There are few things people take as seriously as their clothing. Being able to do one’s laundry quickly and efficiently makes a difference to people. They want to keep clean clothes and they often have a certain favorite detergent that they use, too.
It’s no secret that having a good laundry room is a major amenity for renters and hotel guests. An amenity is only as good as its functionality. In order to keep your laundry equipment working well, you need or make sure that you maintain it.
This is not the simple task that one would hope for it to be. Before you start putting together your laundry room, it’s important to know how to manage and maintain your equipment. Let’s talk about it.
First things first, you will need to actually plan out your commercial laundry room layout.
Laundry room planning is not just about making the place look nice. It’s also about maximizing the amount of space that your room has. Your room needs to be efficiently planned out in terms of layout, drainage, and ventilation.
You also will need to choose the right commercial laundry equipment for your operation. We suggest keeping an eye on these stats below:
Size. The size of your machines will matter in more than one way. First, you want to make sure they fit in your room. Second, you have to think about the loads your washers and dryers are going to take. Smaller loads can use smaller machines, but most commercial rooms tend to prefer larger units.
Energy and water consumption. Back in the day, this was not a big issue. However, the rising cost of energy and water consumption made it impossible to ignore. In some jurisdictions, building codes also regulate the maximum amount of resources a machine can use in a single wash. Knowing local building codes will help.
Build resilience. Not all commercial laundry equipment is built the same. A reliable machine with excellent ratings, made with top quality parts is always going to be a better investment than a cheaply-made off-brand machine. When in doubt, look at the warranty and ratings of each model you install.
Hookups. You will need to hook each unit to the plumbing or the ventilation. Before you buy those machines, you may need to plan that portion of your laundry room out. In rare cases, this could require a quick renovation of the room.
Maintenance requirements. Not all commercial units are made equal in terms of maintenance.
Payment methods. Most laundry rooms are either free to use or have a coin operation mechanism. Some may also use credit card scanners or special payment methods at the front.
Should you invest in add-ons?
In many cases, a laundry room that just has commercial laundry units in there will be enough for your business’s needs. Most renters will have their own detergents, dryer sheets, and dryer balls to use.
However, it’s all up to you.
The majority of laundry room users absolutely notice how elegant a laundry room is. Having comfortable chairs, a table for waiting, a detergent vending machine, or even a television can make the room more inviting.
When in doubt, consider how your clients will react to the add-ons you’re considering. The more upscale your target audience is, the more likely it is that they will expect to see additional amenities in the room.
Next, you will need to figure out the system that your laundry room uses.
A laundry room isn’t just a bunch of machines—though that may be what it looks like. You also have to come up with a way to ensure that everything is maintained, functional, paid (if your clients pay for use) and secure. Let’s go over the basics.
If you have a laundry room, security may be something to consider. This is doubly true if your apartment or hotel has a lot of rowdy renters. In many cases, keeping the laundry room cloistered in an area where only residents or guests can access it works well enough.
However, if your area has been prone to vandalism or freeloading, then you may want to consider calling a separate access control company to make it easier to track who goes in and out. In some cases, having card-style payment methods at units can also help.
Commercial laundry equipment can come with several different hookups that allow you to pay per cycle. You can choose from coin acceptors, bill acceptors, and even card setups. It all depends on how much you want to charge for each load.
This may require you to come up with laundry room management software that keeps track of income, payments, and similar facets of the business. This will help once tax time comes around, and can also help you predict the profitability of this amenity.
Free use setups do not need to consider this system step, so you can skip it.
Even if your laundry room is rarely ever used, you are going to have to come up with a regular maintenance schedule for it. How frequently you need to schedule appliance maintenance all depends on the frequency of use as well as the specific model’s needs.
Good laundry management software will help you determine the best maintenance schedule for your room and schedule it for you. It’s one of the easiest ways to keep your machines in good working order.
Maintenance scheduling should also be factored into your current running costs.
PRO TIP - Maintaining your commercial laundry machines is not always something you can do yourself. Please don’t try to do it yourself, as there are more steps involved than with personal appliances.
If your laundry room is regularly used by clients, then you want to make sure that it’s as useful as possible. Ideally, it’ll be useful around the clock. Monitoring can be done through security cameras (when it comes to vandalism), a live representative, or laundry management software.
If you want to have a live person work at your laundry room, you can make it happen. However, this often means that you will have to hire a person for that specific role and also deal with all the HR-related red tape that comes with it. We generally don’t suggest it unless you are in the laundromat business.
Most people who have a laundry room as part of their business do not want to focus on the laundry room. They want to tend to other larger parts of their businesses—such as getting renters, hotel service, and more. That’s why remote monitoring software can be a wise choice.
There are several important things that you should monitor as a laundry room owner:
Supplies. If you want to sell detergent in a vending machine onsite, this is something that may need to be monitored or scheduled for restocking.
Usage. Usage monitoring can help you determine peak hours (so that you can schedule maintenance off-peak), need for maintenance, as well as income reporting.
Breaks. Smart monitoring services will make it possible for laundry room owners to report a problem to repair crews. Certain laundry management software kits make it possible to get a repair crew over the very moment that a problem arises.
In the vast majority of cases, the custodians that you hire for your business will also be in charge of cleaning your laundry room. If you don’t have a custodian for this, you may want to hire someone.
Once you choose your equipment and system, you need to put everything into action.
Everything can look great on paper, but it’s important to remember that you need to have action behind those plans. This is often the hardest part—at least at the start. Issues often pop up, and it can take a professional to come up with solutions.
Installing those machines, making sure that you have the right position for that equipment, and also doing system setup are all hassles. That’s why many laundry room owners prefer to outsource that work to a company like SmartoMat.
How long should installation take?
Once you’ve planned out your laundry room, it can take one to four weeks to get all the machines delivered to your place. After they are delivered, installation can take one to three days, depending on the number of units.
In rare situations, you may need to hire a contractor to do a little plumbing modification to your building to fit the units in. If this turns out to be the case, you may have to plan ahead.
How long does it take to set up software?
In most situations, laundry management software setup only takes a day or so. It all depends on the kit and how it’s involved in your work, though. In many cases, hiring someone to help set it up and teach you the basics of the kit.
If you choose to have laundry management software, their customer service team will usually help walk you through setup. We suggest outsourcing this to a company like SmartoMat, since the setup can be tedious—even if it’s not necessarily difficult.
Let’s talk maintenance!
Once everything is set up, you’re going to need to keep your machines on a maintenance schedule. Regularly used rooms can usually work well with a lint cleanout and sanitation schedule that happens every week to two weeks. Additional maintenance may be required monthly.
It can be difficult to determine how often your maintenance will need to happen, but there is some good news here. Most commercial laundry units are made by companies that are willing to suggest a good schedule for that.
Commercial laundry equipment also may require a deeper annual maintenance cleanout for their machine interiors. These are not maintenance sessions that you can skip without the risk of breakdown.
Don’t want to have to fuss over the machines yourself? Laundry management software can also help you pick a good schedule and also automate visits from a maintenance crew.
PRO TIP - Skipping over mandatory maintenance is not a wise decision as it can cause your unit’s warranties to become null and void.
Finally, let’s give some quick tips on great laundry room management
Have an open discourse with your clients and users. In many cases, you might not be aware of a unit’s problems unless a person complains about it. Giving your clients a way to reach out can help you maintain and repair your units better. Even giving them a number to text can make a difference.
Keep your users in mind. Many laundry rooms are best left simple. If you don’t have hundreds of people using the room, there’s generally no reason to worry about having dozens of machines. If your users are just passing through (like in a hotel), having a vending machine with soap can prove useful.
When in doubt, leave the work to the pros. Running a laundry room is not that much different from running a retail laundromat service. Most people aren’t aware of how much involvement it can take from a business owner. That’s why it’s often best to outsource the labor to a separate company if the laundry room is not your primary concern.
Remember to keep up with your local codes. You may be shocked to find out how many local building codes will have specifications that prevent you from buying less efficient machines. It’s on the building owner to make sure they are compliant.
Need help putting together a laundry room?
At SmartoMat, we offer end-to-end laundry room prep, care, and maintenance work for business owners. Whether you own an apartment building or just have to get a new room for a dorm doesn’t matter. We always have the solution you need.
Maintenance for a laundry room can be hard. The same can be said about management. Isn’t it about time you get someone to help you out with it? Call SmartoMat today, and we can get started.