CLA Connect Open Forum

Advice for a newbie

  • 1.  Advice for a newbie

    Posted 13 days ago
    Trying to advise a young cousin with no experience on whether to take over a store with new equipment located in Houston about 20 plus minutes away from his house with no traffic. He intends to run it himself. What top 3 things should one consider when getting in this business? Here's my list: 1. Mechanical/ trouble shooting skills 2. Distance from location 3. Overall problem solving skills.  I attend to forward your answers to him. Thanks

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    Mike Goss
    [Store owner]
    [24 Hour Laundry]
    Houston TX

    Store Owner/ Employee
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  • 2.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 13 days ago
    Mike,

    Just how young is your cousin?  How big is the laundromat?  Attended or unattended?  Has your cousin ever worked for a business or industry?

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    Larry Adamski
    Muskegon Laundromat
    Spring Lake MI
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  • 3.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 13 days ago
    The forum is free, he should logon and start reading, reading, reading.  Then ask questions.

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    Timothy Foster
    Multi-Store Owner/ Employee
    Toledo
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  • 4.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 12 days ago
    He's 33 and no experience at all.  My bigger concern is mechanical problem solving skills which i perceive is limited. He's a great hardworking guy, but no matter how hard of a worker you are there is no substitute for the skill set which I rank that as number one on the list. Mostly unattended. It's about 3500 Sq. ft. New equipment. He lives 20 plus minutes away in Houston traffic. I prefer 10-15 if you're the main person. Having spent 27 years in this business I fully understand the need to be very handy to succeed in this business. I really appreciate you guys sharing with him to help him make the best decision for his family.

    Thanks again.

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    Mike Goss
    [Store owner]
    [24 Hour Laundry]
    Houston TX

    Store Owner/ Employee
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  • 5.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 12 days ago
    Edited by Juan Vazquez 12 days ago
     So depending on the equipment & his abilities the troubleshooting & repair part can be assimilated in short order.

     He can begin by downloading manuals or contacting the supplier or the dealer.  I am sure that they can help.  So can you correct?  A little hands on training should get him going.  Preventive maintenance & attention to detail go a long way.

     If you & especially he are willing it should be a quick transition

     I knew zero about the equipment & the industry other than I washed my heavily soiled clothes there as opposed to my nice washer & dryer @ home.

     It's pretty easy really all things considered.  You'll know for sure when you're able to train others that you have a better than good understanding of the equipment & the business.


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    Juan
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Cocoa FL
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  • 6.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 13 days ago
    So what is your advice to said young cousin?  How dedicated & committed is he?  IMHO that is above the rest.  What are the expectations?

     As you know this business takes 100% commitment, sacrifice, dedication, patience, and ability to interact with customers.  Is the cousin ready for all of that?

     The rest is important but without any of what's mentioned, it won't matter.

     20 Miles from is nothing.  I'm ~ 1200 miles these days which is a little better than when I was in the PNW.

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    Juan
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Cocoa FL
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  • 7.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 12 days ago
    I am 45 minutes away with no traffic and have less than zero mechanical skills . I run a very high volume 5,000 square foot store with no problem . Having mechanical skills is nice but over rated . People skills and marketing skills are much more important ..

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    Larry & Gail Vladimir
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Bakers Centre Laundry
    Levittown PA
    www.Bakerscentrelaundry.com

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  • 8.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 12 days ago
    Larry;

    Thanks for your post. I agree with you completely. People skills is more important than mechanical skills.

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    Deward Stout
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Hurricane Laundromat & Storage
    Hurricane UT
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  • 9.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 9 days ago
    Edited by Richard Cruz 9 days ago
    I really appreciate it guys, but if handyman skills are not as important does how does he handle the myriad of mechanical issues that come up? I certainly couldn't have lasted without it. Running a 3500 sq. ft. store does not allow much margin to repeatedly hire someone. That's if you can find them. 
    Mike Goss
    www.JRGossFamilyFoundation.org  
    Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'what are you doing for others?' - MLK.
    You'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype




  • 10.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 11 days ago
    Edited by Larry Adamski 11 days ago
    Mike,

    I think it's important that an owner is able to offer substantial talent to augment the laundromat's operation.  For example:  most owners are mechanically talented and can repair their equipment.  With all the equipment a laundromat has, being able to understand mechanical and electrical theory is undeniably a huge plus.  Since the equipment is new, your cousin should have time to attend service schools and learn to repair the equipment.

    An owner should be mature, energetic and enthusiastic so that he is able and willing to devote a lot of time and energy into his laundromat to ensure its success.  Nobody should ever buy a laundromat with the idea that it's just a sideshow to his main occupation.  Such a situation almost ensures that the laundromat will never reach its full potential.

    An owner should have good organizational skills.  Looking at one's garage is a good indicator of one's organizational skills.  This will allow the laundromat to be operated more effectively.

    Certainly an owner may not bring all these talents to the business from day one but he should begin to develop these skills fairly quickly.

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    Larry Adamski
    Muskegon Laundromat
    Spring Lake MI
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  • 11.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 11 days ago
    The most important skill for this business or any business is financial management. Math, accounting, budgeting....

    Besides having some aptitude it, you should also not find it so tedious because you have to do a lot of it to succeed.

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    Aaron Jung
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Pasadena CA
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  • 12.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 11 days ago
    ^^^^  Most important???  You can have the best math & accounting skills but that pales in comparison to knowing how to deal with customers, the business, equipment etc.

    What revenue will you count, manage, and /or budget if you have no customers because you have zero people skills or machine issues?

     Face it there are owners that lack that gift.  I just saw one not too long ago. We made eye contact, he had a mean look on his face, guy couldn't muster a hello let alone crack half a smile.

     His customer service number rings to a back room where nobody is there to answer.  People there said the owner never answers or is around.

     We have to wear.many hats in this business.



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    Juan
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Cocoa FL
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  • 13.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 10 days ago
    Well, I'm one of those grumpy owners. So I stay in the backroom or behind the machines and let my wife and attendants smile and service the customers.

    I'm not discounting the other attributes you need to have or have access to in order to succeed. But I can't think of anything more critical for an owner to do themselves.... collect /count money,  decide how much to spend / invest, analyze expenses, sales, pricing...occasionally I've entrusted a family member, but rarely.

    If we wanted to prioritize the skills needed, I'd ask the following question: what aspects of the business should you definitely not task to someone else?

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    Aaron Jung
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Pasadena CA
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  • 14.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 10 days ago
    Brand new equipment doesn't means its working without any problem, brand new equipment warranty on labor for only ~90 days, the labor is the killer.and the killer is here :
    service call : $90
    at least 1 hour charge no matter its fixed or not :$90
     fuel charge :$18
     shipping charge $~15
     supply $20 "if applicable "
    part : under warranty $0.00
     now without  mechanical skill you still paying that much when your equipment ran out of ~90 days warranty on labor.
    You have full house of equipment ,I don't how much money you make when you don't repair equipment yourself or have your own cheap repairman.
    In others businesses such as :Restaurant , retailer ,Dry leaner ,beauty salon etc,people & management skill is the key ,but in laundromat machanical is the key with that said you don't have to repair everything by yourself as along you know to trouble shoot  and you can hire someone and tell him what is need to be done .
     With mechanical skill you can control your operating costs:
     for example:
     reversing timer on Dexter washer went bad , just need to replace the small micro switch , costs:~$10 and 30 minutes  and you don't have to wait for someone to repair it for you and one important thing is your equipment not being out of order for a week.



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    Linh Nguyen
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Mobile AL
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  • 15.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 9 days ago
    Not sure if you're asking me or just asking in general.  If meant for me, pease check my response I ended my response with... We have to wear many hats.  Thar is very true in order to have the best shot at not just success but happiness & well being.

     So good thing you admit it and handle said grumpiness by hiding in the office or behind machines.  But why be an owner or run a business if you're going to be grumpy?

     The good news is that it appears, based on what you stated that you mitigated your.... Personality with your staff & wife that do all of the smiling.  Kudos to you for at least knowing that, accepting it, and finding a workaround / solution.

     The back-office part.of it is not that difficult as long as your profitable.  If your struggling week to week, I can see where that will be a significant challenge and cause to add to your level of grumpy behavior.

     I keep pretty busy. Thus my math is pretty easy.  Am I making money & in the black? Yes ok good.  I don't spend time on spreadsheets or obsessing on what I need to do to increase revenue when doing what we do already achieves that.  The goal then is to do more of that minus any type of grumpy or negative behavior because that surely won't help and will instead, contribute in the opposite direction.

     I use, make, and work with spreadsheets & several other programs here at work all the time.  The last thing I need is another spreadsheet.

     With regards to other tasks such as collecting & deposits.  Now is the time to have & build that trustworthy team.  What happens if you have an accident or end up gravely I'll?  Or worse yet expire?  Who will pull & deposit then?  There are benefits to having others in your team be able to perform all of the work not just 1 single point failure.

     I also realize it's easier said than done.  That's yet another factor that makes this business difficult & people grumpy.  But now is the time to find & build that team.  And when you do, take care of them & pay them well.




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    Juan
    Store Owner/ Employee
    Cocoa FL
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  • 16.  RE: Advice for a newbie

    Posted 9 days ago
    Customer Service
    Quickbooks
    Marketing

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    Tyler Blair
    Store Owner/ Employee
    The Washboard Laundry
    San Diego CA
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