Hotel Laundry: On-Premise vs. Outsource
From sheets to comforters, towels, tablecloths, uniforms, and more, linens are a critical component of any hotel’s success. The cleanliness and quality of linens contribute significantly to customers’ impressions of the guest rooms and overall experience, while costs associated with laundering—and eventually replacing—linens can have a significant impact on the business’s bottom line.
With the emergence of third-party laundry providers that pickup soiled linens and launder them off-site, then deliver clean linens ready for use, hotel owners and investors are left with the decision: On-premise or outsourced? Whether you’re building a new facility or questioning your established facility’s current process, there are myriad factors that influence the decision. Here are the most important things to consider when determining whether to outsource your hotel’s laundry operations or develop an on-premise laundry facility.
On-Premise: There are numerous costs associated with an on-premise laundry room, including equipment purchases, maintenance, staffing, and utilities. The total cost can vary widely depending on the size and scale of the operation, number of employees needed, and the efficiency of the equipment, since modern, efficient washers and dryers use significantly less water and energy than older models.
Outsource: On the other hand, most third-party laundry providers simplify the cost structure. While some require long-term contracts, cost is typically structured as a pay-as-you-go model where hotels pay per pound of laundry. During slow periods, paying for laundry by usage can save hotels money when their output is lower, whereas during busy periods, the cost may exceed that of an efficient on-premise laundry facility.
Bottom Line: Hotels should calculate and compare the overhead and ongoing costs of an on-premise laundry against the monthly cost of outsourcing to a third-party provider to determine the better option.
On-Premise: A commercial laundry room can be a complex endeavor, requiring dedicated staff and ongoing equipment maintenance. However, partnering with the right commercial laundry equipment supplier can help. An experienced supplier like Worldwide Laundry has a wealth of experience and can help with everything from equipment customization to streamlining processes, training staff, managing ongoing maintenance, and more.
Outsource: Hiring a third-party company to manage commercial laundry requires contract negotiation and ongoing oversight: quality assurance, inventory control, and more.
Bottom Line: The right partner makes all the difference in optimizing your laundry operation, whether it be on-premise or outsourced.
On-Premise: Modern commercial laundry equipment is efficient, requiring significantly less water, energy, time, and employee involvement than older models. Many companies even offer attractive financing and/or leasing programs to help ensure that every facility has access to the best equipment. If your facility is outfitted with the latest technology and well-trained employees, it can operate very efficiently, whereas older equipment and high employee turnover can significantly hinder productivity.
Outsource: Third-party providers focus on a single process as their product, so they benefit from economies of scale. They typically invest in the latest and greatest equipment and their employees spend countless hours operating the same equipment so they can turn over batches of laundry quickly.
Bottom Line: With high quality commercial laundry equipment, your on-premise laundry can be as efficient as a third-party provider. But if you are working with outdated equipment and untrained employees, it’s best to leave the laundry to the pros.
On-Premise: When you keep your linens in-house, you have complete control over turnaround time. As demand increases, you can divert resources toward your laundry facility to ensure loads are processed in time to turn over rooms, clean uniforms, and keep your facility running smoothly while keeping fewer linens in inventory.
Outsource: When a third-party manages your laundry, you are at their mercy in regards to delivery times. And if you need faster than average turn-around times, you’ll likely have to pay a fee. To help avoid unforeseen delays, many hotels need to keep a larger inventory of linens so that they can cover any lapses in delivery times, though this is also an expensive option. In the unfortunate event that you run out of clean linens, even if the laundry company is at fault, guests will still hold your hotel accountable and it can negatively impact your reputation.
Bottom Line: Busy hotels benefit from in-house laundry facilities so they can control turnaround times while cutting down on the amount of expensive linen inventory required to meet demand.
On-Premise: With help from Laundry Experts, nearly any unused space can be converted into an efficient on-premise laundry room. Not only does an in-house laundry facility allow your hotel to be self-sufficient, but it provides an opportunity to generate additional revenue by offering laundry and dry cleaning services to guests and outside customers.
Outsource: When you outsource laundry to a third-party provider, you no longer need a dedicated laundry room and you may be able to repurpose that space to further attract guests with a pool, fitness center, conference room, game room, or other attractive amenity.
Bottom Line: Every choice holds various opportunity costs related to the options that were not chosen. Consider where your laundry facility is or could be located, the footprint, and how that space could provide maximum value to your hotel.
On-Premise: When you manage your own laundry facility, you have control over the laundry equipment, cycle settings, and more. You can also monitor linen output for quality, ensuring every load is properly laundered.
Outsource: Trusting your laundry to a third-party provider means surrendering control over how it is handled, which machines and cycles are used, and more.
Bottom Line: Outsourcing laundry to a third-party provider means surrendering all control and putting your trust in that provider. If there are no reputable laundry companies in your region or if wash quality is a concern, it is best to keep your hotel laundry operation in-house.
Linen Replacement Costs
On-Premise: By selecting the best cycle for each load and keeping everything in one place, you can extend the life of your linens and reduce replacement costs.
Outsource: Third-party laundering processes can be harsh on sheets, towels, and other linens, reducing their useful lifespan and causing them to need to be replaced more frequently. Additionally, when you outsource your laundry operation there is always the possibility that your linens are mixed up with another customer’s or lost, resulting in additional replacement costs.
Bottom Line: Keeping hotel laundry in-house reduces linen replacement costs, saving facilities money.
How to Choose the Best Laundry Solution for Your Hotel
To determine whether your hotel should stick with the tried-and-true on-premise laundry model or outsource laundry to a third-party provider, carefully assess each of the areas above as they apply to your business. With close consideration, you can determine which model best appeals to your brand as it relates to factors like cost, complexity, and quality. Never make decisions based on what is familiar or what is new and exciting; instead, determine what is best for your individual hotel business in the short-term as well as the long-term.
Contact the On-Premise Laundry Experts
For hotels that prefer to keep their laundry in-house, the experts at Worldwide Laundry are here to help. We have decades of experience working with a wide range of commercial clients to optimize their laundry operations and ensure they operate as efficiently as possible. Contact us today to learn how we can help with every step of the process, from planning and outfitting your facility to maintenance, management, and more.
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