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Smart machine maintenance is the best prevention.
AUTHORStanley Marx, Director of Development, Aces Laundry
Maintenance is a must. In the old days, most laundry room providers worked with top-loading machines. You opened them, put your clothes in, and closed them. They were not airtight like today’s front-loading machines. These machines are the way to go now because of water costs. They use about 12 to 14 gallons of water as compared to the top loader’s 36 to 40. But the problem with them is because they load from the front they have to be air- and watertight. That causes mold buildup, and to properly maintain them, they should be cleaned every two to three weeks. Dryers, too, should be de-linted every couple of weeks for safety reasons and fire precaution. A building’s laundry provider should be doing this.
Monitoring machines. Most boards do not have any idea what their laundry room takes in or how much it’s making. Transparency should be key. One way to actually see how much revenue is being taken in is by using technology to connect each machine to the cloud. We do this by having a cellular connection in each laundry room, and every machine is connected to it. If a machine goes down, our computer monitoring catches this. We can turn the machine off and turn it back on again and see if that fixes the problem, and if not, the diagnostics will tell us what is going on. It alerts our technicians to the problem before anyone has to be called.
Getting a good contract. Standard contracts are usually eight years. There are basically three types of deal. One is a percentage split, where you really have to trust the people that you’re dealing with because you have to know how much money is being taken in each month. Second is a flat-rate rent, and that’s usually negotiable. And, finally, there is a breakpoint deal where both the board and laundry room vendor get a certain amount of money, and anything above that is split. Bottom line, though, it really depends on trusting your vendor and on the transparency of his income. And that’s a tough thing to get if it’s not tracked.