• Andy Banner-Price

Should I use a laundry company?


Laundry is a fundamental element of a guest stay but they probably never even think about.

Laundry is a necessary evil. In the summer, we can produce up to around twenty hampers (the size of large bin bags) full of washing a week. When I say washing, I'm talking about bed linen, towels and table napkins. We choose to send these to a commercial laundry to wash.

In addition to this, our own washing machine is on several times a day washing rags and dusters which we use for cleaning, tea towels, oven cloths, aprons and dishcloths from the kitchen, throws and cushion covers and our own personal clothes washing.

Some smaller B&Bs choose to wash and iron everything themselves. I don't see how we could do this without having the washing machine on 24 hours a day, and the water and electricity involved would mean the bills soon mounted up. In fact we'd probably need two washing machines. There are companies who ill hire you more commercial type washing and drying machines but they will take up room and again be costly.

The other huge consideration here is you would need your own laundry stock. By using a commercial laundry, you hire the linen and never actually own it, so anything white - sheets, pillowcases, towels as so on all belong to a laundry company. The benefit of this is you don't have the outlay on stock. Imagine the cost of buying a brand new set of bedding for a super king bed, plus some new towels from somewhere with a decent quality range available like John Lewis. Then remember you need six sets of these for the six bedrooms, but then you will have some in the wash / airing at all times so you also need some in stock for changeover days and spares in the cupboard. This probably means you need at least three times the amount of rooms you have. For us that would be eighteen sets minimum so you can see that the costs soon mount up, not least as some people treat your items so badly. There will always be accidents. Someone may spill a cup of tea or a glass of red wine, but there's no excuse for things like make-up, hair dye or shoe polish. If these are beyond saving, they'll need replacing. We probably wash our linen a lot more than people would at home too which wears the items more through constant washing and drying. This means they wear thin and need replacing quite regularly.

Using a professional laundry company does have its downsides too though. They will be washing and drying on an industrial scale, possibly for several hundred different establishments a day which could also include hospitals, schools, factories and the military.

Items can come back as what we call rejects - ie there's something wrong with it. This could be a small mark made by a dryer or an iron, a hole or rip, or a stain that didn't come out when it was washed. We have to be on the look out for these things when making up the bedrooms. There is an ongoing monthly cost of paying them to provide the service to you, which often includes a smaller charge in winter even if you are closed and not using anything as you still have their stock sitting on your shelves.

For me, the benefits outweigh the negatives though. Not only have I not got time to be ironing all evening, or the desire quite frankly, but have you seen sheets and duvets from a laundry company? To the most part they are beautifully smooth and make the bed look really lovely and professionally made. I could never get that finish myself, even with a small roller iron. Industrial scale laundries use automatic roller irons - a super king duvet cover is fed between rollers on one side, it is then ironed, pressed and even folded and comes out in a neat pile at the side. I could not achieve this and the look of my beds would therefore not be as good and certainly not 5 star standards.

Using a laundry does come at a cost though, we pay per item and these charges can soon mount. There's also some admin involved in counting items in and out and checking invoices etc but I still feel the benefits outweigh these costs. It's just one hassle I could do without and have a million other things to do doing too,

It's just another thing to think about when you set up a B&B. By attending one of my courses, you'll find out about all these type of things. Some B&Bs make costly mistakes spending thousands on linen (way more than the cost of my course!), to find it is redundant a few months later when they decide to go with a laundry instead. Other friends in the industry have bought the wrong type of laundry and regretted it when it's not up to the job or they bought non-white.

Save yourself these types of hassles and get all the insider knowledge from the start. Book on my next course today.

#laundry

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