Your customers are the key to the success of your laundromat. Understanding what their needs are, what they have come to expect in a laundromat, and their frustrations can help you increase customer satisfaction and in turn, the profits of your laundromat. On the other hand, failing to understand those needs can be detrimental to your business.
Below are four common laundromat customer complaints and how you can turn those problems into opportunities, by using the latest technology in your store.
A large percentage of your customers rarely, if ever carry cash and find that it’s a big hassle to obtain cash and quarters. With our world becoming a cashless society, people don’t want to have to visit a bank or an ATM to do laundry, carry around a bag of coins or find out they can’t keep a load of laundry going because they’re shy a couple of quarters.
Eliminate the need to pay solely with coins by offering card acceptance. Give your customers the choice to pay any way they choose! CCI systems allow you to accept credit/debit cards and loyalty cards. With FasCard, customers can even insert some coins and swipe their card for the remaining balance.
Smartphones play an integral role in our lives. Today’s smartphone wallets store credit cards, tickets, coupons and more. Everything that was once in a consumer’s physical wallet is now in their digital wallet on their phone. Customers want to be able to pay with their phones and have come to expect to be able to do so with most goods and services.
CCI’s FasCard system has a smartphone app that acts as a loyalty card. Customers who use the app no longer need to own a physical card but can use the app in the same way. They can take advantage of any of the loyalty programs you offer, and the app will keep track of it all.
Our complete card systems allow you to accept mobile payments, NFC payments, credit/debit payments and can even work with existing coin laundry machines.
Your customers have busy schedules and don’t want to spend leisure time doing laundry. Their time is valuable, and they don’t want the process of doing laundry to be time-consuming. If a customer’s laundry takes longer than expected due to events such as all machines being in use, it can create frustration and turns the experience of doing laundry into a negative one, likely preventing them from returning to your store.
FasCard App users can see what machines are available without needing to physically be in your store, and they can also see the remaining cycle time of machines currently in use, giving them time to plan their commute and how long it will take to do their laundry. In addition, app users can request cycle completion notifications and even start a machine. When your customers do have to wait in your establishment, consider making it convenient by providing amenities such as free Wi-Fi or coffee (which can also increase your revenue).
It’s like the lyric in the Cheers theme song, “You want to go where everybody knows your name”. It’s cheesy but true. Customers desire to feel like they are wanted. They want to be appreciated and treated like a valuable part of your business. If a customer doesn’t feel welcome, they will most likely go to a competitor, and might even leave a negative review on your Google or Yelp page.
FasCard and LaundryCard loyalty programs offer personalization by letting you establish discounts for certain groups (i.e. college students) or giving bonuses near your customer’s birthday. They also provide the ability for your customer to choose the language they prefer, and the system will remember their language preference and continue to display appropriately in the future. CCI systems offer many features that help you truly get to know your customers and effectively market to them, creating a memorable customer experience that can increase loyalty to your store.
FasCard and LaundryCard from CCI offer the industry’s most advanced card payment systems, designed with both the operator and end user in mind. Contact us today to learn more about our payment solutions and how investing in the right technology can help you meet the needs of your customers and increase the profits of your laundromat business!
If you’re asking yourself if you should purchase a laundromat, this 6 point checklist will help you determine whether or not it’s the right investment for you.
The first laundromat, then called a “Wash-a-teria”, opened its doors in Ft. Worth, Texas in the Depression-era 1930s. Soon, the popularity of laundromats exploded and storefronts spread across the country. The first laundromats were geared toward self-service—which was a change from the earlier commercial companies that laundered, folded, and pressed clothing as a complete service—which means customers paid by the hour to wash their clothing using early electric coin-operated washing machines.
These coin-operated laundry machines enabled those who were affected by the Depression and couldn’t afford personal washing machines another option: deposit a few coins and rent a washing machine for a period of time. Even after the rise of affordable household or in-unit washing and drying machines, laundromats have since never lost their enduring appeal for the convenience, economy, and ubiquity they offer.
Of course, laundry equipment has radically changed since the early 20th century. Tub washers made of porcelain or copper were replaced by sleek stainless steel top-load and front-load electric machines in the 1950s and 1960s. Large, power-consuming machines were ousted by energy-efficient, low water washers. Coin-slot mechanisms gave way to digital card-operated payment systems, which give laundromat owners abilities to remotely manage their stores in capacities never imagined.
Today, there are some 35,000 laundromats operating in the United States, generating over $5 billion in total revenue annually.
Modern laundromats have had to constantly update and keep abreast of the current developments in laundry technology to stay competitive, including the addition of amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flatscreen televisions, vending machines, and children’s areas with family-friendly entertainment.
Some laundromat owners choose to stay open 24/7—upping their convenience factor—and some are completely automated, meaning an owner, manager or employee doesn’t need to be in the store at all, while some storefronts have several employees to help patrons with services like changing cash or coin into proprietary store credit for vends.
Even considering these new trends in the laundry industry, the basic model of the self-service laundry industry has remained the same as it was over 80 years ago. Many things relating to the business model of laundromats has changed, however, including a higher return on investment with these more customer-oriented ancillary services and the ability for many owners to self-manage their stores remotely as absentee owners. Laundromats are so ingrained in the American landscape that it is considered to be a mature market.
Laundromats have become a canny choice for investors and entrepreneurs looking to play a minor role in the day-to-day operations of a business, who want to tailor a business to their exact wants and specifications—since most laundromats aren’t franchises—and who want the feeling of security that a laundromat’s steady income can bring.
If you’re thinking of buying a laundromat, it’s best to research what to expect in the buying process, management duties, and to add up the potential expenses, costs and bills along the way.
We’ve created this checklist of 6 items to cover in detail when buying a laundromat. With all of these tips come the caution of due diligence: A potential buyer will want to check everything thoroughly; talk to multiple owners, consult relevant professionals, like real estate agents, laundry machine maintenance and repair companies and experts and others.
Want to know the secret to running a profitable laundromat? Download our ebook — From Novice to Veteran: The Savvy Owner’s Guide To A Profitable Laundromat.
Use this checklist as a guide for what to expect when buying a laundromat.
If there were ever a time to repeat old real estate platitude, “location, location, location,” it’s when you’re doing research on buying a laundromat. Locations in urban areas near
are the best bets for your laundromat. Multi-Housing facilities and apartment complexes usually have community area laundry rooms, but many residents are loyal to local laundromats. These types of residents that are spread across a sprawling multi-family property are the perfect demographic. Locations near colleges and universities are also attractive, with the vast majority of students using the services of a laundromat.
It is also a wise move to make sure that the laundromat business you’re interested in buying is listed on search engines, as many first-time customers choose which laundry service to patronize based on a Google search for “laundromats near me”.
If the laundromat you’re looking at has a good marketing strategy, they may even have an agency create web-based ads for the store. The more prominent a store’s presence in Google, Bing and Yahoo search engines and the higher its reviews on forums like Yelp!, the more likely the store to be profitable.
Laundromats have few costly recurring expenses, but potential buyers—whether they are searching to buy an existing laundromat or even to build a new store— should be aware of each of these expenses. The lease for a laundromat’s actual storefront will be the highest monthly expense, and buyers in the market today should look for a lease term that is suited to industry standards. If possible, try to find a longer lease term that is amenable to your budget.
In many cases, however—if the current proprietor of the laundromat doesn’t own the location—they have a contract with a leasing company. This would mean that the lease would transfer over to you after you sign the contract.
Naturally, when buying any business, a solid budgetary plan is the first necessary step to factor the initial investment costs of a laundromat and recurring expenses. Whether you’re buying an existing space or building a new store from the ground up. If you are buying an existing space, the costs can range anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000.
Not to be overlooked when calculating overall expenses is possible renovation, which could mean the difference between a rapidly successful store and a business that sees only passersby. If you get a great deal on a store, there may be a reason the owner is selling so low. If the store is just barely hanging on, rundown with equipment in disrepair, completely revitalizing and renovating the laundromat could turn the former derelict store into a profitable business, buzzing with constant activity and foot traffic.
How much time an owner spends in their store is entirely dependent on the owner’s prerogative. An owner can spend as little or as much time in their store as they want. Laundromats are particularly amenable to absentee owners, due to the automated, self-service nature of the business and new technology like digital card payment systems.
If an owner invests in digital card payment systems, loyalty cards which can be used to pay for vends at that store can be dispensed automatically via a payment kiosk without the need for an in-store attendant. Customers also add value, and redeem loyalty program benefits, discounts, and promotions right from the X-Changer kiosk.
Check the existing equipment thoroughly. If you aren’t experienced in testing commercial laundry equipment, do some research on the washing or drying machine operation, read relevant model manuals, or call the specific manufacturer to get some information. You can also contact a laundry repair service and see if you can have a professional assist you in helping to inspect the machines.
Take a fine tooth comb to the machines, are they large industrial washers and dryers? Do they look clean? How old are they? Current maintenance or problems? Do they have digital payment systems, like FasCard and LaundryCard, or is it a coin-only laundry?
Some of the most common problems with washing and drying machines to add to your assessment checklist are:
Also, if the potential store is outfitted with digital laundry payment systems, either cashless card-only and coin-and-card systems, the possibility of a large amount of “float” could add to the appeal of the store.
Is the store you’re looking at buying near another laundromat, you may want to consider doing some commercial recon on your potential competition.
If your competition looks to be fairly successful and nearby, then it may be a good idea to check elsewhere for a store.
Does your store have a good reputation for convenience and comfort? Does it need many renovations?
Does it have extra amenities and new technology, like
A laundromat can be one of the wisest business investments, with due diligence on the part of the investor and a few upgrades, a laundromat storefront can become and continue to be a profitable investment for years to come.
Learn more about investing in and running a profitable laundromat by downloading our guide to a profitable laundromat.
If you would like to learn more about buying a laundromat or digital card payment systems, Card Concepts Inc. is here to help. Contact CCI for more information.
The FasCard system works with existing coin laundry machines and allows you to accept credit/debit, physical loyalty cards and app loyalty cards along with coins at your laundromat. It’s not just an alternative payment system – it’s a holistic laundromat management system that gives laundromat owners all the tools they need to succeed. One popular tool of FasCard and its latest release is the Employee Work Schedule feature. This feature makes running a laundry business easier and less time consuming by allowing you to manage work schedules and view employee hours worked. It lets your employees and attendants perform their job effectively by enabling them to clock in and out of work and view work schedules remotely.
FasCard’s Employee Work Schedule feature gives you the opportunity to automate and manage employee schedules remotely. Through the FasCard admin portal, you can create, edit and monitor one-time and ongoing employee work schedules for multiple locations. Recurring shifts may be scheduled to recur on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis. You can display scheduled shifts for individual employees and view work schedules by day, week or month. Employees may view scheduled shifts when logged into the FasCard loyalty mobile app by selecting the ‘Schedule’ option and the schedule scrolls vertically when swiped to show future shifts.
The FasCard system’s Employee Work Schedule feature simplifies employee time management. Employees can now clock in and out from any FasCard reader in the store. An employee may swipe their dedicated card on a reader to clock in and clock out or scan a FasCard reader bar code with the Mobile App. You have the option to schedule a clock out ‘Grace Period’ for your employees which can help managed forgotten clock outs. When configured, the ‘Grace Period’ allows users to clock out within X minutes of scheduled end of a shift. If the employee does not clock out before the grace period expires, the system automatically clocks the user out. ‘Max Clock-In Hours’ denotes the maximum number of working hours within a given 24 hour period for users not currently scheduled – Users exceeding this maximum limit will be automatically clocked-out. Operators may verify the hours for completed shifts using the Employee Hours Report.
A FasCard system is a great choice for owners because it offers several management tools such as the Employee Work Schedule feature to help you automate and run your laundromat. Both the FasCard and LaundryCard systems simplify your life as an owner and take the stress out of managing a laundry business. Contact us today and let our experts help you find the best system solution that fits the needs of you, your attendants, and your customers!
Technology has made just about everything in our lives more convenient and that includes the management and use of multi-unit laundry rooms. Having modern amenities in your laundry room such as online monitoring via smartphones and card payment systems will bring value to your property and set your property apart from the competition. As an owner or manager, introducing automated systems into your laundry room will save you time and money and reduce the stress of running a laundry room. In this blog post, we’ll show you how bringing technology into your multi-unit laundry room will turn it into a profitable and valued amenity of your property that is easy to manage.
Installing CCI’s FasCard system in your laundry room gives you the ability to manage cash and collections, provide immediate customer service, configure vend prices, implement marketing programs, run sales reports and monitor the status of equipment – all live and remotely from your smartphone or laptop! Having web-based management means accessing your FasCard system is simple and can be performed from any web browser so you can manage your laundry room at anytime from anywhere. With FasCard you can accept cash payments and resolve problems without having someone physically there. If a tenant or guest has a problem with a machine, you can simply log into their account and refund their money.
Card and Coin Auditing
Using FasCard in your laundry room allows you to audit both coin and card sales on any specific machine. This will give you the ability to not only track the success of your credit card sales but monitor the number of coins in each machine. You can configure FasCard to send you email notifications when coin boxes reach capacity so you collect only when you need to. If you are having someone else collect for you, you can receive an email notification that details the coins collected from each machine once your collector has finished. Having less cash in your machines will reduce theft and you’ll always know at any time how much money is in your laundry room. FasCard isn’t just a card payment system; it introduces a holistic solution to running your laundry room.
Flexible Payment Options
Installing FasCard in your laundry room makes the experience of doing laundry easy, quick and stress free. Whether a customer prefers using currency or credit/debit cards, FasCard provides the ultimate in convenience by accepting all types of payment. Customers can even insert some coins and swipe their card for the balance. By adding card acceptance, you are make it easier for your customers to use your laundry room, encourage more use of your machines and therefore produce more revenue for you. No longer do your residents have to obtain coins and cash or deal with the hassles of coin dispensing equipment. In addition, our F2 Card Reader makes it even easier for your customers to pay for their cycles.
Residents want to complete their laundry as quickly and efficiently as possible. With FasCard, instead of your consumer having to revolve their schedule around doing laundry, the laundry card system makes it convenient for them to do their laundry and easily fits into their busy schedule. Smartphones play an integral role in our lives and FasCard includes a smartphone app for today’s latest devices. From their smartphone, your customers will be able to create an account, add value, manage loyalty cards, check machine availability, request cycle completion notifications and even start a machine! No longer do your residents have to make unnecessary trips to the laundry room to check the status of machines, sit around and wait for their cycle to complete or risk loss of clothes sitting in the machines for hours.
CCI’s systems will give you the technological tools to create a modern laundry room that is a valuable business, easy to manage, and meets the needs of residents and guests. Our FasCard system is a perfect fit for multi-housing applications such as apartment buildings, hotels, condominium buildings and residence halls. If you’re a property owner or manager looking to get more out of your facility’s laundry room, contact us today to learn more about our FasCard payment solutions and how investing in the technology can take your laundry room to the next level!
One of the main goals for any business owner is to expand their business and grow into a more profitable, more effective enterprise. A laundromat owner is no exception. While owning a single laundromat can be a successful endeavor, there is no doubt that growing your laundromat business and expanding to multiple locations can be even more lucrative.
At some point, as a laundromat owner yourself, you may feel ready to take on the challenge of opening another location. Laundromats represent convenience, and what’s more convenient to the customer than multiple locations? But the promise of a greater bottom line does not come without its own unique tests and complications.
Assuming that you are financially capable of opening a new store, the first (and biggest) challenge you’ll encounter is managing it. How will you manage more than one location? How will you split your time between more than one store? How will you handle training your new employees? How will you oversee them when you are not there?
The next challenge is equipping your new location. Will you use the same equipment you are using at your current store? Are you equipping the store entirely from scratch or are you taking over an existing laundromat? If you are taking over a store, will you need to upgrade the equipment?
The final obstacle is time. Managing more than one location will add a lot of time to your already busy day. Will you have the tools to help you manage that time effectively and efficiently? Without them, you could easily become overwhelmed and not have the time to give either location the attention it deserves.
How can you be sure to expand your business in the best way possible? A key to owning multiple laundromat stores is having well-trained employees, high quality equipment and tools that make running several stores easier. Each makes your job as the owner of multiple laundry facilities easier and allows you to be more efficient.
One way to do this is with a holistic laundromat management solution like LaundryCard. LaundryCard gives store owners all the tools they need to effectively manage multiple locations in one integrated system. It replaces all of the traditional coin mechanisms with networked card readers in a store, allowing for several features that make managing multiple laundromat stores easier and less time consuming.
LaundryCard is designed to work with any device that has an internet browser. You can remotely control, view, and configure the system from a smartphone, tablet or PC. Run sales reports, configure specials, change vend prices all from the comfort of your home or office. You are no longer limited by distance when opening new stores because complete remote management is now possible.
Every employee has a dedicated card in the system that highlights their responsibilities. When you hire a new attendant, they are issued an Attendant Card, which enables them to clock in and out of work, view work schedules, see scheduled duties, and check off when they have completed tasks. These features will help your employees perform their job effectively, even when you aren’t physically able to be in each store overseeing staff.
Multi-Store Networking allows you to distribute loyalty cards anywhere and lets your customers use them in any of your locations. For example, customers can purchase a card in Store A and use the card in Store B or Store C as well.
Opening another laundry location can be a worthwhile endeavor, but not without tools that can help you manage multiple businesses. LaundryCard is totally automated, completely coin-less, and helps you run your business and increase profits. Learn more about the laundromat business by downloading our owner’s guide to running a profitable laundromat, or contact us today to get started with our holistic laundry management system in your next location!
LaundryCard is not just a ‘Card System’ – it’s a holistic laundromat solution that gives store owners all the tools they need to succeed in one integrated system. From managing employees to marketing and loyalty programs, LaundryCard offers more features than any other product on the market. In this blog post, we are going to let you know about a few of LaundryCard’s features you many not be aware of.
Manage and Track Service Repairs
When you have machines that are in need of service, a LaundryCard system allows you to disable a machine for service, track the history of service for each machine and track time spent by technicians. LaundryCard allows you to issue Technician Cards to service technicians which gives them the ability to view the machines marked out of service and the problem inputted. Once the equipment has been serviced, the technician can mark the machine back into service and record the solution into the system. This action creates a service log for the machine which includes the time and date of failure, description of failure, attendant who recorded, service technician who repaired, amount of time a technician is working in the store and solution to failure. With LaundryCard, an owner can easily see how many machines are ‘marked’ out of service, compare time logs with service bills to validate service time and review the service history of each machine.
Remotely Access Advanced Sales Reporting
One of the major benefits of owning LaundryCard is that you have access to an in-store snapshot of your stores current sales at any time whether you are standing in front of the X-Changer or sitting at home in front of a computer. The store owner has the ability to check store totals without opening the cabinet or counting a single bill. All sales and usage information is recorded centrally and available for reporting and analysis. LaundryCard has the ability to provide detailed transactional reports for almost anything a store owner may want to know. All reports are live and require no data to be imported or downloaded. Hourly totals, Today’s totals, Week to date, Month to Date, Last Month and Year to date sales information is all available instantly and can be accessed remotely from any internet device. There is even a custom download tool to extract raw data that can be used to generate your own custom reports.
Gather Customer Data and Market Effectively
Getting to know your customers is a valuable commodity in business. By being able to store your customers personal information, you can offer them extended services and help to build customer loyalty. LaundryCard allows you to collect a customer’s address, phone, email and birthday information when they register. There is a comments field to hold special ‘private’ notes regarding a customer. All of the collected information can be exported and used to market to your customers. You can easily create email blast marketing campaigns or traditional mailings. The LaundryCard system even has the ability for your customer to choose the language they prefer. The system will also remember a customer’s language preference and continue to display appropriately in the future. LaundryCard will help you truly get to know your customers so that you can effectively market to them and encourage customer loyalty.
Unlike other products that simply allow you to remove or supplement the quarters from a laundromat, LaundryCard helps you automate and grow your business. LaundryCard is a feature rich, management system that was built specifically for the laundry industry. Contact us today to learn more about LaundryCard and how its tools can help your laundromat business!
Recent technological innovations introduced by machine manufacturers and Card Concepts Inc. provide laundromat owners and operators unprecedented freedom to manage their businesses from locations of their choosing. By providing access via the Internet to a comprehensive overview of the operational status of a laundromat, the LaundryCard and FasCard solutions empower owners to oversee every facet of their business from the convenience of their mobile devices.
Whereas the need to collect coins from machines requires employees or owners to make frequent trips to a laundromat, multi-unit building or facility, the introduction by machine manufacturers of coinless laundry payment systems permits longer intervals between servicing. Not only does coinless payment reduce the demand to employ onsite help, but it also facilitates greater recordkeeping accuracy and automation.
LaundryCard by CCI leverages this new technology by substituting networked card readers in the place of mechanical coin receivers.
Customers purchase a reusable loyalty card with cash or credit card from a card kiosk. Each coinless cycle transaction is recorded automatically, permitting effortless online analysis with LaundryCard’s application. And because money collection in centralized at loyalty card kiosks, collecting the cash is a quick and painless procedure that may save hours of owner labor.
Simplified payment collection is only one of many advantages of the LaundryCard and FasCard solutions. Remote monitoring from a smart phone, tablet or PC of machines in use or in need of repair allows owners to schedule maintenance whenever necessary. Owners can also respond in real-time to periods of slow activity by adjusting rates and offering customers discounts with the digital laundry payment systems that CCI offers.
Not only do these smart card laundry systems help eliminate the burden of collecting physical monies, they both also have more subtle advantages.
For example, if a laundromat or multi-housing building does still utilize coin mechanisms, FasCard monitors the level of coin boxes so that owners can arrange for a pickup and then follows up with a confirmation email when collections are completed. LaundryCard even helps owners manage their employees by automatically recording hours worked and reminding staff of tasks needing completion. With remote control of so many crucial operational factors, owners can devote their time to other pursuits from anywhere Internet is available.
Coinless laundry payment and remote monitoring with LaundryCard and FasCard provide the essential oversight needed to maintain off-site supervision, but other technological luxuries contribute to the ease of remote management.
Many applications and online tools offer owners helpful resources that simplify the routine tasks of running a business from afar. The additional complexity involved in managing a laundromat from off-site demands extra attention to detail and high levels of organization from owners, and a few tools can help them keep track of key aspects of the business.
Because owners monitor remotely, it’s important that all management resources are cloud-based and accessible from the Internet. Owners interested in remote management should consider incorporating the following applications into their management routines:
Potential investors seeking opportunities that allow them ample time to commit to other jobs or pursuits will discover that industry experts such as CCI provide easy and secure remote management solutions. Combined with widely available project management and accounting tools, these resources make an already proven business model an ideal option for off-site management.
For a more in-depth treatment of managing laundry rooms and laundromats both in store and remotely, download our free whitepaper, Must Know Tips on Managing a Multi-Unit Laundry Room.