The laundry room is possibly the most essential amenity for residents who live in multi-unit apartment complexes. This is especially so if a property is not equipped with in-unit connections for renters to hook up their own washer and dryers.
For most multi-housing unit managers, it’s become a tacit habit to look the other way when passing by the laundry room—as it’s often a sigh-inducing sight.
Although laundry rooms are sometimes located in inconvenient places like basements, up several flights of stairs, or nearly off the premises, property managers simply cannot avoid dealing with them. And if your property spans several buildings, you may have many laundry rooms with numerous laundry machines to manage.
Why are laundry facilities such a source of irritation to property managers? To put it briefly, coin-operated laundry machines are a lot of work. They are difficult to deal with, something little always seems to be breaking, they can get clogged up. Maybe the coin-mechanism is jammed, but even when it is working—there’s still collections and maintenance to deal with.
You could certainly take care of this by yourself. Or it could mean delegating those tasks to your super. Or you may have a laundry route operator to take care of your facilities. But that’s another issue: laundry route operators.
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Landry route operators can be confusing, costly, and troublesome. Let’s break it down: you pay a laundry route service for an operator to come by and maintain your laundry machines and collect the quarters. They service many different apartment complexes and are scheduled to make rounds at set times each week or month. But laundry routes someones don’t run as smoothly as initially promised, especially if you’re dealing with dishonest laundry route operators, and then you’re left holding the bag.
And what if some of your machines require service or collection before the next appointment? You have to wait (and lose out on missed vends) while those machines are down, or you can try to hunt down the laundry route operator yourself, which also means lost time. Coins and physical routes—though they do certainly warrant some merit and convenience for certain tenants—to many property owners, are a vestigial leftover from an older multi-housing economy that did not have to reckon with the digital world.
Today, many property managers have switched to a better way of managing their laundry machines: digital card-operated laundry payment systems. Since the late 1990s, the popularity of card-op laundry payment facilities has been growing at a substantial rate.
This is no certainly no surprise to multi-housing managers, as it’s a simple process to upgrade or retrofit existing laundry machines to be able to accept debit and credit cards. With card-op or hybrid coin-and-card-op machines, you won’t have to remove physical coinage from each machine one-by-one—transactions are deposited instantaneously into your bank account.
Not only is a card-operated laundry payment system much easier to manage physically, it is also more cost-effective in the absence of a laundry route.
Card-operated payment systems allow you to increase the prices for laundry services incrementally—at as little as one cent step-ups. These smaller increments, implemented over a longer course, make it easier for residents to budget for than the sudden, dramatic 25 cent increase of traditional coin-op machines.
Residents are also more willing to accept smaller increments—more would pay $1.58 cents to run a load of laundry while many of those same residents would balk a $1.75 cent vending price.
In an article by Multi-Housing News Online, an industry expert acknowledged that,
“Most savvy property managers can make more money from a card system, any large regional property, managed by a knowledgeable business person, will prefer the card.”
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Most card-op laundry payment platforms operate online, enabling property owners and mangers to view balances and credits, regulate pricing, and even turn on and turn off laundry machines remotely. Hybrid coin-and-card-op laundry payment systems benefit all types of residents; those who are used to the traditional coin-op payment method and those who would rather just swipe a card.
Whether you are happy with your coin-operated laundry machines, or you want to make the transition to card-operated laundry payment systems, the future of multi-housing laundry units is here, and it cannot be ignored.
Card Concepts Inc. (CCI) is national manufacturer of digital laundry payment products, including FasCard, a hybrid coin-and-card payment system, and Laundry Card, a digital card-operated system. If you would like to learn more about card or coin-and-card-operated payment systems for your laundry facilities, give us a call today at 1 (866) 860-1660.