LAS VEGAS — Top 10 lists can be interesting, especially if they deal with coin laundries and making money.Chris Balestracci, Super Wash Laundry, East Haven, Conn., shared 10 ways to make more money at your store during a Tuesday educational session at Clean ’07. Here’s a brief summary of Balestracci’s tips.1) WATCH THOSE WATER HEATERSIf your hot-water storage tanks are not insulated you’re wasting energy. Foil-backed, fiberglass insulation can greatly reduce your wasted energy costs. In addition, older water heaters become less efficient. You can save money by upgrading to a new, 98% efficient water heater.2) NEW, LARGER MACHINESIs it time to purchase some new equipment? New machines can decrease your utility costs.For example, new computer-controlled washers can dramatically reduce your water usage and therefore your sewer bill. Computer-controlled washers also allow you to offer variable pricing (lower price for cold water, higher price for hot water).3) EXTRA SERVICESSince your fixed costs (employees, washers, dryers and rent) are already in place, why don’t you try wash, dry and fold and/or commercial accounts? Balestracci believes the profit margin on both services should be about 100% or more.4) ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPBalestracci urges operators to join the Coin Laundry Assn. (CLA).5) SLASH THOSE UTILITY COSTSLooking to cut costs? Consider the following:
- Use electronic ballast lighting with high-efficiency bulbs.
- Replace older machines.
- Use electronic thermostat controls for the air conditioner and heater.
- Eliminate third rinse cycle.
- Insulate hot water pipes.
6) ADVERTISING/PROMOTIONS (OUTSIDE LAUNDRY)You must have an ongoing, regular advertising campaign. Think about utilizing register tape coupons, direct mail or newspaper ads. Try to budget three to five percent of your gross for advertising.7) ADVERTISING/PROMOTIONS (INSIDE LAUNDRY)Try Wash to Win punch cards, other punch cards, raffles and offer free coffee and popcorn. Use window signs for specials and have time-of-day or weekly specials.8) ANCILLARY SERVICESDo you offer vended drinks or snacks? What about drycleaning service? Do you sell laundry soap? Surveys show that customers desire these things, Balestracci explains. Other possible services include ATMs, Internet access, video games, selling laundry bags and having tanning beds.9) EXCEED CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS (STORE)Make customers forget about the old, dirty, dark and small stores. Keep your store clean, have ample lighting, have all your machines working and keep convenient hours.10) EXCEED CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS (EMPLOYEES)A good number of customers will go elsewhere if they are treated poorly. Get rid of bad employees. Reward and praise your good employees and give them proper training. You might even want to offer things such as annual raises, paid sick days and holiday bonuses.