If yet another expensive repair bill for your commercial laundry equipment has you considering the switch to a hotel laundry service, you aren’t alone.
More properties are shutting down their on-property laundry (OPL) operations and bringing on a partner to take over, saving time, money, resources and space.
It’s a major change, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We’ve worked with enough properties to have come up with a list of best practices for transitioning to a hotel laundry service.
Do the Math
The main reason properties have for shutting down their OPL and working with a hotel laundry service is—you guessed it—cost. It’s also one of the most common objections from managers and operators who haven’t yet done the math on what their laundry room is actually costing them.
Before making the switch, make sure you have a clear idea of your current total laundry cost, including both direct and indirect expenses. Our OPL Cost Calculator offers a comprehensive quote with many of the categories people commonly overlook, such as maintenance fees, consulting and equipment depreciation.
Knowing exactly what you’re spending now will inform your decision on what hotel laundry service provider is offering the best deal.
Compare Oranges to Oranges
Once you’ve got your current total and you’re ready to start shopping around, be on the lookout for quotes from competitors that don’t quite match.
One company’s cost may come in lower only because they charge extra for delivery, sorting or fees. Be sure to have each vendor explain exactly what their estimate for you includes – and what it doesn’t.
While cost is a big factor when it comes to outsourcing laundry, there are plenty of others that go into selecting the right vendor, including their staff, overall customer service and overall approach to handling laundry.
You can learn a lot about that last one by taking a tour of each laundry plant. Take along the members of your team who know laundry operations best and will know what to look for and what questions to ask.
Does the sorting seem thorough? Is the flow well-organized? What procedures do they have in place to track linens by weight and client? Is their equipment state-of-the-art and well-maintained?
Keeping a scorecard for each company will simplify the decision. Minus points for non-transparent pricing, bonus points for having multiple plants that can provide backup in an emergency.
Have Enough Pars
Commercial laundries that serve hotel clients understand the non-stop nature of hospitality and have turnaround times that meet the industry’s unique demands. That said, in order to make the most of a partnership with a provider, good par level management is essential.
In short: You’ve gotta have enough pars.
The recommended number is four: one clean in the guestroom, one dirty leaving the room, one in storage and one on its way to be laundered.
Invest in the Right Kinds of Linens
If the recommendation of four pars has you lining up your next linen order, keep in mind that you may have to select different luxury hotel bedding and towels to keep up with the rigors of hotel laundry services.
While commercial equipment is generally gentler on your linens, it does involve high temperatures, and not every kind of linen can take the heat and still perform well. Your laundry provider will know best what brands and blends withstand hotel dryers and ironers.
Be the Change
Shutting down an OPL and outsourcing hotel laundry is a move more properties are taking as they realize the benefits of having a professional partner. As with any transition, things will go smoother if you’re well-informed, well-prepared.