Five Ways to Save Money on Washing Machine Repair

Every homeowner understands one thing, and that is at some point, you’ll be dealing with fixing something in your home. Perhaps the one thing many homeowners don’t really think about is washing machine repair, and that’s simply because it’s usually out of sight. Moreover, many of us have stories about how long our parents had their washing machine.The mythology of washing machines lasting more than one generation is certainly rooted in truth, but there’s one thing you need to keep in mind – they don’t make them like the used to. The appliances being made today aren’t of the same materials or design, and for better or worse, this means that their shelf-life isn’t on par with models of days gone by.If you happen to be looking at the possibility of repairs in your own home, the one thing you want to be sure of is that you don’t lose your shirt. Repair work on home appliances can get really expensive really fast, so you need to keep your wits about you.

Here are five ways you can save money when it comes to repairing your washing machine:Take Advantage of Your Warranty – Know the ins and outs of your washing machine’s warranty. If you happen to have issues during your warranty period, you can save big on any major repairs.Regular Maintenance & Upkeep – Keep your washing machine clean, and even if you don’t have serious knowledge about your washer, keep an eye out for wear & tear. Nipping things in the bud early can help prevent repair bills later.Don’t Misuse Your Washing Machine – Remember in college how you’d save quarters by shoving as many clothes into one load of laundry? Remember how well it didn’t work? Nothing has changed, but what you may not realize is that as you make a habit of massive loads of laundry, parts can be wearing down.DIY Whenever You Can – You might be surprised to learn that many of the repairs that affect washing machines are based purely on wear and tear. This means that, for the most part, these parts can be replaced, bringing new life to what was a non-functioning appliance. You know what’s even cooler? There is a wealth of DIY information for the rookie repair person. A quick web search, and you can be on your way to making your laundry room whole again.Keep A Trusted Repair Company Within Reach – Nothing makes repair bills add up than having to repair what you thought was already fixed. Fly-by-night repair companies & inexpensive friend-of-a-friend fixes can lead to bigger issues. Finding a local, trusted repair company that has a reputation of solid work can actually save you a lot more money than you think, especially if they can salvage your washing machine instead of you buying something new.

Washing machine repair, though not something we want to think about, it inevitable. Considering the beating this appliance takes over a ‘lifetime’, it’s no wonder that there’d be a time for some TLC. That said, with the right mindset, you can be sure to keep more money in your wallet rather than paying for repairs, but never discount the peace of mind of having a trusted appliance repair company close.

Designing Fast Food Retail Interiors

There was a time when fast food was all about being fast and cheap. It was a new enough concept and so convenient. So convenient in fact that fast food retailers built their entire outlet, buying experience, service levels and food standards to satisfy the ‘fast’ and ‘cheap’ needs of customers. And it worked! Fast forward a few years and improved education about nutrition, the need to eat healthy meals and also the vast amount of competition in the market has meant that fast food chains have to completely change their approach to adapt to the new needs of the 21st century consumer.

The focus is now on delivering a stronger brand to reach a broader base of customers that they want to linger around and make the outlet part of their weekly or daily routine. So, what does the new brand focus require? Well it needs to demonstrate freshness, good quality ingredients, an improved buying experience, a nicer seating ambience, better comfort, more visibility of food preparation areas and improved conveniences.

While the ingredients and the quality of food are obviously a key and vital component of the brand, this article focuses on the architectural and interior design of the outlet and how the various elements of the interior design impact the brand and therefore elevate the customer experience for modern fast food chains.

Before we consider the design of fast food chains, it is worth looking at how luxury goods retailers and vehicle showrooms have approached outlet or store design to deliver their brand. Luxury brands for example have always designed stores to captivate distinct segments of the market, yet maintained a sense of delivering individuality. Luxury stores almost distinctly appear to be lacking in the amount of merchandise that is displayed and in some cases maintain plain colours and simple soft furnishings to make customers feel at ease. Vehicle showrooms are an established example for retailing as they have mastered the buying and ongoing servicing needs of customers in a single outlet. The way that showrooms are designed, allows vehicle manufacturers to provide an environment which allows them to manage the flow or ‘journey’ from buying a new car, arranging finance, servicing and shopping for parts, while having pleasant and well stocked waiting areas. Both are examples of building outlets that manage distinct needs, encourage loyalty and provide a smooth journey from the initial desire to purchase to sealing the deal.

For architects and interior retail designers, fast food retail design poses a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to reinforce the new brand challenges that retailers are faced with.

The following provides a summary of some of those challenges:

Food Preparation – Providing more visibility of food preparation areas, including open plan kitchen areas. This requires a practical but also visibly more pleasant food area which is well lit, well organised and efficient. Specialist kitchen design that takes into account the food cooking and preparation process is called for, requiring designers and architects to work closely with a retailer to create kitchen layout plans that allow the food preparation process to remain efficient while remaining visibly pleasing and pleasant for customer to see.

The Eating in Experience – The need to provide an efficient seating arrangement, with comfortable seats, while also paying close attention to retail lighting plans and retail flooring plans is so important as it allows customers to feel that they can stay for while, this is in sharp contrast to early fast food restaurants where seating was designed to become uncomfortable after fifteen minutes, encouraging people to leave the outlet.

Fixture and Fitting Selection – Interior retail designers also need to focus on other consumer needs such as power points, interactive devices for children and adding artwork that reinforces the message about the ‘fresh food element’ – all important elements that the brand is trying to deliver.

Interactive Ordering Solutions – Retailers are also incorporating electronic ordering stations into their layouts to allow customers to select and pay for their order without speaking to a member of staff. This requires less staff of course but it also calls for the need to design a retail layout that allows for interactive kiosks that are strategically located within the design of the outlet.

Improved Washroom Facilities – Retail designs and architects have to design washroom facilities that meet brand expectations. The facilities that they specify have to reinforce the brand while maintaining a high degree of cleanliness or even ‘self-cleaning’ facilities. The retail design drawings that they create for plumbing and waste have to take into account today’s environmentally.

Back of House and Waste – Customers are not happy enough with the experience that they can see and feel, they also want to know how fast food chains are managing their staff facilities, their food storage and their waste, including the customer’s own packaging waste. A store design is not complete without attention to how these aspects are added to the design of the outlet and how they are managed efficiently and fairly and therefore they are also an important part of the design team’s responsibilities.

The designers challenge is therefore vast and rather than allowing for the production of the design using traditional 2D plans and elevations. The only way to manage and communicate the design process as well as manage changes requested by stakeholders throughout the process, is to use modern design tools such as Revit Architecture to create retail BIM models so that they can create a design that is easily changeable and manageable. Retail BIM modelling also allows for the use and re-usability of Revit families and models that can be used for subsequent stores and therefore ensure some brand consistency as well as design efficiency. Once created, these retail BIM models will also allow the creation of 3d retail images and 3d rendered perspective for retail interiors as well as retail exteriors. These are an important and effective way of communicating the store or outlet design during the various design stages that a designer is responsible for.

Whilst the challenge for fast food retail is to provide food quicker and cheaper than other options, there is good reason to elevate the importance of the store design and how that will affect and ultimately promote the overall brand experience for fast food retail now and well into the future. Managing that design process and the multitude of design inputs is a collaborative and involved process and is one that is served by a designer that is prepared to use CAD and BIM technology as the backbone for delivering a design solution that is easy to create, manage, share and communicate.