Beyond coin: making laundromats better with card & other payment systems
In this guest post, Steve Marcionetti, President of Card Concepts Inc., outlines the value of incorporating alternatives to coins as part of any laundromat upgrades
Perhaps the term “coin” laundry should be permanently retired and “vended” laundry elevated within our industry. That may help spur coin-only laundromat operators to offer customers greater convenience by adding alternative forms of payment beyond coins.
“It is costly. It’s complicated. I don’t understand it. My customer will hate it.” These are just some of the reasons given by laundromat owners choose not to add a payment system to their store. Hands down, the most common excuse is that outfitting the machines in the laundromat with card systems or other alternatives is too expensive. However, this excuse crumbles when payment systems are viewed from a return on investment perspective.
Offering customers more ways to pay tends to generate more revenue. Non-cash options generally encourage more spending. The customer who will try to cram clothes in a smaller dryer to save on quarters may be more open to paying more via their debit or credit card for a larger machine. The incremental revenue will help to achieve an acceptable return on the investment on a payment system.
Collecting quarters is a time consuming task that coin laundromat owners must do frequently, even daily. Payment systems can greatly alleviate the stresses and risks associated with collecting quarters. The time gained by adding non-coin payment options is invaluable to an owner. For a multi-store owner the difference in going from store to collect coins versus using a payment system can be as stark as night and day.
Retooling? Don’t Forget to Add a Payment System!
Over the past few years the benefits of upgrading retail laundries have become more apparent. The industry is trending towards higher efficiency machines, innovative ways of marketing and generally more customer-centric initiatives. This includes providing customers more ways to pay for their laundry. Non-coin payment options are a must-have in laundries as customers across all demographics are increasingly adopting cards and mobile payments.
As many owners are painfully aware, being coin-only means being at the mercy of repairs for jams, full coin boxes that need to be emptied and other issues. Upgrading to a payment system reduces the costs associated with these repairs and also reduces the down time and corresponding loss of revenue.
It’s all about ROI!
Return on investment when adding any additional capabilities is a major factor in any entrepreneur’s business decisions. Most card payment systems allow owners to track and analyze their revenue via the system they use. The reporting capabilities of the systems are typically robust, easy-to-use and can be accessed from just about any mobile platform. Going a step further, some systems analyze your card revenue stream and can provide a high level view or even the profitability of a single machine.
In addition to helping to increase revenue by virtue of attracting new customers, card and other payment systems can boost the value of a store. This is especially important if the owner is expecting to cash out on the investment by selling the store. Buyers of stores have more confidence in a store’s numbers when the information is system-based.
In a nutshell, not adding an alternative form of payments puts laundromats at risks of falling behind the rest of the industry. On the other hand, laundromats that add them stand to gain from potentially higher revenues and less frequent breakdowns associated with coin equipment. Most importantly, customers will appreciate the advances and improvements made to give them a better laundry experience.