Mailbag: Repackage Dryer Sheets, Detergent to Save Customers Money, Increase Profits

With all the environmental issues in the news these days, now is as good a time as any to show your customers that you care, too. They might not be aware that using your Laundromat is already helping to save the Earth (compared to using those smaller, less-efficient, home washers and dryers).Show them that they can help the Earth while saving them money too!Recycled (previously used) boxes are collected in a “recycle bin” under my soap venders and are reused for dryer sheets (Snuggle and Bounce) bought in bulk at Costco, Wal-Mart or BJ’s. Then they’re sold with a sign explaining “50% more — FREE!”Let me explain: You see, I put three sheets instead of the usual two sheets that come from the factory in those little boxes. It’s a popular seller. And three sheets are only costing you about 15 cents — so you make more money too!Just make sure you have a sign explaining that the product will come in a reused box. Some people get confused when a previously opened soap box comes out with dryer sheets inside. But they get used to it soon enough.I sell 75% more dryer sheets in recycled boxes than in the factory-packed boxes! That’s what led to me using the soap boxes too. I started out using only the old softener boxes, but soon started running short, due to them wearing out and not being replaced with new ones fast enough. (Just make sure that there’s no soap residue left in the used soap boxes.)Want to up your detergent profits too? I buy liquid detergent in bulk (300-ounce) bottles and repackage it in single-use, 3-ounce packets and vend them in those little recycled boxes too!OK, repackaging liquid products is a little trickier than just boxing dryer sheets. But it can be done. I won’t get into the tricky details here. I’ve tried a few successful ways. But what I will tell you is that now I package liquid bleach, Liquid Tide, Liquid Gain, Downey and Snuggle (in both sheets and liquid form) for resale in my own Laundromat. And the customers seem to like the choices. They especially like the liquid detergents. They are great for pretreating!Is it worth the extra work?Well, not if you are an absentee owner. But I’m in the shop every day and can always find the time to do the measuring, packing, labeling and stuffing of all those previously used boxes. The profit margin is good, and customers like the savings too. Most of my recycled products sell for 50 cents — unlike what we have to sell the factory-boxed items for these days.Use your imagination! With all these un-boxed items around, I stared making “Twin Packs” of some of these items. Since I use the dollar coin in my coin-op, I started to offer detergent and softener in one box, sold together for a one-dollar coin, in a recycled box. (You could sell it for four or even five quarters if you use a regular coin slide, too.)Now is a good time to start implementing these new ideas. Between the savings in costs to your customers, the extra profits to you, the environmental issues of throwing out all of those little boxes, and the economy in general, we all need to rethink how we should be improving our services, and our bottom line.Do you have any good, unique ideas that might be of interest to other laundry owners? Why not write an article about it and send it to the editor? I know I would love to hear new ideas from fellow storeowners. 

A reader from Long Island, N.Y.

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