From June 19th to the 22th the coin laundry industry manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, end users and other various businesses associated with the Laundry world met in New Orleans for several days of informational seminars, deal making, showing off of new technology, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Oh yes, and a little fun and frivolity was had on Bourbon street and its surrounds!
The coin laundry world has come a long way from the old days of water guzzling top loaders and single pocket gas sucking dryers. You will be amazed when you attend the next Clean Show and see the continued advances in technology, efficiency, speed and size of laundry equipment. The technology takes time to develop and implement so The Clean Show only happens every two years.
Though the coin-op laundry equipment is not quite as advanced as the On Premise Laundry (the very large technologically advanced equipment that goes in large hotels or laundry plants) there is still a lot that goes into developing new and useful features for your Laundromat. As an owner or future owner there is much to see and learn and I would recommend the serious laundry owner attend.
As you know there are always seminars at these events and the Coin Laundry Association (CLA) had several. These seminars are a great way to get useful, practical knowledge about operating your store, keeping up on industry trends, meeting people from different markets and getting ideas on how to improve your business.
By the way; the CLA can also be an ongoing source of knowledge and training as there are local chapters that meet quarterly. Training by an expert and meeting with other owners to share ideas is something we all can do through the CLA on a regular basis. There are several benefits to the CLA member including free admission to the above mentioned quarterly meetings, an industry periodical, hosting of web sites and tried and tested premade mailers or door hangers.
You will see all of the manufacturers of coin laundry equipment at the Clean Show. If you are a new owner or just thinking about getting into the business you will learn about the various manufacturers of coin-op laundry equipment. The Clean Show affords you a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with them. Some think that equipment is equipment; as long as it goes around and around with some water it should do the trick, right? Of course there are differences of opinion but it’s a great opportunity to see a wide variety of products and will help to better inform your opinion. The various manufacturers are all there and happy to speak with you about who they are and why you should buy their equipment. Again, this is a huge decision; you are going to be using this equipment and deriving a majority of your revenue for many years to come so you need to know who you can rely on and why. To a degree the manufacturer is your partner. You want to know they have reliable equipment, will continue to innovate, will serve you and will be there for the long run.
The other partner you will have in our Laundry business is your distributor. Though distributors typically don’t have a booth we are all at the Clean Show. Set up meetings with your sales person so you can meet others in his or her organizations so, like with the manufacturers, you can develop and strengthen that partnership. I assure you both the distributor and the manufacturer want to be your partners and help you be successful.
Of course you need other things besides washers and dryers in your store. You’ll see change machines, payment systems, furniture manufacturers, lending sources, vending machines and suppliers of various vended products.
You want to make your Laundromat efficient and consistent. Why reinvent the wheel with each new store? Why use four different manufactures of equipment? Why deal with different distributors? Between now and the next Clean Show in Atlanta in 2015 start to take stock of what is working in your store or other successful stores. You probably don’t want to live in a cookie cutter house in a cookie cutter neighborhood but I would submit that the more efficiency and consistency you have in your stores the more efficient, consistent and SUCCESSFUL you will be!
Though the 2013 Clean Show is now history you can prepare for the next one. Join the Coin Laundry Association, observe what equipment customers like and what works best and start to think about and develop these partnerships now. When the next Clean Show happens in 2015 you’ll be ready to solidify and utilize these new partnerships.