I have a successful wash-dry-fold business at my three laundries. 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 regarding the use of chlorine bleach. None of my staff members use chlorine bleach when doing our wash-dry-fold orders. 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.

I use baking soda when doing wash-dry-fold laundry, and it seems that my customers’ clothes come out cleaner. Is it just my imagination?

No, it’s not your imagination. Baking soda deodorizes what you’re washing, but it also neutralizes the pH in water, thus allowing the detergent to work more efficiently.

I’m building a new laundry from the ground up, and I’d like your advice regarding what type of roof to install. My other stores have flat roofs, and I’m constantly repairing them. Do I have any other options?

Yes, you definitely have options. Perhaps the best option for your new laundry is called a modified “V” roof. This type of roof is slightly angled, which will allow water to run off from all four sides. It’s more expensive to build than a flat roof; however, in the long run, it’s going to be cheaper to maintain.

I’m considering keeping my vended laundry open 24 hours to bring in some extra business. No other laundromats in my marketplace are open 24 hours. What do you think?

In most cases, I think this is a bad idea. In my experience, I’ve found that most 24-hour laundries lose money after 11:00 p.m. Also, I’ve discovered that most owners don’t take full accounting of their expenses after 11:00 p.m. – failing to consider costs such as labor, lighting, air conditioning, heating and so on.

Round-the-clock laundry businesses came into existence 30 to 40 years ago. This was back when the U.S. was loaded with manufacturing plants, and factories everywhere were running second and third work shifts. Unfortunately, that’s no longer the case in most areas. Of course, if your store is located in one of these rare markets that still has businesses employing three shifts of workers, it might make sense to stay open 24 hours. Otherwise, I would strongly advise against it.

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