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    Hiring Employees

    In the past I have hired directly to my staff, mostly by posting a sign in the window and collecting applications.

    This time I thought I would try and different method and go through a staffing agency.

    Check out the video of some of the details.

    I do have to add that the first person I was meeting with didn’t show up. I called the agency and they said her excuse was she had an issue with a kid at school. This was 30 minutes after our meeting time.

    She then called me and said she had an issue so she called the agency and asked for my number. No, actually I asked them where you were.

    I may have been OK with a call saying she was going to be late or ask to re-schedule but not 30 minutes after the meeting time.

    Stay tuned for more updates as I work through the process.

     

    Ken

     

    Episode 48 – Wash-Dry-Fold POS- With Brian Henderson

    Wash-Dry-Fold POS- With Brian Henderson

              Today we follow up with Brian Henderson and learn more about his Laundromat tested and proven system for tracking Wash Dry Fold orders. 

              Brian Henderson is the owner of Wash-Dry-Fold POS: The Point-of-Sale System for Laundromats.  Founded in February of 2016, Brian’s company is quickly approaching its first anniversary and has already seen some great success for a new business startup, grossing over $100,000 in sales and serving customers from as far and wide as Alaska to Florida to New York and California and everywhere in between.

              Brian’s company was recently featured in the November 2016 issue of Planet Laundry magazine in an article titled, “Filling a Common Need: When His Family’s Laundry Chain Needed a POS System for Its Drop-Off Business, Brian Henderson Created One – Now He’s Built a Company Around That Solution”

              Brian also serves as the operations manager of his family’s chain of three laundromats in northeast Oklahoma named Liberty Laundry, which consistently outperforms national averages for annual income in this industry on a scale of three to one.

              You can contact Brian at Brian@WashDryFoldPOS.com or head to the website WashDryFoldPOS.com

    Ken

    Speed Queen Bearing Change

                  One of my Speed Queen 40# washers had a main bearing start to make noise. we stopped using it and got on the phone to get some new parts on order and set up a repair.

                     This is not an easy repair and requires some special tool and techniques so you will probably want to call in an experienced Tech. There is also the issue that if there is a problem during or after the installation your machine isn’t down while you figure out what went wrong.

                    First I determined it was a bearing issue.

               Next step was to order the new parts. It is possible to just change the bearings and seals and not the entire tub, shaft and trunnion but we could not determine if any changes or repairs had been done since installation. To check this we would have had to take it apart, measure the shaft diameter, order the bearings and seals and then once they arrived, install them.

                 This particular washer sits right inside the front door of the store and is the only one of this size. The impact it has to our customers and our own Drop Off service is a lot. We have to use 2 other washers while this is down which reduces the volume we can get through the store.

            So the decision was made to spend the extra money and do it once. This also reduced the Service Tech time as there was only one trip.

               I made sure I had the parts at the store before we confirmed the date of repair. There’s nothing like paying somebody to show up and wait for a delivery with you.

    New Speed Queen Drum and Shaft

            The day before the repair I decided to have the motor checked at a local repair shop to make sure it was OK. I have had a number of dryer motors rebuilt by them so they will usually test motors while I wait and have them repaired the same day. The benefits of using a smaller shop and paying right away.

             It turns out the motor was fine so there was no charge. While your machine is down it’s a good time to check a few things and do some cleaning.

                   On the repair day I helped the Tech with some of the work. He did the work on the back of the washer, the heavy and tough jobs, and I did the work on the front. See the Time Lapse Video below of the repair.

                   As the drum needs to come out form the front you need to remove the cover, door, door lock and switches and the clamp that holds the front part of the tub together.

                I always take a picture of any of the electrical connections before I take anything apart. It’s faster then making a bunch of notes and saves my brain for other things.

               You may not have to remove the wires. It will depend on how much the assembly swings out of the way.

              The switches confirm the handle is shut and that the solenoid activated the door lock.

    Speed Queen Door Lock

                 Once all the parts on the front and the back were removed the drum was pulled out from the front. 

    Old Shaft From Speed Queen Washer

               While the Tech worked on the trunnion and some other items I used the time to do some cleaning around the front of the machine.

                 One key point to clean is the level sensor tube. On this model it connects to the bottom of the tub in a small drain. As it is connected to a horizontal tube there is about 4″ that sit flat. This will have a tendency to get full of gunk . Spend the time to clean it out. This will make sure you have a good level in your washer and  possibly reduce costs as a plugged line will add more water to the tub.

              You can pull the tube off of the level sensor and flush it out in a sink. The stainless tube is a little more difficult to clean.

    Level Sensor Tube

        Now it was time to put everything back together.  

    Speed Queen Bearing Trunnion

         The most difficult part on the front is getting the front piece of the drum and the clamp in place. It will take a few hands to hold it as you tighten it up. This needs to fit well to avoid leaks.

    As I put the door back on I made a few adjustments so it would close nicely. It seems the washer didn’t like that so much and the drum rubbed on the door glass when it was spinning with a load. So the door was adjusted slightly to correct this issue.

    Total time for the job was about 3 hours and we didn’t have any issues to deal with.

     

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Ken

    Grouting A Washer Base

    Grouting A Washer Base

              When a hard mount  washer is installed the steel base is bolted to the concrete, hence the name hard mount. Soft mount washers are not bolted down. The reason is that a soft mount washer inside tub is suspended by a set of springs / shock absorbers. Residential washers are made this way and commercial washers are available from some manufacturers in many sizes including 60# and up.

                Hard mount washers need to be bolted down to a solid concrete base to prevent them from literally moving around during the cycle.

                In many cases a separate steel base is purchased to be installed under the washer. This is typically made from  4″ to 12″ C-Channel and welded together.

    Speed Queen Washer and Base

              In other cases a concrete plinth is pored and the washer is bolted directly to it. These are typically finished on the front with tile to give a nice, easy to clean look.

                    For the washer to work correctly, and for the long term, it needs to be level and secure. They do have a vibration sensor switch that would be triggered if the bolts came loose or some other major failure occurred.

                   The steel base need to be built square from the start for things to work best.

               Once the concrete is cured, if a new floor was installed, the steel base is positioned and holes are drilled in 4 to 10 locations, and possibly more for vary large machines.

              The base is leveled with washers or steel shims and concrete anchors of 1/2″ and larger are used to secure the base to the concrete. 

                  In very few cases the concrete is flat and level enough that there are no gaps under the base but normally there are some spaces.

                  To provide the best steel / concrete connection possible and prevent any vibration due to the steel flexing over time a grout is installed between the steel base and the floor. This grout is sometimes referred  to as Precision or Machine Grout. It is a non-shrink material so once it fills a gap it hardens and stays the same size.

    Quikrete Precision Grout

                 Now there is some discussion about whether grout is needed if the floor is ” really flat” and other discussions about how thick the grout should be.

                  I have seen installations where the washer base is 3/4″ above the concrete and the grout is molded into place as it sets and fills the space all the way around. This does require more skill and longer time as each one has to be monitored as it sets up.

                My experience is that I want to fill every gap I can stuff it into and not have to worry about it again. The extra couple of hours and $50 in grout is worth not having a machine fail prematurely due to vibrations. Or worse to have the bolts pull loose from the floor and you have to remove the washer, drill new holes in the base and concrete and start over.

                  The washer in the pictures needed a bearing change and I have previously noticed there was almost no grout in the base so it seemed like a good time to tighten everything up. 

                   The grout does need about 24 hours to set so the machine needs to be off. This time will vary depending on temperature, water content, thickness and other factors.

                    As the washer was on the base I needed to be able to pour the grout in. I used the lid of a garbage can with a hole cut in it to act as a funnel. I also mixed the grout a little runny so it would flow in.

    Garbage can lid with hole used to pour grout under washer.

             Once it was poured in I set to work pushing it into the gap between the floor and base. You can see this in the video.

                       Any extra that gets on the outside can be pushed back into the gap or trimmed away as it sets. The residue can be cleaned with a damp cloth before it completely dries.

     

    A small trowel is used to push the grout into the gaps. 

                Installation in bases before the washers are set will normally use less grout as it’s easier to work it into the gaps and maintain the excess near the edges of the steel base. Pouring it in to a base with the machine on top was easier with the runny mixture and less than one bag was used so excess in the base was not a concern.

    Precision Grout being installed in the washer base.

            You will see a slight color change as the grout sets up and hardens and by the next day it should be set. As mentioned before there are some variables so don’t rush it. If you can leave it an extra day before running the machine or even installing the machines there is less chance of it being cracked or weakened.

    Finished grout in a washer base.

                 A smooth service is nice if you need to clean the area in the future but don’t expect it.

    That’s the basics of grouting a washer base. 

    Ken

    Ken Barrett
    Multi-Store Laundromat Owner, Business Coach, Author and Speaker.

    Episode 47 – Security Systems

    Security Systems- We all need them so get one that you can work with and think like a thief.

              You have a business and you have an income and there are people out there that want to take it from you. It only takes one to ruin your day.

              Having a security system is a basic need in the Laundromat business and your Insurance Company is going to want to know you have one as well.

              There are many companies out there, both national and local, so you need to find one that works well for you. 

              Personally I use SimpliSafe and I have just converted my last store to them.

             Why did I switch?

              I’m a hands on, do it myself type of person like many other Laundromat Owners so I don’t mind sticking a sensor to a wall and clicking a few buttons on my computer.

              With one of my old systems I had a problem with a water sensor. They said they would be there between 12 and 1. At 12:55 they arrived and started to work on them. It turned out both were bad so he replaced them. Then came the waiting time while there were programmed and tested and guess what?? Neither one of the new ones worked.

              So he had to order two more and schedule another time to show up. 

              I don’t know about you but I hate waiting around and then watching someone do things.

              Here’s the link http://simplisafe.com/ or you can send me an email ken@laundromathowto.com, I’ll send you a link and you get 5% off and I get a free month of monitoring. That’s how all this works.

     

    Ken

     

    The Prize Tub

    The Prize Tub

      At the Grand Opening of Washin Oxford in Oxford Alabama I was asked by the Chamber of Commerce to provide a smaller version of the ballot bin for use at Chamber events for collecting Business Cards.

           I looked around for something that would work well and be a good advertising tool.

                 This is the original bin used at our Grand Openings, I just realized I don’t have a post detailing that promotion…stay tuned for the details. Including all of the steps and costs.

    Washin Coin Laundry Ballot Drum

                  So after looking at a few options, including a toy washer I have used at various event presentations. This is available HERE

    Electronic Toy Washer

               This one would have been great but the drum was too small for more than a few business cards.

                  So I ended up buying a Manual Countertop Washin Machine

    EasyGo Washer Mobile Hand Powered Washing Machine

                   Next it was off to my local graphics shop. FreeStyle Graphics. These guys are great as I can throw some ideas at them and they make the magic happen

    Freestyle Graphics- Oxford AL

                       And what we ended up with was the Washin Coin Laundry Prize Tub.

    Washin Coin Laundry Prize Tub- Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce

                   This tub will be used at the entrance to every monthly event and any special events where names will be collected. These include:
              Business and Biscuits ( 35-60 people monthly )
              Business After Hours  ( 100- 300 people monthly )
              Various Public Events 

                   After the first use we have decided it needs some effects when it’s being tumbled so we may add some bells to the inside that make some noise.

       This is a reasonably inexpensive way to get your business in front of other business people in the community and creates a great piece for people to approach you and have a conversation.

           What are some of the out of the ordinary promotions you have run?  Let me know in the comments.

    Ken

    Ken Barrett and Jock Burgess 979WVOK Oxford AL

    How To Clean A RINNAI On Demand Tankless Water Heater

    How To Clean A RINNAI On Demand Tankless Water Heater

                On Demand, or Tankless Water Heaters, run the water through a small heating surface. Like the elements in an electric water heater these Heat Exchanger Plates can built up with calcium and other deposits and reduce the heating ability of your Water Heater.

    RINNAI Water Heater
    Tankless Water Heater Connections

     

            As I mentioned in a previous post,  Water Heaters- Tank or Tankless, the flow is reduced on a Tankless water heater to maintain the output temperature. So if the heat transfer efficiency is reduced it will take longer the fill your machines and increase the cycle time of the washer.

                Cleaning these water heaters involves a couple of hoses, a pump, some vinegar and some time. In the video I explain how the hose connections are set up and , hopefully, you have the correct valves installed that allow you to flush each unit individually without disconnecting any pipes.

     

                  It seems like the rubber hoses I used may have broken down a little with the vinegar and there may have been some debris in them as well. I had bought a 25′ garden hose and some new ends so I could cut the hose into the lengths I needed and when I was getting the tools out of my trailer I saw the hoses and thought “That will be easier” as just grabbed them and off I went.

                 If you are not sure that your hose will be OK in the vinegar cut a small piece and soak it in some vinegar for an hour or two and see if it is sticky, soft or breaking apart.

             One thing you don’t want is the hose splitting open and  vinegar spraying around.

                The directions do recommend that your pump moves 4 gallons per minute. The pump I used was about half that as it was all I could find at a reasonable price. With a little more planning you may be able to find a small electric pump that will meet the requirements like this one HERE.

                If you are using a drill pump it will be quite noisy and make sure that the ventilation holes are not covered so it will not overheat.

     

    Ken Barrett
    Multi Store Laundromat Owner, Blogger and Speaker.

    Ken

     

    Freaky Doll At The Laundromat

    Freaky Doll At The Laundromat

              I pulled up to the store one morning and saw a doll on a chair outside. As I walked by I clicked the remote to lock my doors and…..

     

     

     

    It’s never boring around here.

    Ken Barrett
    Multi Store Laundromat Owner, Blogger and Speaker.

    NAHB- IBS Show 2017

    NAHB- IBS Show 2017

    National Association of Home Builders- International  Builders’ Show – Orlando Jan 2017

             I spent a few days last week at the IBS checking to see if there were any new products that may work in the Laundromat / Coin Laundry Industry. And it was in Orlando in January.

                 I’ll start by telling you that it’s a big show. It covered the West and South Buildings of the Orange County Convention Center as well as some of the parking lot.

    Orange County Conference Center- Orlando FL

                 I arrived on Tuesday morning so I was able to head straight over and get started. I covered the South Building and had to speed through the last few aisles to finish up before it closed at 5.

                   Did I mention the parking? When I arrived around 11 I think they were almost out of spots. It took about an hour to actually get parked and that was after jumping a curb and finding a spot on the grass. So now at 5 everybody was leaving and it was jammed.

                   Total steps for the day.. about 17,000.

                  The next day was an early start and a trip through the main building. This was where the big names in bath, kitchen and construction supplies were set up. I have never seen so many toilets, faucets and door handles in one location.

               I’ll skip through all of the details but today’s total was a little over 21,000 steps.

             Now out of all that did I find anything of value for the Laundromat Industry?

                    A new trend in toilets has the tank installed inside the wall with only a “Flush Panel” and the bowl exposed. The flush panel allows access to the tank valves.
    Why would that be an option for a Laundromat? What if that 6″ you saved was the difference in getting the room ADA approved without having to move a wall?

    Geberit US Concealed Tank Toilet

    They can be installed in new construction or renovations.

                      Another option is the Thetford WasteWater Transfer System. These are a great option if you need to move a toilet, restroom or install a new one and you don’t want to cut the concrete or maybe the sewer is not in the area.

    Wastewater Transfer System

                   This system uses a macerating pump to push the waste up or over to where you have a sewer connection.

            There was a display that had an adjustable height sink as well. It can be used along with the in-wall tank toilet and allows the sink to be raised and lowered by pushing a button and using some slight force. 

    Adjustable Height Sink

    There was a number of the Water Heater Companies there as well including AO Smith, Rinnai, and American Standard.

    Rinnai Free Standing Tankless System

         As a mechanical- type guy I found the show pretty interesting. Doors, windows, taps and other flashy things didn’t really get my attention but the sections with building systems (ICF- Insulated Concrete Forms) always get my interest.

            Time to rest my feet for the next big show.

     

    Ken 

     

    Do you have Questions or  Ideas for future posts or PodCasts?

    Drop me an email at Ken@LaundromatHowTo.com