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Laundromat general questions

MEP001

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I have a business partner wanting to build and open a laundromat in a small town, and we both have a lot of questions before getting started. I suppose first would be a more appropriate forum, since this one has almost no laundromat discussion. Preferably one where no one is constantly pushing their dollar coin agenda, since we'll most likely keep it as cashless as possible and may try to keep it open 24 hours.

What machines are most reliable? Is there anything out there if you had a "money is no object" plan to build one that you'd choose? We'd consider buying used and refurbishing, but as usual I get to do the work and don't have time to always be working on machines.

There's a good location we're looking at, but it's just outside of the city limits, literally just 1000 feet or so, but the highway speed is 55 there. I'm concerned people won't want to come out of the center of town where the only other laundromat is, even if they have to wait a couple hours for machines. It's a small town of barely over 5,000 with lots of older people who don't like to drive far. Land is super cheap outside of town, but in town it's pretty packed and about twice as much money.
 

MEP001

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Screw them, they've pre-banned my email address for some reason.
 

tdlconceptsllc

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I want to learn off this thread also I have a 1000-1200 empty laundrymat building no equipment that came with a ss wash I just acquired its been closed for 15+ years and in a good spot. I am wanting to know more about the equipment side like Ridgid mount vs soft mount machines, hot water, a older guy told me he likes dexter T series, but I am like Mep I don't know what's good brands easy to get parts for all that good stuff. Example I imagine it's like carwash equipment I like all ss equipment that ends with Pride and someone else loves jim coleman and where I live you couldn't give one away but in GA, AL, TX people love them and there nothing wrong with that . I wonder if the laundrymat convention is as good as the ICA show and would be benifital
 

MEP001

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I e-mailed the admin of coinwash.com as instructed but I've gotten no reply.

I don't even know what rigid mount vs soft mount means, I'm guessing rigid is a row of machines bolted to something or together where soft is individual machines just sitting on the floor.
 

JGinther

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We have a 2400 sq ft laundry. Similar situation as TDL. It was a salon that was originally built to be a laundromat. Since the utilities were already in place, there was a significant savings to make it into a laundry as was originally intended when constructed.

We ended up building a Dexter laundry and installed used dryers and some washers that we acquired from a laundry that was closing an hour away. Our location was tucked in between many many older apartments. It ended up being a strong location and I'm glad we did it, but I am far from an expert... I only have one experience. Looking back, I would have bought all new equipment for the reason that all of it would be on dexterlive when only our new machines are otherwise compatible.

The machines are much more reliable than car wash equipment in general, so used isn't a bad idea... But for us, if we would have known the strength of the location ahead of time, we would have been better off buying new simply for not having to deal with other small repairs as often.

Hard mount is just like Mep assumed... Firmly mounted to thick concrete with very serious anchors (epoxied in even) so that the machine will not vibrate during extraction cycle. Soft mount are like home models that just sit in place and use a 'suspension' system to absorb the shock. The technology of soft mounts have come a long ways over the years, but it still means more moving parts to wear out vs a strong main bearing and a strong frame that just stays put. The only advise I have, is the crappier the place, the better your laundromat will do. I wouldn't look at if there's not one to compete with, as much as if the place is just generally in a low rent and populous area. Also, if you have transient workers (ie. oilfield), that can be incredibly helpful for customer generation and fluff/fold service. Also, don't discount how much a large washer will make. Having several of the largest machines in town is a big draw and is a time money/saver for the customer and end up making the majority of the business. We didn't even do any top load machines, and I think I'm glad we didn't... All stainless steel washers and dryers make a nice looking place.

Lastly, I would reconsider going cashless... Its very heavy cash vs credit card since the customer demographic is pretty much low income only.
 
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tdlconceptsllc

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I e-mailed the admin of coinwash.com as instructed but I've gotten no reply.

I don't even know what rigid mount vs soft mount means, I'm guessing rigid is a row of machines bolted to something or together where soft is individual machines just sitting on the floor.
100% correct I have heard rigid is the way to go bolt down to concrete but I am clueless
 

tdlconceptsllc

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We have a 2400 sq ft laundry. Similar situation as TDL. It was a salon that was originally built to be a laundromat. Since the utilities were already in place, there was a significant savings to make it into a laundry as was originally intended when constructed.

We ended up building a Dexter laundry and installed used dryers and some washers that we acquired from a laundry that was closing an hour away. Our location was tucked in between many many older apartments. It ended up being a strong location and I'm glad we did it, but I am far from an expert... I only have one experience. Looking back, I would have bought all new equipment for the reason that all of it would be on dexterlive when only our new machines are otherwise compatible.

The machines are much more reliable than car wash equipment in general, so used isn't a bad idea... But for us, if we would have known the strength of the location ahead of time, we would have been better off buying new simply for not having to deal with other small repairs as often.

Man your site sounds almost identical to my location. How is the expensises compared to the carwash business and the net profit vs the cw business. Thank you for sharing info seems like a very tight lipped industry vs the car wash business

Hard mount is just like Mep assumed... Firmly mounted to thick concrete with very serious anchors (epoxied in even) so that the machine will not vibrate during extraction cycle. Soft mount are like home models that just sit in place and use a 'suspension' system to absorb the shock. The technology of soft mounts have come a long ways over the years, but it still means more moving parts to wear out vs a strong main bearing and a strong frame that just stays put. The only advise I have, is the crappier the place, the better your laundromat will do. I wouldn't look at if there's not one to compete with, as much as if the place is just generally in a low rent and populous area. Also, if you have transient workers (ie. oilfield), that can be incredibly helpful for customer generation and fluff/fold service. Also, don't discount how much a large washer will make. Having several of the largest machines in town is a big draw and is a time money/saver for the customer and end up making the majority of the business. We didn't even do any top load machines, and I think I'm glad we didn't... All stainless steel washers and dryers make a nice looking place.

Lastly, I would reconsider going cashless... Its very heavy cash vs credit card since the customer demographic is pretty much low income only.

Thank you for sharing your site sounds identical to my location. What's the expensises vs carwash business like as we know a wash expenses are high. How's the net profit ratio vs a wash also. Thank you for the info. Would you go back with Dexter on a site again. The laundry business is more tight lipped vs the wash industry I have found lol
 

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I’m not a laundromat owner, but I occasionally use one if I have a large item I can’t fit in my washer at home. It seems like 95% of the washing machines I see in these places - the standard sized ones - not the triple loaders- are Speed Queen. Ten years ago, I had to replace my washer at home and went to an appliance store- saw they sold Speed Queen. Salesman said they were build Iike tanks, and will outlast anything else on the market. Bought it, and in ten years, I replaced the belt about six months ago- that was it. Runs like the day I got it. Simple, no fancy electronics - but cleans and runs very well. Just my 2 cents.
 

tdlconceptsllc

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I’m not a laundromat owner, but I occasionally use one if I have a large item I can’t fit in my washer at home. It seems like 95% of the washing machines I see in these places - the standard sized ones - not the triple loaders- are Speed Queen. Ten years ago, I had to replace my washer at home and went to an appliance store- saw they sold Speed Queen. Salesman said they were build Iike tanks, and will outlast anything else on the market. Bought it, and in ten years, I replaced the belt about six months ago- that was it. Runs like the day I got it. Simple, no fancy electronics - but cleans and runs very well. Just my 2 cents.
I have a Speed Queen washer and dryer at my home also lol have turned many people onto them since
 

JGinther

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Thank you for sharing your site sounds identical to my location. What's the expensises vs carwash business like as we know a wash expenses are high. How's the net profit ratio vs a wash also. Thank you for the info. Would you go back with Dexter on a site again. The laundry business is more tight lipped vs the wash industry I have found lol
I have pretty much zero complaints about Dexter. For sure would use them again. Not saying soft mounts don't have their place... They definitely provide some benefits. But like most decisions, it comes down to what the owner values... Marketing and 'performance' vs simplicity and reliability. I've learned over the years that the whole atmosphere that you provide gives a cumulative impression that far outweighs what brand x versus brand y can do. Focus on providing a good experience, the rest is just details and expenses.

Expenses, just like car washes are quite variable based on how you run the business. Chemical isn't a part of the equation, which can be a large part of a successful car wash expense, but energy and water use is directly tied to revenue - making it easy to understand margin on direct expenses. Maintenance and parts costs are lower than car wash, but we fix everything ourselves. I don't know what it would like if we didn't. I see many mats with more out of order signs than working machines. I don't know if its because they don't know how to fix them or if they don't want to pay someone until they can 'afford it', but I imagine that murders their customer perception of their business, and revenues go away faster than expenses build.

We run ours with more than 1 attendant on hand at all times and another one at the car wash, so expenses can climb fast, but the goal is to cover that expense with 'full service' choices like fluff/fold. We would never run a 24 hours service, but that is because of the location.. It could work out for others. I like the peace of mind that comes with closing the doors. I really would like to put up an electric fence and a junkyard dog at the car wash after 10pm also, but its just not that simple.
 

mjwalsh

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Lastly, I would reconsider going cashless... Its very heavy cash vs credit card since the customer demographic is pretty much low income only.
Cashless for laundromats is not a panacea ... IMHO ... i am thinking it has more pandemic characteristics. Keep in mind with the total number of washers & dryers needed the # of card receptacles. On the imo "by far better" CLA forum there has been instances brought up by reputable operators who were on the receiving end of "chargebacks" with the CC company refusing to look at camera evidence because of "less than perfect" PCI-EMV compliance! Also once "cashless" becomes the norm ... there is less compelling reasons for merchant fees to not creep up higher.

More laundromats as time goes on are finding ATMs as an alternative to cashless. There is a carpal tunnel danger for many customers from having to put in too many quarters in larger machines because of "bad mouthing occurring" for heroic attempts to try to lobby for properly adjusting for the waterproof USA coinage in proportion to gradual inflation!!! Since the coin mechs in a laundromat do not have to be water resistant ... the cost of 100% reliable coin mechs can be far less than for car washes.

The laundry business is more tight lipped vs the wash industry I have found lol
I won't argue there. Also ... there are a lot more instances it appears in the car wash industry for operators to improvise & "heaven forbid" modify their equipment to improve it beyond just the current mega corporation factory-distributor. I am also referring to sometimes when it comes to the safety-cost balance.
 
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MEP001

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I see many mats with more out of order signs than working machines. I don't know if its because they don't know how to fix them or if they don't want to pay someone until they can 'afford it', but I imagine that murders their customer perception of their business, and revenues go away faster than expenses build.
I agree 100%. Same with laundromats not maintaining a changer. It just says to customers that the owner doesn't care. Many years ago I was an attendant at a car wash with another less than a mile down the road. The other had a really bad reputation that was made worse by the fact that they left cones by the equipment room door so customers could block off a bay after they lost money. Many dozens of customers told me about it, how pathetic it made it look, and how they'd drive past it to use the wash I took good care of. The funniest part is that the other wash was owned by the same guy who's the biggest PDQ distributor in Texas.
 

MEP001

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Cashless for laundromats is not a panacea
I'm not interested in your anti-credit, pro "waterproof dollar coin" agenda. I meant we'll provide every opportunity for customers to use credit, possibly offer rewards, depending on what's available. No ATM, either The plan is to minimize cash on the premises at night to prevent burglary.
There is a carpal tunnel danger for many customers from having to put in too many quarters in larger machines
This is literally the most ignorant thing I've ever read on this forum. You'd have to stand at a machine all day every day depositing coins for years, possibly decades, to get carpal tunnel syndrome.
 

mjwalsh

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The plan is to minimize cash on the premises at night to prevent burglary.

This would apply more to a 24 hr car wash ... not so much to laundromats ... IMHO

This is literally the most ignorant thing I've ever read on this forum. You'd have to stand at a machine all day every day depositing coins for years, possibly decades, to get carpal tunnel syndrome.
i beg to differ ... when it comes to people who already have a hand-wrist vulnerability. Large LAUNDROMAT machines are a huge investment so it is not that unusual for over 60 quarters to be required to start. Yes higher denomination coins like in most industrialized nations would help mitigate that.
 

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Do they have Bill acceptors on Laundrymat equipment ? Since we have been going to that on cw equipment why not have it where people can put a $10 bill in to start up?
 

MEP001

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I've been looking at some of the brands of machines online and none of them I've seen have a bill acceptor or any room to add one. I don't think I would if I could, nor would I out in a machine that wants $15 to start. In my experience, it's always the bigger washers that stand empty while people wait for the smaller ones.
 
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