Jon Fulcher and his wife Sandra bought the EH Wash ‘n’ Dry Launderette in Bournemouth two years ago. It was a completely new venture for them, Jon having been in IT sales and data management and Sandra working for British Home Stores, and they have clearly brought a very professional attitude into the running of the business.
When they took the launderette over, the business inherited Speed Queen dryers which are still going strong, but the washers which had been in the shop for many years were clearly on the way out. So last year Jon invited all the leading machine suppliers, including Armstrong Commercial Laundry Systems, to talk to him with a view to supplying a number of new washers. “Armstrong were the only company who handled the enquiry really professionally and followed up properly, so, although not the cheapest, they got the business”, he told us. “Cost isn’t always the most important factor,” he said, “you need a company you can rely on in the long term.”
Jon bought a total of five Primus washing machines, three 8kg machines, one 11kg and one 14kg, and these were installed by Armstrong dealer AJB Engineering Services. “Kevin Bunce and his son Matt were excellent,” Jon said. “We had to close the launderette for three days as there was a lot of infrastructure work that had to be done and they worked like trojans to get it all done in the time. We are very pleased with the new equipment and now the machines have been in for some time we have seen a reduction in our water bills.” On the subject of cost, Tom Lowes, director of Armstrong commented, “A cheap deal on equipment is very often not the best, particularly when you put the cost of equipment into the financial model of a business like this. Over time machine costs really are quite a small element.”
Located in a mixed residential area of private and social housing, when Jon and Sandra took the launderette over they both described it as ‘1980’s East Enders!’ They have invested a lot in smartening the place up, putting in bright LED lighting, and ever since they have worked tirelessly to keep the place looking clean and smart, a fact which he says people frequently remark on and has brought them in business from a larger than expected catchment area. The launderette is open for self service from 8.00am to 6.00pm seven days a week, and is attended from 8.00 to 12.00 Monday to Friday. While it is attended they offer service washes, duvet cleaning, ironing and dry cleaning. In the winter months they get some business from local sports clubs, and the self service drying business increases. They have 24 hour CCTV and as it is near their home, one of them comes in to lock up every night. They also offers a delivery and collection service if required. A large forecourt car parking area is an added attraction for people collecting or dropping off laundry.
Unusually for a launderette, Jon has a till and so is able to accurately monitor exactly where his business is coming from. He analyses which machines are getting the most use and can tell how much money he is taking for duvets, service washes, delivery and collection etc. “About 50% of our business is self service,” he told us, “but the till enables us to target promotional activity and see exactly how profitable each aspect of the business is. If a customer brings a duvet in and then we don’t see him six months or a year later, we’ll drop a reminder leaflet through the door – we spend one Sunday a month leafleting the local area.” The business also has a very informative website and says that Google Business has definitely contributed to the growth of the business since they took it over.
With his technical background Jon does much of the basic maintenance on the machines himself, but knows he can rely on Armstrong & AJB if he does need a call out for any reason.
For further information on our commercial laundry equipment, contact us and see how we can advise you to best suit your business.
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