What it is like to own a laundromat

It is the sound of coins clanking, dryers whirling, the smell of dryer sheets and the feel of warm air swirling around that make up a laundromat.  It is a great place to watch people bustle around filling and emptying machines and meticulously fold their clothes or stuff them into bags and scurry out the door.  Within this controlled chaos, there is a lot of work to do.

People have questions

No matter who taught you how to do laundry, there is always something new to learn or a trick to discover.  The day is filled with people asking questions about how to use one of the machines, how much soap to use, what will get a stain out and how long will this load take to dry.  While I thought I knew a lot about laundry, each day I discover different techniques to tackle all sorts of laundry situations.  Between me and the staff, we have a great deal of knowledge between us to handle almost every question.

Things break down

The entire laundromat is filled with machines.  Washers, dryers, change machines, vending machines, irons, steamers and computer and vacuums.  I don’t think there is ever a day that something doesn’t falter or breakdown.  I wouldn’t have ever thought about owning a laundromat if I didn’t know some of the basics to repair all of these things.  It is a lot of work, but I like the challenge and the ability to fix a problem.

People depend on you

Many of our customers don’t own washers or dryers (or the ones they do own, are temporarily out of service) so they depend on the neighborhood laundromat to get their clothes clean.  We are able to provide a product and service that can help those who need it, 7 days a week.

Watching tv and talking to friends

Once the loads are started, then there is the waiting.  For customers who like to wait inside the laundromat, it can be a bit boring without a bit of entertainment.  Many people flip through magazines, watch tv or surf the web on their phones and computers.  Sometimes we will get groups of friends who make laundry day a time to get together.  Between filling the machines with their weekly laundry, they swap stories and catch-up from the week’s activities.  Being a part of the social aspect of the laundromat is one of the great perks of the business.  

So between the smelly socks, the broken machines, the stain that just won’t get out and the rising cost of utilities, one would wonder if it is worth it to own a laundromat.  But at the end of the day, the sound of coins being counted, clean clothes folded and the smile of a customer you have helped make it a great business to own.