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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 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.



Ken Barrett at Eastman Worlds of Work 2017
Oxford AL


Attendants- A Posting Option- Facebook

Attendants- A Posting Option- Facebook     

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

    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.

     Today I put a post together on the store’s Facebook Page

         Here are all the details. Feel free to cut and paste for your own use.

Help Wanted Post- Washin Golden Springs

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.
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.
Customer Support
Handling cash, making change, tracking.
Store Cleaning
Inventory, stocking vending machines.
Store Cleaning at other Locations in Anniston and Oxford

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

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

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 [/read]
Ancillary Profit Centers

Ancillary Profit Centers In Laundromats

Ancillary Profit Centers In Laundromats

     Should you offer ancillary profit centers in your Laundromat?

     Ancilliary profit centers are any item or service you offer that is outside of the basic washers and dryers.

     These centers could be soap sales, snacks, drinks, Drop Off Laundry Service, tanning, video games and many others.

     As a business owner you need to determine what other profit centers would work well in your store, what benefits your customers experience and is there truly a profit.

     To determine your profit you need to include all of the costs from time spent ordering items to the power used by the equipment.

      According to the Coin Laundry Association, 96% of the coin laundries in the United States offer some type of ancillary service

Extra Profit Centers: Statistics

Extra Profit Centers: Statistics

The ancillary services above are ranked by the percentage of coin laundries that offer the service


      Before adding any additonal product or service in your business ask the basic questions:

     – Is this a want or need for my customers?

     – What is the total cost to implement and maintain?

     – Do I have the ability (manpower, space, time) to implement and maintain?

     – Is there a way to outsource the product or service?

     – Is this venturing too far out of my original business plan?


         Many investors in Laundromats are looking for a business that requires a limited amount of time, inventory and headaches.

     If this provided value for you please comment and share below.


Ken Barrett
800-792-1941 ext 2

P.S. If you would like information on Blog system and how to use it in your business CLICK HERE




I just wanted to talk a little bit about ancillary profit centers. Our main business is laundry and a few of the different things that get sold to them; soap, bleaches and couple things like that but the basis of the business is self-serve laundry. Some Laundromats have taken to looking at what are the different ways to increase profits, use space better and stuff like that. Like anything, there’s a lot of thought that needs to be put into each of the different ideas. Is it good? What’s the real baseline cost to it? Sometimes you might try it out and think it’s working pretty good, but then when you really run it for a while and work on it, the numbers don’t quite make sense.


Normally, you’re going to have your soap dispensers, the small vending soaps. It’s just a mechanical box, you put the coins in, you push the slider in, you turn the screw and the box of soap drops out. Fairly reasonably priced, it’s a simple system, they go from a four slot to an eight slot. You might have some laundry bags in there, just a plastic bag if they don’t have a way to get stuff back home. That’s your base line, you’ll find that in every laundry. The next step is getting into more of a vending machine type, where you can sell some bigger soaps, a bigger variety of soaps. It might be something that you’re going to use for four or five loads of liquid soap as opposed to just a single box of powdered soap. That’s still just the basis of the industry.


The next sections from there are going to get into starting to have snack machines, drink machines, those sort of things. I’ve got a variety of stores, one of my stores doesn’t have anything more than a soap dispenser and that’s it. One of my other stores, I have a drink machine in there that’s supplied by a local soft drink company. They maintain it all, they look after it. They mail me a check once every three months that probably just covers the cost of the power to run it. It’s really not a profit center for me, it’s more of a convenience for customers, but at the same time, it’s not inconvenient for me. If there is a problem with the machine, I might get a refund slip and I’ll give them a refund for a dollar or whatever, so in that situation, I’m really losing money, but people think it is mine because it’s in there. Also, by the time I get a hold of the other company, it’s not worth the hassle. Might as well just mail a check out for $1.35 and keep my customers happy.


The other store I have, I have a snack vending machine and a drink machine. The drink machine, right now, I’m having problems with it, I need to get it replaced. So we’re just selling drinks over the counter from the attendants in a small fridge. The snack machine, I got a really good deal on it. It was used but it works great. The slots work on it and the coin mechanism and stuff. We keep it stocked up and full, it takes about an hour a week for one of my attendants to fill it up. I actually have somebody in early on Monday mornings to inventory the snack machine, fill it up, and make sure we’ve got all the stuff from the storage area into the working area of the store.


We’ve got a couple months worth of supply in the back, and we don’t want to have it all that out there. We have somebody that brings out enough to keep it in the main area of the drop off area, that way we have enough there without having too much. If something happens and I can’t get more supplies right away, I’ve got enough there to get through. If I just have a really bad month, I don’t have to worry about going in to buy stuff. It takes about an hour a week. There’s numbers to look at on that, there’s my time to go get the supplies, buy the supplies, restock the vending machines. To try and buy those then get it delivered, you’re really starting to add some costs onto it and you’d better be making pretty good volumes out of it to cover the costs. I buy mine at a local membership, big box warehouse type store. I go down there about once every three weeks, maybe once a month and load up this little VW to the top with everything I need for the store. There’s a few specialty items I do order and get them dropped off, but for the most part a lot of it comes from there.


The vending itself, as much as it seems like it’s making money, you really need to look at your situation. If, let’s say, out of your vending machine, you make a hundred dollars profit at the end of the month. And that’s counting in some of the losses you have for outdated snacks that you got to pull out because they’re past their due dates, etc. Out of that $100 dollars, if you’ve got an attendant that spends an hour a week on it, even at minimum wage, you can round that up to about $10 bucks an hour pretty quick. There’s $40 dollars gone. If you’ve got to spend two hours driving down to get the supplies and bringing them back and unloading them, depending on whether it’s just adding on to what you’re already doing or if it’s an additional trip, you’re down to $60 dollars profit here. If it’s a couple hours, what’s your time worth? Is it $30 bucks an hour? Then you broke even. Is it $20 bucks an hour? You made a bit of a profit. You really got to kind of look at those and go, where’s the difference between just having it there as a convenience for the customers and if you’re just doing it for that and you’re not worried about the profit, why not just contract it out to a vending company and have them come in and deal with it all? They can deal with the waste, the extras and the supplies.


It’s something you just need to weigh the options on. The numbers might look great up front, and if you’re just using an attendant who’s there anyways to keep it stocked and inventoried, then you don’t really have that cost. With myself, I’m busy enough with my attendants that I don’t want to leave it to somebody during the week, because they just don’t get to it, it’ll just empty out. It’s better to have it done at that same time every week. Bring somebody in for a few hours, get it all done. They focus on that and they’re not just trying to fit it in when they can.


Other laundries, they’ve taken it to the next level from that. They might have put in a tanning salon or gaming machines, just a bunch of different stuff like that. You get an old arcade game, which takes up the same amount of space as a washer. You really got to weigh that around, you want to have something for the kids to do. Question is though how many of those do you put in before you start wondering, ‘Am I making more money on laundry or on running the arcade games?’ Also, if the arcade game breaks, how long is it going to be before you can get it fixed? At the very least, get it out of the way. Nobody wants to keep coming in and seeing the ‘out of order sign’ on it. Kids start getting frustrated, because they were playing it and having a good time once a week, and now it’s been out of order for a month. Look at the different base stuff you have to provide. Your minimum is single load vending soaps. Everything else beyond that is another profit center, but is it really a profit center that’s going to make a profit?


Look at your time, your attendant’s time, if you need to bring in extra people. Is there any losses in waste? How much inventory do you have to have? If you’re looking to just have an unattended laundry, with somebody coming in once in a while, you don’t want to have inventory, that’s the idea is to have a non-inventoried business. Throw those around, see what works for you, but really, truly, weigh the cost of what it is and don’t forget your time. Your time is worth something too, and put a dollar figure to it. If you want to be $30 bucks an hour or $50 bucks an hour or $100 bucks an hour. Put a dollar figure to it and whenever you’re calculating stuff, whether it’s counting money, working on machines, just driving between stores. What is that dollar figure that you’re worth and at what point do you start paying somebody else to do it? Think about those ideas and I’ll talk to you later.