The saying goes that the cream rises to the top. This is evident in the laundromat business during the pandemic. The laundromats that put best practices of operations, customer service and marketing to work are standing out and thriving in many instances. The poorly run stores are often falling behind – like many Zombiemats are.
The pandemic may have forced many Zombiemats to close and not because they are not needed – indeed, laundromats are essential businesses – but because they were barely surviving in the first place. Therefore, when the pandemic forced laundromats to be nimble and adjust their operations and customer service, many Zombiemats may have been unable or unwilling to react. In this series of posts, how to identify a Zombiemat, how to efficiently acquire one and how to renovate for success will be explored.
It has been proven that renovating a laundromat that has old machines and subpar operations can lead to greater profit and more value for the owner. In this climate, good operators, especially multi-store operators, are likely to be on the lookout with the intention to acquire these under-performing and poorly run stores and turn them from Zombiemats to amazing laundromats.
Looking to Acquire a Zombiemat? 5 things to look for:
- Out of order signs – this is a sign of poor maintenance by the operator or of old machines. Why? When you replace the machines with newer ones, you will realize savings on utilities. Also, in this age of social distancing, having all your machines working gives you more flexibility in helping to promote social distancing in the store while generating revenue
- Coin-only machines. Contactless payments will be more attractive to customers in the Covid era and beyond for obvious safety reasons.
- Lack of clear signage. This may show a lack of customer communication. Some of the best operators have put clear signs in their stores regarding everything from how to use the machines to signs updating customers on store policies and procedures during the pandemic.
- Unidentifiable customer help. Are you unable to identify the attendant at the store? Well, the customers are probably unable to identify who they can get help from either. When you acquire the store, make sure your staff is trained and uniformed. Customers will appreciate it and are more likely to stay customers
- Run-down facilities. The best operators take pride in how their laundry looks. A store with cluttered windows, paper signs, faded paint, dirty floors are clear signs that you are likely looking at a Zombiemat. If the store looks dirty, it probably has not been sanitized and cleaned to help protect the health of customers and staff. Turning this store around to a sparkling clean, well-lit and maintained store can go a long way to making it welcoming to new and returning customers.