Continuing our series of interviews of managers and representatives from the DOMUS offices around Spain and around the world, today we talk to Fausto Villalon, technician and salesperson with over thirty years of experience in the industrial laundry and self-service laundrette sector in the United States.
We would like to talk about theindustrial laundry equipment developed and manufactured by the brand for the American market, and all the features which have made it a clear reference in the sector.Domus USA is currently expanding and growing. Based in Miami, this is the first time we have crossed the pond to talk to one of our international dealers.
Good morning Fausto Villalon. First of all, and for the benefit of our users, I'd like you to introduce the brand and tell me about the company's main lines of business in the American market today.
Domus Laundry USA is part of the branch of OnneraGroup in the United States. The brand has been present in the country since its third year.
In the American market, we deal with two sectors, On-Premise and Self-service, the latter being the market with the greatest commercial opportunities for us.
The self-service business, or “Laundromats” as they are known here in the USA, generates 5 billion dollars a year. Today there are around 35 000 laundromats, each one with an average of 60 machines in an area of 260 m² – some even have more than 100 machines in an area of 500 m² –. This is perhaps the most significant difference with respect to the self-service laundry business in Europe.
DOMUS is known in the sector for developing machinery for an efficient laundry and for being technologically very advanced. They have three main lines comprising washing machines, dryers and flatwork ironers. What should we highlight in terms of energy efficiency and quality in the processes with respect to your catalogue of machinery?
When you ask customers what they feel are the biggest problems faced in the laundry trade, the first answer is almost unanimously the cost involved with respect to the public services.
Market trends are increasingly leaning towards machines which reduce water and energy consumption. Domus' commitment to offering efficiency and sustainability as the main attributes of their machines helps us to increase our position in the highly competitive American market.
In the On-Premise business (OPL), there is a clear tendency to purchase machines which not only reduce the costs of the public services but also increase productivity. In this sector, our machines are very well placed.
Although the self-service business is dominated by low-speed machines, we are seeing a move towards faster machines which reduce drying times.
As for our dryers in the self-service business, we see a trend in which Domus clearly offers an advantage over the competition. Our customers realise that they increase savings in the long term thanks to the standard drum with reversible rotation direction, the air flow system and smart moisture control, elements which clearly justify investment in our equipment.
Not only is about savings in energy but also in time. Attracting and keeping new customers is essential for the laundromat business. The new generations not only prefer to spend less time at the laundrette but are also more attracted by the technology. In this respect, Domus has been a pioneer with the TOUCH II.
Let's talk about the TOUCH II. What did the appearance of the new microprocessor mean for the laundry sector in the United States, and what are its strong points?
As I mentioned earlier, in the US Domus was one of the forerunners of touch screen controls, and the benefits of the TOUCH II are very clear.
TOUCH II is the most advanced control in the market. It has been confirmed that the advanced technology and large 7” touch screen increase user satisfaction and attract new customers of all ages.
A clear benefit that Domus offers the laundromat sector is the option to automatically programme special offers and discounts depending on the time of day. Our customers also appreciate that with the TOUCH II it is possible to display advertising or instruction videos on the screen.
In very diverse cities including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, our customers in the hospitality trade applaud the possibility of having 38 languages available on screen to make the use of their machines easier. And our machines are clearly the favourite for the WetCleaning business.
In addition, and coming very soon, our customers will have access to DOMUS Connect for complete remote control, analysis and traceability, simple maintenance and many other functions for managing their laundry business.
That clarified, tell us about the laundromat sector in the United States. This sector is growing sharply in Europe. Is it the same for the United States?
By the end of 2021, income from laundromats is expected to be at pre-pandemic levels. A recent study conducted by the Coin Laundry Association (CLA) indicates that 25% of laundromat owners will change all or some of the machines in the next 6 months and 52% in the next 2 years.
Although the current increases in production and logistic costs affect everyone, the impact on our competitors is very noticeable. Having a faster response capacity than the competition and a better price-value ratio in our machines has helped to achieve greater participation during 2021.
We have increased and consolidated our network of dealers and have increasing presence in the United States and Canada. We are expanding our portfolio to offer more solutions to the market. Very soon we will have certificates, large capacity washing machines and dryers, and we will also launch Domus Connect.
At Domus USA, we will close the year with an unprecedented turnover, and we are optimistic about 2022, which we think will be even better.
We have seen that in the United States the company also has a professional line of machinery called Heavy Professional. What are the basic differences between this and the industrial line?
The Heavy Professional Laundry line is specifically designed for companies looking for robust, programmable and efficient washer extractors, similar to the industrial models, but of a more manageable size and at a more affordable price.
In the long run, the high capacity domestic washing machines work out more expensive because they are not designed for heavy work. Instead of having to repair or replace the washing machine every year, it is preferable to invest in a robust machine, designed for more demanding performance.
Although these machines have proved excellent in veterinary clinics, B&Bs, spas, hairdressing saloons, restaurants and retirement homes…, the price-value ration and the easy installation of these machines have been very well received in laundromats.
To wind up, we'd like to talk a little about how, from the point of view of health and legislation in the US, the pandemic situation of the past two years has affected the industrial laundry sector. What elements does the DOMUS machinery have to ensure a maximum level of hygiene and disinfection?
In the United States. laundromats were declared essential businesses because they play an essential role in communities, especially those with limited resources. Wash clothes regularly to prevent the spread of the disease as the virus can survive in fabrics for up to 3 days.
Thanks to the additional measures taken to ensure that laundromats were safe, clean and complied with the government guidelines, the public continued to have access to these services.
The Domus machines allow clothes to be washed at a temperature of at least 140 °F (60 °C), and the hotter the wash, the better. Viruses don't like heat, and the use of the Domus dryers helps to prevent the spread of the disease even more.
There is a significant segment of the population who was severely affected by the pandemic and in which we detected an opportunity to help reduce the impact of disease. Retirement homes for the elderly and community health centres need to prevent any contact between dirty linen and clean linen. In this respect, it is important to mention the range of Domus barrier washers, noted for their advanced technology, easy installation and excellent price. As a result, we have been accelerating the certification process in order to be able to offer these shortly in North America.
And that brings us to the end. We wish you, and all the DOMUS branches, a successful 2022 with plenty of sales. It has been a pleasure to have a few minutes to talk to you.
To contact the company in Miami, just take a few seconds to fill in the contact form, send an e-mail to email@example.com, or call them on (305) 477-1680. They will support you throughout the purchasing process and offer advice about the washing machine, dryer or flatwork ironer that best meets the daily requirements of your laundry. To back DOMUS is to back a company of reference for industrial laundries in the United States also. Don't hesitate!