CHICAGO — Collecting a self-service laundry’s coins and currency is important not only because that revenue keeps an operation running, it’s an action that can put the owner or their staff at risk if the routine renders them inattentive.
Taking precautions while collecting and handling monies will make it more difficult for any opportunist looking to take advantage of the situation.
Karl Hinrichs runs distributor HK Laundry Equipment based in New York state but also owns and operates four Laundromats. He’s been preaching laundry security by making it hard for crooks to anticipate a store owner’s behavior patterns and by utilizing video surveillance for years.
“Luckily, most crooks don’t care where they get the money; they only want to rob the low-risk establishments,” he once wrote in his company’s newsletter. “If the risk vs. reward is too large, they will go find easier targets. As Laundromat owners, we need to make our businesses hard to rob and significantly higher risk of being caught. Don’t be the easy target.”
Peter Mayberry owns three Anytime Laundry stores in Omaha, Nebraska.
“All of my laundries have DC/QC (dollar coins and quarters) but you only get DC from the coin dispensers, so I consider myself DCM, or ‘dollar coin mostly,’” he says. “I have one store that accepts credit cards and Apple/Google Pay and another store that accepts an app-based payment that you can link a credit card to in addition to the DC/QC acceptance.”
Mayberry collects each of his stores once a week and takes a variety of precautions when doing so.
“I always collect during the day when there are a fair amount of customers in the store,” he says. “I have every change machine located behind a wall, and all my entrance doors to these rooms are behind metal doors with metal studs. I also always use a box of chips, pop, or maintenance bag to carry cash. My main location has a garage that I also can pull (my vehicle) into, which helps because no one ever knows when I am actually in the building.
“In addition to these measures, I also have crazy-heavy safes at all my locations that came with a bank I purchased to convert into a laundry. … I always carry (a weapon). When I say always, what I mean (is) there is no point in my day that a firearm ranging from a Glock 42 all the way to an AR-15 is more than an arm’s reach away. I also have a taser that I carry but that’s mostly for encounters with people tripping on drugs.”
Mayberry admits that his precautions may seem extreme to some but he takes them because of the circumstances. One of his stores is situated between a pawn shop and a tobacco shop, each of which has been the scene of a clerk’s shooting death.
Randy Land owns Lucky Laundry in Santa Clara, California. His store accepts quarters as well as debit and credit card payments. He collect his store’s income every five to seven days.
“I vary the schedule based on how full the coin boxes are,” Land says. “I use the FasCard system for credit/debit payments and the software records all transactions. When I collect, I will do it during a quiet time and business is slow. If I need to collect during peak times, such as the weekend, I will wait until closing time and turn off all of the lights and lock the doors. Easy for me to see outside if anyone is casing the business, and hard for anyone outside to see what I’m doing or if anyone is actually inside. Collections take about 20 minutes for 40 machines.”
Check back Thursday for the conclusion!