Bigger Equipment Capacity Can Deliver Far Bigger Returns (Part 1)

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Bill Kelson |

Saving time, reducing bottlenecks among benefits of large washers, dryers

ATLANTA — It’s a scene that plays out in vended laundries across the country. That regular customer lugs several bags of clothing into the store, sets a bottle of detergent on the counter, and begins to stake out a row of top-load washers. Two, three, sometimes four machines are occupied by one customer.

The scene likely brings a smile to the owner’s face. Heck, one customer has three or four machines in use, so why shouldn’t they be smiling? More machines in use mean more revenue, which leads to more profit.

Ahhh, the top-load washer. The mainstay of our business. So much so that many dated laundries still rely on them to carry the volume of the wash cycles. Today’s more modern facilities, however, are reducing their numbers and relying more on large-capacity machines.

GIVE THEM SOMETHING NEW

The easiest sell on large-capacity machines is that by adding them, store owners now have something new to talk about in marketing and when customers come in.

Extra capacity for your customers translates quite simply into time savings. Your customers want to get in and out quickly. The time savings of large-capacity commercial washer-extractors comes on multiple fronts. First, cycle times tend to be shorter than those of top-load washers. Second, the high G-force extract of washer-extractors removes more water and reduces their drying time.

If those aren’t big enough selling points for your big washers, think about the reduction in bottlenecks in the store. The person in the example I mentioned now only needs one washer instead of three or four. When they get over to the drying side, they need only one or two drying pockets versus three or four. And with the higher extract speed of the washer, those drying cycles will be significantly shorter.

The bottom line is stores can tout greater time savings and no more trips to the laundry to find all the machines in use. More available machines not only are attractive to customers, but owners have increased the potential for more turns (people aren’t waiting for that customer occupying three or four machines to wrap up).

EXPAND YOUR CUSTOMER BASE

Giving them something new not only applies to current customers, but also to those prospects who might occasionally visit. These are the folks who have washers and dryers at home. If your store only offers single-load machines like they already have at home, they have no reason to come in.

The 60-pound washer-extractor is a customer favorite, giving those with laundry equipment at home an efficient means to wash bulky items, such as king-size comforters. Efficiency is achieved on two levels: first, the washers are able to handle a few comforters and deliver time savings; second, the vend price is significantly less pricey than dry-cleaning the pieces at $25 each.

Add in some 80-pounders and the possibilities really open up for customers. These units make short work of a variety of bulky comforters and quilts, while large families can throw a week’s worth of laundry in … and then some.

I recently worked with an owner who went through a retool and saw so much use on the 80-pounders that they soon wanted to swap out the new 40s and 60s for more 80-pound units.

Check back Wednesday for the conclusion!

About the author

Bill Kelson

TLC Tri-State Laundry Companies

Director of Vended Laundry Sales

Bill Kelson is director of vended laundry sales at TLC Tri-State Laundry Companies, a Speed Queen distributorship, based in Atlanta. He has more than 30 years of experience in the commercial laundry equipment industry.

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