The Coin Laundry Association kicked off Day Two of Clean 2015 in Atlanta with a couple of educational sessions covering topics critical to the vast majority of today’s self-service laundry owners, if not all small-business operators – (1) leveraging the many business tools Google now offers and (2) maximizing employee performance.

Marketing consultant Jamie Sewell led off the morning’s packed session at the Georgia World Congress Center with “All Things Google: Tips and Secrets to Your Best Marketing Resource.”

“I want to get you thinking about how you approach online marketing,” Sewell said. “Your store is being marketed by its very existence, just by being there.

“And who you are online is as important as who you are in person.”

The key to successfully promoting your store online, according to Sewell, is getting familiar with at least some of the 181 Google tools currently being provided to small-business owners, especially seeing as four out of five consumers now use search engines to find local business information.

According to Sewell, the first order of business for laundry owners is to be sure they are listed on Google My Business (formerly Google Places). And some of the key components to a successful listing include store photos, your business hours, phone number, directions to your laundry, customer reviews and strong web search keywords.

Beyond Google My Business, Sewell also detailed the benefits of leveraging such helpful tools as AdWords Express, an online advertising tool for smaller and local businesses; Google Alerts, which will email you with online search results relevant to your business; and Google Analytics, which provides detailed statistics about your company’s website traffic.

The morning’s second session – “Maximum Performance:

Getting the Most from Your Laundry Attendants – was presented by Brian Brunckhorst, a multi-store owner based in northern California.

Referring to a recent Coin Laundry Association survey, Brunckhorst pointed out that the average self-service laundry has three employees, adding that roughly 85 percent of stores are either fully or partially attended.

The benefits of running an attended store, he noted, are rather obvious – attendees help customers, add an extra layer of security, clean the facility, generate over-the-counter sales, process wash-dry-fold orders and can attract more business overall.

Of course, there also are challenges to having employees. According to Brunckhorst, some of those obstacles are: managing relatively low-skilled workers, trying to hire the “right” people, training, payroll management and, certainly, cost. As far as cost is concerned, Brunckhorst suggested that a laundry’s staffing expense range should be somewhere between 10 percent and 20 percent of its gross income.

Do you even need to be attended?

Brunckhorst said a store with income less than $10,000 per month doesn’t really need to be attended and probably can’t afford an attendant. Once a laundry jumps up to the $10,000 to $20,000 a month range, a partially attended situation is in order, he explained. And, if you’re lucky enough to be pulling in more than $20,000 a month, your store needs to be fully attended.

For operators who have (or are planning to hire) attendants, Brunckhorst offered up four keys to creating a successful staff – (1) creating clearly defined job goals; (2) providing resources, such as an employee handbook and a duties checklist; (3) training; and (4) empowering your employees.

“Your people are your business,” Brunckhorst said. “The fate of your business often rests with your lowest-paid workers. Your attendants can be your greatest asset or your worst nightmare.”

The morning’s presentations were preceded by the Coin Laundry Association’s Annual Meeting.

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