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  #1  
Old 05-30-2010, 03:34 PM
anonymous
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Default Disgruntled Employee - How do you handle one?

We had to fire an attendant a couple of weeks ago for insubordination. She had a regular day job and worked at our laundromat Monday through Friday from 8 to 4. She used to work some weekends, but we had to take those hours away as our customers would complain often about her children and her attitude. Believing that she could work well in another time slot, we moved her to 8 to 4. In the beginning, we asked her repeatedly not to bring her children to the laundromat while she worked. The kids were about 14, 13 and 9. She wouldn't bring them for a few weeks and everything was great for a while. Then she would bring just one for a couple of nights, then another for another few nights. Pretty soon, they were all there again. While her kids were there, most of the time, she would get the work done. Part of her responsibilities was to mop the floor every evening, but her idea of mopping was dragging a mop across the floor. When my husband would open each day, it was almost like a film was over the laundromat. We would often find ink on the tables, crushed candy on the floor, gum stuck outside of the laundromat on the sidewalk, which we knew was her kids'. This got progressively worse. The kids got worse too. We understood they all wanted her attention, but she was always networking on her laptop, so she couldn't devote any attention to them. This is why they would often run around the laundromat destroying things. One night, her son must have been out of his mind -- he started to tip over the vending machine. I called her and asked her to please tell her son not to do that. She seemed offended that we would even ask! Shortly after that, we let her go and of course, she filed an unemployment claim with the Dept. of Labor. We disputed it. Naturally, they took her side of things and our tax rate went up. We were in disbelief that an agency can reward someone for destructive behavior. That said, she has visted our laundromat since she got fired. She still brings her children in. The first couple of times, they seemed well behaved, but today, as we were leaving, we saw her in her car waiting outside. She didn't go in until we left. An hour later, our attendant called to let us know that the former attendant borrowed our bathroom key, spent almost a half hour in our bathroom and cut the key away from the chain deliberately. She left her kids in the mat for a while and they were throwing around big cement rocks against the wall outside the mat, chipping the wall outside. Our attendant asked the kids nicely to not do that because they could get hurt, but they wouldn't listen. I know this sounds minor, but I'm afraid it could escalate. Does anyone have any suggestions about how we can protect our mat? My husband wants to call the local police, but after the experience with the Dept. of Labor, I fear we have no rights. Help...
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  #2  
Old 05-30-2010, 05:10 PM
mjwalsh mjwalsh is offline
 
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Location: North Dakota
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Based on what you describe. I would say you need to stand firm with your husband in correcting the situation & possibly having a judgement against them. Structural damage to your building should not be taken too lightly. You should have a way to appeal the unemployment ruling if it was unfair. I definitely would not rule out the police with their accompanying "no trespass" if it continues to escalate! I hope you have a good camera system with alarms so you are not totally at their mercy.
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  #3  
Old 05-30-2010, 05:14 PM
Anonymous_2
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I personally wouldn't let anyone do that to me. Tell her that she is barred from the laundromat and if she shows up, you have a legal right to charge her with trespassing (check your local laws) Anyone doing damage to your property can also be charged with vandalism. If you have cameras, that's also another benefit because they know they are recorded. The camera signs are soon forgotten, but ever since I put my camera monitor so people in the mat can see it, I've noticed that people that I used to have to keep an eye on don't hang around while their laundry is being done. I put my foot down right from the start or they would walk all over me. Obviously this woman, just like her children, are not not raised properly to understand that there are consequences for misbehavior.
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  #4  
Old 05-31-2010, 12:39 AM
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pete f pete f is offline
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Not only would I get no trespass against her I would send the documentation of her vandalism to the dept of labor and ask they look into the case again, as this was the reason you had to fire her in the first place.
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  #5  
Old 05-31-2010, 08:37 PM
canon canon is offline
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While i don't have attended mats, i do have other businesses with employees. first of all any time there is an incident with a employee, document it. Any time you warn an employee put it in writing and have them sign it. You won't lose at the labor hearing if you do this. In fact they won't even show up most of the time. And any time you fire someone tell them they are not allowed on the property. If they are not a good employee, they won't be a good customer!
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  #6  
Old 06-01-2010, 12:49 PM
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DNJplus6 DNJplus6 is offline
 
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I agree with Pete.

Also, for the future: Reduce their hours to the point that they can no longer afford to work for you. You should never have to fire anyone if you follow that theory. A friend of mine tought me that. He owned three pizza shops and NEVER fired anyone.
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  #7  
Old 06-01-2010, 01:54 PM
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Coinwash Coinwash is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitty View Post
Every employee is replaceable. There may be slight talk, may be sympathy for the employee but that will not change the traffic of the business. It is a fact of life that repeats itself many times. You do what you must do for the sake and well being of your business. Part ways, and don't look back.

During my tenure the wdf attendants retired after 17 years of employment. There was some positives for their departures, but also some aprehension to their leave. There was an adjustment period, but replacements were made and they are still employed after 6 years. You can recruit the replacement with someone easily, keep your eyes peeled. ITs easy to snag service workers that you see have potential.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartCard View Post
I would have a dynamic promotion. People will get over hard feelings quickly if they get something free or on sale. I might have a customer appreciation weekend, cheap wash or free dry and free barbeque. Set up a Weber grill in front of the store cook up some ribs, burgers, burrittos and have some fun. One person dosen't rule the town, don't assume someones reputation and loyalty are that strong. Show'em that you're a decent and fair person and you'll be the winner. Don't wait too long, strike first and nullify any momentum of the opposition.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coinwash View Post
You don't have to explain why you fired this person to anyone.
The smart thing to do is to KEEP you mouth closed and no matter how hard it maybe for you don't say anything. This is your business and you don't have to answer to anyone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete f View Post
smartcard and coinwash gave great advice!!

forget about threats. Maybe her close friends may boycott you for a short period untill they need to do the wash, if she is bad mouthing you all over town she will look like an idiot and nobody will jump on her bandwagon.
Forget about her, don't talk about her, get on with your life!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TotoMongo View Post
To those of you who have had success in hiring what were some of the factors that made you hire an employee?

Was it experience and background?
Did anyone do a history check (call previous employers)?
Has anyone ever hired someone on a temporary/provisional basis?
Did the applicants age or family role (mother, childless, etc) play a role?

Could those who have had terrible experiences please chime in? The time is approaching for me to hire someone on a part-time basis and I would like to be as prepared as possible.

Thanks all,
Toto
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anonymous View Post
I have found the best bet to be to have the current employees bring me candidates. These are generally people that they know and will work well. This approach has served me very well with no problem employees.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete f View Post
Winston makes geat points, I post a help wanted sign on the coin changer, and take numbers from people from time to time who ask about a job. I have fired help after they worked (or lack of ) after 1 day. Be sure to ask if they have a ss card, this will weed out those who don't want to work becuase they have claims eleswhere, such as waiting on medicare or SS disability cases in the works.
The call back is something I forgot about. Yes, it is a cleaning job!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred50 View Post
My latest trick is to have a multi-step process for hiring:

1- They have to fill out an application in person

2 - They have to show up at a set time for an interview

3- If they make it that far, they to show up for a training session

4- They have to show up for work.

This has cut down tremendously on the no shows or those that say they really want to work, but really don't. If someone is lazy or has other issues, I would rather find out before they start.

This method is not foolproof, but it has worked better than anything else I've tried to date.

I'm all ears if anyone else has creative ideas!


As far as unemployent eligibility goes, it differs by state. In NJ, they have to earn over $103 for 13 or 26 weeks (I forget which). However, I had someone claim unemployment that "worked" for 2 days. It took me 6 months to clear it up. Your tax dollars at work!!

The family thing has worked out really well for me. The matriarch keeps everyone else in line and, as Kirby pointed out, they cover for each other so I don't have to. I have had as many as 3 people from 1 family on the payroll at any one time.

The only place where there is a control issue is with WDF and I have my schedule set up so that it would be hard to pull off much of a scam. I think if you have people working for you that are predisposed to criminal activity, it would be hard to stop them completely - family or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitty View Post
Always have the employee sign the job description at time of employment determining the expectations. I stated that there was a 30-60-90 probationary period before they were determined a permanent hire. Detail your expectations and do not expect anything less than what the employee agrees to

Always do back ground checks, check reference and former employers. Take no chances.
----------------------------
JOB DESCRIPTION
Wednesday, April 18th, 2007
JOB DESCRIPTION
Written by Kitty

All Laundromat attendants are required to maintain a clean and well-kept Laundromat at all times. It is the responsibility of the attendant to inform _____________with any change machine problems or other important issues that you may not be able to handle. Each store has different ways of handling change money for customers and you will be trained according to the policies of where you are employed. Providing change to our customers is very important and should be done so in a courteous manner. All change money is the property of ____________. These funds are not to be used for personal use.





Many times a machine will malfunction and will require the attendant to satisfy the customer. Posting an out of service ticket with a detailed explanation of the problem on the machine is required. Any necessary refunds given to the customer will require a refund ticket to be completed and placed with your change money, which will be returned weekly as well as audited. Customer service and satisfaction is extremely important and you are expected to provide superior service at all times when representing _________________.



Dependability is essential to your position with _____________. You are required to report to work on time; however, if there are times a problem arises you are expected to call the store PRIOR to being late. In the event, you become ill you are required to make arrangements to cover your shift and immediately call management.



The cleanliness of the Laundromat is as important as maintaining superior service. You will find the expectations listed of this requirement within this handbook as well as posted at each location.



Each new hire is on probation for 90 days, after 90 days your performance will be evaluated. If you have successfully performed your duties according to the expectations of ________, you will be considered a permanent hire.

Signature of employee________________________________Date____



Customer Assistance


Providing change for our customers is an important, service we provide. Many customers will bring in larger bills and will need to change these bills for 1s and 5s.

It is very important that customers only put good straight bills with no apparent defects into the change machines. We do not change 50s or 100-dollar bills for customers.

Some customers will require assistance with the change machines. The currency must be inserted correctly and usually only straight bills will be accepted. Occasionally a tattered bill will jam the machine, and stop working. Always watch for the out of service light that alerts the change machine is not working. Any out of service change machine will need to be reported to _______________immediately.

Many times customers may claim they have lost money in the change machine, video games, coke machines etc. It is the policy of __________ to refund money as courteously as possible. However, you must be aware of the customer that always has a problem. Anyone losing a 20$ bill should be reported immediately to either ________________.

Daily Cleaning Guide


Bathrooms


Both the ladies and mens rooms must be cleaned several times per day. You will be trained to do so at the beginning of your employment. The bathrooms will need to be cleaned at the end of you shift just prior to leaving.

Trash

Trashcans are required to be emptied whenever full throughout your shift. You will need to be sure all trashcans are emptied just prior to the end of your shift. You can simply dump trash into the outside Dumpster while retaining the garbage bags. There is no need to continually change the bag, until it is necessary.

Floors


Keeping the floor clean and DRY at all times is extremely important! A dirty floor makes the whole mat look dirty. Constant sweeping of the floor is necessary. You will also be required to vacuum the floor mats at the entrance of the store.

Washers


All washers will need to be cleaned throughout the shift and you will be trained to do so. There should be emphasis placed on the soap dish of the front loaders and the tops of the top load washers.

Dryers & Store doors


Dryer windows as well as the front store doors should be cleaned with Windex, prior to the end of your shift.

Lint drawers must be cleaned at the end of each shift. VERY IMPORTANT!



Seats and folding tables


Keep these areas neat and clean at all times.

Straighten any magazines that are in the area.


Videos and Vending machines


Clean all glass with Windex and surrounding area of machine with a damp cloth

Walls, Ceilings, Baseboards, TVs

Due to the tremendous amount of lint the dryers produce, the walls, ceilings, baseboards and TVs get very dusty. When there is a lag in customers is the perfect time to dust the walls and surrounding areas.



Extra Amenities


Opening the doors for the customers and carrying out bags of laundry to customer cars is appreciated greatly by our customers. Finding an empty buggy for a customer as well as a washer or dryer not in use is good customer service.

Many times, we have new customers that may have that look of confusion and this is your signal to address the customer and assist in any way possible.



Cleaning duties/expectations


Customer Assistance providing change for our customers is an important, service we provide. Many customers will bring in larger bills and will need to change these bills for 1s and 5s.
It is very important that customers only put good straight bills with no apparent defects into the change machines. We do not change 50s or 100-dollar bills for customers. Some customers will require assistance with the change machines. The currency must be inserted correctly and usually only straight bills will be accepted. Occasionally a tattered bill will jam the machine, and stop working. Always watch for the out of service light that alerts the change machine is not working. Any out of service change machine will need to be reported to _______________immediately.

Many times customers may claim they have lost money in the change machine, video games, coke machines etc. It is the policy of __________ to refund money as courteously as possible. However, you must be aware of the customer that always has a problem. Anyone losing a 20$ bill should be reported immediately to either ________________.
Daily Cleaning GuideBathroomsBoth the ladies and mens rooms must be cleaned several times per day. You will be trained to do so at the beginning of your employment. The bathrooms will need to be cleaned at the end of you shift just prior to leaving.



Trash


Trashcans are required to be emptied whenever full throughout your shift. You will need to be sure all trashcans are emptied just prior to the end of your shift. You can simply dump trash into the outside Dumpster while retaining the garbage bags. There is no need to continually change the bag, until it is necessary.



Floors


Keeping the floor clean and DRY at all times is extremely important! A dirty floor makes the whole mat look dirty. Constant sweeping of the floor is necessary. You will also be required to vacuum the floor mats at the entrance of the store.



Washers


All washers will need to be cleaned throughout the shift and you will be trained to do so. There should be emphasis placed on the soap dish of the front loaders and the tops of the top load washers.



Dryers & Store doors


Dryer windows as well as the front store doors should be cleaned with Windex, prior to the end of your shift.
Lint drawers must be cleaned at the end of each shift. VERY IMPORTANT!



Seats and folding tables


Keep these areas neat and clean at all times.
Straighten any magazines that are in the area.

Videos and Vending machines

Clean all glass with Windex and surrounding area of machine with a damp cloth

Walls, Ceilings, Baseboards, TVs

Due to the tremendous amount of lint the dryers produce, the walls, ceilings, baseboards and TVs get very dusty. When there is a lag in customers is the perfect time to dust the walls and surrounding areas.

Extra Amenities Opening the doors for the customers and carrying out bags of laundry to customer cars is appreciated greatly by our customers. Finding an empty buggy for a customer as well as a washer or dryer not in use is good customer service.
Many times, we have new customers that may have that look of confusion and this is your signal to address the customer and assist in any way possible. TOP LOAD WASHERS These washers are the commercial version of the home use washer. These washers are designed to wash approximately 12-14lb of dry clothing. Many customers tend to overload these types of washers, and it is essential for the attendants to watch for this. Too many clothes in this type of washer will reduce the performance of the washer. Overloading causes several mechanical issues as well. Comforters, Spreads, pillows, and sleeping bags are NOT to be laundered in this type of machine. Many times customers will use these machines and overload them. This is a huge problem in many of the stores. The attendant will need to instruct the customer that the amount of clothing is too much for the top load washer to take. An overloaded machine will not cover the clothing with enough water in order to launder efficiently. Many times, you will find a customer will complain that the soap has not dissolved and some of their clothing is not wet; this is because there were too many clothes in the washer.

There are times when you will hear a screeching noise and you will need to stop what you are doing and inspect the top load washers to find the machine that is making this noise. Because it is overloaded, the machine will not agitate nor spin efficiently, and the belt is burning. The attendant will need to explain that this is not an acceptable way to use the machine. Overloading a top load washer will reduce the life of the machine, and more importantly not clean clothes efficiently. Once you find a washer that has been overloaded and in the middle of a cycle, you are to assist the customer with removing of the clothing and place in another machine. The cost of the washer is the responsibility of the customer, as is re-washing clothes because the customer overloaded the machine. It is best to try to watch for the customers that overload and stop them before the wash begins. When clothes are removed in mid cycle, water will get on the floor. It is extremely important when there is water on the floor it is immediately mopped up and place the caution wet floor signs in that area.

The top load washer easily gets unbalanced during the spin cycle. There is a light on the front of the direction panel. Anytime you notice this, lift the lid and redistribute the clothes evenly in the tub.

There are six different cycles to choose from on the top load washer. The average cycle time is 30 minutes.

The button for WHITES will use a HOT wash and a COLD rinse.
The button for COLORS will use a WARM wash and a COLD rinse.
The button for BRIGHT COLORS will use a COLD wash and a COLD rinse.
The button for PERMANENT PRESS will use a WARM/COLD water wash and a COLD rinse.
The button for DELICATES will use a WARM wash and a COLD rinse, little agitation and a shorter wash cycle.
The button for WOOL will use a COLD wash and a COLD rinse, little agitation and a shorter wash cycle.

Any machine that malfunctions should be tested personally by the attendant on duty. Always accommodate the customer, but always check the machine PRIOR to placing an out of service tag on the machine. Many times customers do not use the machine correctly and make complaints when there is nothing wrong with the machine. Use the change money to run a washer through a cycle in the event you are unsure as to what the problem is. If you find a problem, clearly write the issue on an out of service ticket, date and initial. Place the out of service ticket on the machine (and write up a refund ticket for your petty cash/attendant money) to avoid any further use until the machine can be repaired.

FRONT LOAD WASHERS There are many different sizes of front load washers at each store. There are some 18lb, 25lb 35,1b, 50lb, 55lb and ___________currently has two 80lb front load washers. These washers earn the highest revenue and are used by the highest percentage of customers. These machines are easy to use and require very little monitoring. These machines do not have overloading problems however; there are some things to learn regarding these machines. Many times customers add too much soap. It is hard to train them not to use so much. However, when there is a tremendous amount of suds still within the rinse cycle, the customer may purchase DOWNEY. The Downey product will immediately cut the suds.

There are times when a customer will add soap AFTER the washer has filled up, and stopped flowing in the soap dish. Simply add water to a clean bucket and pour directly into the soap dispenser.

Quarters will not be accepted if the door is not correctly shut.

Water may sometimes leak from the door if an article of clothing is caught within the door gasket. If the leak is bad, turn the washer off at the breaker box, wait a few minutes and open the door, rearrange the clothing and restart the machine.

Many times customers will leave the premises and another customer will want the use of that machine. If there are no other machines available, it is the policy of __________that we remove the clothes for other customer use. Any clothes that are taken from machines should be placed in a back area for safe keeping until the customer returns.

There are times when a machine may be stuck in the wash cycle or the rinse cycle and the machine will not continue the cycle. (Memo on how to clean dump valve) Turn the power off at the breaker box for this certain machine, remove the clothing for the customer, and restart another machine for them. Leave the power off and the machine out of service stating the problem, date and initials.

If there are more than 2-3 large front load washers placed out of service during your shift it is very important you contact __________and inform them of the malfunctions.

DRYERS


The most important factor with the dryers is that the dryers should be inspected PRIOR to a customer placing their clothes to be dried. It is the responsibility of the customer to do so, however, when walking through the Laundromat you should always look in the dryer drums. A constant problem is the dryer sheets that fall from clothing after use. Constant sweeping of the floor as well as picking these items from the floor is necessary to do throughout your shift.

Many times a customer will say a dryer is not hot. This is usually because the temperature setting is not accurately set. However, some dryers may need the lint screen cleaned out to reach the maximum potential for heating.

There are times when a customer may claim a dryer had a crayon, pen or other foreign object in the dryer that has damaged their clothes. The customer is usually, highly upset and this will require your best customer service skills in order to maintain control. It is the policy of _______ to immediately call ____________. If for some reason neither of them can be reached you are to retain the clothes, and get the name and number of the customer (we will ALWAYS assist the customer in attempting to remove this type of problem, in some cases compensate the customer if ______is responsible). You are required to check the dryer for any objects and place out of order until someone can verify there are no problems or objects still within the dryer drum.

Clothes left in the dryer by customers who leave the premises will need to be removed and the same procedures followed as with clothes left in the washers.

Try not to remove customer clothes unless there are no other machines available. Customers in general do not like others to touch their clothes



Posted in Kitty's Corner |
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  #8  
Old 06-03-2010, 12:18 PM
anonymous
"site-seer"
 
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Thanks for all your help and opinions. We spoke to the police and they suggested that we give her a warning. We gave her the warning that she is barred from the laundromat and if she shows, we have a legal right to have her arrested for trespassing. No sign of her yet. The funny thing is, is that when she first started the problem with the kids, I typed up a letter about her performance and was all prepared to have a meeting with her and have her sign it. (I work in an office, so I've seen it before). My husband didn't want the confrontation and he wanted to be nice, so I was overuled and he just warned her verbally. Well, that came back to bite us. I think my hubby has learned his lesson. I feel like we've earned a masters in business since owning our place (lol).

Now the issue is the impact it's having on the staff. Because she was friends with one of our male workers, he suddenly can't work on weekends, our most important time for coverage. This time, we are going to take your advice and give him only a couple of hours a week. I am not going to fire him. It costs too much money!
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  #9  
Old 06-07-2010, 07:30 AM
laundryplus laundryplus is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Ontario
Posts: 147
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNJplus6 View Post
I agree with Pete.

Also, for the future: Reduce their hours to the point that they can no longer afford to work for you. You should never have to fire anyone if you follow that theory. A friend of mine tought me that. He owned three pizza shops and NEVER fired anyone.
I totally agree. We own two other businesses and if you take away hours and sometimes give them more duties with a sign off sheet for every shift, they will find work some place else.

Also when you asked her to stop bringing her kids to work, fo it in writting and make her sign that she agrees not to bring them any more. A workplace is a workplace not a daycare.
I had an employee that I had a similar problem with, but not kids... Her poodle. As soon as I made her sign that it was not acceptable to bring her dog to work and would not allow it, she quit. Just what I wanted! Lol

As nice as you want to be with employees, there are always the ones that will push you too far and will NEVER be happy and they pass tho on to your customers as well. Customers do not want to hear them complain. Your good customers willake you aware of what's going on as well.

That's my take on it anyways.
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