Choosing the right equipment for your Laundromat
Laundry Blog by David Cabral – President of Eastern Laundry Equipment
The right equipment…
Whether you own an existing Laundromat or are considering building a new Laundromat, one of the key considerations has to be the equipment you offer your customers. Choosing the right equipment can be critical to the success of the business.
When we discuss what is the right equipment there are subtle nuances that go far beyond what comes to mind for most people, such as price, capacity, reliability, warranty, ease of maintenance, availability of parts, appearance, durability, and dimensions; are just some of the elements in making the right decision.
There are many manufacturers in the industry, each has its pros and cons that should be weighed. Over the years the cost of manufacturing and engineering has increased, these costs are then built into the pricing that you the end user pays when you purchase your product. The increased cost of equipment hasn’t always transferred into increased reliability however. In some cases the quality you have expected from certain manufacturers has diminished over the years. For example if you had purchased equipment from manufacturer “X” fifteen years ago, they may have had top notch quality products, which would lead you to the premise that their current product would be as reliable, unfortunately that may not be the case. Changes in materials, manufacturing processes, engineering, and staff over the years can adversely affect the final product. However it can also be said that some manufacturers have improved their overall quality over the years.
Another piece of the puzzle is that a few brands do not actually manufacturer the product that they put their name on. For example Maytag has been a well-known name in the industry for years, but surprisingly many people using the Maytag multi-load washers or dryers aren’t aware that they are not manufactured by Maytag directly. The Maytag multi-load washers are built by Primus in Belgium (Primus was recently acquired by Alliance a competitor to Maytag). Considering that several brands are actually built by other manufacturers this is not in and of itself a negative factor. However, in the case of Maytag what impact will this recent event have on parts availability? Will Maytag continue to have washers built by Primus now that Primus has been acquired by a competitor of Maytag? These questions cannot be easily answered at this time and some consideration has to be given in order to make a business decision that could impact you in 4, 5, or more years.
One of the easiest tests you should conduct prior to a final decision on your equipment choice is to pick up the phone. Call the manufacturers tech support or parts department. How long is the hold time? How helpful are the people you speak with? Ask for lead times for specific components (computer boards, drain valves, door handles, etc.) If you have to navigate through an endless maze to speak with someone, are left on hold for extended periods of time, are uncomfortable with how the support staff handled your call, or just realize you are dealing with an organization that treats you as a distraction rather than a customer; you should reflect on that as a possible reason for concern.
When considering your equipment purchases it is prudent to weigh all of the facts –
· Is the distributor reliable and dedicated to your long term success?
· Is the manufacturer offering a reasonable warranty that provides sufficient coverage?
· Is the product a new design or a proven platform?
· Does the product offer enough energy efficiency without sacrificing usefulness?
· Are parts available for warranty or purchase now and in the future?
· Can you count on timely and reliable Tech support from the manufacturer / distributor?
In my next blog post we will discuss the importance of proper installation.