Monday, July 18, 2011

Why Laundromat Income Can Decline In The Summer: Buyers And Investors Need To Know

Potential investors and Laundromat purchasers are usually unaware of the up-and-down nature of Laundromat income.  Income goes up and down like waves in the ocean.  If you buy your store in December - despite all the analysis and due diligence you do - it’s possible you may miss the fact that when the summer months come around, your newly purchased Laundromat will produce lower income levels.
Marta wears fewer clothes in July
If the best months of income production for your Laundromat are November, December, and January, the worst months will normally be June, July, and August.  Laundromats in the summertime can have a decline in income of ten to twenty-five percent.

My friend Marta comes from a family of twelve that regularly uses a Laundromat. Mom, Dad, five brothers, and four sisters are in her family. Her mom needs about eight to ten 20-LB washers to clean one week’s worth of her families clothes in December. The Ortez family uses the Laundromat every week and produces a very good income for the owner.
Why does income decline in so many Laundromats in the summer?  I knew the answer was easy, and I've heard it said a dozen times, but it just wasn't sinking in clearly in my brain.

The light bulb of understanding came on one day when I was visiting Marta and saw her coming down the steps from her upstairs bedroom.  It hit me right between the eyes!  Short shorts, halter tops, and bathing suits can fit into fewer Laundromat washers than long sleeve shirts, long pants, and hoodies.

In the summer, Marta’s family can fit their dirty laundry into six to eight 20-LB washers because her family wears fewer clothes in the summer months:  that's the simple answer.  Laundromats don't lose customers, they lose pounds of clothes to process.

Marta’s mom also doesn’t care if her boys wear their jeans for a few extra days - or it their T-shirts are worn an extra day or two.  During the school year, Marta’s mom ensures her boys go to school with clean clothes everyday – in the summer, not so much.

Marta's sister Maria in summer attire
If Marta’s family is typical – and I believe it is - the Laundromat owner receives about twenty percent less income from the same customer base. So now you know why I believe Laundromats make less income in the summertime.
It’s why I always explain the income cycle to anyone wanting to invest in the Laundromat business.  I want them all to view the income for an entire year.  If you believe that a picture is worth a thousand words, you know that Marta's picture clearly explains this phenomenon of Laundromat ownership.

There is, of course, always the exception to the rule.  Less income in the summertime may not happen to Laundromats that are located in resort areas or near the Beach.  In fact, the summertime can often be the best income months for a Laundromat owner.  Tourists can bring dollars to resort and beach businesses, including Laundromats.
                                       The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Saturday, July 16, 2011

How To Prevent Dryer Fires In Your Laundromat: Check For Lint

One of the biggest dangers to a total loss fire in a Laundromat is a fire that starts in a water heater, dryer vent, or dryer and rises up into the ceiling beams.  Once the fire gets to the roof, the years of heat – heat rises remember – may have dried the ceiling joists enough that they burn rapidly.

Once the ceiling - or roof really - is burning, there is almost no way for a fire department to prevent the burning away of the entire building roof and the eventual collapse of the burnt timber onto the Laundromat equipment.  Quite a mess in the ones I've seen.

In Laundromats, you normally see little fires – confined to a back room or a single dryer – or you get really big fires that result in the burning away of the roof structure and a total loss.
Shandra reads all the books and manuals     
My friend Tomas has a very smart girlfriend named Shandra.  She keeps their apartment spotless – believe me I’ve tried to find some dirt in her apartment – and Shandra tells Tomas to keep his Laundromat just as clean as she keeps the apartment.

Shandra loves to point out that the most common cause of major damage to Laundromat equipment is a fire that starts in a dryer.  She found a picture of lint burning in a dryer vent and showed it to Tomas.  Tomas brought it to me and thought it would be a good idea to put it on my blog and write about causes of dryer fires.
Every Laundromat owner needs to think clean, and should therefore check the inside of every dryer at least once a month to be sure there is no lint building up inside – usually just behind the drum.  At least once a year, an owner should also climb up on their roof and check to make sure the dryer vents are in place – wind can tip them over – and that no debris is clogging them.  Screens of any type, should never be put on your dryer vents.
During this annual inspection it’s a good idea to also pull a few vent pipes to see if any lint is building up in the exhaust vents.  The higher the ceiling – the longer the vent run – the more likely that lint will build up inside the vents.  Long screws holding the venting together can also catch lint, so the dryer manufacturers recommend using pop rivets when putting venting together.

I guess I should feel happy for Tomas to have such a smart girl like Shandra.  She reads all the service and installation manuals on the Laundromat equipment installed in Tomas’ store.   Smart, kind and intelligent and with any luck she’ll be married to a wonderful Laundromat owner one day.  What could be better?
                                The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Uniforms And Aprons For Laundromat Attendants

Available in many different colors
Most people tell me that a professional looking attendant adds to a feeling of style and security in a Laundromat.  I believe they look good and help your customers find the attendant quickly if they need any help in using the machines, getting change or a refund.
I have found that the best – and most inexpensive -  way to provide your attendants with a professional look is to buy some matching aprons.

They retail for around $8.50 each, and the source I’ve used is Happy Chef Uniforms (  A badge – or name tag – with the attendants name on it helps personalize the contact between customer and attendant.
Some Laundromat owners insist on having the name of their Laundromat printed on their attendant’s aprons.  It adds to the cost and may not provide additional benefit.

My girlfriend Melina is one of those people who believe she must personalize every aspect of her life.  She makes her own clothes, and when her uncle – who owns a Laundromat with three attendants – decided to explore buying aprons for the staff.  Melina insisted she be given the chance to design them herself.

After a number of design prototypes here’s the one she showed to her Uncle Marvin.   She eliminated the pockets and created a design that could fit into a Disney production of Snow White.

Attractive, but at $35.00 a copy, they are unnecessarily expensive.  Melina also ignored the fact that every attendant might not  have her hour glass figure – or perhaps more of the sand may be in the bottom of the glass of some attendants – so uniforms - or special designs - should first be practical for a variety of body shapes and sizes.
I recommend you buy aprons, not T-shirts – another popular option – or uniforms, because the majority of attendants appreciate the look and fit of an apron.  They are long-lasting – buy two for each attendant – and only a little more expensive than T-shirts.

Aprons are also unisex, so both your male and female attendants can wear them.  If you buy the ones with pockets in the front your staff will have a convenient place to keep their attendant keys and refund money.
Aprons can improve the look of your Laundromat for a very reasonable price.  On the other hand, you could hire Melina to design an outfit for your Laundromat, or just have her wear one of her outfits in your Laundromat.  ;)
                                                -The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why Giving Refunds Is Important For Laundromat Owners

Luz lives next door to my parents house.  I was talking to her over the fence in the back yard the other day, and - believe it or not - she started to discuss Laundromats.  Since I work for a Laundromat distributor, I guess that people figure I am fair game to talk with them about their Laundromat problems.

Luz has a cellphone and knows how to use it
It seems that Luz was using a local Laundromat and lost money in a washing machine.  She says she wasn’t paying attention and pumped four dollars worth of quarters into a front load washer that was supposed to start after inserting twelve quarters. (That’s three dollars for those of you who don’t have a calculator on their cell phone.) J

She told the owner about her loss, and the owner berated her in front of a bunch of other customers.   He told her that she was lying:  the washers only took three dollars to start, so how could she have lost four dollars?  He told her to fill out a card and he would consider refunding her three dollars if he could figure out if the machine was really broken.

I happen to know for a fact that Luz is an honest person.  There was the night at a family party where I dropped my purse.  My wallet fell out of it after a long night of partying at my parent’s house.  It must have fallen out as I crawled into the passenger of my designated driver's car.   The next day, Luz went over to my parent's and returned the found wallet she had found in the driveway to my mother.  All $46.00 was still in my wallet.  That’s an honest person.

Anyway, honest Luz was now on a rampage.  She was making it her personal goal in life to tell as many people as possible not to use the Laundromat that had stolen her money.  She had been on the phone all morning calling her friends and telling them to never use that Laundromat again.

All Laundromat owners should know the best form of advertising is word of mouth.  What many of us forget is the opposite is also true: when you offend someone, you have just bought yourself negative advertising.  Let’s look at what this $4.00  in a failed refund bought this Laundromat owner in negative advertising and loss of business.

The average customer uses six washers and dryers per visit.  The income of $2.50 average (per load) is $15.00 per week or $60.00 per month - multiplied by the eight people Luz convinced to never return to the Laundromat. That's $480.00 per month or $5,760.00 of lost yearly income.

The success rate of postcards is about 1-2%, and the sucesss rate of hand-delivered flyers is about 2-4%.  In order for the Laundromat owner to recover his lost income, he must send  over 2,800 flyers twice in one year to make up for his one moment of discontent over the request for a refund.  His $4.00 decision just cost him $5,760 over the next year.

Now, not every customer is going to react as strongly as Luz to bad manners.  Some are going to take it worse!  Women, particularly Hispanics, love to talk - perhaps even gossip a little - and have large families.   We love to talk about anyone who offends us, and thereby offends our entire 130 member extended family. :)

The moral of the story is “give the refund.”  The consequences are too great, if you are wrong, and - more importantly - even if the customer is lying, the cost to confront them is not worth it to the owner.
 –The Latina Laundromat Advisor

P.S.  Luz later did get $4.00 sent to her in the mail by the Laundromat owner when he discovered his coin mechanism was jammed, but I doubt Luz is going to spend as much time repairing this owner’s reputation as she did in tearing it down.  Take this advice to heart.

Why Do Customers Overload Washers And Dryers?

Belinda flutters her eyes and things happen. . .
My friend Belinda knows a lot about washing clothes.  However, she just flutters her eyelids and her boyfriend takes all her dirty laundry to the Laundromat and brings it back perfectly folded.  My boyfriend Chris takes my laundry to the Laundromat too.  I just give him a little flutter and poof; he's off to the Laundromat.  I watch novellas with Belinda while he's gone.

I'm thankful Belinda and I were taught by our mothers to know enough about washing clothes that we could properly train our men.  We hear the stories about the customers who stuff too many clothes in a washer and are then surprised that they didn't get their clothes clean.  I once saw a women start a top load washer, get the clothes a little wet, open the lid, and use a broom handle to push the clothes down so she could stuff more clothes in the washer.

Yes, she really did expect those clothes to come out clean!  I doubt if all the clothes even got wet.  I'd bet Belinda's smile that this person was never taught anything about washing clothes from anyone who knew anything.  Belinda and I, however, have taken the time to train our men how to separate colors and limit the number of clothes to put in each washer.  :) 

The rule is the same with dryers.  Some Laundromat owners receive complaints that their dryers aren't heating up enough, yet when they look at the dryer in question, the owners realize that there are so many clothes in the dryer, the heated air can't circulate in and around the clothes.  There's just one big ball of fabric going round and round.  In order to dry, there needs to be enough room so that the clothes can open up and the stream of heat can pass through and around the clothes, drying them.

I think explaning proper washing and drying to customers is helpful, but I think the lady with the broom is just waiting for you to leave or turn your back because she is going to load in two more towels and a blouse once you're gone.  In fairness, I guess some people are truly lacking in knowledge about washing and drying their clothes. You, as a Laundromat owner, are offering a self-service facility, so you're going to end up with a fair share of poorly educated washer and dryer users.

Learning is an ongoing process; this includes learning about washing and drying.  Some of your customers are the same people that dropped out of high school before graduation, didn't learn much when they were in our educational system, and didn't have two parents at home to teach them much of anything.  They may not have enough money or even a job in this current, deep recession.  You might try a little sympathy and understanding; try actually teaching your customers the proper way to use your equipment.

The positive thing for you is these people are in your Laundromat spending their money, so reduce your overload problems with a little education, compassion, and understanding.  

                 -The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Monday, July 4, 2011

Successful Laundromats Know How To Promote Their Business

Gabriella know how to promote a Laundromat
Gabriella is another girlfriend of mine who is a genius when it comes to inexpensive ways to promote her papa's Laundromat.  Now, if you own a Laundromat within a mile of Gabriella's father's store, you have to promise you won't use this idea in your own.  Raise your hand and promise.  Ok.  Then here's a promotion used by Gabriella:

Her favorite promotion is to get a big whicker basket and fill it with all the flavors of Tootsie roll pops.  She keeps the basket in the back room.  Whenever a child comes into the Laundromat, she (or one of the cleaning staff) grab the basket and take it out the children.

First, Gabriella asks the child's parent if it's okay with them if she gives their child a lollipop.  Gabriella is worried that one of the little kids will be diabetic, or - being raised by one of the new wave of parents who never allow their children to have candy - will sue.  Not many of these kids exist in the Latino culture, but there probably are a few.

Gabriella lets the child pick the color of lollipop they want.  This can take a long time, but all of the parents are watching and she wants to present a warm and understanding personality to her customer base.  This is surprising to hear from Gabriella because she once dropped a boyfriend because he wore the same shirt two dates in a row.

Gabriella once tried the same promotion using chocolate bars, but in the summer they melted, and in the winter they were much harder to clean up after the little angels dropped them on the floor.  Remember: if a child drops their lollipop, you whisper "three second rule" and convince them to pick up their own mess.  :)

The final step Gabriella goes through is to go back to all the mothers (and sometimes there are fathers, too) and offer them a lollipop.  This builds goodwill and makes all the children demand that their mother take them back to the lady with the candy.  It's the same concept employed by  Micky D's with their Happy Meal toys: keep the kids happy and the parents keep coming back.

This promotion is inexpensive, has few downsides and builds goodwill and store recognition.  It's really worth the effort.  Try it and let me know how it works for you.  Gabriella says she has two more great promotions, but will share them with us later.   

           -The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Getting Rid Of Ants In Your Laundromat

“Summertime and the living is easy, the fish are jumping and the cotton is high. . . “  You have to pretend you can hear me singing this classic ballad. I have to admit, the only cotton I’ve ever seen is in my boyfriend’s Fruit of the Loom jockey shorts.  But summer does bring something else besides jumping fish and tall cotton. Ants, yes ants, are living right here in River City, and ants can be irritating. 
Tia Estefana, the natural blonde and ant expert
Now let me digress, which I hardly ever do, but in English the word aunt refers to the sister of your mother.  The word ant refers to unwelcome little bugs that march around in your Laundromat in long lines.  Both words are pronounced, by most, in exactly the same way.  In Spanish, we’ve fixed the confusion, because sisters of your mother are “Tia” and the little bugs are referred to as “get the broom, oh my God, we’ve got ants again…”
I have a (sort of) relative who is older than I am, but is really a friend of my mother’s, and when we were growing up, we called her Aunt Estefana (Tia Estefana).  Now, Tia taught me how to bleach my hair until it turned pure white, put on a comical amount of makeup, and get men to give me extremely expensive sunglasses with the little crystal diamonds that always fall out . . . well you get the point.

Recently, Tia decided to tell me how she gets rid of ants.  She had read an article by Brie Dyas somewhere and I guess she’s combined Brie’s wisdom with her own and thought it would be useful on my Laundromat blog.
Tia Estefana is allergic to bug spray (but apparently not hairspray) and believes you can use household items to rid yourself of household pests.
- Cayenne pepper. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper is an irritant to ants, making them stay away. So sprinkle cayenne pepper where the ants are marching and this helps chase them away.  Also the red liquid in the small bottle from Louisiana also works the same way.
 - Baby powder. The cornstarch in baby powder (the kind without talc) is another irritant to ants.  Like the cayenne pepper, sprinkle it around where the ants are and wait. 
 - Vodka. A 3-to-1 ratio of vodka to water, poured into a spray bottle.   Spray it all over the Laundromat and behind the bulkheads. While it will kill ants, your Laundromat will also smell of vodka and it’s easy to “test” the mixture on yourself and eventually you won’t care if you have ants in your Laundromat.  I think Tia Estefana tested out her mixture and ended up naming the ants and talking to them like you would to a new born baby.
 - Dish liquid and water mix.  This is the most effective way to get rid of ants.  Use about two tablespoons' worth and mix into a pint of water.   Put the mixture into a spray bottle and start spraying near windows, doors and cracks, behind the bulkheads and don't wipe it away. This destroys the scent trail that brings more ants.   You can also spray any roaming ants with this solution and it will kill them surprisingly fast.   Please don't spray it where people walk, because then you'll have a slip and fall accident caused by the soapy water on your floor.  :) 
Hope this helps.  Thanks to Brie and Tia for these tips.      

               -   The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Laundromats Increase Their Profits With Commercial Accounts

Annie is known as "the Mouse"; she’s only 5 feet tall and as cute as a bug, but we call her mouse because it sounds better in English and better than bug. Annie believes that every Laundromat could improve their business if they sought out commercial accounts.  Here’s what Annie says, almost word for word:
Annie is tiny and often right

Take a drive around the market area of any local Laundromat. Most are well lit, clean, and visible from a major road. The same equipment is used practically everywhere. Still, one or two Laundromats in any given area are always bustling with activity unlike their competitors.

Time and again the owners of really busy coin-ops have discovered that their secret to success lies in commercial accounts.  Commercial accounts are any local business that may need their towels, linens, rags, uniforms, etc. cleaned in a Laundromat. If you really brainstorm a list you’ll soon recognize that the possibilities are almost endless: small hotels or motels, barber shops, beauty salons, restaurants, nursing homes, day care centers, health spas, auto mechanic shops, cleaning companies and car washes, to name just a few.
Many more target businesses exist. Try driving down any major street or along the beach with a note pad to jot down ideas. Also make use of the local yellow pages for even more potential accounts.

Commercial accounts are an excellent way for an owner to turn a modest Laundromat into a very successful one, or to put a good Laundromat over the top. The real secret behind this added business is that your Laundromat’s two largest expenses, typically the rent and mortgage payments, remain constant even though you’ve increased the sales and maximized use of the existing equipment and staff. Higher utility bills will be offset by the commercial revenue, leaving most of the profit as net to you.

Commercial accounts require front load washers the larger the better. You’ll also need someone to wash and package the loads, probably one or more attendants. If you choose to offer pick-up and delivery as an additional service you’ll need a reliable vehicle.

The best way to contact potential accounts in order to pitch your coin-op’s services depends on the range of businesses you’ve targeted. Some owners simply call or stop into a certain number of businesses each week; others mail a flyer or a business card, then follow up with a call or visit.

Persistence is a must during this process: 10 or 15 owners or managers may say no until one finally says yes. Remember too that some small business owners need to hear an idea a few times before they’re comfortable enough with it (and with you) to change the way they presently operate. Sometimes the owner of a seasonal business won’t feel they need your service if you pitch the idea during their slow times, but approach them again during their busier months and they may feel differently.

You may decide to market your commercial Laundromat service to a particular target group or niche. One owner targeted dentists and now has over 30 accounts, many referred by other dentists. Another has a goal of adding one new restaurant account each week. He now has 50 restaurants and is constantly adding more.

Other owners have one or two very large accounts, a large nursing home or sports complex, for example that give them all the business they can handle.

Some smart owners actually have a separate staff that processes their commercial accounts during off hours, when the Laundromat itself is closed to the public. This leaves the self-service customers all day to use the machines without interruption, and maximizes their coin-op’s efficiency.

Still think there aren’t many commercial accounts out there, or they are too hard to get? Take another drive by that busy competitor’s Laundromat. He knows the secret that a few phone calls and some legwork bring in big rewards. Now you do, too.

That’s the message from Annie the Mouse. 

Big ideas can sometime come from small sources.  :)  Now it’s up to you to decide if you want to expand your profit margins by grabbing a portion of the commercial accounts business for youself.  

           - The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Fluff and Fold Service: How To Do It Step-by-Step

Juanita says to try a Fluff and Fold service.
I am very surprised by how many beautiful women are associated with the Laundromat industry.  Juanita is my girlfriend, and her boyfriend - Billy Joe - (who names their son Billy Joe unless you live by a creek?) owns a medium-sized Laundromat and is always looking for ways to improve income.  This is a system Juanita found and is using in Billy Joe’s Laundromat.

Billy Joe is not a Latino, by the way, (a Latino would be named Jesus Juan) but he works hard and Juanita says she loves him.  My friend Juanita always thought that “Fluff and Fold” service did not work very well in southern California Laundromats, but she came across a system she thinks will make her money.

Juanita is one of those Latinas with blue eyes.  Her boyfriend calls her "Nita," but I still know that her Hispanic roots and her hair roots are not as blonde as her picture shows.  :)

Here is her Step-by-Step system for achieving professional looking Fluff and Fold results.  You start out promoting your business by giving new customers a “first time free try” to build your drop off business reputation.

1)     Start with a supply of wash dry fold tickets. Use the type that are numbered at the top and that come with three-part or NCR (no carbon required) paper. Weigh the incoming order while the customer watches, and note the number of pounds and the cost on the ticket, along with the customer’s name and telephone number. Then give one of the ticket copies to the customer. With a three-part ticket, you should keep the top original copy, the customer gets the second copy and the third stays in the ticket book.
2)    Sort the clothes according to light, dark, towels etc. As you sort the order check all of the pockets and use a pre-spotting spray as needed. Wash your orders in front loaders whenever possible. They give an excellent wash with three rinses, are reasonable on water consumption and dispense the fabric softener automatically. Use a cold-water wash and cold-water rinse to minimize utility costs, and to avoid unnecessary shrinking and colors running.
3)    Use tabs marked with the ticket number and tape one to each machine used for the order. Also tab any hamper or basket belonging to the customer. These numbered tabs are important in helping to remember which machines correspond to each order. This system also helps keep attendants honest by making it difficult to take in orders without writing out a ticket. Tabs follow the order from the washers, to the dryers, then to the rolling carts, then the folding tables.
4)    Require petty cash slips for each wash dry fold order. The attendant notes the customer’s name and ticket number on each slip and tracks how many quarters she used to process the entire order. (This forces the attendant to account for the exact amount of your money she uses for each order. It is also useful on the day you take money from the washers and dryers: prior to notating how much that week’s coin totaled, subtract the money used to process the drop off so you are only counting customer money, not your own, in your books.)
5)    Remove dry clothes immediately after the dryer stops and drape each garment neatly over the edge of the cart. Hang trousers and button-down shirts, and fold the rest uniformly. Fold each item into a square to make it easy to stack into bundles later for a nice presentation. Stack the folded items into neat bundles, with like items together and larger items on the bottom.
6)    Wrap each bundle with clear plastic or brown wrapping paper, both available in rolls, and tape shut securely. Arrange hanging with like items together and face each item the same way. Use a twist tie to secure the hangers, tied loosely enough to prevent clothes from wrinkling. Cover hangers with a plastic “dry cleaning” type of bag. Mark all items with the customer’s name and ticket number. Put folded bundles back in customer’s hamper.
7)    Keep entire order together until it is picked up.
8)    Keep a notebook in numerical ticket order and note the ticket number, customer name, date dropped off, dollar amount of the order, and date picked up. This book helps you track your weekly drop off sales easily. If a customer arrives without a ticket and wants to pick up their order, have them sign this book. Then if someone else, a spouse etc., brings in their ticket later, you can show that the clothes were picked up, by whom, and on what date.
9)    Save your ticket books and original tickets, banded together by week. Also save each notebook as it is finished. They will be valuable in the future when you sell your Laundromat and the buyer asks for proof of your drop off sales.
That’s the Juanita system, now see if it works for you. 

I’ll check with Juanita now and then to see how her business grows.  I hope it goes well for her because she has nothing else in her life going for her, no looks, no sex appeal. .  ;)  

                     –The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Water Backing Up In Your Drains - Maybe You Need A Professional Drain Cleaning

Sofia is another friend of mine whose boyfriend works for a drain cleaning company.  She tells me that her boyfriend works on drain problems in Laundromats all the time.  The major problem is that people don't realize that soap and lint form a very good material for clogging your drains.

Does Sophia think lint is cotton candy?
Some Laundromats need to have their pipes cleaned every six months, though some pipes last ten years or more without being serviced.  The better the construction when the pipes were put in, the longer the times between your need to hire Sofia's boyfriend.  If the pipes have a bigger drop (slope of the drain) and tie directly into the main sewer lines, they have fewer problems.  Plastic pipes also tends to clog less than cast iron pipes.

If you have a Chinese restaurant in your shopping center and your drain connects to the restaurant before the line gets to the main sewer, you likely have a lot of problems.  The grease, the soap, and the lint can cause lots of problems.

Another thing that can cause problems in Laundromats that have been around for a while (especially those with trees in the shopping center) is that roots can that grow into the drain lines.  The roots combine with the soap, lint, and oil from clothes and cause dams or blockages to be created in the lines.  On slow days, the water flows over the dams and you don't have a problem, but on busy days, the flow of water is so great that the water backs up into your store and sometimes your toilet.

Well, how often should you have the drains in your Laundromats cleaned? 

Sophia suggests every year for every Laundromat, but I think she just wants to get her boyfriend more work.  I think a reasonable time would be every three years, unless you have a problem sooner.  Be sure and have the standpipes cleaned as well as the main line.  Also tell the technician you want the lines cleaned all the way to the main sewer line.  Some drain technicians will stop right after they hit the first snag.  You want them to clean all the way to the main sewer.  After they clean the lines, they can give you a report and you can decide if you can lengthen or shorten the times between drain cleaning.

After the drain technician leaves, turn on a bunch of washers to ensure that any debris left behind in the cleaning process is flushed into the main sewer and doesn't remain to harden in your sewer line.  That's what I know about sewer lines, and just to let you know, Sophia sneezed for twenty minutes after getting some of the lint in her nose while taking the above picture.  :)

                 -The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Is Your Tankless Heater Banging, Clogging & Giving You Grief?

Alejandra can get you hot (water, that is)
If there’s one thing I see a lot of in my job working with a well-known Laundromat distributor, it's people who have a tankless water heater installed by someone who doesn’t know what they're doing and end up with troubles, troubles, troubles. 

My girl friend Alejandra is married to a man who owns three Laundromats.  Wait... I guess he owns 1 ½ and she owns 1 ½ of the Laundromats, but that’s another issue for another day. See, we always think of Laundromat ownership as an issue of "it's a man's world."  A tip of the hat to James Brown here is appropriate.
Anyway, he (or they) installed tankless heaters in one store, but the heaters were quickly clogged up by lime buildup.  Within three months of installation, the heaters started to bang and failed to deliver enough hot water for the washers.  Of course no one could figure out the problem, but I asked my senior associate (AKA "the Boss") and he told me about pre-filters to catch the lime before it gets into your system.
The screens behind Alejandra's washers were also clogged with what looked like dirt or grains of sand.  The screens would clog up so quickly that poor Alejandra’s husband was cleaning  the screens every two to three weeks.  Being a smart Hispanic woman, my friend found the solution was in a pre-filter.  I hate that she thinks she looks like Julia Roberts.  I hope she gets a pimple on her nose just before the next big family gathering.
However, Alejandra was good enough to bring me a picture to show you what the pre-filters look like installed in her heating system.  Now she doesn’t have the problem, but she is considering installing one of the new Ozone injection systems in her other two Laundromats.  The Ozone heaters will not only save a bundle of money in operating expenses, but give a large advantage over competitors both in other Laundromats and apartment washers by Sanitizing the water.
Anyway, if your current tankless water heater is banging and just not putting out, check out a pre-filter for your system.  The Latina Laundromat Advisor loves to help you solve your problems!
Here's what a pre-filter system looks like:

                                       -The Latina Laundromat Advisor

Laundromat Grand Opening Parties and Promotions

The best way to promote your Laundromat is through “word of mouth” advertising.  This means you do something special - or unique enough - that your customers tell their friends and neighbors.  One of the things Hispanics love, and I’m sure everyone else does, is a party.  I’ve arranged and promoted a lot of Laundromat grand opening parties and have gotten pretty darn good at it.
Marcie or a bicycle? 

I was telling my friend Marcie about one aspect of my grand opening Laundromat promotion that includes the giving away of gifts through a drawing held throughout the day.  I have balloons, candy, tacos, soda (regular Coke only for Hispanics, no Diet Coke please) and a variety of small gifts and toys.  I also usually provide one special Grand Prize, something like a child’s bicycle as the prize of the day.

Everyone who registers gets a number and the numbers are called out during the day.  The numbers are put up on a chalk board and people have three hours to come in and claim their prize.  Marcie asked me how many gifts I was giving away at one grand opening I was running and I said there were 120 gifts.  Marcie loves to be the center of attention so on the day of the grand opening she shows up at the party wearing a bow in her hair and claiming she would be one of the gifts.
She introduced herself to the two girls I had at the reception sign in desk, the clown, the face painting ladies, the balloon man, the taco cook and every customer that showed up that she was going to be the grand prize.  Imagine her surprise when the man who won the prize looked at her and the new bicycle for his child and choose the bicycle.  Marcie just doesn’t understand Hispanics. J

                                     -The Latina Laundromat Advisor