Tips and Tools for Evaluating New Technology (Part 1)

Tips and Tools for Evaluating New Tech

ATLANTA — Choosing the right system for a laundry business can be daunting, especially with systems available for laundromat management, payment acceptance, point-of-sale for wash-dry-fold and pickup and delivery, accounting, and more.

So what features should you study when evaluating these systems? During the last Clean Show, multi-store owners Brian Henderson and Paul Hansen presented some tips and tools for evaluating new laundromat technology.

Aside from laundry management, Henderson also runs a company that sells laundromat point-of-sale systems. “Washers and dryers, they’re mostly computers now with some water tossed in,” he says, thus leading to increased interest in making the best use of evolving technology.

“So what are some of the goals when it comes to technology?” Hansen queries. “We don’t want to be there (in our stores) as much. We want systems running the place, especially if it’s a self-service laundry that kind of takes care of itself. You want a better experience for yourself. You don’t want to have to be putting out fires every day, whether it’s to fix something or a payment didn’t go through correctly on a wash-dry-fold order. You want to be able to do all of this easy with a system you can depend on. And you want something simple for your team members.”

In any basic evaluation of a tool you’re considering, it’s wise to eye:

  • The level of vendor support you can expect,
  • Technical knowledge needed to use it,
  • The control you’ll have as its user,
  • Flexibility of contract,
  • Total cost,
  • Integrations and how the system may be able to communicate with systems that provide other capabilities,
  • Remote access and backups, and
  • Vendor references.

“There are free tools out there that a lot of us have used,” says Hansen. “Google Drive is a great resource. I’m sure many of you have used that for carrying spreadsheets, Word documents. It’s good for tracking things with your staff, putting out memos to your staff. That’s a real basic, free way to do it. Better when you’re smaller. As you get bigger, you might want to get more sophisticated.”

When looking into a product or system for your laundry that you’re considering paying for, the most important factor could be the support and training supplied by the vendor, Henderson says. You want to assess things like the hours that support is available, whether it’s live or automated, the cost of support, the vendor’s ability to access your system remotely for troubleshooting, the availability of training, whether it’s done live or through recordings, and whether language support is available for non-English speakers.

The system you have in mind may require a certain level of technical knowledge. Is it user-friendly for your staff and customers? It’s important to consider that not everyone has a high computer aptitude.

“It’s a new skill to require of your team,” Henderson says. “A lot of us employ a lot of entry-level positions for laundry attendants and some of them don’t have a computer at home and may never have used a desktop computer.”

Check back Tuesday for the conclusion

ATLANTA — Vendor support, integrations, remote access among aspects to study

Podcasts for You

Drop-Off Service Do’s and Don’ts

Beverly Kay Blank

Fluff-and-fold can be a profitable service addition if handled properly. Consultant/trainer Beverly Kay Blank shares her drop-off do’s and don’ts in this episode.

Commercial Account Strategies

joel jorgensen

Joel Jorgensen, vice president of sales for Continental Girbau Inc., offers advice to Laundromat owners looking to build and grow a commercial customer base.

From the Research Center

Latest Digital Editions

Digital EditionAmerican Coin-OpJune 2024

Inside our June issue: American Coin-Op June 2024 cover image
  • Making the Leap from Wash-Dry-Fold to Commercial Laundry
  • AI: Get the Most from Evolving Technology
  • Communicating Expectations Through Your Employee Handbook
  • Pointers from Paulie B: Planning for and Integrating Laundromat Upgrades
May American Coin-Op May 2024 cover image
April American Coin-Op April 2024 cover image