Here’s Why Choosing Your Detergent and Landing a Few Commercial Accounts Are Critical Factors for Your New Wash-Dry-Fold Business
[This is the third and final installment in a series on running a successful wash-dry-fold service.]
Thus far in this series on offering a wash-dry-fold service, we’ve covered washing, drying, folding, packaging, and tracking orders. In this final article on the topic, I’ve like to discuss detergent choices, as well as what I consider to be the best way to get started in the full-service laundry business.
With regard to detergent, please don’t buy cheap, bulk laundry products for your “premium” wash-dry-fold service. Today’s name-brand, pod-type laundry detergents do a great job and are an effective way to control and measure the volume of detergent used to process loads – versus something you scoop out of a big bucket. With bulk soap, you never really know how much you’re spending or how much detergent your employees are actually using; and, typically, they will overuse that type of detergent.
The concentrated products available today are one of the truly great innovations for our industry, especially for wash-dry-fold laundry. They are a bit more expensive, but they deliver a quality end result, which you can (and should) use to market and promote this service.
If you’d like to take it a step further, purchase a quality commercial-grade detergent from your local supply company. There are several great detergents used in the shirt laundry business, and these products do a phenomenal job on general laundry as well. Plus, they’re not much more expensive than a high-quality, over-the-counter, brand-name detergent.
With these products, you can deliver a superior finished product, compared to what your customers can receive at home. And that’s the key to success – you’re trying to give them a better alternative to washing at home. So, I strongly encourage you to avoid using cheap bulk soap. You’ll get better results, your customers will be happier, and the overall cost difference per load is literally just pennies.
Let’s Get Started!
The best way to get your wash-dry-fold service off the ground is to build up a commercial accounts business at the outset. After all, when you’re just starting to do wash-dry-fold, one of the most critical factors is landing enough consistent and steady work. Therefore, I suggest those beginning a wash-dry-fold business seek some commercial accounts.
A great commercial account opportunity in many areas these days is the vacation rental by owner, or VRBO, market. Many of these operators run multiple sites. They’ve got cleaning crews moving from site to site, and they’re running them like small hotel chains. As a result, it doesn’t make sense for them to spend a lot of time at each location doing the laundry.
Frequently, these VRBO owners will have numerous sets of sheets and towels at each location so that their employees can turn around a rental location in 30 minutes, rather than the two or three hours in would take to do the laundry. As a result, it has become viable for these operators to turn to laundromats to clean their sheets, towels, and other items.
In terms of commercial accounts, other low-hanging fruit includes hair salons, massage therapists, light-duty medical offices, building maintenance companies, bars, and restaurants. With restaurants, try to avoid accounts where you will be responsible for greasy or oily items, because those require more advanced, heavy-duty chemistry to get clean. Again, you’re looking for simple, low-impact, consistent laundry accounts.
Starting with some basic commercial accounts is the key to filling your pipeline with steady business, as well as getting your employees trained on how to wash, dry, fold and package laundry. With that said, I encourage you to get your attendants involved in the process and in helping create the systems of how you handle full-service laundry. The more ownership your staff takes of your new wash-dry-fold business, the better your results will be.