Open Forum

My Worst Decision Ever

  • 1.  My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-08-2019 16:02

    Let's  have some fun.   What is the worst decision you ever made with regard to your laundromat?  Put another way, what was your biggest mistake?  Come on now ... we all make mistakes.  What's important is that we recover from our mistakes as we become wiser and smarter.

    I'll start.  Probably my biggest mistake ever was running a drop off laundry service for decades before finally dropping it 4 years ago.  I did not enjoy that side of the business but I  offered that service because I thought it was important that my laundromat be a full service laundromat.   So, year after year,  I let that sideline put a disproportionate demand on my oversight time.  I  failed to see how much this service was costing me in lost self serve sales and increased stress.

    The s--- hit the fan 4 years ago when I caught a trusted employee under-weighing drop off laundries.  Then I  caught another employee doing a laundry off invoice.  Well, I discontinued the service and those employees are no longer in my employ.  To my surprise, the self serve side quickly increased to make up for the lost drop off sales.  As we continue to focus all attention on self serve, these sales continue to increase year over year.  Knowing what I know now, I have likely lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in self serve sales in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars in drop off sales.  A huge error on my part made bigger because there were times early on when I  considered ending drop off service but didn't.

    Well, that's the worst mistake that I have made in business.  Your turn.

    Larry Adamski
    Muskegon Laundromat
    Spring Lake MI
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  • 2.  RE: My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-08-2019 17:08
    Edited by CURT HARRINGTON 02-08-2019 17:15
    Well not exactly a worst decision but not getting rid of people who did not work out sooner and not raising prices sooner.



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  • 3.  RE: My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-08-2019 18:16
    It seems to me that the "worst mistakes" detailed so far would be speed bumps to me during my time time in the Laundromat business.

    I've lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating Laundromats. Firdt, by leaving a set of keys in a locked cabinet, it was picked and the keys used for many months to steal from me. I never checked for the keys until I needed a replacement for a broken key. Never leave spare keys at your Laundromat.

    Second, converting to tokens. It seemed like a good idea until I realized I was gaining in the number of tokens. Didn't immediately realize the problem right away. When the light came on, I discovered the son of one of my most trusted staff had ordered tokens from the same source and was selling them at a discount price at busy times in my Laundtomat. Police refused to get involved, because I was not vending in real coin. It was declared a civil matter. The boy got a new car out of this.

    Third, giving service keys to cleaning people and staff. Some learned to open the service door, block the funnel to the coin box so coins would fly to the back and could be picked up from the service door entrance.  This happened on toploaders with coin slides.  The smart ones would glue together (glue and soap mixture) a few coins do if I happened to open a service door it would appear as if some coins were jammed in the funnel.

    I have dozens more examples of stupid things I've done, including in unnecessary disputes with manufacturers over principles, practices or advocating too vehemently on behalf of customers.   Lots of stress.

    Larry Larsen
    Anaheim, CA
    Distributor - Insurance - Consulting
    Cell: (714) 390-9969

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  • 4.  RE: My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-09-2019 08:35
    Writing a check for $50k to purchase a mom and pop convenience store before looking at the mat business.  The wife rejected my offer thankfully.  A Walmart grocery store opened around the corner from them and the property and business went up for sale soon after.

    Chris Mallam
    Norfolk VA

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  • 5.  RE: My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-09-2019 13:57
    I find it ironic that this topic pops up today as I am at the beginnig of the worst decision I ever made I the laundry buiness..

    4.5 years ago, I opened my 5th store.  Prior to this, my stores were in small towns and dealt with mom and pop landlords or i owned the property. The store in question, is in a large city and managed by a large managment company and the property owned for generations by a prominat family in the area.

    I failed to enlist the councel of an attorney to review the lease.. I had never dealt with CAM or arbitration or other items in the past. I failed to require a cap on increases to the cam fees. The property recentlly sold to a new owner.. sincemy lease rate is secure.. He has more that doubled my cam fees.. just those fees are now 47.7% of my base rent. My attorney advised me yeaterday that I am screwed..  my option to renew or not renew is coming up..  My problem is if I renew he could continue to raise these fees every year..  I could choose to not renew and move but would lose the $125-$150,000 I spent building the store and I still owe on the equipment..

    Moral of the story, no matter whatyou think you know... hire a professional to advise you insuch matters.. $1,000 dollar attorney fee5 years ago would have saved me thousnads today!!

    Dodd Camp
    Caribbean Coin Laundry
    Central & Western Kentucky

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  • 6.  RE: My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-10-2019 09:54
    My worst?!?!
    Not holding my tongue and being pleasant with my words and actions to others.
    Enough said...

    Deward Stout
    Hurricane Laundromat & Storage
    Hurricane UT

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  • 7.  RE: My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-10-2019 15:40
    Dodd:  The dangers of NNN leases, including sales, have been discussed at length over the years on this forum.  It's a tough spot, but maybe your LLD will negotiate a reasonable fix for the issue.

    My biggest mistake was nursing my ancient water heating system along for too many years after I began upgrading equipment.


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  • 8.  RE: My Worst Decision Ever

    Posted 02-14-2019 15:18
    trusting a salesman​

    F Salas
    Freedom Laundry
    Denison TX

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