GULF BREEZE, Fla. — We all love summertime. Though once you get beyond the boating, barbecues and vacations, and focus on your coin laundry’s traffic, turns and revenue, summer may not feel like a vacation.
Many in the business refer to it as the “summer slowdown.” Although, the beach Laundromats in our area in Florida and Alabama buck this cycle and post strong results through the summer.
We are wearing less bulky clothing, may be traveling out of town, and kids are wearing those cargo shorts for days before finally tossing them in the laundry. All of this can contribute to that summer slump in business.
So what can we do to pump up business? Are there projects we should be tackling during this break in the action?
Well, the latter question has some pretty easy answers, and one that may dovetail closely to the former question.
MAKE MAINTENANCE A PRIORITY
I would venture to say that most store owners may push store updates and some maintenance. Obviously, some more than others. But summer is the perfect time to take a look at what your store needs to address.
We all know what the low-hanging fruit updates are. You’ve probably read them several times over the years in this column. However, it’s worth mentioning again that fresh paint, new flooring and LED lighting can have immediate and significant positive impressions in how customers (and prospective customers) view your store, as well as provide some possible cost savings (from the more efficient lighting).
Perhaps the overlooked component is how longtime customers view your commitment to your business. These updates have a feel-good effect. Customers view these changes and feel valued, like you are investing in them. So don’t overlook the significance of your longtime customers’ improved perceptions of your reinvestment in the business.
Summer is a perfect time to hire a crew to deep-clean the laundry from top to bottom (owners should be doing this at least once a year, and I would recommend twice per year). Make sure the lint behind tumblers is cleaned up completely, and have your distributor check back pressure to ensure the equipment is operating at maximum efficiency.
OPEN A DIALOGUE AND ASK QUESTIONS
As owners, this customer perception can be elevated just by opening up dialogues. In approaching your summer maintenance projects, you and your employees should chat with customers.
Ask what they see as needing work. Ask what projects they would like to see tackled. We like to think we know how our customers perceive our store, but these conversations can be quite eye-opening.
Be open to their thoughts. Summer maintenance might come in the form of projects you overlooked or never thought of, such as power doors to simplify getting in and out of the store with large laundry loads. Maybe customers desire an updated, nicer bathroom. They might even mention that they are often wasting time waiting for dryer pockets. Listen to your customers.
SUMMERTIME BUSINESS CHECKUP
Pumping up business during the summer is no doubt related to the store-refresh tasks like paint, lighting and flooring. But you may want to look far deeper and use this season to transition into bigger projects. Owners may want to take this time to evaluate the overall health of the business and where improvements might be made. This is where working with a quality distribution partner is important.
Have them provide an objective view of your business. Often we get so bogged down in the day-to-day operations of our business that we rarely elevate to a higher-level view. Either you or your distributor should use the summer to perform an overall business health check. Obviously, this is made easier with today’s modern business management systems, which give access to a wealth of data on store operations. For instance, busy days and times, machine usage data, etc.
Check back for Thursday for more ideas to pump up your summertime business!