Surveillance Technology Continues to Improve – And It Provides Laundry Owners With More Benefits Than You May Think
A recent PlanetLaundry cover story discussed the ins and outs of laundromat security, with a good portion of that article highlighting the importance of surveillance camera systems and how the advancements in this technology have proven more than helpful to today’s self-service laundry owners.
However, camera technology is also a great tool for the full-service laundry operator as well.
At The Laundry Doctor, we use Nest cameras, but there are several other brands of cloud-based camera systems available that are just as good and relatively inexpensive. In fact, the technology seems to improving every day.
With regard to the full-service segment of your laundry business, what exactly would you use security camera technology for?
After deciding to get into the wash-dry-fold business, I was doing my due diligence and ended up chatting with a CLA member from New England. This gentleman was handling the drop-off laundry for several colleges in his area, and he told me that he had installed camera systems to monitor all of his wash-dry-fold production areas.
He explained why…
Apparently, at least two or three times per semester, usually at the end of the semester, some of his more industrious college-student customers would get the idea they could file fictitious lost-garment claims to score some extra beer money for end-of-semester celebrations. At least, that’s how this laundry owner figured it.
As a result, he installed cameras in the production areas so that when his employees dumped out the w-d-f orders, he could see everything that was taken in. And, later, he could document the folding and packaging processes as well.
This way, when a thirsty student running low on cash claimed the wash-dry-fold service had lost his or her $500 pair of jeans, this owner could go to the video and call that customer’s bluff with irrefutable proof.
And, with today’s new wash-dry-fold camera/software packages, you can time-stamp each time an employee touches an order. Now, you not only know when a garment was washed and when it was dried, but also who worked on it. It’s all documented on camera.
For years, many drycleaners have taken photos of garments upon check in, to document what the garment looked like when it was initially brought to them and also to help them assemble the garments during the finishing process. At my business, we’ve been doing that with our drycleaning orders for the last four years, and it has helped immensely.
However, now we’ve also installed a camera that oversees when we dump out drycleaning orders. So, if a customer claims that we’ve lost a particular garment, we can send that person a video clip of everything we received when we initially dumped out their bag of garments to be drycleaned.
And we’ve actually had to do that several times, which has saved us a lot of money.
As you can see, today’s constantly improving camera technology isn’t just for the security of your self-service customers and attendants, or for liability protection against fake slips, trips and falls. It’s also a great method for documenting how your wash-dry-fold employees are doing their work, an effective tool to gauge staff productivity, and the perfect way to protect yourself from phony lost-garment claims from your wash-dry-fold and drop-off drycleaning customers.