This is the second of a two-part article on utility costing. For questions, email email@example.com
On the last article, I tackled about the hidden costs in commercial laundry, such as re-wash and rejects, pilferage and leaks. Understanding these costs allows the business owner to put in measures to minimize or avoid these events.
Now, let me enumerate the “known costs” and the standard expenses that any laundry business will encounter. While these are essential and therefore difficult to avoid incurring, owners can implement smart tactics to manage them and maximize the bottomline for the business.
The headcount of staff needed to operate a laundry varies. A luxury hotel in Makati once had a ratio of 1 laundry staff (whether outsourced or in-house) for every 10 rooms. There are also business models such as self-service laundry which are designed to be low-cost in labor.
In general, businesses (hotels, hospitals, and institutions) avoid hiring in-house and will prefer to outsource their laundry to a service provider.
Real estate is tricky if you don’t know how to make it work for you. Laundry shops must have the best and most strategic location, but rents can be too expensive in central business districts. One tactic employed by laundry shops today is to have a centralized plant (much like the commissary concept in F&B) where soiled linen from various receiving stations in different branches are compiled and washed.
Commercial laundry requires a number of chemicals. By order of their application, these are: alkali or booster; detergent; bleach (chlorine or oxygen); and sour or neutralizer, and fabric condition.
For laundromats and self-service laundry shops, regular tap water is often enough to sustain operations. But commercial laundry operators are usually more discerning of the water quality (for instance, preferring soft water) for efficiency and to avoid damages to the linen. Better quality of water sometimes mean higher cost.
Depreciation and maintenance
Machines depreciate in value over time and require regular maintenance. It is best to look for suppliers with good after-sales service. Remember: A machine that doesn’t run is a huge opportunity cost for the business.
Electricity powers the laundry shop’s machines and other appliances. Between the start of 2006 and end-2017 (nearly 12 years), electricity prices in the Philippines have gone up by 39% based on the Electricity Price Index. While seemingly high, this is lower than the Consumer Price Index (+54%) of the same period. The CPI is the basis of inflation figures.
Industrial laundry operations usually involve steam as a way to heat water (Hot water is the best kind of water to kill bacteria and remove most stains). Steam can be powered by LPG or electricity.
Newly washed linen are packaged nicely in plastic or branded canvas bag, ready for delivery to the customer.
Delivery (and sometimes pick-up) of linen to the customer is a different animal. Logistics would involve vehicle, gas, and personnel who has a good sense of time, direction and record keeping.
Understanding costs is key to a laundry business’ survival. If you’re interested to learn more about training and advisory on costing (especially utility costing), email firstname.lastname@example.org.