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The Laundromat Success Program™ helps you create a detailed plan to completely protect all aspects of your laundromat business.





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Customer Satisfaction AND More Profits

  Norman;

Everyone is looking for a little extra edge and a little extra profit.  Where can we get a few extra dollars?  And will it justify the expense of putting it in, and give a decent return for the space it fills?  You have a captive audience. They are going to be there for a bit, so how can they be parted from a few additional coins while they are there?

 

Some choices are obvious. There are coin operated vending machines for soaps, fabric softeners, hangers, and laundry bags.  These usually offer few complications, and are an excellent tie in to your business, a source of satisfaction for your customers, and added profits for you. 

 

And of course there are video games, and vending machines for snacks, candy and beverages. But before you jump up to acquire these devices there are some considerations.  Yes, they can generate some extra money.  But you have to look at several factors that go along with these installations. 

 

Video games are popular.  And an excellent way for customers to kill time while the washers churn.  But they can also be a two edged sword.  If the game is not popular, no one plays it. It just gathers dust and takes up space that might be more profitably used another way.  But if it is too popular, you draw players who are not customers, sometimes creating an undesirable gathering.  One which might scare away customers.  This will depend on your area, and your customer base.

 

Vending machines are another common option.  The laundry products are an obvious addition in many facilities. But candy, snacks, drinks and other products are a viable option as well.  Just be careful!!  Do not place candy machines in the front window where the sunlight comes in.  And of course, even if placed elsewhere in the laundry, heat is a consideration.  Most yummies MELT!!  And this may affect which products you chose to stock.  You might consider salty snacks, like chips and cookies, and avoid the chocolate goodies or other things that turn sticky in the heat.

 

Machines for canned drinks are another good choice.  But consider your sales volume in relation to the cost of running the machine.  You can work with a local vendor, and they might furnish the machine and split the profits.  But if the volume of products sold is too low, they will not consider this. It’s not worth their time. Plus, you are constrained to having only the brands they market in the machine.  You can purchase your own machine from Sam’s or other bulk outlets.  These are generally low end machines and are not rugged for tough locations, but they do allow you to put what ever drinks you chose.  You can also buy larger more conventional machines.  Used ones are available from many sources priced at $300 to $1000.  Again, you chose what products to put in the machine.  You could buy brand names, or you could buy the lower cost house brand, however, keep in mind how picky your customers may be. But still consider the operating cost.  How many cans of soda must you sell each month just to cover the cost of the soda and the electric to run the refrigeration?

 

You also have to examine local licensing regulations.  Some apply only to the video games, some places it may only affect vending machines, and some may apply to both.  According to where you are, there may be State, or County or local municipal regulations that may require each machine have an annual tax stamp. They want their cut of the profits too. And revenues for these may be taxable, even those where the revenues from your washers and dryer are exempt.  A potential bookkeeping nightmare.  So check out these requirements before shopping about. 

 

But what else might a laundromat owner offer?  In laundries in more remote areas, coin operated showers are fairly common. I know that to an owner in the middle of a large city, this sounds ridiculous. But we have sold shower meters to a number of laundries in such locations. Their customer base includes farms, ranches, mining works and other places where the home amenities are primitive. The people come into town to do their laundry, and while they are there, they take advantage of a hot shower!  I know this is extreme, but consider where you are, and who your customers are.  It may be something to consider.

 

Other things may be metered as well.  For Laundry applications, the meters have been used on TV’s, Radios, Tanning Beds, and Vibrating Lounge Chairs.  Shoe Shine Polishers (yeah, I know,  who really shines shoes anymore! But it has been done before – and recently!), Treadmills and other powered exercise equipment.  They are often used on ironing equipment, both as ordinary irons and the presses.

 

Other items for a profit center might be Internet access by means of a coin operated kiosk, and also consider Wi-Fi service.  Now how to make Wi-Fi generate cash is dependant on what kind of system you install. But even if Wi-Fi access if free, it may be a significant draw for some customers, if they can use their laptop while their laundry is being done.  If other nearby laundromats do not have this and you do, you will draw those who want to work on-line. The added attraction, is that those who are using laptops are generally more attractive customers.  Students, business people, and others will find this an attraction. 

 

Now for a weird one.  We are having moderate success with the introduction of a token or coin operated pressure washer. The original emphasis was for marina operations.  But now campgrounds and ATV parks have taken an interest.  And we have had a few sales, and inquiries for laundromats!!  Again, this has been to facilities in more rural settings.  The washer is situated outside and used to clean off cars boats, ATV’s, Motorcycles, etc. This one kind of surprised us too, but for a number of reasons and in the right location, it can make sense and cents!

 

Aside from the keeping boats clean, there is the increasing issue of keeping the waterways free of invasive species.  By cleaning off the boat and the trailer as it is removed from the water, there is less opportunity for mosses, algae, and other aquatic hitchhikers from being moved into new waters.  Now we are seeing similar concerns for ATV Parks and Campgrounds.  The transfer of species from one area to another is creating ecological havoc in some places.  The pressure washer is just another amenity to offer patrons. ATV riders may take great unbounded joy in how muddy and cruddy they and their machines may get, but they won’t want to take all the dirt home with them.  Showers and pressure washers can be a great attraction.

 

Coin or token meters are also applied to pumps and water outlets.  As mentioned above, we have meters that have been connected to all kinds of odd electrical applications, such  TV’s, Jacuzzi’s, tanning beds, infrared heaters, even water cannons at water parks.  BUT I must caution that they are not appropriate to convert a domestic washer or dryer to coin operation. There are technical issues involved and it is generally not economical.  But your imagination on what can be metered will depend on what you have there.  You know your business, and you know your customer base. So it will be up to you to figure out what you can do to generate a bit more revenue.

 

It may not have a direct bearing on most laundries, but many owners are into more than just their laundry.  But just to give you some things to think about, lighting on tennis courts, basketball courts, ball fields or other recreational venues can be expensive to operate.  Again, users have been known to leave lights on when they leave.  A coin or token operated timer will minimize this abuse, and pay something toward the operation of the lights. It  may seem a small matter, but providing facilities that attracts customers, but offsetting the cost of providing these facilities is an important part of running a profitable business. 

 

The gist of the whole thing is this:  There are added sources of revenue. There are various and assorted things that can be offered. And there are controls for many applications that were not originally designed to be coin operated.   And there can be issues when taking on some of these options. Laundromat locations are scattered all over the country.  What works in one area, will flop in another. YOU know YOUR customers, so you must consider all the variables before you buy into a possible profit center. But we hope this has at least given you some points to ponder.

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