Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to Find and Buy Laundromat Equipment

If you are starting a Laundromat business and need equipment, then you are not alone. Many new businesses owners are looking for the right supplier and place to get either used or new laundromat machines and equipment. So, the question is, where do you start? You might be wondering or already know if you want to buy new machines or used ones. New laundry machines have a higher cost, but lower maintenance and repair costs. Compared to used machines that are significantly cheaper, yet will run a higher maintenance budget. If you are a hands one type of person and mechanically inclined, then used machines might already be the answer because you can easily learn how to do your own maintenance and repair and save a lot of money that you can use to re-invest in your business.

Lets look at your options from a buying perspective. The number of machines, washers and dryers, that you need will need to be known up front. Depending on the size of the location, or if you are replacing existing machines, then the size and number will come into play. There are also vendors that sell refurbished equipment and will often take a trade in if you are replacing existing equipment ( usually really old stuff ). You may not get a really good deal on the old machines, but at least you will get something because it may be hard to re-sell it on your own. And if you can't sell them, you may have to pay to have them removed or recycled at local metal recyclers.

Compare both the used cost and new cost for a similar machine, sometimes the difference is not worth settling for used equipment and spending a fraction more to get new machines is worth it. Knowing what features you want in a laundromat machine will help narrow down your choices as well. From size, stack-able, front load, top load, coin operated to electronic readers all make a difference. Check out some of the larger online vendors, such as or . They sell a wide variety of machines to suit any budget, as well as a large selection of new equipment from many different manufacturers.

Another way to find laundromat equipment is to actually buy it at commercial auction. Usually you want to find local auction houses that deal with commercial sales and businesses. Most of the auctions of equipment come from businesses that have shut down, etc. In the commercial laundry business there are not a log of businesses closing, there are some , but not a lot. You may get really lucky and run into a sale of very good equipment from these auctions at a really, really great price.

If you are starting a new business, then the washing and drying machines are not the only equipment you are going to need. You will need a lot more, such as tables, chairs, baskets and stuff for a waiting area. Other secondary income vending machines are great too. Snack and soda machines do very well in laundromats and per square foot space used actually can have a higher income then the laundry machines themselves. I highly recommend at least one or 2 vending machines in your business if you can.

As a business owner you should be looking at the profit margin and hidden costs of all your equipment. Looking at energy cost, water usage and square footage used by the washing and drying machines will help cut down your costs and increase profit. Some analysis is essential when buying any new or used equipment. Determine the electricity and water costs per load and compare that to different machines available. Higher efficiency machines usually cost more, but in the end they may still not be worth the additional cost and maintenance if the difference in price is more then difference in the energy cost. Balancing energy, water, maintenance and repair along with the estimated or known loads per day will help you decide on the best machine for your situation. As energy costs do vary in every part of the country, it is wise to determine this on your own and not rely on a sales rep to answer it for you, it usually always ends in their favor and not yours.

In the end, you actually have a huge amount of vendors, resellers and choices when it comes to both used and new laundromat equipment to buy. Buying coin operated laundromat machines is easy, finding the right ones for your business is a little harder. Just keep in mind the basics when you look, such as profit margin, warranty, maintenance schedules and associated costs, energy efficiency and probably a few others that I can't think of right now.

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