The Weight Problem of Laundromats
Not too long ago I started noticing a lot of background noise in my 1 year old vehicle. The noise was not that noticeable until I was going over 45 MPH. It was kind of a droning sound, like something was rubbing on the rear wheel wells of the car. I didn't think much of it until I took the car in for an oil change a couple of weeks ago and mentioned the noise to the mechanic.
The car is only 1 year old and has about 32K mile on it. I spend a lot of time driving around looking at Laundromats, as well as going to my 3 stores and stocking the change machines.
Quarters are Heavy!
When I picked up the car, the mechanic told me that both of my rear bearings were shot and needed to be replaced. Bearings? We in the coin laundry business are very familiar with bearing problems, as they can be one of the most expensive repair jobs on a washer. Once he mentioned bearings, the noise suddenly sounded oh so familiar. Now bearings in a washing machine often will go out if the machine is repeatedly overloaded. The washers just aren't designed to support the excess weight. But it has to be a repeated problem for the bearing to go out.
I purchased the new vehicle because I had such a great experience with my previous one, which I owned for 9 years with no major mechanical problems. Now I had a bearing problem. How could that have happened, I thought? And then of course it hit me like a $500 sack of quarters, or should I say like the twelve $500 sacks of quarters that I often have, you guessed it, in the trunk as I drive around to the various stores filling the change machines and making collection runs.
You see, I never thought twice about carrying around that many quarters in the trunk before, but now thinking about it, perhaps it was not such a good idea. The reality is that each $500 bag weighs 25 pounds. That times 12 means that I often put over 300 pounds of quarters in the trunk of the car. Not to mention the tool box (30 lbs) and other stuff.
So what is the takeaway from my experience? Be careful about carrying too much weight in the trunk of your car unless you beef up the rear suspension. For me, I was lucky the car was still under warranty because the alternative would have cost me a pretty penny.
One other note, I have learned my lesson and now no longer carry money in the trunk of the car. It's not worth having the vehicle break down. Also, I no longer carry money with me unless I am in the active process of collection. I have heard too many horror stories of Laundromat owners being robbed and I don't want to be another statistic.
- Brian Brunckhorst