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Recap: COVID-19 Webinar for Laundries

In case you missed the COVID-19 webinar for laundries hosted by Eastern Funding, here is a quick recap.

Marc Stern, Chief Lending Officer at Eastern Funding, was the moderator. The panelists were Rob Maes, who owns laundries in the Houston area; Luke Williford, multi-store owner from North Carolina; and Armen Madatyan, an SBA loan specialist from a Certified Development Company (CDC) company that underwrites SBA loans.

We received many questions submitted by participants but our panelists were only able to tackle a fraction during the live session. Here are more questions and summary responses from our panelists.

Questions about Operations

How has laundry delivery been affected by the pandemic?

According to Express Laundry in Houston, delivery business has dropped off significantly mostly due primarily to the commercial business.  The Wash House does not currently or was not offering delivery before the pandemic.Is business down with wash & fold because people are scared or just because they are not using many clothes? Rob Maes noted that he has seen drop-off WDF down 50% while commercial WDF has virtually gone away. One potential reason for drop-off WDF decrease may be that customers are following stay at home orders or they simply do not have any discretionary income to spend right now.

As the economy gets worse [have you] seen any increase in crime?

Yes, it seems whenever there is some type of disaster or economic downturn, there will be those who look for ways to break into the machines. It is a good time to test alarms, cameras and other security measures to be prepared. Criminals follow the path of least resistance, try to find And address your weak points before they do. 

Should we look at delivery, for wash and fold? / Is anyone doing or implementing delivery service for wash dry fold service?

Many operators had already been very successful with pick-up and delivery and some are now turning to this to sustain their business where the walk-in business has fallen off. By offering pick-up and delivery. This greatly depends on the ability to do it effectively. Vehicles, staff/driver, management system.

Also, take into consideration that delivery WDF margins are considerably less than drop-off WDF margins.  Delivery WDF is also more complicated and requires a delivery vehicle, more labor, more advertising, more insurance and more systems in place to implement.

Questions Regarding SBA Programs

NOTE: The situation with PPP and other SBA programs can change quickly during the crisis. Indeed, since the webinar, the PPP funds have been exhausted. Instead of posting the Q&A here, we encourage you to visit the SBA website at https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources for the most up-to-date information.

FAQ on PPP Forgiveness (As of April 17, 2020)