Ross Dodds and Russel Pinkard have figured out how to succeed in the Los Angeles laundry industry.The partners own three thriving laundry businesses: Wash on Western — a full-service laundromat they refurbished and re-opened in 2017; a self-service laundromat in West Hollywood; as well as a brand new venture, Wash Club LA — offering both residential and commercial pickup and delivery service.
These ventures are flourishing because Dodds and Pinkard are savvy not only about finding just the right locations and figuring out how to maximize their ROI, but, above all else, they understand the importance of serving customers’ needs and providing them with a superior experience. This includes:
- Having durable, easy-to-use, top-quality commercial laundry equipment that laundromat customers can count on, in a variety of sizes
- Offering a clean, safe, comfortably-equipped space to do laundry, with amenities such as free Wi-Fi and TV, as well as necessities for sale including laundry supplies, etc.
- Hiring excellent employees; training and treating them well
- Getting to know their customers and becoming involved members of the community
- Finding untapped consumer or commercial demand for value-added laundry services — such as Fluff & Fold and/or pickup and delivery — and satisfying that demand through superior execution of the service
We wrote about Dodds’ and Pinkard’s first laundry business, Wash on Western, in 2017. What was remarkable about their story back then was that, a few years earlier, they had suffered a devastating loss of their just-purchased laundromat to a fire that broke out overnight in the restaurant next door. That chapter of their story was about how they managed to regroup, all the while learning as much as they could about the self-service laundry industry to ensure they did everything better the second time around.
During this period, the partners met Michael Ambrose, who works for West Coast laundry distributor Western State Design. Ambrose was instrumental in helping them design and equip their re-modeled store, leading to its current success. Wash on Western’s Dexter Laundry vended washers and dryers are extremely popular with their customers, particularly the large capacity models which serve families well.
Latest Venture: Wash Club LA
Fast forward a few years later: after acquiring additional laundromats (one of which they’ve since sold with Ambrose’s help), Dodds and Pinkard decided to branch out into a dedicated laundry pickup and delivery service business—with a plan to serve both residential and commercial customers. To facilitate the new business, they licensed software from the well-known and long-established New York laundry pick up and delivery service, Wash Club NYC.
Initially, they ran the new service out of one of their laundromats, during off-hours. Happily, the business was an instant success, but it quickly required 24-hour operation, using more and more of the laundromat’s washers and dryers. Their average number of turns per day increased dramatically from 3 or 4 to over 10; sometimes even as high as 15. Needless to say, their customers were not thrilled with this arrangement, which was short-lived, fortunately
Milnor and Dexter Commercial Laundry Equipment
The partners acquired and built out a dedicated laundry service facility that just opened a couple of months ago. Once again, they turned to their trusted WSD rep, Michael Ambrose, for help specifying and equipping the new plant with an optimum mix of state of the art on-premise laundry equipment. They purchased a mix of Milnor and Dexter laundry machines that enable them not only to run their business efficiently now, but will also allow them to scale up over time.
Dodds, who has learned a lot about commercial laundry equipment over the years, says he’s very pleased with their choices, starting with the new industrial Milnor washer-extractor:
“Our new high capacity Milnor washer is a solidly-built piece of equipment that is also incredibly efficient. Its high G-force extraction leaves the laundry practically dry which minimizes dry times, reducing energy costs.”
Interestingly, he also raves about his new automated soap dispenser:
“An automated soap dispenser is key. Many people don’t realize what a major expense soap is. You can train employees over and over again on how to use soap and they still won’t understand the precise concentration to use. It’s best to have the machine do it.”
He really appreciates his Dexter Laundry reversing dryers too:
“The reversing dryers are great because they prevent sheets and towels from getting tangled. Tangling not only causes wrinkling, it keeps the load from drying properly, requiring human intervention and additional dry time.”
New! Commercial Laundry Service
In addition to their full complement of residential pickup and delivery customers, Dodds and Pinkard have landed a number of new commercial accounts. Wash Club LA services mid-sized businesses such as gyms, yoga and boxing studios, and spas. Mostly they have gained this business through word-of-mouth and social media, though they do some digital advertising as well.
The partners are fortunate to have found great, dependable employees through their other laundry businesses whom they have transferred to their new enterprise. They are at an advantage, starting a new venture with an experienced staff.
Wash Club LA’s customers love their new service because their laundry is handled and processed solely by Wash Club LA’s personnel in its own facility. It is not outsourced to sub-contractors as is the case with competing service companies. Wash Club LA owns and operates the laundry equipment as well as the three pickup and delivery vans and company car. Owning and managing all parts of the business enables the organization to provide a superior service and finished product with minimal problems.
As well as they’re doing, Dodds and Pinkard are not content to rest on their laurels. In fact, they never stop moving. Looking ahead, they have big plans to continue to grow their laundry empire. They are going to branch out into other promising, nearby Los Angeles neighborhoods where they perceive untapped demand for their brand of service. Slowly but surely, they’re changing the Los Angeles retail laundry landscape, much to the benefit of local laundry customers.
To learn how Western State Design can help you launch a successful laundry business, please contact us today.