Outsourcing your laundry chores

I was doing a bit of light laundromat reading tonight and came across an interesting article. This article about a single mom and her laundry outsourcing. I didn’t necessarily agree with all of it but I felt it did raise some very good points.

Argument for outsourcing

Outsourcing your household chores is not necessarily for just the rich and famous. The cost to do laundry at a laundromat works out to be around $5-$10 per load depending on washer size. It also takes roughly 1 and 1/2 hours of time to run loads through the machines, fold the clothes and bring them home.

In this article from unclutterer.com they give a chart of how many hours a week a family of 4 spends on laundry. It’s staggering really, the routine they suggest is:

Monday: Launder all the sheets from all three beds. (1 load)
Tuesday: Launder child #1 and child #2′s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Wednesday: Launder adult’s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Thursday: Launder towels. (2 loads)
Friday: Launder child #1 and child #2′s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Saturday: Launder adult’s clothing. (1-2 loads)
Sunday: Rest, or launder a load of delicates.

If you take the light side of their estimates it ends up with 7 loads of laundry per week. If you do all this at home it could take 8+ hours of pushing laundry through a small machine. At a laundromat in one trip it would be 3-4 loads of larger size washers and take at least 2 hours start to finish. If you had to split it into multiple trips you add a lot of commute time and end up around 6 hours. The cost would be $15-$30 depending on what size washers and how bulky the items were.

In order to have this laundry done at a local Wash-Dry-Fold service it would cost $45-$80 (again depending on weight of items). Is it worth $30-$50 to free up 2-8+ hours per week of laundry time? That’s the hard question, for some people it’s a definite yes, others it can be a “sometimes” and still others say absolutely not.

The Hybrid

Most of our customers that have a washer and dryer at home end up doing a hybrid. It might be too costly to do all 7 loads at a laundry service, instead they only outsource part of their laundry. The will bring 2-3 loads in while doing the remainder at home. The cost might be $30/week but still save them 2 hours or more of laundry time.

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Why you need less laundry detergent!

How much laundry detergent is needed to get clothes clean?  When using a high efficiency (he) washing machine you don’t need much laundry detergent. We’ll go into why you can use less and still get your clothes just as clean. We’ll also offer recommendations on how much laundry detergent to use on different size washing machines.

The Myth – Laundry detergent alone is what gets my clothes clean

Laundry detergent isn’t the only component to getting your clothes clean.  The water and agitation does most of the work to clean your clothes but this alone cannot dissolve oily items. That’s where the detergent comes into play.  The detergent dissolves the oily items and allows the grime to stay suspended in the water.  When the water gets drained from the machine you want the dirt and oils to go with it.

The Problem – Too much laundry detergent

Using too much laundry detergent in a high efficiency washer will not get your clothes cleaner. It will actually make it harder to get your clothes clean because there is less water used in a high efficiency washer and too much detergent will cause over-sudsing problems. When you have too much suds it keeps your clothes from agitating properly by providing a cushion. When there is a cushion the agitators can’t properly move the clothes around.

too much laundry detergent

The second problem with using too much detergent is that the machine can’t rinse it off. Using less water, high efficiency machines can’t rinse away large amounts of detergent. When the rinse cycles on the machine can’t dilute all the detergent and it comes out on your clothes. So while you may have gotten rid of the dirt and grime, you likely end up with a soap residue on your clothes.

The Solution

Use the right laundry detergent

The laundry detergents that are labeled for HE use are formulated to produce fewer suds and to hold more grime. These detergents have been specially designed to work with less water and still be effective.

the right amount of laundry detergent

Most newer front load washers at a laundromat will be using high efficiency washers. It is usually safe to assume you can purchase a HE detergent for use at a laundromat.

The right amount of detergent

It’s important to use the proper amount of detergent at all times. When using a high efficiency washer this becomes even more critical.

When using HE soap you need 1-2 tablespoons of soap per load. How much is a load you might ask? Generally the smallest washing machine at a laundromat will be considered “1 load”. Many washers will say how many loads they can handle. A “Quadruple loader” will hold 4 normal loads of laundry, this is the same as a 40lb machine. On these larger machines use no more than 4 tablespoons of detergent.

Does it look right?

How do you know if you have the right amount of detergent? When the load is running the wash cycle there should be a small amount of suds during the whole wash. The machine does not need to be full of white fluffy suds.  We’ve been trained by soap commercials to think that this is correct, but lots of white fluffy suds indicate too much soap has been used. If you try the recommended amounts of soap in this article and find it’s too little or too much, adjust slowly until you find the right balance.






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Unattended Vs. Attended Laundromats

Have you ever moved into a new area and had to start over finding a new laundromat? In this article we will go over some of the differences between unattended and attended laundromats. We own both types of stores which gives us insight into what each store offers to customers. We have also visited many other stores to gather ideas. Hopefully we can help you find the right laundromat for your needs.

Unattended Laundromats

Unattended Laundromat


  • Better Hours
  • Lower Prices

Unattended stores generally have more reliable hours. They are usually open on weekends, holidays, early in the morning and late at night. Most unattended laundromats have better hours, due to not having employees. It is easier having automatic locks allowing the store to open and close without an attendant. Customers can come in earlier in the morning or late in the evening as their schedule allows. Another benefit of an unattended store is the lower cost to run the machines. The owner doesn’t have a to pay wages and can pass the savings on through lower prices.

Some unattended stores have bathrooms while others do not. It is difficult for an unattended store to keep a bathroom clean and well kept. If the owner of the unattended store is diligent this may not be a problem. The major weakness of unattended stores are equipment failures. If a machine experiences a problem there is generally no assistance available. Problems can be clothing getting stuck in machines, dryers failing to heat up or other issues. Some stores have a contact number or a message box to help with this issue.

Attended Laundromats

Attended Laundromat


  • Cleaner Facility
  • Help Available
  • Additional Services
  • Most offer bathrooms
  • Safer to leave items

Attended laundromats are typically cleaner having staff members available. More services can be offered at attended stores, such as wash-dry-fold and dry-cleaning. These services require a person to weigh items and run the register. If there are any problems with equipment someone is available in the store to help or issue a refund. At an attended laundromat a customer can drop off clothes and leave while they wash or dry. While this is still a risk it is more secure than an unattended store.

The increased cost of employees can cause higher prices at attended stores. They might have more limited hours, trying to balance employee payroll with customer availability. Attended stores try to keep open hours during the most likely customer hours. This can make it difficult for some customers to get to an attended store during business hours.

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Why use a Commercial Laundry Service

If your business generates a lot of laundry, you have likely spent many hours running linens or clothes through the wash in order to conduct business. This is time that might be better spent working with customers, bookkeeping or freeing up employee time for more specialized tasks.

Some of the reasons to consider using a commercial laundry service are:

  • Create more time for customers
  • Reduced wear on personal washer/dryer
  • Employees not spending time/skills on laundry
  • Free up time for other management tasks
  • You are too busy to handle the laundry but not busy enough for another employee
  • Your time is better invested in growing your business

Many of these reasons have one thing in common, you are taking time away from revenue or management tasks to do a basic task. If you are a massage therapist, hair salon or doctor’s office you might be better off bringing your laundry to a commercial laundry service.

Once a business owner has factored in what they can make in an hour of providing services to a customer vs. spending an hour doing laundry (incomplete sentence). Many times it is more profitable to hire a laundry service.

For example, a massage therapist is able to earn $70 or more from a customer appointment. If this massage therapist spends 2 hours a week doing laundry, that is 2 hours that could be used for customer appointments, earning $140.   The amount of laundry a residential washer and dryer could do in 2 hours would cost $30-$40 using a commercial laundry service.  Ignoring the wear and tear on a residential washing machine, the massage therapist would gain $100-$110 per week. Between $5,200 and $5,720 per year in increased revenue.

A couple of reasons not to use a commercial laundry service would be if you have employees who have idle time or if you have hours during your week where you can not schedule appointments. If this “idle” time is already paid for and not generating revenue, it may be better off spent doing laundry. If an employee’s time is less expensive than the cost of using a laundry service. Such as an $8/hr employee spending 2 hours to do $40 worth of laundry. In this scenario the business would be better off utilizing in-house resources.



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Handling large volumes of drop off laundry

We are in the midst of our busiest time of the year at Liberty Laundry and I wanted to put up a post about how we handle our some of our largest drop off laundry customers.

We have two customers that bring in 400-800 pounds of laundry per week for a 5 week period. This puts our store to the test with regards to staffing and machine management. During these busy times it is our goal to insure walk-in customers have machines to use and also be able to complete the contract in a single day.

Using at least 3 people during the starting phase we make sure laundry is started quickly after it is dropped off. We have one person writing down information about the bags that were dropped off while another weighs each bag. The third person will start washers running staggering the start time by 5 minutes.

We stagger the start time because having 5 or 6 washers all stop and moved to the dryers at the same time does not do much good. We only have so many hands for folding, it makes more sense to pace the laundry with approximately the folding speed, this avoids a bottleneck at the folding phase.

We leave at least 50% of our machines open for walk-in customers. If these machinese get used by walk-in customers we start leaving additional machines open. We never want a customer to have to wait for an open washer at our store.

Once the laundry has been started and is beginning to enter dryers a forth or even fifth employee comes on duty to begin with the folding. We have 2-4 people folding and 1 starting new loads, moving laundry from washers to dryers and handling the front desk.

Using this method we have been able to complete drop off loads of nearly 800lbs of drop off laundry in less than 10 hours providing next day service to our largest customers.

If we get additional customer drop offs while we’re working through a large customer we will start them into the mix as well. While we need to make sure our large customers are delivered next day we can not sacrifice our smaller customers to do so.

That is how we handle our large customer drop offs at Liberty Laundry. We make sure our customers get the service they expect at the time the expect it.

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Check us out on FB, Twitter and G+

We now have pages setup on FB, Twitter and G+ to keep people updated on what is going on at the store! https://www.facebook.com/LibertyLaundryNH https://plus.google.com/104888512066688500439/posts https://twitter.com/LiberteeLaundry

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