How to Choose the Right Laundry Delivery Software

Adding laundry delivery software to your laundromat creates plenty of upside for your operations. But they aren’t all created equal. Here are our recommendations.

If your laundromat isn’t already offering laundry delivery service, you’re late. You’re here. So, you already know that.

In a post-pandemic world, any business that can offer a service that saves time and increases convenience has a good chance of doing well. Laundromats have the ideal opportunity to do this through a pickup and delivery laundry service. If you’re looking into launching a delivery laundry vertical at your laundromat, you’re not the first. It’s becoming a well-established offering in a space that is getting more and more crowded.

It’s not as easy as popping a sign on the door and buying a cheap vehicle. To build a competitive laundry service for your laundromat, picking the right delivery laundry service software is one of the most important choices you will make.

Once you get started, your laundry delivery software will impact every business decision you make. You will find the limits of the software, the nuances of the customer experience, and the headaches it causes your employees. You’ll spend hours complaining about the sections of the software demo that you breezed through. You’ll feel trapped when you decide it’s time for a change.

Make this decision cautiously. In 2018, we didn’t. It took 6 months to realize how poor of a decision we made. We lost good customers, we lost good employees, and we almost lost our business. When it was all said and done, we didn’t get our revenue back on track for almost a full year. Scattered throughout the carnage left from this laundry delivery software were our website’s tanked Domain Authority, our once-flawless Google Rating, and our sanity as laundromat operators.

Please understand. This is a big decision – even if the excitement to get started or get switched makes it feel like isn’t.

Delivery Laundry Software | Tips for Laundromat Owners | Laundromat Software
Delivery Laundry Software | Tips for Laundromat Owners | Laundromat Software
Delivery Laundry Software | Tips for Laundromat Owners | Laundromat Software

8 Things To Look For In A Laundry Delivery Software

1. A Balance Between Simplicity and Complexity

Everyone wants simplicity until you’re handcuffed to it with no way out. Simple sounds nice in the vacuum of a quick demo with a slick software salesman.

If simplicity is all you are after, you’re falling into the traditional laundromat owner archetype.

“I’m a laundromat operator, not a rocket scientist. Errr, my staff don’t want anything fancy either!”

Simple to use is different than simple in design. Before you commit to simple software, be sure that the software can handle your current business model. If you are offering specific pickup and delivery windows, do they offer that as an option? If you offer dry cleaning or alterations, does the software have the ability to add other services?

Simple can mean more manual work for you and your team. Is billing done manually or automatically? Can customers change their preferences and delivery options themselves or does this need to be done manually by your staff?

Simple looks great in a demo. But, it doesn’t always function too well once you start operating. Look for a balance between the two when making your decision.

Demo Questions:

Do the core functions of your business fit into the software?

Will any of these require changes internally to make the software work for you?

Once the software is set up, how simple is it for your staff to use?

Can you walk me through a progression as a delivery driver and as a laundry attendant?

Who are the more advanced operators using your software? Can you provide any references?

2. A Breadcrumb Trail of Every Single Detail

As you start to offer pickup and delivery laundry service, you’ll soon realize it’s a logistics and warehousing business. As part of this, everything is documented in a regimented workflow. Your laundry delivery software should track a breadcrumb trail of each and every action taken by the customer, your drivers, your processors, and your support team.

Breadcrumb is a term that comes from the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel. In the story, the children break off pieces of bread to leave a trail they can follow to get back home. That way they can follow their trail back through the dark forest and not get lost.

Because the majority of the exchange is happening outside of our laundromat, you need proof of everything. This detailed proof of anything and everything that happens along the way is your breadcrumb trail.

If a customer didn’t leave their laundry out, you need a picture. If a customer rescheduled their delivery, you need a record of it. If your loader loaded it into three washers, you need timestamps and washer numbers. If a staff member noticed a missing button or a stain, you need a note. When your staff marks the order as complete, you need to know what racking location the clean clothes are stored. If the driver delivers it to the customer’s doorstep, you better have proof in case it gets stolen.

Warehousing and logistics businesses are used to this breadcrumb trail. Laundromat owners are not.

    Demo Questions:

    What features does your laundry delivery software offer my drivers to document their pickups and deliveries? Does the software store photos of these pickups and deliveries?

    How about folders noting stains and damage? Can our laundromat staff track exactly which washer and dryer a load is in at any given time?

    Is this breadcrumb trail documented in one place or do I need to go searching for it? Are customer support issues and direct customer communication stored in the software?

    Can you show me an example of a breadcrumb trail that I could see if I had to log in and handle a support claim?

    3. The Ability to Customize your Laundry Delivery Software

    You need the ability to tailor your business to your staff and your customers. Do get into a situation where you are held hostage to your laundry delivery software. your route times, your turnaround times, and your fees & upcharges.

    The number one complaint we hear from laundromat operators is that their software lacks the ability to customize options as their business grows.

    What works with 100 customers does not always work with 1,000. Some specific examples from real laundromat operators are below:

    • We offer dry cleaning and wash & fold. When a customer has both, we would like the ability to split the ticket – delivering the wash & fold before the dry cleaning since the dry cleaning takes much longer. Our software does not offer this. In turn, we either have to manually create new orders or we have to hold these customers’ clothes for multiple days until the dry cleaning is ready. We are losing customers!
    • I have no options to customize pickup and delivery windows. My software only lets customers select the day of the week. Instead of letting my customers choose delivery in 3 or 4-hour windows, they can only select “sometime that day.” Waiting on our service is literally being compared to waiting around for the cable guy to show up. It’s not because of our business – it’s simply because the software doesn’t offer these customizations.
    • I have a large commercial account that needs special billing rates and the ability to bill on net 30. My software requires a credit card on file for all orders. This has lost me multiple business accounts so finally, we just started keeping track of these accounts in Google Docs so our software wasn’t blocking the workflow here.
    • Some of our accounts are billed flat-rate pricing or by-the-piece pricing. We’re stuck because our software only offers per-pound pricing.

      Demo Questions:

      Can I customize turnaround time, pricing, and time slots?

      When I want to make a major change, can I do it immediately or do I need your support as part of a larger software change?

      Can you show me how different customers on your platform customize turnaround time, pricing, and time slots?

      4. Employee Navigation

      In order to be future-proof, a laundry delivery software system should grow as the business grows. You might have one or two key employees that know how everything works. This will not scale with you. However, your laundry delivery software should.

      The laundry delivery software should track everything and provide your employees with clear navigation of their day-to-day work.

      Dry cleaners and commercial laundry providers have been operating their laundry businesses as logistics and warehousing businesses while laundromat owners tend to operate their business in a more absentee and unsophisticated manner. Lucky for us, the improvements in laundromat software have brought the tracking and logistics from the dry cleaning industry. Long gone are the days of a simple POS to collect payments – using post-it notes and dry erase markers to track orders. Robust solutions to employee tracking and order logistics have been created using barcode locations and scan guns.

      It’s simple, every time you move and order, it gets scanned to a new location which updates the software.

      Instead Of:

      Relying on drivers to keep records themselves will create mixed-up orders and return trips to deliver left behind items.

      The check-in process is a non-revenue generating process. The more time this takes, the less profit you make.

      Bags and dry erase magnets are imperfect solutions. Tracking in your software will prevent errors in the laundromat and save time.

      Drivers walking in circles searching for bags is not ideal. Get them loaded and on the road ASAP.

      Anything without turn-by-turn is dated. This is a bare minimum for laundry delivery software driver apps.

      Try:

      With drivers, they are scanning pickups at the door to confirm the bags match the customer account.

      When checking the order weights or flat-rate prices into the software, barcodes and scan guns can eliminate all user errors.

      When loaders load into washers and dryers, they scan the order into the washer to prevent mixing orders together.

      When delivering clothes, drivers use their manifest to find where the order is located in the warehouse – preventing leaving behind orders at the laundromat.

      And, of course, turn by turn driver navigation is the most basic form of employee navigation you should expect with a laundry delivery software.

      The Folde | Tracking Laundry Delivery Orders With Laundry Service Software
      Laundromat Owner Tips | Laundry Delivery Service Operators | The Folde
      The Folde | Tracking Laundry Delivery Orders With Laundry Service Software

      Demo Questions:

      How do your customers track the locations of orders at any moment?

      How does your software make it easier for my staff to increase accuracy and prevent mixed orders?

      Can we track washers, dryers, loaders, and folders?

      Can you track ready racking locations for my drivers to grab clean laundry from before delivering?

      Does your system generate QR codes or barcodes to track orders throughout the process?

      Does your software offer our drivers one-touch, turn-by-turn navigation?

      5. A Real Customer App

      Laundry delivery is becoming a more competitive space. When we first started, Google search volumes were low and cost per click was even lower. Now, the novel concept of a delivery laundry service is much more popular.

      On top of laundromats competing for keywords, 3rd party laundry apps – who are keen on digital marketing since they outsource all of the laundry production – are becoming more and more formidable.

      Depending on your city, customer acquisition cost will vary. Customer acquisition cost (CAC) is the cost related to acquiring a new customer. In other words, CAC refers to the resources and costs incurred to acquire an additional customer. It’s expensive. And, as more laundry delivery service competition pops up, CAC is getting more and more expensive.

      If your laundry delivery software comes with an app for your laundromat, you have a higher likelihood of retaining these customers since you are already firmly planted on the home screen. They already have an account with you, their laundry preferences are set, and their billing info is already updated. They’re, quite literally, a click away.

      Without an app, your customers need to go to Google before placing an order – every single time. When they search in Google, they’re getting bombarded with competitors through paid and unpaid mediums. If you don’t want to go to battle for new customers every time they need to place an order, consider finding a laundry delivery software that has provides a customer app.

      Be leery of web apps (non-native apps), links to Google Chrome pages, or software apps that allow you to list your business). You want a good ol’ fashioned app just like every other app on your phone.

      Demo Questions:

      Does your laundry delivery software offer an app in the App Store or on Google Play?

      Is the app under my name with my logo or is it the software name and logo?

      Are there other laundromats in my area offering the same app?

      Can you share a client’s name with me so I can look it up in the app store?

      6. Service Areas and Waitlists?

      When it comes to setting your service area, you want the ability to do this by Geofence – not by zip code.

      A geofence is a virtual perimeter around a physical location. Like a real fence, a geofence creates a separation between that location and the area around it. It can be any size or shape.

      Instead of being stuck to the confines of the US Post Office, setting your delivery radius by geofence allows much more control. The further you get away from the city center, the larger the zip codes get. A zip code might be 40 minutes from one end to another.

      As you plan your service areas, you want to draw a line on a map to set your laundry delivery service radius. Is there one commercial client you want to service without opening up the entire section of town? Simply circle their street on the map. If you don’t have the ability to geofence your service radius, you might be stuck diving out of your way because your software opened the entire zip code.

      This scenario brings up a good point about waitlists. Earlier, we agreed CAC is expensive and getting more expensive. If you get a new customer to your app and their address is not serviced in your geofenced service radius, what happens? You’ve spent the money to convert the customer but they are not yet able to convert. Is there a consolation prize or are you left empty-handed?

      Demo Questions:

      Does your delivery laundry software offer the ability to set service radius by zip code or geofence?

      How do I customize a service area?

      If I need to add one customer to the delivery radius that is outside of my typical radius, can I add this one customer?

      What happens if a customer signs up that is not included in my delivery radius? Do I have access to their CRM data as I expand?

      How do I notify these out-of-radius customers when I am ready to expand to their neighborhood?

      7. Tips, Fees, and Other Service Charges?

      Just like Uber Eats and DoorDash offer surge fees, rush fees, and service fees, you need the ability to add these as well.

      It wasn’t long ago when most delivery laundry software providers didn’t include the options for the laundromat operators to accept tips from customers. Luckily, the pandemic got the trend more mainstream among the delivery laundry software providers. However, there are still some that are not allowing tips.

      At 100 orders a month averaging a $5 tip, that’s $500 as a means of retaining quality employees and competing for labor in a tough labor market.

      At 1,000 orders a month, that is $5,000. At 10,000 orders per month, that is $50,000…

      The same logic applies to fees and other service charges you might find useful. Free deliery isn’t the selling point it was in 2015. Everything includes fees these days…

      We charge $6 for delivery. The customer can opt-in for a +$5 next-day delivery fee. The customer can leave a tip – averaging $5 for residential customers. And, the customer can choose from different laundry preferences that come with fees between $0.50-$5.

      It is not uncommon for customers to have $20 on fees in any given order.

      Maybe this isn’t ‘how you do business’ but if you do not have the ability to add these due to software limitations, you will never be able to test it. And, if you never test it, you’ll never learn that your customers aren’t as price-sensitive as you think…

      Demo Questions:

      Can I add tips? How does reporting on tips separate between my staff?

      Is there the ability to add next-day fees or service radius fees based on location?

      Can I add upcharges for certain laundry preferences like bleach, hangers, or detergent?

      What other unique or customized fees have your customers added?

      8. A Supportive Team Behind The Laundry Delivery Software

      Software will glitch. Whether it is your own user error or a database problem, you will run into the occasional hiccups. It’s not about “if,” it’s “when.”

      How quickly will the laundry delivery software team respond to fix the issue? In our experience working with laundry delivery service providers, some reply times are 48-72 hours and some are 30 seconds. Some only offer a portal for you to fill out support tickets while others offer live chat with instant response times.

      During the sales process, all eyes will be on you. You will get quick replies and red carpet treatment. This is sales. Ask around to other operators on the laundry delivery software. What errors do they run into? How responsive is the tech team? How did the treatment change when they switched from a prospective customer to an active customer on the platform?

      Demo Questions:

      Where do I reach out to get operator support?

      Is there live support or is this process through tickets or emails?

      Who handles operator support at the company?

      How would you say your current clients feel about the operator support that you provide?

      Do The Research And Let The Laundry Delivery Software System Do The Rest

      We get it. This is exciting. We’ve personally rushed this decision before – getting caught up in the eagerness to change and the courting of the sales process instead of making calculated assessments of our laundry delivery options.

      Take your time.

      Once you get started, your laundry delivery software will impact every business decision you make. You will find the limits of the software, the nuances of the customer experience, and the headaches it causes your employees. You’ll spend hours complaining about the sections of the software demo that you breezed through. You’ll feel trapped when you decide it’s time for a change.

      Make this decision cautiously. This is a big decision – even if the excitement to get started or get switched makes it feel like isn’t

      Laundry Delivery Software | The Folde | Laundry Delivery Service Tips for Operators

      For Laundromat Operators:

      As laundromat business models move from self-service to full-service models, laundromats are becoming bigger businesses.

      Interested in contributing an article on modern laundromats? We’re collaborating with laundromat owners and operators who want to share!

      For more info, email operator@thefolde.com.