Yesterday I had some additional lights installed in front of one of the stores. There were already lights in front of the Laundromat but not in front of the next unit that I use for storage. I came in early the next morning to make sure they were on and looked OK but also to check how they impacted the cameras.
As you can see below, the new light caused a lot of interference with the camera lens. It limits the viewing area as well as the quality of the recording.
The repair was a pretty easy fix. I used a piece of metal tape, the kind they use on duct work to make a small dark zone for the camera.
The image quality doesn’t seem that good as it is a screen shot from my phone but you can see the impact the light had on the camera.
Check out the details and the fix:
So whenever you make changes in your store look at how it impacts the other systems and customers.
I was woken up by a call from my Security company that a motion sensor had been set off at one of my stores. This particular one was behind the dryer wall and was sitting on top of a front load change machine. This sensor had been put there only a couple of weeks before.
Every so often I will empty out the coins in the change hopper to clean around the hopper of any extra coins and dust. When I did this I noticed there were bolts laying on the bottom of the changer. I looked around the back in the dryer area, this door just had a normal, lockable door handle as it didn’t go anywhere exciting. I saw someone had gotten in there and managed to loosen a couple of bolts and bend a piece of angle iron out of the way. This is when the motion sensor was put there and I installed a deadbolt.
Back to Thursday, I looked at the cameras and didn’t see any issue so I contacted the Police and explained where the sensor was and that the door still seemed to be locked. When I arrived at the store I took a look around and didn’t see any issues so I started loading some washers and opening the store.
A customer came in shortly after and went about her business, including using the change machine. After a couple of hours, someone was having a problem with the soda machine. When I went to help I noticed some damage to the lock. Then I looked at the changer and saw some damage there as well.
More details and pictures of how the damage was done will be on our Members Site so we can have some private discussions about prevention methods.
The Police came and made a few notes and I put together all of the video and pictures they would need.
My next steps always cause some discussion in the Laundromat Industry. Many owners would tell me to fix it as quick as possible and not tell anyone. Personally, I have found that exposing these issues makes your customers more aware of what I have to deal with and in most cases upsets them that someone would do the damage.
Since that original post, I have received a number of comments and messages. One message asked if anything had been stolen as someone came into another store, tried to buy something with a credit card that was denied and then paid with $20 in quarters. I am working with that store to get the video to the Police to see if it is the same person, at the very least it appears they may have been using a stolen credit card as the guy didn’t really seem to match the female name on the card.
Another comment that he seemed to be a person on Calhoun County’s Most Wanted list. A video that is sponsored by one of my other stores.
So what’s the cost and impact of putting it on Facebook?
As of noon Saturday I have spent about $10 and have 1,200 video views.
Over the past few years, I have put videos and pictures of any damage on my Facebook pages. In most cases, I have a name to provide to the Police with 48 hours. Although many times the people that are breaking into the machines and stealing from the stores have been charged before, and rarely do you get the compensation owed to you, I feel it is part of my civic duty to find and charge these people so just maybe I can help prevent it from happening to someone else.
Who knows the next place he breaks into maybe someone’s house? Or what if someone walked in on him?
The last few months have been very busy. A few months ago I had to terminate an employee. I also had another employee that was going to leave to have a baby. That took me from 3 to one. My shifts at my attended store are 7:00 to 12:30 and 12:30 to 6:00, seven days a week. Two employees work 6 shifts each and the third employee works 2 shifts and an additional 3 hours doing inventory.
When an employee leaves the 2 shift person has the opportunity to take a 6 shift position. This leaves me with 2 shifts per week to do myself.
Next was the hiring process. I ended up using a staffing company, two actually at one point, to fill the positions. After a number of turnovers that caused a lot of frustration I was finally able to get my staff back to where it needs to be.
Part of the issues in this staffing process was to hire people early enough to get them trained and make sure they would stay around long enough and then provide them enough hours to keep them until the expectant employee was finished. This resulted in a few weeks of extra expenses and overlapping shifts.
As this process was going on I was also working on a presentation for the Florida Coin Laundry Association meeting about re-tooling. Preparing the presentation took quite awhile to put together but gave me the opportunity to look back at the 7 years I have been in the business, how each of the stores have progressed and to look back at how the changes impacted the income and expenses. If your CLA Affiliate is interested in this presentation let me know and we can work something out.
As many are aware the next big event is the Clean Show, June 5-8 in Las Vegas. I’m finishing the preparation for that trip and planning to record a few PodCasts and set up a number of others as well.
Make sure to Like , Subscribe and Follow the various pages to stay up to date.
The Staffing Agency I used sent me a couple of names and I hired one of the people. She worked out for a couple of weeks and then couldn’t seem to get the part that she needed to be at the store for her entire shift at the times she was scheduled. We had some large orders come through and I asked if she could work longer and to what time and we agreed on a time. A couple of hours later after she “went and looked at her cell phone” she wanted to know if it was OK to go and pick up her husband from work. After some discussion I agreed but she never came back and just sent a text message to me.
They sent another applicant but we agreed that it was just not the job for her.
Then the Staffing Agency talked with their insurance company and found out they would have to have an additional policy as they would be handling cash at my store. They were really only set up to provide staff to construction and manufacturing facility or others with direct supervision.
Part of what I am finding out is that many people who work through Staffing Agencies are just filling those type of straight up “Worker Bee” roles.
The first staffing agency did have a couple of names they agreed to send to me. I ended up direct hiring a middle aged woman that was looking for a few hours a week but was willing to work. I trained her for a few shifts and things seemed to be going well. She had the laundry processing part down and seemed to shy away from the cash duties but I was prepared to work with that.
I’ll mention now that my shifts are 7am to 12:30pm and 12:30pm to 6pm. We are open 7 days a week. There is one person on each shift. My two main people work 6 days and are off one. Their off days are Monday and Tuesday. This is because I have to work the “Entry Level” days and I don’t (and have been told not to by my boss :0) ) work weekends.
After a few shifts of training my other attendants said the new one had mentioned she really only wanted to work weekends. They were OK with this but knew it was my decision. The following Sunday I got a call from the new attendant asking if she could just work weekends, I said we could probably arrange that but she needed a bit more training and I needed to talk to the others.
And that was it. She never showed up or contacted me again. She was scheduled to do inventory from 7-10 on Monday morning and work the store at 12:30. On Tuesday I sent a termination letter and moved on.
On the previous Thursday I interviewed and hired someone from a new Staffing Agency that had conditions in place for someone handling cash. After training for a coupe of days she was scheduled to work on the same Monday and Tuesday afternoon shifts.
I was planning in my mind how I was going to train 2 people at the same time in the store but it turned out not to be an issue.
Monday at 12:30 came and it was just me.
Tuesday I stopped by the Staffing Agency and asked where she was. They said they would find out what happened.
At 10am I received a call that she was in their office and she thought she didn’t work until Tuesday. So I said OK, I’ll see her that afternoon.
At 1:15 I received a call from the Staffing Agency about another potential attendant. I said to send her over and I would talk to her. They asked about the other one and I said she never showed up.
I started to realize now that it’s really a numbers game. It’s a bit frustrating but it still saves me time and money over doing my own interview, drug tests and hiring.
The last one that I interviewed graduated high school last year and so far is doing a great job. She seemed a little hesitant at first but is quickly getting settled in and handling things. We had some big orders come in this week so she will get about 30 hours.
As I have not had any more candidates from the Staffing Agency I have contacted another one to see what they can offer. The nice part about this is that I’m not restricted to one.
There was an agreement I signed with Staffing Agency #2 that states I cannot hire one of their placements direct until after they have worked 500 hours. That may seem like a lot but it’s really only a few months but as I mentioned in the video if you want to reduce / eliminate your accounting and payroll headaches the ~40% the Staffing Agency charges is well worth it.
Another thing to keep in mind, and confirm for your area, is that you don’t have to pay into Workers Compensation until you reach a certain number of employees, and that number includes you so hiring through a Staffing Agency can have prevent you from reaching that trigger point. I will say again, I’m not an accountant, lawyer , tax or payroll expert so please confirm about your own situation.
On another note I just renewed my Quickbooks Payroll Program at a little over $500 for the year.
So how do you report their hours? There are a few methods. You can sign a time-sheet they drop off at the agency, fax it your self or how I do it. I have a time-clock that is connected to the Web. My attendants clock in and out at the store. My accountants’ staff log into the time-clock on Fridays to check the times. Occasionally someone forgets to clock in and it’s a lot easier to change inside the clock. For my direct hire employees, they download the clock data into Quickbooks and run the Payroll Program. All my employees are set up on Direct Deposit so once it’s done it’s submitted to Quickbooks, the money is taken from the business account on Monday and they are paid on Tuesday.
Notice that I’m not involved in any step of this. Outsourcing. Don’t do things you don’t like, are not good at, or shouldn’t do. More on that HERE (It opens in a new tab so click this and look at it in a minute).
My accountants’ staff have direction on how to correct the time when someone forgets to clock in or out. They correct it to their regular times. (Some arrive 5 minutes early and other 15 minutes). If someone is late or leaves early they email me the times so I can give written warnings. I still can access the time-clock anytime to check hours and clock times.
For the Staffing Agency attendants, they are given a clock number and clock in and out as normal. My accountants staff check their times on the clock and then email the times to the Staffing Agency.
I receive and invoice monthly from the Staffing Agency.
So overall I would say that although it’s a little frustrating spending a few days training someone that never comes back when I weigh it against the time to print and collect applications, review them, set up interviews (that about 1/2 just don’t show up to), pay for drug tests and offer them the job I’m spending less time and have less headaches by using a Staffing Agency. and if I decide I don’t want or need someone it’s just a phone call to complete the task. No “just cause” terminations or unemployment rate impacts.
Now I realize why the big companies do this. It may not seem like the way our parents, or even us, found employment but that’s the system that we work in.
As a side note I worked for a Temp Agency for a summer years ago. Some of my jobs were one day and some a couple of weeks. There were a few that they called at 7:30 am and asked how long it would take me to get to ______. I worked at what ever they sent me and I am better for the experience. So it’s not a new thing.
Years ago after Steven Ste. Marie finished college he was hired by a multinational Textile Rental Company that specialized in work uniforms, dust control and other similar products.
That experience led him to be the Plant Manager for a Dry Cleaning Plant that processed garments for 45 Drop Stores in the Metro Milwaukee area.
In 2009, with Real Estate “on sale” in many areas of the United States, Steven bought a commercial building on the South Side of Milwaukee and moved into the Coin Laundry Industry. The building now contains the Bay View Maytag Laundromat and 3 other businesses.
And we must not forget the 8 years Steven spent as an engineering in the US Navy.
Locally Steven was a member of the Board of Directors for the Kinnickinnic Ave Business Improvement District from 2009 to 2013.
Below are the seminars available at this years Clean Show in Las Vegas June 5-8,2017
They are put on by various Industries involved in the Clean Show but I don’t think they check your membership card at the door so why not branch out a bit and see what the other industries are doing.Click here to Read More
8-9:30 a.m. — The Human Mousetrap: Planning for Safe Entry into Confined Spaces, sponsored by the Association for Linen Management (ALM).
If a contractor enters a permit-required confined space at your workplace, who is responsible for their safety and compliance with OSHA’s standards? Does your rescue plan involve offsite rescue services? Have you ever considered reclassifying a permit-required confined space to a non-permit space? This session by Barry Spurlock, Esq., CSP, Eastern Kentucky University, will address your legal responsibilities as well as give your company guidance on protecting your employees.
8:30-9:30 a.m. — Customer Contracts: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, sponsored by the Textile Rental Services Association of America (TRSA).
Join TRSA General Counsel Steve Fellman in an interactive discussion on how to design customer contracts to maximize profitability. Learn about new contract clauses relating to digital billing technology and examine how textile services companies deal with issues relating to inducing breach of contract.
8:30-9:45 a.m. — Business as Unusual, sponsored by the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI).
The drycleaning business today is so much more than “suit and tie.” Your customers are changing and their expectations are changing. If you’re not changing, your business is not growing. Hear how some industry professionals meet the demands of current and future customers.
8:45-10 a.m. —Great by Design: What Laundromats Can Learn from Latest Retail Trends, sponsored by the Coin Laundry Association (CLA).
Today’s Laundromats strive to portray a modern and professional look to consumers. Much may be learned from the most popular trends being seen in other retail and service environments. Hear experts discuss how laundries may leverage the best design trends in retail environments.
2-3 p.m. — All Things Facebook: How to Grow Your Laundromat Sales, sponsored by CLA.
Social media has become a valuable tool for promoting one’s Laundromat to new customers. This session will focus specifically on the features and services available through Facebook that will help you grow sales in your laundry.
3:30-4:30 p.m. — TRSA Clean Green and Hygienically Clean Certification Programs, sponsored by TRSA.
Independent, quantitative, third-party certifications build customer confidence and offer your company a competitive advantage, TRSA says. Nearly 60 companies (163 facilities) have earned TRSA’s Clean Green designation and more than 115 facilities have earned TRSA’s Hygienically Clean designation, making them the fastest growing, most recognized international certification programs for textile services operators, the association adds. Learn how your company can meet these rigorous standards and quantifiable measurements, including inspections and testing.
Tuesday, June 6
8-9 a.m. — Family Business Dynamics, sponsored by TRSA.
This session focuses on family human resource and governance process innovation in multi-generational family companies. Learn the generation-influenced frameworks that multi-generation family enterprise leaders are using to help facilitate communication among and education of current and future generation members to better prepare family members who have the requisite ability and willingness to contribute meaningfully to the sustainability (and legacy) of their family and business(es).
8-9:30 a.m. — How is Your Linen Handled? Lessons from ALM’s Research Project, sponsored by ALM.
Healthcare textiles from quality laundry providers are typically hygienically clean and safe for use. Is the hygienic integrity maintained during transportation, storage and distribution? ALM has completed a research study to evaluate those concerns and will present its results publicly for the first time during this session.
8:30-9:45 a.m. — Drycleaners & Laundromat Owners: Partnering for Future Profits, co-sponsored by CLA and DLI.
Drycleaners and laundry owners are using each other’s expertise to increase their market share. Learn from industry members how they have made this partnership work for them.
9-10 a.m. — Laundry Marketing Secrets Revealed, sponsored by TRSA.
If you want to grow your business in the digital age, you need to learn successful strategies that help you do so. Discover the top tips and tricks to succeed in B2B social and digital advertising. You’ll also hear how to incorporate conversion rate optimization to maximize your sales through new customer acquisition.
2-3 p.m. — TextileEd “TED” Talks, sponsored by ALM.
“Riveting Thoughts by Remarkable People” are the cornerstone of the popular Ted Talks. ALM’s version brings together some of the remarkable people who have riveting thoughts about the laundry and linen industry, offering quick segments of valuable education.
3:30-4:30 p.m. — Oops: Now What?, sponsored by DLI.
There are nearly as many home stain removal tips as there are homes. DLI puts some of these home remedies to the test to see which actually work and which ones fail.
Wednesday, June 7
8-9 a.m. — Doing Well by Doing Good: How Laundromat Owners are Giving Back, sponsored by CLA.
The best Laundromats serve as critical community centers where important resources may be shared with local residents. Hear stories of how Laundromat owners are giving back to their neighborhoods and transforming their stores into community centers.
8-9 a.m. —Five Considerations for Improving Employee Retention, sponsored by TRSA.
In an increasingly competitive business world, top talent is in high demand. If you aren’t making your top workers happy, another company may easily recruit them. This session will offer you five key considerations for retaining your top employees that go beyond a good pay package.
8-9:30 a.m. —Healthcare Contingency Risks & Plan, sponsored by ALM.
Healthcare facilities have a responsibility to ensure care is provided even when critical products such as linen are unavailable. Hear lessons learned by one health system when developing its contingency plan and learn about the process it followed in assessing the options, selecting a direction, and managing results.
8:30-9:45 a.m. — The Five Essential Steps to Growing Revenue in a Tough Market, sponsored by DLI.
Discover how to unlock the secrets of successful sales promotion and marketing management with ideas you can implement right away.
9-10 a.m. — Maximizing Labor Efficiency in Your Wash-Dry-Fold Operation, sponsored by CLA.
For most operators, getting more productivity from your front-line workforce is a major challenge. This special presentation will focus on getting the most from those payroll dollars by incorporating the most efficient practices into your wash-dry-fold production.
9-10 a.m. — Tips and Lessons Learned for Entering the Commercial Laundry Industry, sponsored by TRSA.
Have you ever thought about what it would take to enter the commercial linen and uniform rental market? There are pros, but also cons that come along with tackling a market you’re unfamiliar with. Hear from industry experts on the best place to start this type of transition, how the industry works and what competition already exists, to determine if it’s the right move for you.
2-3 p.m. —OSHA Compliance: Identifying Laundry’s Most Cited Violations, sponsored by TRSA.
Edwin G. Foulke Jr. was OSHA’s top administrator from 2006 to 2008, when workplace injury, illness and fatality rates dropped to record-low levels. Now an attorney in private practice, he has helped TRSA develop consensus proposals for overcoming the most difficult obstacles the industry faces in eliminating injuries and illnesses. He’ll discuss OSHA’s top 20 most frequently cited standards and the top 25 “low-hanging” fruit violations. He will also share information on TRSA’s new Safety Certification.
3:30-4:30 — WiFi in Your Laundromat: Best Practices for Security & Marketing, sponsored by CLA.
Thousands of Laundromat owners are now adding free WiFi as a prominent amenity for their customers. Learn the best way to manage, support, secure and promote this indispensable feature for maximum impact.
Thursday, June 8
8:30-10 a.m. —Your First Laundromat: 10 Keys to Success, sponsored by CLA.
No one can learn everything they need to know about an investment in a self-service laundry in one seminar but this fast-paced, 90-minute session will help you identify the most important elements for success.
There are many Trade Shows and Open Houses around the US and other areas for Laundromat Owners but some take a different approach. Today we talk with Todd Fener of Laundry Owners Warehouse and learn about the history and the recipients of the Golden Washboard Awards.
I have a only a few Likes on my store Facebook pages but as I have found out I really don’t need thousands as it’s my customers and their friends that I am looking for.
Let’s take my current hiring plan.
I have decided to use a Staffing Agency for a few reasons I’ll cover in another post. This post is about how to get more applicants.Click here to Read More
Previously I just posted a sign on the store window and interviewed people based on the applications that were submitted. I have found over the past few years that this has found less and less applicants and a limited hiring pool.
Here are all the details. Feel free to cut and paste for your own use.
Washin Golden Springs is looking for the right people to join our staff. Please read all the details below.
Position : Attendant / Cleaner (Part Time) Store Shift Core Hours: 7:00 am to 12:30 pm
12:30pm to 6:00 pm
Shifts may vary. Store operates 7 days per week. Requirements: 18+ Years Old Valid Driver’s License Valid Social Security Number All Applicants are subject to background check and drug screen.
Job duties include, but not limited to: Professional Washing / Drying / Folding and Packaging of Laundry and similar items. Ironing Customer Support Handling cash, making change, tracking. Store Cleaning Inventory, stocking vending machines. Store Cleaning at other Locations in Anniston and Oxford
Us: Family- Friendly Laundromat Known for great customer service and cleanliness Wonderful working environment Looking for Part-time attendants and back up attendants to cover vacations/ sick days. Paid Training
You: Hardworking Responsible Dependable Flexible Work Independently Friendly, Professional & Courteous, great customer service skills Speak and understand English, Bilingual a plus.
If you read this far things are looking good. One last thing to clear up is that we are not looking for someone that “needs a job”, expects to spend time on their phone while at work or is just looking for a paycheck. Our customers expect quality and friendliness and trust us to launder their clothes professionally and on time, every time. Cleaning is ongoing throughout the day as our first customer and 20th customer deserve the same respect.
If you feel you are ready for a position that you never expected would be so interesting ……
Contact Simmons Staffing for more information. 1516 Quintard Ave Suite B Anniston, AL 256-770-7345
We have positions available right now for the right people.
I have decided to take the step that I address the phone issue right from the very start. I understand the culture and use of Cell Phones but I leave mine out of the way when I work at the store and expect my employees to do the same.
The picture I used was made in PowerPoint and saved as a .jpeg. The clothes pictures are from a Royalty-Free Picture Website. These pictures are offered for free download with unlimited use. You can make a donation to the photographer (which I almost always do- $5 or $10) and also see pictures they have available for sale. Other photos in the picture are from my store.
TIP: Facebook only allows 20% text on boosted posts.
Once posted it was Boosted for $10 over 7 days. The target audience was people that like my Page and Their friends within 15 miles of the store.
It was also posted and Boosted on the Facebook pages of my two other stores.
And as expected within a few minutes I had a message ” Do I apply online or at the store?”
Our Store runs efficiently due to a set of Operation Standards that all employees are required to review and follow. This very clearly explains, with words and pictures, step by step how to do each part of the job.
Take a minute to scroll back up and review the Job Posting. Notice how it lists the requirements and how to apply.
I’m expecting the ad itself may screen out some of the potential applicants.
Within an hour of the post there was a comment “I am interested”.
We will see how many actually follow the directions and let’s hope the staffing company will be busy on Monday.
Ken Barrett at Eastman Worlds of Work 2017 Oxford AL