By Kathy Hosler
We have all heard the saying, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes,” and you may agree. If you make your living in the pet care industry, you can add one more thing to that list: dirty laundry. Towels, cage pads, pet beds, blankets, etc. You can’t get away from it. It’s part of your everyday routine—the unending pile of dirty laundry and the challenges that come with it.
Challenges? What could be challenging about doing dirty pet laundry? First you have to find the space to install your machines, the money to purchase them, and then arrange for someone to connect them to the electrical and plumbing systems. Space can be a very limited and valuable commodity in some buildings, and if you lease or rent your building, your landlord may limit or prohibit you from installing commercial laundry equipment. Too often you have to deal with machine break-downs and clogged drains. Of course, you always seem to run out of detergent or bleach just when you need them the most.
What options do you have if you are a mobile groomer or if you are unable to do your pet laundry on site? One option is to lug all the wet, dirty, smelly items to your car, drive them to your home, and carry them into your laundry room. Then you can wash them in your family’s personal washer and dryer. (That will go over big with your spouse.) Then you can fold them, load everything back in your car, and return them to your business. Another alternative is to take everything to a local laundromat. That can get old very fast, and it becomes quite expensive. Whichever you choose, doing dirty laundry this way is really labor intensive and very time consuming, taking up precious time that you could spend doing other things.
Even if you can do your pet laundry on site, you or one of your staff still has to spend time and energy doing all that dirty laundry. One of the most valuable commodities anyone in the pet care industry has is time. If you can free up some time and use it for caring for the pets or growing your business, it’s time much better spent than doing laundry.
What would you do if you had more time? Would it make your day more productive? How would you feel if you never had to do pet laundry again? Could there be a better and easier way to do animal laundry? If you ask that question to Joe Shammah, his answer would be a resounding “Yes!”
“I was working with a commercial laundry service that processed laundry items for spas and caterers, etc.,” said Mr. Shammah. “One day they got a call from an animal shelter who asked them to clean their dirty animal laundry. The shelter brought in laundry that was heavily soiled. The staff didn’t want to do it in the same machines as their other client’s laundry. They did the shelter’s laundry only once and then declined them further service.
“That got me to thinking,” continues Mr. Shammah. “It must be hard for animal care facilities to find commercial laundry services to handle their dirty towels, blankets, and other washable items.” Pretty soon his thoughts evolved into a business that specializes in cleaning pet laundry. He named his company LaundryFarm.
“I started LaundryFarm to service animal care facilities,” says Mr. Shammah, president of LaundryFarm. “I saw a big need for this service. As far as I know, it is the first commercial laundry service for the pet care industry. We started regionally in the New York and New Jersey area, but now we are expanding across the nation.
“One of our first clients was the ASPCA in Manhattan,” he continues. “We provided daily service for them for nine months while they were doing construction of their laundry facility. We picked up and processed from 200 to 500 pounds of laundry per day for them.”
LaundryFarm partners with existing local laundry services to handle animal laundry. They recruit and train these local businesses on how to correctly process dirty animal laundry. They require the partners to use specific detergents and sanitizing products. Everything’s got to be 100% clean and sanitized.
All of their clients get pick-up and delivery service. On your schedule, they pick up your dirty animal laundry, and then they return the clean, sanitized, folded items back to your location. Although they do not offer dry cleaning services or pressing of uniforms or lab coats, they can accommodate anything that can be washed, dried, and folded.
When someone is interested in getting commercial laundry service, they simply contact LaundryFarm.com. All the arrangements and payments are made with LaundryFarm. “We find out about the pet facility’s needs and the frequency of service they want,” Mr. Shammah says. “We take care of everything. We handle all the contact with our local partner, including scheduling the services, making payment arrangements, and providing customer service. It’s a one-stop service for the client.
“It’s the way of the future,” says Mr. Shammah enthusiastically. “It frees up time for groomers to grow their businesses and focus on what attracted them to this business in the beginning: their love of pets and providing the best service to them that they can.”
Groomers have to deal with lots of challenges on a daily basis: difficult clients, uncooperative pets, equipment breakdowns, and dirty laundry. Dirty pet laundry—if you’re sick of it and you feel like throwing in the towel… here’s your chance.