The In’s and Out’s of Hotel Laundry. In-House or Out-Source?

Linen and laundry are a crucial aspect of a hotel’s service, one that often doesn’t get thought about too much. Just like the linen and laundering in other industries such as restaurants and hospitals, it is usually a thankless business- one that is only considered when there are problems with quality, service, or costs. Hotel linen and uniform production are often times handled by the hotel on property. There are times, however, when it makes sense (and cents) to use an outside hotel laundry service.

When it comes to laundering sheets, towels, and pillowcases, high-efficiency production and proven quality controls are extremely significant in order to maintain customer satisfaction and profitability. How many stains does a hotel guest need to see on their bed sheets before they say “honey, next time let’s stay at the other place you saw online.” Or perhaps worse, “how can they rent these rooms without having towels to serve us?” Not only is quality laundering and good service important for customer satisfaction, but it is also vital to guest safety. Chemicals that don’t get washed out thoroughly, lingering germs from previous guests, hair strands from the laundry staff; these are just a few of the potential sanitary problems that can arise from a laundry.

So the question is: Do we wash or do we hire an outside service to launder for us? (Many outside companies offer sheet and towel rentals as an alternative to laundering the hotel’s linen)

Rising worker costs, lower occupancy rates, and cut throat industry pricing in an already sluggish economy, have forced all business owners to look at cost-cutting opportunities. The laundry room is certainly an opportunity; however it is also a risk. Here are a few things to consider, before bringing the laundry in house or sending it out for service.

1. Labor
This is far and away the largest cost to any industrial laundry. An industry buzzword many managers discuss is FTE’s (Full Time Employees), which also come with full-time health care benefits, sick days, vacations, taxes and more. Both hotel owners and commercial laundry operators ask themselves the questions many businesses do: Should we invest in technology and equipment to help us decrease labor costs? At the end of the day, what is our true return on investment, or ROI? The hotel managers and owners need to control their labor costs. They also need to reduce expenditures on equipment, maintenance, chemicals, and purchases of the linen.

2. Energy
The hotel managers and owners need to concentrate on the expenditure of water, sewer, electricity, and gas. If these are not properly controlled, they can be profitability killers. Good chemical providers can often help with these. But beware, any cost per pound program will incentivize the chemical provider to use less chemicals and more hot water (aka Energy, Water, and Sewer). When looking at energy usage in a laundry, it is important to analyze chemicals and equipment as well.

3. Other Costs
Hotels can’t lose sight of the cost of maintenance, depreciation, equipment upgrades, and and those non-recurring (yet usually recurring) expenses. Finding ways to decrease the total hours of operation can lessen all processing costs.

4. Do I need the space?
Let’s face it, real estate costs money. For hotels located in high priced real estate, it almost always pays to send the laundry out or to use a rental service. The space saved by outsourcing the linen program, can lead to increased sales, and probably decreased costs. Using an outside hotel laundry can in fact decrease operating costs considerably. It can also help the environment if the commercial laundry is operating efficiently with “green” products and work systems.

Outsourcing hotel laundry services guarantee that all articles are well marked and stored so that nothing gets lost or misplaced. With outsourced rental programs, the linen supply company is also accountable for any product replacement and the upkeep of the item’s delivered to the hotel linen.

Good hotel laundry services are equipped with the state of art washing, drying and finishing equipment. You can preserve and maintain high quality linen with these professional laundry services. They also provide prompt and reliable service. If you find the right company, you can provide great linen services to hotel guests, while saving on costs as well.

Hotel laundry services usually bill by the pound of clean delivered weight, however the rental companies often bill be the piece. These services offer better wash ability, worthwhile options for utilities and supplementary items, proficiency in proper chemical usage, and top-quality service.

Hotel laundries might not win any awards for visual artistry, humanitarian efforts or technological breakthroughs, but these companies do help hotels service millions of guests daily, while they work to reduce their ecological impact on local communities too.

If you are considering a hotel laundry or rental service, Linen Finder works with the best in the business. These companies have passed a rigorous screening process, and we have verified company references. Our Hotel Laundry page is the place to start.