.  You’ve got to have extra cash. Some people misjudge how much it really takes to get into a laundry. It’s very capital-intensive, even without owning the building – just the leasehold improvements are a big factor. And it’s not that easy to finance leasehold improvements. In fact, about one-third of the total cost of a laundry is those improvements you put in to make it a laundry.”

It’s not wise to attempt to get into this business on a shoestring.

When you build a new store, it needs to look like a new store. You don’t want to put in all new equipment and then have an unsightly or dim lighting.

          • Creating bulkheads that are too narrow. Although you design the store mainly with the customer in mind, don’t forget about the person who must maintain your washers.

When designing a store, it’s always in the back of your mind that you’re making dollars per square foot, so you want to put as much money-making equipment into the available square footage as possible without compromising the workflow. However, in doing so, some laundry owners end up compromising the size of their bulkheads.

On paper, a three-foot bulkhead looks like it would be easy to get into to repair a machine. But the plumbing comes up through there, and pretty soon three feet doesn’t seem like all that much. In fact, four feet sometimes is not enough.

 

          • Not allowing for a sufficient amount of makeup air. This will cause the dryers run inefficiently and can even ignite a fire.

As a general rule, one square foot per dryer pocket is considered sufficient for the proper combustion of your dryers. However, falling short of this figure and depriving your dryers of makeup air is an all-too-common problem.

 

          • Installing inadequate floor drainage. Floor drains are something that several laundry owners tend to skimp on, and it’s something you need to have. You’re in a place that invariably is going to have water on the floor – sometimes an inch or two – and you’ve got to have somewhere for it to go. Floor drains should be on a separate line than those that hook into all of the washers.

 

          • Undersizing the utilities.  The size of the gas line, power, water supply and drains may seem too big but you have to factor in the busy times. I have seen customers load four or five washers and hit the start buttons all at once. You don’t want to take 10 minutes to fill the washers because your pipes are too small. Your customers don’t want to wait and you want to get people in and out and free up the washers for the next customer.

 

          • Shortchanging the project, as far as the quality and thickness of the concrete. “If you start bolting down machines to concrete that’s not the right thickness or quality, and the bolts start pulling up, you can have real problems.

 

          • Inadequate floorplans.  The flow of people is key in a Laundry. Is there enough room in front of the dryers for people who hang up items straight from the dryer? Will somebody loading a big washer be blocking the doorway? Review the floor plans with your distributor and anybody else that understands layouts.

 

          • Working with uninsured contractors. There shouldn’t be anybody allowed to work on the project unless they have a certificate of insurance and workers’ compensation insurance, especially if the store is on the investor’s property. If there were to be some sort of accident or injury on the site, there could be serious liability for the owner. Proper insurance is a must.

 

          • Overlooking any toxins on the property. What’s the history of that location? Are there any toxins left over from a previous dryc leaning business or a former gas station? Do your research.

 If you have any comments please post them below.

 

Ken

I’m building a new Laundromat and posting ALL the details at  HowToBuild.Laundromat.com

Press Release

Press Release

      This morning I issued a Press Release for the new location that my company is building. Press releases are a great way to get your information out to media outlets (which includes many forms now) and could get you an interview or at least an article in a local, national or trade publication.

           One thing to keep in mind is that you need to have a good Heading and Sub Heading to get people to click on your information.  Just like people searching Facebook or Google if the heading doesn’t interest you it will just roll off the screen.

          To see all of the details in how I put this together the video with all of the tips will be posted in the Members Area.

          If you have not registered yet CLICK HERE 

Shortcut For Current Members –> HERE

Play Safe

Ken

Episode 37 – Change Machines

Change Machines

          One of the main pieces of equipment is your Laundromat Change Machine. Even if you plan on having attendants this is the best method.

          There are a number of options available now. Single, double, token, quarters, dollar coins, recirculators.

          Single and Double refer to the amount of hoppers that hold the coins. Most stores use a double in case of a jam people will still be able to use the other one. It’s frustrating and slows your turnover when people load the machines and then have to leave to get change from a local store. The other businesses in the area may not provide change after the first few people.

          Double machines also may have redundant systems which means there are two completely separate power supplies and control boards. The helps if there is some sort of equipment malfunction but also adds cost.

          Recirculators provide a combination of bills and coins. For example if someone puts in a $20 bill they get a $10 bill, $5 bill and 20 quarters back. This helps reduce the amount of quarters that leave your store as “extras” and also allows your change machine to run longer before being emptied. 

          Most change machines can be adjusted for a variety of coins and tokens but each hopper can only dispense one type.

          Another feature is front or rear load. This will be determined by the available wall space in your store and the bets location for the changer. The most convenient is the rear load as it allows the changer to be mounted flush in the wall and all money is handled in a secure room out of site of the customers.

          When looking for a changer keep in mind the type, capacity ( you want to be able to make it 3-4 days without running out ), number of changers and also the graphics on the front. Although this has no effect on the changer or operation some look better in your particular store and stand out for people to find easily.

          One last item, don’t forget to use an Un-interuptible Power Supply  (UPS). These can be bought in most Office Supply Stores or on-line and protect the changer from power blips. They have a battery installed that will power the machine for a short amount of time. It’s a small price to pay upfront to keep you changer working. Frying a board from a power surge at 6pm on a Saturday will ruin your weekend and frustrate your customers.

          You can buy one HERE   They work great on home electronics as well.

           If you have any questions please post them below.

Ken  

Episode 36 – Community Theatre Support and Advertising

 

           Last year during a Chamber of Commerce event I saw some flyers for a local community theater. They were offering season tickets for the upcoming shows.
           As I looked at the flyer I turned to my accountant that was also there and asked if I could write it off as entertainment. Her response was it would be better as an advertising expense.

 

          A couple of weeks later I contacted the theater group, CAST – Community Actors’ Studio Theatre, about tickets. During our discussion I found that they have another brochure that is for advertisers.

          The advertising package contains various sized spots in the programme ranging from a 1/4 page business card up to a full page or the back cover. There is also information and links put on their website and some levels provide additional advertising at the event, on banners and other flyers.

          But the best part is that it includes seasons tickets to the shows.

          I have seen many live theater performances that vary from local groups, improve and full Broadway productions. The list includes Miss Saigon, Showboat, Lion King,  and many others. It has been a number of years since I had been to any.

          One that caught my eye when I was looking at the flyer was “Oklahoma”, although I didn’t remember too much about it I do remember when I was a kid going with my Grandparents and an Uncle out for a spaghetti dinner and to see the live show in a small theater. It was an experience that I wanted to share with my own teenagers.

          The other part I liked was that they were performing many recognizable shows including Spamalot,  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, A Christmas Carol, and The complete works of William Shakespeare (abridged).

          After a great season of shows and only one we could not make due to Show Choir and Dance competitions it was time for this season.

          There was no hesitation about this years’ advertising. They have a great line up of performances this year.

          Now to some lessons learned that you can take forward. When I met to put the ads in last year we were very rushed to put them together and get them in the first programme. Due to my delay we were almost sliding the card into the press during printing. I used a post card that I had made previously with the store information and some background graphics.

 

          Once I got to the first show and was looking for my ad in the program I realized that the program was black and white and I actually turned the page past my own ad as it was mostly grey due to the background image.

 

 

 But it was actually closer to this size in the programme

 

          Always on the lookout for better marketing methods I started looking at the other ads to see what worked well. As it turns out one of the most noticeable smaller sized ads was for a pest control company. A very simple 1/4 page ad put in vertically Logo, Bugs listed, Location, Phone number.

          They covered it in about 4 lines. This is who we are, this is what we do, here’s where we are, here’s how to contact us. Boom. Drop The Mic.

          I also realized that I needed to target the potential customer that will be holding the programme. A simple ad for a Coin Laundry may bring back bad memories of their first apartment or a college laundromat.

          At this point we are still working on the layout of the new ad but it will be black and white.  Logo, What we do, Where we are and how to get a hold of us.

 My thoughts right now are:

 

Your Comforter Cleaning Headquarters
Drop it off and let us do the work”

1304 Greenbrier Rd, Anniston, AL
WashinGoldenSprings.com
256-835-2141

            I would love your thoughts on a catchy ad and to hear about other non-traditional ads you have run.

I’ll see you at the show

 http://www.castalabama.com/

 

UPDATE:

          I was at the first show last week with my wife, two daughters and two of their friends and found our ad in the program. Much better than last year and a better placing on the page.

 

          On another note my daughters and their friends had a fantastic time. They are all 15 and when ever I glanced over it was great to see them so focused on the show.                

          Exposing kids and teens to live theater has an impact you may not see for years but with the cost of a local show about the same price as a movie and snacks I’ll take the support of local talent any day. And who knows maybe your kids will see someone at the Academy Awards one day and be able to say they saw them at a local theater “back in the day“.

 

Ken