What does it take to create a successful laundry business with longevity? Starting a company is one thing, turning it into a premier operation for decades is a whole different problem altogether.
However, many laundry owners are doing just that. Members of the laundry and linen industry are feeling more secure about their jobs, with many staying in one place for 10 years or more, according to a recent survey conducted by American Laundry News. This brings up the question: How can you ensure your business is still thriving a decade or more down the line?
Laundries create secure positions
In the American Laundry News Your Views survey, respondents painted a picture of a strong, successful industry. For example, 77 percent noted that they had been in their current position for at least 10 years. Slightly more than 12 percent haven’t changed jobs in at least five years.
“Members of the laundry industry are secure about their roles.”
This translates into feelings about job security, as well. The study found that 63 percent believe they are in a “highly secure” position. Almost 23 percent reported feeling “somewhat secure.” Nobody reported being highly insecure with their current positions.
Many respondents told American Laundry News that they loved their jobs, while others called the industry stressful. Some pointed to a desire to constantly cut costs as an ongoing problem, while others were optimistic about new trends and technology. So far, it appears that the biggest challenge to a successful business is the manager and employee relationship. For instance, more than 26 percent of the survey group’s managers felt that it was difficult to handle worker discipline, training, hiring and firing.
In addition, other challenges included:
- Improving customer service
- Ensuring profitable facilities
- Balancing to-do lists
- Working with outdated equipment
- Managing family
Overall, the American Laundry News survey is a good snapshot of the laundry industry. With these obstacles – and benefits – in mind, here are a few ways to keep your business strong for years to come:
1. Plan ahead
Perhaps the most important step is to plan ahead. You won’t be able to maintain success without a clear direction. Plan for all important elements, from your yearly finances to your hiring and equipment needs. As you plan, set goals for your business. Focus on both long-term and short-term benchmarks. Then, evaluate what you’ll need to accomplish those goals. Also look over your expenses and your income to see if there are areas where you can save money and increase your profits.
2. Improve customer service
Naturally, you won’t have a business without customers. So, improving customer service should definitely be on your list as you grow your company. Start with the simple day-to-day experience. Walk through your stores to see how a customer would feel. Find out where there should be changes, like with new equipment, a redesigned layout or an updated marketing campaign. If you have a customer service department, make sure your employees are well-trained and prepared for a variety of different complaints.
3. Embrace risks
Believe it or not, but the best business owners are the ones who know when to take risks. You can be a bit of a risk-taker in your laundromat as well. This can be as simple as understanding your exposures – a new competitor, a fluctuating stock market – and taking steps to balance safety with potential. Always figure out what is the downside to any risk. This will make it clearer whether or not you should move forward in that direction, or regroup and take another route.
Creating a long-lasting business can be tricky. However, as your business grows, remember to balance the pros and cons of the industry in order to maintain success.