Modern technological advances in the self-service laundry industry have made your laundry day easier than ever.
Laundromats are trendy in 2021. We’ve all heard the buzz: essential service, traditionally unsophisticated operators, favorable lending, strong cash flow. You know what we’re talking about.
These things have been around forever. When C.A Tannahill launched the first self-serve public laundromat in 1934, he had no idea the buzz he would create on Twitter almost 100 years later. Modern laundromats now have enhanced features that promote energy efficiency, user-friendliness, and durability, and profitability help both the customers and the business owners.
Tech advances in the laundry industry help might seem like an oxymoron. And, all things considered, the laundry industry is still lagging behind others. But, we’re giving it a good shot. Here’s what we’re seeing:
Most laundromats still accept payment in quarters. But many are transitioning towards frictionless card payment systems which makes the laundromat process more convenient and eliminates the need for consumers to carry change.
Some modern laundromats offer internal loyalty card systems where customers load a balance onto an internal laundry card system. Others, allow customers to swipe their credit card straight to the washer and dryer. Both options make life considerably easier for the laundromat owner and the laundromat customer. No more lugging quarters around all day!
From a customer’s point of view, this is especially helpful since:
From a laundromat owner’s point of view, coinless laundromat payment systems have some clear advantages:
Hybrid laundromat payment systems can be considered a best-of-both-worlds solution for the laundromat operator who is considering an upgrade. Hybrid systems take debit cards, credit cards, and coins. However, you will still need to collect quarters and budget for debit and credit card processing fees.
It’s our experience that with coinless laundromat payment systems, there are two major risks. Since loyalty cards cost you money, you will have to charge customers an initial fee for the card.
And, if the card system experiences technical difficulties, you won’t be able to collect revenue until it is up and running again.
Converting to a card system is expensive. And, chances are there will be a bit of a learning curve with switching your customers from quarters to cards. Consider creating training employees to assist customers, adding instructional signs, and being patient with customers who struggle with the transition.
Keep scrolling for more tips on adding new technology to your modern laundromat. Up next: Larger Machine Capacity at Modern Laundromats.
Today’s modern laundry machines have various controls and settings, allowing the laundromat owner to pinpoint every preference from automatic load weighing to cycle time, water temperatures, and dryer temperatures.
This provides an avenue of control for the laundromat owner to A/B test customer preferences with utility bills. Manipulating these settings significantly impacts energy consumption in the laundromat which improves the business’ bottom line. Additional features available in today’s market of washers and dryers that allow for full flexibility for user preferences include:
Getting customers in and out of your laundromat is key. Modern laundry equipment offers the convenience and efficiency customers and owners appreciate. In fact, 64% of customers are flocking to large-capacity 40 lb, 50 lb or 75 lb machines. Larger machine capacities and faster dry times get customers in and out quicker, which also improves your turnover and profitability.
The added efficiency of the machines also being environmentally sustainable through decreased amounts of water, drying times, and more controls to adjust levels and temperature, which all help decrease energy consumption and lower utility bills.
Wireless networking, auditing capabilities, and routine diagnostics allow you to better manage your store’s efficiency remotely.
Customers expect to pay more for newer equipment
with updated features. Owners can reasonably
expect to charge 10-20% more for new equipment
of similar capacity.
Today’s advanced controls allow you to maximize
your profit potential with cycle modifiers that
give customers the option of upgrading their
wash for better results at an added premium.
We’re keeping this brand-agnostic when it comes to equipment. New equipment is what we recommend – regardless of the brand. There are plenty of threads on laundromat message boards if you want to go down the brand vs. brand wormhole. Proceed there with caution…
Keep scrolling for more tips on adding new technology to your modern laundromat. Up next: Laundry Production & Delivery Software.
The traditional self-service, coin-operated business model is a thing of the past. Long gone are the days when laundromats operate like car washes – only machines, no staff – leaving customers to fend for themselves. More and more laundromats are switching to full-service models – staffing with crews of well-trained laundromat attendants who process wash & fold orders, upsell & assist customers, and help keep the business running.
There is double-utilization of machines and double-utilization of employees – both traditionally under-utilized in the traditional laundromat model.
Customers are looking toward laundromats for full-service options more than ever. Modern laundromats have growing cohorts of customers who never use the laundromat machines themselves – instead opting to drop their laundry off for wash & fold service.
As part of growing full-service laundromat options, pickup and delivery laundry service is also becoming common. There’s no doubt about it. Customers expect delivery as an option at local laundromats. While laundromat owners used to be unsophisticated compared to their delivery counterparts in industries like food delivery and ride-sharing, that’s not the case anymore.
Developments in pickup and delivery software are helping laundromat operators add revenue and produce this new revenue stream efficiently.
The more full-service laundry that your laundromat processes, the closer it comes to being a logistics and warehousing business instead of a traditional laundromat.
From a laundromat owner’s point of view, this is software guides the logistics & customer communication:
If you’ve decided to offer full-service and delivery laundry service, you’re halfway there. Next, you need to decide which business model you want to follow.
White Label: Want to operate under your own brand and control the entire customer, production, and laundry experience?
White Label software, you get all of the features while plugging in your brand, your customizations, and your Standard Operating Procedures. This offers operators the freedom to specify the design, parts, ingredients, or offerings. The freedom to choose every customization you want fits some operators well. But, it does come with a bit of a learning curve managing your own software, advertising, training, customer acquisition, and Standard Operating Procedures.
Private Label: If you just want to have more turns per day and more full-service orders in-house but don’t care for handling the marketing, customer support, and employee training guidelines.
Private Label software is what you’re looking for. Do what you’re good at and let someone else build the customer base, operating procedures, and software developments. It gives the operational backbone of a franchise with the operator-friendly flexibility of a license. As modern laundromats get more business-savvy, Private Label partnerships for full-service laundry are becoming more and more common.
For a revenue share between 15-25%, you get a business plan in a box to grow your laundromat into a new vertical. Be careful here. Current Private Label offerings are new and underdeveloped. We suspect this option gains strength as the industry grows. 25% is a lot to give up to an underdeveloped platform.
A pickup and delivery laundry business is a different business than operating a traditional laundromat. It is a logistics and staffing business heavy in training, operating procedures, and customer support.
While white-label options exist where you create your own brand, there are private label options available as well. These licensing, revenue-share agreements eliminate the learning curve, train staff, aggregate demand, and handle customer support.
Starchup’s cloud-based point of sale combines modern technology, design, and customer care techniques with laundromat best practices.
The cloud-based system offers a Customer App for your customers, a Delivery App for your drivers, and an Inventory App for your cleaning teams.
Washlava: Washlava claims to be the only laundry technology that lets you reserve and pay for machines from your smartphone.
Drop Locker: DropLocker combines a powerful laundry business management software platform with advanced patented locker equipment for locker routes.
Pristeem: Pristeem is an eco-friendly, self-serve kiosk that refreshes clothing in 10 minutes – an option for modern laundromats to cut into the dry cleaning space.
Atmosphere TV: Atmosphere TV helps you say goodbye to costly cable and frustrating customer service. An Apple TV app that offers a cheap alternative to cable – saving laundromat owners hundreds of dollars per month.