Updated: Jun 13
If you are a business owner, you already know that the equipment is going to be the main focus of your purchases. Good equipment will last longer and make it easier for you to turn a profit. At times, it can even become a selling point for customers. A commercial laundry machine is not that different from your typical business purchase in this sense.
Commercial laundry machines can be a great purchase or a terrible one. It’s all about how you do it and the machine you choose. If you are new to buying commercial laundry equipment, you need to know a couple of vital tips.
Commercial laundry machines are going to be more expensive than a typical washer/dryer.
We should probably clarify this point a bit.
If you are buying a laundry machine (washer or dryer, or both) for an individual unit in an apartment building, it will probably cost the same as a residential washer or dryer. That’s because those machines are meant to be used by individual families and are meant for residential purposes.
A commercial laundry machine meant for a community laundry room or a large-scale sheet washing room in a hotel will cost more. These are often larger, more durable, or have special equipment to make washing easier. As a result, you may find yourself with a little sticker shock.
It’s highly unlikely that you will find commercial-grade laundry equipment for under $500 per unit, especially when you take into account the kind of standards you should look for. If anything, you might want to avoid taking the cheapest item on the market. There’s usually a reason that it’s so cheap…and it’s not going to be a reason you’ll want to put up with.
You will have to be choosy when it comes to your commercial laundry machines.
You will need to have a basic idea of the type of unit you want, the basic functions you want, the size of the drum you want to have, as well as any additional features you want to have. At the very least, you will need to know whether you want a top loader or front loader washer. You can also choose to have an all-in-one unit, too.
A good rule of thumb is that you should always try to research the commercial machines you want to buy before you buy them. If you aren’t sure what would work well for you, don’t be afraid to ask a professional commercial laundry equipment salesperson to find out what they have to say.
Commercial-grade laundry machines should be held to a high standard of operation.
If you have a residential laundry machine, then you generally are going to be able to let certain things slide. Reliability and a lack of water efficiency will not harm you since it’s your own decision. It’s not going to harm your budget that much since you’re only one person (or one family) and you can replace residential laundry equipment easily.
When you’re buying a commercial laundry machine, you have to think about how that purchase will influence your business model. A lack of energy efficiency or a lack of water efficiency will eat away at your profits. An unreliable machine will require more maintenance and repairs—once again, hurting your bottom line.
We suggest the following traits:
They should be high-efficiency machines. Decrease your utility bills! Just make sure to use high-efficiency detergent when you do.
They should be made with a highly robust interior. Think about getting all-metal components, a metal (or porcelain) drum, and a good warranty on parts. Commercial laundry equipment should be built to last!
They also should have features that make laundry faster to do. This can include specialized fans for ventilation and squeezing tech for faster draining/rinsing.
Each unit should come with a high-end warranty. It can be from the manufacturer, the store, or a mixture of both.
Remember that ventilation and drainage matter.
With commercial laundry equipment, you are going to need a lot more ventilation and drainage than a typical residential unit. This means that you will have to pre-plan this with your installer and your building contractors—if you haven’t already.
Every unit is going to need a proper ventilation and drainage system that works with it and remains compatible. Your drainage system and ventilation system can also both be impacted by state and local law. Check to see what ordinances in your area require.
A good commercial laundry equipment company will also help you navigate this issue. That should be part of their services.
Installation often has to be done by a professional company, as mandated by law.
While many parts of the country will allow you to install your own residential washers, commercial laundry equipment can be very different. Due to the fact that these hinge on being reliable and proofed with a warranty, you need to make sure that they are properly installed.
A “casual installation” can void the warranty, making it harder to get affordable repairs if something goes wrong. We strongly encourage you to get a professional installation company to install this for you. If they are not licensed, bonded, and insured, it’s not worth the liability risk this could pose.
Make sure to mention if you are going to be using these machines in a very high altitude or a deep marine environment.
In most cases, commercial laundry equipment will work like a charm in your environment. However, not all companies are going to be that easy. If you have a laundry room at a very high altitude or in a very dry environment, there is a chance that your equipment may malfunction.
This can happen as a result of an area that is too dry, too hot, too different in terms of air pressure, or similar problems. If you are worried about this, you will need to mention this to your equipment distributor.
Most commercial laundry units will have fail safes that will make sure they continue to spin correctly in these situations, but not all do. You need to be paired with the right machine for your area.
Since this is a commercial endeavor, you may need to consider ease of use.
Different commercial operations will require different features and accessibilities. Some machines are best used by people who make a living doing laundry, especially laundry that is highly specific or hard to clean. These types of specialty units can be difficult for the average person to operate well.
These machines are best left for professional clothing maintenance, or for companies that work with costuming. (For example, high-end machines with all the bells and whistles may be found in certain movie studios in Hollywood.)
On the other end of the spectrum are the machines that are meant for people who just want to “set it and forget it.” These are ideal for shared community rooms, people who have disabilities, college students, and people who are just looking for a fast, efficient way to get laundry done without a headache.
Not sure what your specific ease of use needs are? Check it out with a qualified distributor.
Make sure you have your financing plans set to go before you start looking.
Times are tough and many people are starting to look towards financing their commercial equipment—and rightfully so. Sometimes, you need that extra boost of good equipment to weather a financial storm and attract more clients.
In most cases, people tend to pay cash for these things. However, you can also get equipment financing if you are in need of it. Since it is a commercial purchase, you are going to have to have a plan in place. You generally cannot make commercial purchases with your own private banking information.
These tips below will help you ensure that you can get the equipment that you need without being stuck with a bill you cannot pay:
Tell your equipment distributor if you want to get the machine financed. Don’t be afraid to ask about in-house financing or if they are able to connect you with a financing company that can accept you.
Make sure that you have a business EIN. Ideally, you will also make sure that you have a business credit score. If you don’t, then you may only be able to get the funding you need through a business line of credit or a merchant cash advance. Either way, this is something to discuss with a finance department.
Have a maximum budget that you are willing to borrow. This will help you avoid overborrowing. Even if it means you have to offer a down payment, it could still save you money in the long run.
Consider getting the funding before you shop for new commercial laundry units. Most of the time, this is the best way to go because it gives you way more options when it comes to your provider of choice.
Always ask what is included in the price tag before you agree to purchase it.
This is common sense, true, but it still is worth saying regardless of whether you’re shopping for residential or commercial equipment. A single price tag does not always mean that you have the full picture on the cost of equipment from a retailer, and you shouldn’t assume that you do until you ask.
Does that price include installation? What about a warranty? What should you know about the cost of actually bringing your units at your place of business? Do you need to pay extra for a certificate of insurance? Ask if any fixtures required for the units come with an extra price attached to them, too.
The more you learn about what that price includes, the better a decision you can make for your business. You don’t want to be the person who finds out there are surprise fees after you’ve already committed to a washer/dryer unit.
Don’t forget that maintenance and third-party management can be an investment you’ll want to make.
If you are like many business owners, you will initially ignore the idea of wanting to have someone else maintain, repair, and manage your laundry systems at your place of business. That’s what you’re there for, right? Well, you may be right, but you also may be wrong.
Laundry room management is a whole project in and of itself. If your business has a larger scope (such as an apartment building where you need to worry about move-ins, evictions, and broken vents) you don’t want to pile on any more responsibilities onto your already-overloaded superintendent crews.
Having a third party laundry management service can make it easier for you to ensure that your machines work the way they are supposed to, when they are supposed to. It also helps prevent you from having to do extra work and hire in-house repairmen for a single room.
Third party services employ experts in commercial laundry equipment servicing and maintenance. Since you pay a basic fee for month-to-month work, you don’t have to worry about sudden massive bills from poor work. Your machines will be well cared for, limiting the amount of wear and tear that your machines experience.
Need to find some commercial laundry machines for your place of business?
We at Smartomat understand that your company is going to need a little help making your laundry area look great, work great, and also keep the cost of business down. That’s why we’re here and that’s why we love to offer advice on everything laundry-related.
Whether you need to know which is the best front load washer for your business or you need advice on management, we’re here to make sure that you get the best information possible. Oh, and we’re also the best company for commercial laundry equipment distribution.
Need a new unit for an apartment, or just want to start your own community laundry room? Give us a call today to get started with our services. You’ll be glad you did.