28 28 FABRICARE be tracked. Whose clothes are in which machine? What belongs to whom? Perhaps the biggest challenge you’ll face when doing wash-dry-fold laundry is ensuring that you don’t mix up customers’ orders or misplace their garments. There are a couple of different ways to keep track of your wash-dry-fold orders. The first method is to invest in a product, which enables you to wash an entire load in cold or lukewarm water. Since you’re not separating lights and darks, you’ve lessened the chance of acci- dently mixing up different customers’ garments or mis- placing them. It’s also a good way to save a little bit on utility costs because you’re combining those loads. With that said, most operators separate lights and darks, and wash them in warm to cold water. Person- ally, at my laundry, we use hot water for whites only, because hot water presents too much of a risk of bleed- ing colors from one garment to another. When just getting started with wash-dry-fold, a good method for tracking your orders throughout the process is by using a simple three-part tag, which you can pur- chase from most supply companies. These tags typically feature a white, a yellow, and a pink sheet. You can write down the customer’s name, phone number, the time and date he or she wants the order back, and when the order arrived. Traditionally, we’ve put the white slip on the order when finished. We give the customer the pink slip as a claim check. And we use the yellow slip while processing the order. We would write down the washers and the dryers, and have the yellow slip follow the order – so we can keep track of what washer and dryer the order is in, and we can always refer to that slip when we assemble the fin- ished order. Then, we would attach the white slip to the final product. As your wash-dry-fold service grows, I strongly sug- gest upgrading to a point-of-sale system. Once you’ve advanced to this stage, many of today’s POS systems offer printable wash-dry-fold tracking slips, or they will allow you to print multiple receipts so that you can ac- tually place one receipt on each machine, and those re- ceipts can transfer to the dryers – that way you know exactly what’s in each machine because the receipt for a particular order is on the machine. Again, a POS sys- tem is the best method, but while you’re still growing your full-service operation, a basic, handwritten three- part slip system will work just fine. Once you’ve washed and dried the garments, it’s time to fold them. And you need to decide exactly how you want your staff to fold your customers’ clothes. Con- sistency counts. And we’ll discuss this in detail in our next installment. Jeff Gardner is president of The Laundry Doctor, based in St. Paul, Minn. He is also the chairman of the CLA’s LaundryCares Foundation. BULLE TIN NO. 2 NOTE: This item originally appeared in Planet Laundry, the magazine of the Coin Laundry Association.