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Episode 33 – POS- With Brian Henderson Part 2

POS- With Brian Henderson Part 2

       This is the second part of my interview with Brian Henderson and his travels down the POS Road.

         We cover more of the details of what makes a great Laundromat Specific Point Of Sale system and how to get the right one in your store.

            When people hear the term POS a few things come to mind. In this Episode we talk about Point Of Sale Systems and the struggles to find one that will work with the Laundromat Industry.

 

          Brian Henderson has a lot of experience in this area and ventured down some roads that others don’t want to.

Here is some Background on Brian:

Brian Henderson

          Brian Henderson is the Operations Manager of Liberty Laundry, a highly successful chain of laundromats in northeast Oklahoma.  Since its founding in 2005 by Brian’s father John Henderson, Liberty Laundry has expanded to a team of 25 people, three locations, and continues to grow.  In 2006 Liberty Laundry was announced a top five runner-up inAmerican Coin-Op magazine’s “Coin-Op Beautiful Contest” as one of the nation’s most beautiful laundromats. 

Liberty Laundry         Lynn-Lane-1

 

       Additionally, Liberty Laundry was the first laundromat in the state of Oklahoma and one of the first in the nation to install credit card readers on every washer and dryer in its store.

          Brian Henderson came on board full time as the company’s Operations Manager in 2010 after graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in chemistry.  Brian is a self-proclaimed “laundry nerd” and says that he absolutely loves “talking shop” with other laundry owners.  He and his father John Henderson have written several articles for the CLA’s monthly trade magazinePlanet Laundry and are frequent contributors to the CLA’s online forums.

 

             Brian is a repeat guest presenter at the international laundry conference called the Clean Show, having participated in a panel discussion titled Best Practices for Wash Dry Fold and Commercial Accounts at 2013’s Clean Show in New Orleans.  Brian presented again at the 2015 Clean Show in Atlanta in a class titled Your Guide to Wash, Dry, Fold: Folding, Packaging and Presentation Techniques and spoke to a packed audience with standing-room-only in a presentation titledThe High-Tech Laundromat: Streamlining Store Operations Through Technology.

              Brian recently began a new business providing Point of Sale systems specifically tailored to the needs of fellow laundromat owners running a Wash-Dry-Fold operation and has already received a great response.  If you would like to learn more about this system then check out his new website at washdryfoldpos.com or email him at brian@washdryfoldpos.com

 

 Brian also lists some of the factors to look for in this Article in Planet Laundry.

           POS Systems: A Guide for Laundry Owners “Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Point-of-Sale System for Your Business.”

 

              For more information on the history of Liberty Laundry check out the PodCast at:

FOREFOUNDERS Ep. 14: The Bright Spot in a Dingy Industry with Brian Henderson of Liberty Laundry

Comments and questions are always welcome.

 

Ken

Episode 32- POS- With Brian Henderson Part 1

POS- With Brian Henderson Part 1

          When people hear the term POS a few things come to mind. In this Episode we talk about Point Of Sale Systems and the struggles to find one that will work with the Laundromat Industry.

          Brian Henderson has a lot of experience in this area and ventured down some roads that others don’t want to.

Here is some Background on Brian:

          Brian Henderson is the Operations Manager of Liberty Laundry, a highly successful chain of laundromats in northeast Oklahoma.  Since its founding in 2005 by Brian’s father John Henderson, Liberty Laundry has expanded to a team of 25 people, three locations, and continues to grow.  In 2006 Liberty Laundry was announced a top five runner-up in American Coin-Op magazine’s “Coin-Op Beautiful Contest” as one of the nation’s most beautiful laundromats. 

       Additionally, Liberty Laundry was the first laundromat in the state of Oklahoma and one of the first in the nation to install credit card readers on every washer and dryer in its store.

          Brian Henderson came on board full time as the company’s Operations Manager in 2010 after graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma with a degree in chemistry.  Brian is a self-proclaimed “laundry nerd” and says that he absolutely loves “talking shop” with other laundry owners.  He and his father John Henderson have written several articles for the CLA’s monthly trade magazine Planet Laundry and are frequent contributors to the CLA’s online forums.

             Brian is a repeat guest presenter at the international laundry conference called the Clean Show, having participated in a panel discussion titled Best Practices for Wash Dry Fold and Commercial Accounts at 2013’s Clean Show in New Orleans.  Brian presented again at the 2015 Clean Show in Atlanta in a class titled Your Guide to Wash, Dry, Fold: Folding, Packaging and Presentation Techniques and spoke to a packed audience with standing-room-only in a presentation titled The High-Tech Laundromat: Streamlining Store Operations Through Technology.

              Brian recently began a new business providing Point of Sale systems specifically tailored to the needs of fellow laundromat owners running a Wash-Dry-Fold operation and has already received a great response.  If you would like to learn more about this system then check out his new website at washdryfoldpos.com or email him at brian@washdryfoldpos.com

 Brian also lists some of the factors to look for in this Article in Planet Laundry.

           POS Systems: A Guide for Laundry Owners “Key Factors to Consider When Choosing a Point-of-Sale System for Your Business.”

              For more information on the history of Liberty Laundry check out the PodCast at:

FOREFOUNDERS Ep. 14: The Bright Spot in a Dingy Industry with Brian Henderson of Liberty Laundry

Comments and questions are always welcome.

 

Ken

Episode 31 – Utility Deposits

Utility Deposits

          Most Laundromats use Natural Gas for dryers and water heaters. There are some that use propane and a few that use power but natural gas is the most popular.
           Gas companies tend to like working with Laundromats due to the high volume of usage and the consistent year round demand.

          The gas company is going to require a substantial deposit. For a smaller store that may be a couple of thousand dollars and go up from there.

          Most utilities including gas, power and possibly water/sewer will accept a bond in lieu of a cash deposit. Although they will usually pay interest on your deposit I prefer to choose my own investments.

          The bonds can be issued through many insurance companies and possibly even a Bail Bond type company. I went with the same company that I have my personal insurance and company car with.

          The purpose of the bond is an insurance against you not paying your bill. If you go out of business and try and stiff the utility company they will just cash in your bond.

          You will probably have to personally guarantee the bond.  The insurance company will do credit checks and possibly have other requirements when issuing the bonds. I was OK on my first couple and then I hit a certain maximum limit so I had to provide more detailed information.

          Another advantage of the bond is it becomes an expense against the income. (confirm with your CPA). The cost is very low compared to the deposit. I typically pay less than $100 a year per bond.

          Many gas companies will have a sales rep for your area. Get to know them when you setup your first store. When I converted my 3rd store from propane to natural gas they did not require a bond as I had already shown a good payment history on my other two stores. The fact that they were different LLC’s was not even a concern.

          When you are starting out in the Laundromat business there are a number of small items you can learn that can save you thousands of dollars in investment or expense. 

          Looking for more information about Laundromat Ownership?
–> Check This Out. <–

 

If you have comments please post them below.

 

Ken

Episode 27 – Stolen Clothes and Social Media

Stolen Clothes and The Power Of Social Media

 

      A couple of nights ago I received a call from the Police Department of the town where one of my stores is located. A customer had completed her wash and moved the clothes to two of the dryers. She then had to go and pick up her kids from school so she left the store. One the way back she had a flat tire and changed it about a block from the store.

      When she returned her clothes were gone. She checked with two other women in the store and was told that another lady had just taken them.

      Her husband left in the direction the women had indicated.

      As the lady called the police the other women left the store.

      I was called to see if I could come up and look at the cameras and see if we could determine who took the clothes. After reviewing the video we found out it was the two women that were in the store and the clothes were actually in their truck when they were asked about it.

      I told her it would take me a little while to get the video reviewed and pull out the parts that may show who they were and I would post it on the Laundromats Facebook Page.

      I returned home with the saved video and found out I had saved the information for the wrong date.

      I posted on Facebook that the issue had happened and pictures and video would follow. The customer that had lost the clothes had already made some posts on her Facebook page about the issue.

      The next morning I went back to the store to collect and edit the video. I captured some still pictures and posted them on the page and then uploaded 3 videos.

      The page views for one of the videos was over 100 within the hour. I saved all of the video and pictures and created a “How To” page for the video player and dropped off the file to the Police station. We did a quick review to make sure the files were OK and I left it up to them.

      During the day I checked on the Facebook Analytics.

 

      The reach, page likes and shares just kept increasing.  The City had a population of just over 5,000 people but the posts had a total reach of over 8,600 by late in the day.

      Around 7pm I was looking at some comments and someone had asked about the post that the suspects had been found.

      I looked at the original customers status and saw

      “The police caught the girls who stole our clothes and recovered all our property!!!!!!! Girls are both in custody and warrants being sworn out by the sheriff tomorrow to send them to jail for term!! GOD IS SOOOOO STINKING AMAZING!!!!! Thanks to all who prayed and shared our status!!!!”

      It seems the vehicle had been spotted and was followed. The suspects dumped the clothes into a dumpster. The bags were then retrieved.

      Once they were arrested it turned out they lied about that and the clothes were still at their house.

      All of this happened in about 24 hours.

 

      At the time of writing this post they are still sorting things out and I’m sure there will be some charges against the suspects but fortunately the customer got most of her items back.      

      There are a few things that come up in this story we can learn from for our businesses.      
– Have cameras that work and know how to get the information out. In this particular store I had some problems with squirrels getting in the attic and eating the camera wires. I made sure I had at least a couple working until I could get things fixed.      
– Make sure you camera angles cover your important areas (the change machine is number one) but also consider what will support the police in an investigation. (parking lots)      
– Have a Facebook and or other Social Media page. Be ready to use it and be able to post the information.      – Work with your customers quickly if they have an issue. Some have the thoughts that they don’t want to post bad information about their stores on their pages. You can always take it down later but in this case the page was seen by more than the population of the city and my page Likes increased by over 10%.      
– Make it easy for the Police. I provided them a copy of all the raw video including the required Player file, still pictures of the suspects and vehicle, “ready to play” mp4 files of the best angle and the actual crime of them leaving the store and a “How To” page to explain the file names of the video files.     
      Check back soon and I will post a video showing how I made the information for the Facebook posts and what I provided to the Police.
Please Comment, Like and share if you got some value from this.If you have any comments, please post them below.
Ken

Water Leak In The Parking Lot

Water Leak In The Parking Lot

       I arrived at the store and found a nice stream in the parking lot. Not the way anybody wants to start the day. I called the city as it was leaking out of the ground beside a repair they had done a few years before.

       They said they would check it out and let me know. That was on Thursday morning. I never heard back from them so I assumed that it was something they were going to deal with. We all know what “assume” stands for….

 

        The city my stores are in is a decent size but I have found I always get great response to any calls to the utility companies.

          
       On Monday morning I was back at the store and the river was still running through it. A customer said he called the water department. I mentioned I had called the previous week and not heard back so I figured they were fitting it in to their schedule.

        A few minutes later they showed up and started checking it out. I mentioned about the call the week before and after checking found it had been put on a repair list and not an investigation list.

       They looked at a few things and determined the leak was inside the water meter and it was not their problem.

 

        Next was a call to the landlord. I explained the problem and was told. “OK”. I guess that’s a good thing.

          A few minutes later the plumber showed up and started determining the route the piping takes through the parking lot.

 

         Something I have mentioned before is that you should try and learn about the building and utilities that your store is in. It will help contractors diagnose problems and you can make sure that some work in a neighboring business doesn’t effect you. With 24 hour stores I need the utilities all of the time so I get nervous if a power company truck even pulls into the parking lot.

         At this point I let the attendants know what was going on and asked the plumber to let them know when they were going to shut off the water to make the repair. Normally I like to stay around but I had other appointments so I left it in their hands and everything worked out fine.

        Lessons Learned:
             Do your own investigation and determine the problem as best you can. As I did not even check the meter on the day I found the problem it would have been easy to see it was spinning and the problem was on my side. This was just laziness on my part.

            The water department will reduce the sewer charge on the next bill but the water bill will stand. Based on the conversation I had with the water department about 25 days worth of water usage went through the parking lot in 4 days.
           Fortunately we have very reasonable rates but in other areas this could be enough to wipe out any profit for the month.

An expensive lesson to just take a few minutes for a simple check.

             I lay it all out in here folks. Yes, we all make mistakes and I post mine so others can learn from them. And maybe have a laugh or two.

Ken

 

IPSO / Speed Queen Washer Not Draining

IPSO / Speed Queen Washer Not Draining

             A complaint we receive occasionally is that the small Horizon style front load washers “Didn’t spin my clothes out”. There may be a couple of issues that cause this. One of the main ones I have seen is an out of balance load that never gets a good spin. This can happen with a few pairs of jeans or 3 or 4 towels. In a top loader when a load was out of balance you would hear a thumping sound and the machine may walk across the floor. To fix it you just opened the lid, moved a couple of things around and away it went.

              This is not an option on a front load washer so the machines will slow down and try to re-balance the load themselves. In most cases after a couple of times enough of the water is spun out and the load balances so the washer continues through the cycle. 
            The tubs in these washers are mounted on 3 or 4 shock absorbers and offset with a steel of concrete counterweight. As the shocks start to wear they act more like springs and have a harder time balancing the load

          One of the first things to do is to run it through a cycle and see if there is water left in the tub. This can be caused by debris in the pump that is easily cleaned out by removing the insert in the front of the pump and pulling out the items. You will probably find a) bobby pin, b) bra wire, or c) necklace. sometimes there is a coin in there as well.

             In order to avoid a mess you can use a set of Pinch Off Pliers Available Here. Just use them to clamp the hose between the tub and the pump and the water won’t drain out when you work on the pump.

            Occasionally you will have a pump fail and need to replace it. That’s the position I found myself in after looking at everything else. Including checking the water flow out of the drain hose as sometimes they get plugged up with soap sludge.

           First you unplug the washer or turn off the breaker.

                Next step is to remove the cover below the door on the front of the washer.

 

              Inside you will see the pump. The position and orientation may vary between models but they are all very similar. This picture shows the location the pump is mounted in and the hose is the outlet to drain.

To remove the pump:
a) Clamp the hose from the tub to prevent water flow. The pliers don not need to be too tight as you are squeesing a rubber hose so it will seal easily and you don’t want to damage the hose.
b) Unplug the two electrical connectors and move them out of the way so they stay dry.
c) Loosen the hose clamps on the tub and drain hoses at the pump
d) remove the two mounting bolts between the pump bracket and the washer base.
e) disconnect the hoses and remove the pump.

              Once I git the pump out I looked inside and found there was some material behind the impeller.
 This would occasionally bunch up and stop the impeller form turning so the water could be pumped out. Once the pump stopped and the pressure from the material move the impeller it may or may not work the next time.

              I removed the material and bobby pin and reinstalled the pump.

          I put the new pump I had ordered on the shelf in case this was not the root cause and ran a trial cycle.
So far everything is working great .


Ken

Speed Queen Single Pocket Dryer

Random Laundromat Review

Random Laundromat Review

     As I travel around I stop at various Laundromats to see how they are doing and to get some ideas.

   This Laundromat needed some repairs and was missing a key piece of equipment. Can you spot it?

 

 

Ken