It’s an exciting time for any self-service laundry owner when plans are under way for a new store. There’s plenty to do, with one of the major concerns being store design.
Some customers believe that all laundries look alike. Owners know better. The store design, to a great extent, reflects the image the owner wants to convey. But store design goes much further than equipment placement. A host of factors determine “the lay of the land” when it comes to your new laundry.
Here are just some of the things that need to be considered when designing a new store. The information was submitted by operators, distributors and manufacturers.
Since there is no agreed-on “ideal” equipment mix, we can shift the emphasis to equipment placement. The consensus is that you should place your larger equipment near the front door. There are a number of reasons why this should be done:
Some favor keeping the larger equipment in back. Their reasons revolve around keeping the larger washers near dryers for customer convenience and not having customers blocking the aisle up front as they use the store’s most popular machines.
It’s also important not to get so tied up in the placement concerns that you ignore service considerations. This also relates to aisle space. If you give your customers too much space, it could lead to an inadequate or cramped service area. This is trouble because your equipment will need service or maintenance at some time. Some recommend keeping 2 feet clear behind the washers and dryers. Check with the equipment manufacturer and your distributor to see what makes the most sense for your location.
One other warning: If you don’t have adequate service space, you may have trouble keeping a good repairman. And if you persuade the repairman to work in “cramped” conditions, it may end up costing you more than you think.
SAFE AND SECURE
When you design your new store, it’s only natural to think about creating a comfortable store. Some customers equate comfort with feeling secure.
While area demographics may indicate that a neighborhood can be profitable, the information might also indicate that it’s a “rough” neighborhood. With this in mind, there are several steps you might want to take.
If you’re thinking about maximizing revenue at your new store, the thought of extra-profit centers has probably crossed your mind more than once. There are a host of ways to get your “captive” customers to spend a little extra money at your store. With this in mind, it wouldn’t hurt if your laundry design reflects the importance of extra-profit centers.
If you’re going to emphasize some of the larger vending machines, offering a larger variety of food and drink, you might think more about space allocation. Where will these venders go?
If something a bit more elaborate, such as tanning beds or a small food counter, is on your mind, this will require extra space and more planning.
The more traditional extra-profit center is drop-off service. Some owners may not want this service because it will require an attendant, but it’s still the industry’s No. 1 extra-profit center.
How will this service affect your design? Owners often believe that you need to designate an area of the laundry for drop-off work. This area can vary in size depending on the amount of space available. The key is that if you are going to offer an extra service, let the people know about it!
In some cases, owners have created a special counter area for drop-off work. Certain areas of the store have also been reserved for this service. For example, you can target a group of washers, at off-hours, to handle the drop-off work. These washers may be located in the back of the store so attendants can do the work without customers congregating around the machines.
You might consider putting in a rack and leaving enough room to hang the finished work. If you are thinking about tackling commercial accounts in the future, this may require even more room.
If you thought that only a couple of factors went into a good laundry design, this story was probably an eye-opener. When you first tackle store design, it’s easy to focus only on putting in some equipment and wondering where the customer seating will go.
When you go beyond satisfying the basic design needs, the challenge really begins. Taking the time out to consider some of the things mentioned in this article can keep you ahead of the competition, and also save money.
Click here to read Part 1 of this story.