Anyone for Golf?

Golf Club

Check your washroom services contract

Spring has come at last.  Greenkeepers across the land will be rolling the greens, clearing the twigs out of the bunkers and spreading the fertilizer/weedkiller across the fairways.

Golf Clubs, like many seasonal business will be starting to see their visitor numbers rise, and so clubs across the land should be looking to replace the broken hand dryer, dripping tap or other piece of equipment which has not been quite as important over the winter when ‘just’ the members are using the club.

Why the interest in Golf Clubs?  Well, as a golfer, I see these issues at my club not just this year but last year too, and try as I might to save them a few pounds they really aren’t interested as there are always more important stuff to do during the winter and by spring it’s often too late to plan properly so quick fixes are sought.

For those of you in a golf club, bowling club or similar does this sound familiar?  What many golf clubs (and other sports and social clubs that have a committee) don’t realise is that they have probably been in a washroom supply contract for several years and, like utilities and banking , you really should shop around and make sure you are getting a good deal every now and then.  (visit www.IWSA.org.uk to find a local registered independent washroom supplier)

Bowling Club

Recently I saw a vending machine that was still dispensing products  for 20p.  The average item in a washroom vending machine costs 60-70p so that gives you some idea how long that piece of equipment has been on the wall.   In my estimation 25 years plus.

All the national washroom service companies will put their prices up at least once a year.  If you read the small print, which I am sure all my readers do, you will see that the wording is along the lines of ‘can increase the price at any time without notice’. The issue here is that these letters are sent into Clubs and associations who accept it as the committee may be completely different from the previous year and although they will get round to it is the start of the busy season and they will look into it in November.

So whether you are a Golf Club, Social Club or other type of members club, please don’t keep putting if off or burying your head in the bunker.   Get your contract out and you may get your whole washroom upgraded for less than you currently are paying for shoddy equipment.

Small can be beautiful.

8 Tips to make the smallest toilet professional

Dawson Lounge Dublin and small toilets

Recently I was in the smallest bar in Dublin.  Although the bar was tiny, the toilets were reasonably sized. But not every business has the luxury of large spaces for toilets and in many cases one toilet will be used by all staff and customers alike.

So what can be done to make a small toilet look ‘professional’?

  1. Make sure there is a sign on the door many small businesses just don’t bother!
  2. Get rid of any carpets or mats around the toilet. These are only (just) acceptable in a domestic environment but not in a professional one.
  3. Install a sanitary bin: these can be fitted in the smallest of toilets and will reduce embarrassment and prevent blockages.
  4. Try to get consistency in the dispensers having a matching soap, toilet roll and paper towel dispenser.
  5. Do not use linen (domestic) towels. Use paper and have a waste paper bin in the toilet or alternatively install a hand dryer.
  6. Use a cleaning product that has a light fragrance (not bleach or pine disinfectant) heavy fragrance gives the impression you are masking smells as opposed to a ‘clean’ smell.
  7. Clean the toilet, sink and surfaces EVERY day.
  8. Use an air freshener that reflects your business.  A  hotel or guest house may use a fresh linen for example.

It is safe to say that all businesses are reflected by their toilets from 5 star hotels to the smallest accountancy office.  The impression you give visitors is important and great toilets can make or break a decision on whether to recommend or indeed come back for another visit.

My trip to the House of Lords

Helping Autistic children and their families with toilet hand dryers.

I was invited down to the official launch of the Caudwell International Children’s Centre (CICC) which was at the House of Lords.

The centre is being funded by Caudwell Children,  a charity set up by mobile phone entrepreneur John Caudwell. The building, which is now watertight and due to be completed in August, will be the UK’s first purpose-built centre for multi-disciplinary therapy programmes for childhood disability and research of neurodevelopmental conditions including autism. The total cost will be in the region of £18million pounds and is being constructed on the Keele University Campus.

It is estimated that 170,000 children in the UK have autism and that there are as many as 279million children worldwide with the condition. Yet only £4m a year is spent on autism research compared to £590m spent on cancer research and £169m spent on heart disease research even though autism costs the UK taxpayer £32billion per year (cancer costs the UK taxpayer £15b per annum).

So there is a real need to complete this research.  One of the areas that the new centre has struggled with is hand dryers. They have had a major dilemma: firstly whether to install hand dryers and secondly to find a dryer that would be beneficial in helping autistic children cope when taking part in family activities away from home.

As part of the development team for Puff the Magic Dryer, I have been involved in the needs of the centre and how we can support the children and staff in the key area of toilets and washrooms.

It is early days yet but let’s hope that centre can make a huge difference to not only children suffering with autism but also the families of those children.

I will keep you updated as the centre nears completion.