Originally posted – Nov 21, 2014

I’m building a self-service laundry from the ground up, and I don’t want to make any mistakes, even minor ones. My question pertains to my store’s windows. Should I install stained glass or clear glass?

I would strongly recommend that you install clear glass only. All coin laundries need as much exposure as possible – from the inside, as well as from the outside. Laundry customers want unobstructed views of your store, whether looking in or out.

A lot of businesses utilize a stained glass treatment because it can block some of the sunlight coming in. This may be great for a bar or a restaurant; however, for a self-service laundry, it’s a big negative. Use clear glass, and don’t obstruct anyone’s view looking in or out of your store.

The same goes for signage. Your customers and potential customers want to see your laundry equipment. Restrict your signage to your interior walls, and keep it away from your windows. The only signage you need on the outside of your store are your promotions, services and business hours.

I own three coin laundries and have a great drop-off business in all three of my stores. I let my attendants do the washing their own way; as long as the customers are happy with the results, I don’t interfere.

However, I have question about the use of chlorine bleach. None of my staff members use chlorine bleach when doing wash-dry-fold laundry. Should they be?

In your particular case, I wouldn’t suggest it. After all, you have a successful crew of attendants who seem to know what they’re doing. Why change something that’s working?

Yes, chlorine bleach can do a good job on white cottons garments. However, with chlorine bleach, the danger of ruining colored items is also a possibility. For example, a white shirt with colored pinstripes may well be classified as a white shirt; but if you wash it using chlorine bleach, you’ll likely strip away some of the color from those pinstripes.

I would suggest you let your attendants continue to make your customers happy as they have been doing – and use a color-safe, oxygen bleach, when bleaching is necessary.

I’m researching getting into the uniform business. What types of finishing machines would you recommend?

Clearly, the exact type of equipment you’ll require will depend on the kinds of uniforms you plan to work with. Most likely, you need a hot head press, a legger press, a shirt press and a shirt washing machine, which is different from a standard laundromat washer.

Will you need a steam tunnel? That will depend on the volume you anticipate doing, as well as the types of uniforms you’re going to do.

Your best bet is to call a few equipment companies and have them send out sales representatives who can lay out exactly what you’ll need, based on the types and amount of uniforms you plan to be working with.

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