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11 Top Tips for Laundromat Energy Efficiency

11 Top Tips for Laundromat Energy

        With strategic laundromat energy efficiency, you can wash your hands clean of expensive energy bills and help conserve environmental resources. There are a number of ways for laundromats to reduce energy use in an industrial laundry, all readily-available and proven within the sector.

Did you know?
● 90% of the energy cost of running a laundromat goes towards heating water or air for washing and drying.
● Only 10% of the energy used goes towards running the motors.

Here are 11 top tips for laundromat energy efficiency during your Wash Dry Fold Processes

  1. Sort and classify products correctly and ensure that the correct machine setting is used.
  2.  Count the various pieces and load machines with the correct weights.
  3.  Use the minimum utilities, time and chemicals required to achieve the correct quality with minimal rewash.
  4.  And when you do need to rewash items, implement a procedure that will incur minimal waste.
  5.  Train operators on how to operate all the laundromat equipment efficiently.
  6. Prevent equipment from idling by maintaining continuous laundry processing along the various steps for maximum laundromat energy efficiency.
  7. Maintain your equipment regularly to make sure it is working optimally, and budget for a strategic replacement schedule.
  8. Using good quality detergents is better for your equipment and also helps reduce the need to rewash items.
  9. Drying clothes on a high heat setting not only wastes heating energy, but also damages clothes. Drying on a low or medium heat saves energy and helps your clothes last longer.
  10. Where possible, use a cold-water cycle and use a detergent capable of handling cold washes.
  11. Invest in energy-efficient machines with good energy ratings.

About the author
    Shea Karssing is a writer for Smarter Business – Our expertise in energy solutions for high-
volume laundromats and our understanding of your unique business circumstances allow us
to provide a tailor-made energy strategy to secure notable savings for your laundromat. We
also continue to offer strategic energy management advice, monitor your contracts and
report on energy use to help you take advantage of strategic laundromat energy efficiency.
Contact a Smarter Business consultant today for a free, no-obligation quote.



Converting a Standard Changemaker SC62 to a Rear Load

          A number of years ago I bought an older Laundromat. After 5 years I decided not to renew the Lease and removed all of the equipment. Some of it was scrapped, others put in existing stores and the rest put in storage.

          One of the items was an older, well abused Standard ChangeMaker  SC-62. This is a front load changer that was mounted to the wall. Over the years at that store and previous locations, it had been it numerous attempts had been made to break into it. One morning I found a prybar still stuck in the door.


Standard Changemaker SC-62

          As much as it is almost impossible to get into people still try and the more scratches and bends on the door the more of a target it becomes. There is the other factor that having a damaged piece of equipment in your store will cause concern to other customers about the safety of the area and your store.

          I personally have had my fill of front load changers and the attempts to get into them so I am working on any changes needed to get rear access changers in all my stores.

Standard Changemaker SC-62

          Recently I removed one from my Washin Anniston location and installed a single rear-load changer. The problem I found is that it had a smaller capacity than the previous one, and as it was located right between the large washers and dryers, it gets a lot of use and empties between collection visits.

          I did make some modifications to increase the capacity that I will document in another post.

          So this older SC-62 has been sitting in my storage area just waiting for a new lease on life. I had the ideas of how to convert it but just didn’t have a place to use it. Now I do and the existing single hopper changer will move to a new store I just bought that only has one front load changer. For now that open is OK as it has a guard welded over the locks, after the last break-in. But that’s a story for another day as well.

          So begins the steps to convert the SC-62.


          I delivered it to my local machine shop and they had a look. It seems that we will be able to just switch the coin return opening to the current back and make new slides for the coins. They will need to be a slightly different angle to reach the hopper dump spots.

Standard Changemaker SC-62 Bill Acceptor

          I contact Standard Changemaker and found they have a conversion kit to the newer style MEI bill acceptors. At the time of this post, it is about $1,500 delivered. That includes everything but the existing hoppers which will plug into the new setup.


Stay tuned as I update this post…..



Ken Barrett
Ken Barrett

If you have ideas for the PodCast or guests you want to know more about drop me an email at




New Lights and Camera Concerns

LED Canopy Lights

          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.



E-conolight LED Canopy
Interference from new LED Canopy light on camera lens.


          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.


E-conolight Canopy LED


          The image quality doesn’t seem that good as it is a screenshot 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.



What to Do About Vandalism?

On Thursday morning…


          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.



Here is a link to the Facebook Page where I posted the information.
Washin Golden Springs Facebook  and the specific Video 


Community Feedback


          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?


I’d love to hear your thoughts.






I’m still here.

          I was just checking some posts on this page and realized it’s been awhile since I actually did an update. 

          For those that follow the Facebook and YouTube pages you’ll know I’ve still been posting updates of repairs and other items but the PodCast and Blog posts have some gaps.

[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]     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. 


          You are probably wondering about the picture. I was volunteering at the Cheaha Challenge Bike Races and they wanted to know if somebody would dress as the devil and motivate the riders. 

Stay tuned and keep the comments and questions coming.




Hiring Employees- Direct or Through an Agency?

Hiring Employees- Direct or Through an Agency?

          A few weeks back I contacted a Staffing Agency about getting some more attendants at the store.

          Here is the video I posted


Now it’s time for some updates.[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]

          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 couple 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 /eliminating and payroll headaches the ~40% the Staffing Agency charges are 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 prevented 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 whatever they sent me and I am better for the experience. So it’s not a new thing.




EP 54 An Interview with Steven Ste. Marie


           Today we talk with  Steven Ste. Marie an owner from Milwaukee about how he got into the Coin Laundry Industry and how he supported the local community with a mural on the side of his building.





[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]

Celebration of Bay View Mural

Image Source:


Here’s some of Steven’s Background:


          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.


Bay View Maytag Laundromat


Steven Ste Marie

Check out the Bayview Maytag Laundromat Facebook page and Steve Ste. Marie’s Linkedin profile.


Thanks for listening!


Are you headed to the Clean Show in Las Vegas June 5-8? If you are I’ll see you there.

If you have a chance please LIKE our Facebook page. I post tips and videos that don’t make the main blogs. Also I will be LIVE at the CLEAN Show in June. 

Episode 53 – Clean Show 2017- Training Seminars

 Clean Show 2017- Training Seminars



Clean Show 2017 – Training Seminars

          Below are the seminars available at this year’s 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.[read more=”Click here to Read More” less=”Read Less”]

 Check here for the most up to date list Clean show Seminars

Monday, June 5

  • 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.