BENTON HARBOR, Mich. — Vended laundry facilities that deliver profitable returns to owners don’t do so without continual enhancements and improvements. In an industry where out-of-order machines mean fewer turns and the possibility of losing revenue, ensuring your store is set up with the right equipment and the right processes are both keys to long-term success.
ADJUSTABLE PRICING BASED ON ACTIVITY
There are a few immediate adjustments that vended owners can make to improve the efficiency and revenue of their store.
One such change an owner can make is adjusting machine prices to coordinate with their store’s activity.
Observing the times of day the store is busiest and which cycles are being used most during those times provides insight into when to increase prices to help turn more profit. Owners also need to know how much is too much or too little to change, so they don’t discourage customers and still cover their own expenses.
The good news is that more modern commercial laundry equipment makes adjusting pricing easy. For example, the new Maytag® Multi-Load Washer can deliver customizable pricing, giving owners the ability to price each cycle independently, as well as adjust prices based on the day of the week and time of day. This type of flexibility can help build business even on slower days — setting lower wash and dry prices for a few hours can create a sort of laundry “happy hour” and potentially help turn a sluggish business day into a busier one.
COMING INTO 2019
In looking at where the vended laundry business is headed in 2019, we’ve seen an increasing number of multi-store owners where former single-store owners are choosing to grow their investments—expanding their vended business to include two or three more stores. These owners are in need of greater flexibility as they work to expand their business, manage costs, increase profitability and continue to provide a better end-user experience.
PAYMENT OPTIONS; UPDATING EQUIPMENT
Getting back to adjusting operations to improve efficiency and drive revenue, there are some more extensive changes that owners can implement as they have time.
Because coin payment is still the more popular payment in the industry, there’s a chance most, if not all, of a store’s machines utilize coin drops. However, recent trends are indicating that there’s a growing demographic of vended laundry customers who prefer to have more flexible payment options. Adding card readers gives them a quicker, more convenient laundry experience and saves the owner time from collecting coins from each machine.
In addition, owners may decide it is time to update equipment. This is not always easy due to the expense, yet investing in new, energy-efficient equipment will have a lasting impact — not only in helping to increase customer satisfaction and retention, but in helping to reduce utility costs.
Many new machines provide better water and energy efficiency, delivering utility savings, but those with advanced Wi-Fi capabilities also allow for remote management. Being able to see real-time data on machines allows owners to keep their business running at optimal capacity, making the initial investment to upgrade worth it because of the potential effect on profit margins.
SPEAKING OF TECHNOLOGY...
Utility costs account for a significant portion of a coin store’s operating expenses. These costs can be addressed by taking steps to conserve water and energy, which can happen through monitoring operations, running machines efficiently, and paying attention to details such as utility costs. Innovative technology can help owners make more informed decisions about those details and allow them to better manage their business their way and focus on revenue and operating costs.
The best part about the advancements in today’s technology is that it can help an owner manage their store, even when they’re not there. Machines with remote connectivity capabilities are now equipped to help laundry owners do things like adjusting pricing, rates, or cycle modifiers, and providing credits from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. This technology can also deliver real-time data, so they’re always aware of how their machines are running.
THE ROLE OF EQUIPMENT CAPACITY
Adding multi-load equipment into the mix can be a profitable decision for vended owners. With bigger capacities, multi-load machines allow for higher pricing, which means they can potentially bring in more revenue per wash than single-load machines. To get the most out of their machines, owners should consider the store demographic, competition, and utilities before setting pricing rates.
Additionally, multi-load washers offer the benefit of high extraction speeds to help with fast drying and quick turnover.
As you set yourself up for 2019, whether you’re only investing in a few machines, or equipping your entire store, this equipment is a great way to help maximize your operational investment.