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Mind Your Surroundings When Collecting, Laundry Owners Warn

Most collect store income two times per week at minimum: survey

CHICAGO — A majority of self-service laundry owners who were polled conduct collections two or three times a week (49.0%) while nearly one-third of respondents collect almost every day (29.4%), according to the results of the latest Your Views survey by American Coin-Op.

Other store owners choose to collect once a week (19.6%) while the remainder collect “whenever [they] get around to it” (2.0%).

Laundromat owners can become vulnerable to robbery or attack while collecting their store’s income so it makes sense that taking precautions is commonplace among the respondents.

Roughly 73% say they “collect during daytime and/or business hours,” 58.8% “handle and transport cash discreetly” and 43.1% make a point to “vary [their] collection schedule.”

Other precautions being taken by respondents include carrying a weapon (29.4%), having another person accompany them to assist (23.5%) and varying their driving route to/from their bank or home (9.8%).

Respondents further indicate that being aware of your surroundings while collecting may be the most important precaution:

  • “While I do collect almost every day, it is one or two rows only so no one sees a bunch of coins at one time. If someone looks funny to me, I skip collecting for that day.”
  • “I always take careful note of the parking lot and people in and around my store. If it appears unsafe, I do not collect at that time.”
  • “Be aware of your surroundings when collecting and don’t carry on a conversation with anyone while doing it. Bad guys can try to distract you with conversation while they or someone else robs you.”

The types of payment methods a self-service laundry accepts can influence its collection protocols. Virtually every store owner who took the survey—92.2%—accepts quarters. Other payment methods accepted by respondents include debit/credit card (31.4%), dollar coins (23.5%), mobile such as Apple Pay or Google Pay (21.6%), store loyalty card (13.7%), tokens (5.9%) or “other” (2.0%).

And it’s fairly commonplace for store owners to gather information or data while making collections. Those who utilize networked equipment or payment systems frequently collect performance data from those sources, sometimes even dialing in remotely to do so.

Other store owners handle the practice manually, counting revenue by machine types and determining the number of turns per day per machine. This information is logged using a computer or even written by hand in a notebook or ledger.

“I don’t understand owners who complain about collecting,” writes one respondent. “Counting my money never gets old, especially when it takes a while.”

American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents an unscientific snapshot of the trade audience’s viewpoints at a particular moment. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Subscribers to American Coin-Op e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in a quarterly industry survey. The entire audience is encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define owner/operator opinions and industry trends.