CHICAGO — Wash-dry-fold (WDF) services offered by laundries around the country have grown in popularity in recent years. A customer visiting a Laundromat to drop off their clothes and then return once they have been cleaned is commonplace. Some businesses may even offer pickup and delivery so the customer doesn’t have to leave their home.
When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit this spring, the push to wear masks and socially distance no doubt had some walk-in customers asking themselves if it was worth heading inside the Laundromat to do their laundry. Yet another factor encouraging patrons to try a WDF service.
But whereas walk-in customers using a Laundromat are responsible for the cleaning and handling of their own clothes, a laundry offering WDF service accepts that responsibility.
The service offering brings the possibility of greater volume and thus greater revenue but it also tasks the laundry with keeping track of a customer’s goods from acceptance, through cleaning, to delivery. Order taking and tracking can be done with a piece of paper and pencil but there are computer-aided solutions—point of sale (POS) systems—available today with the ability to do all that and more in a fraction of time it would take even the speediest of attendants.
GETTING TO KNOW THE BASICS
So what components—hardware and software—are included with an average POS system intended for laundry service use?
“A basic POS usually includes, at minimum, a computer and screen to run the software, a receipt printer, a cash drawer and a credit card reader,” says Nick Chapleau, CEO and co-founder of Starchup, which offers a web-based POS platform. “The POS may require a certain type of hardware to run the software, usually priced and supplied by the POS company.”
Brian Henderson is president of Wash-Dry-Fold POS, a company that provides hardware, software, credit card payment processing, and owner training for stores looking to modernize their operations. He says there are accessories that can greatly enhance a Laundromat POS system, including an integrated weight scale, bag label printer, and bar-code scanner.
Examples of software features include text messaging for customer notifications, order status tracking, machine start tracking, a time clock, and cash drawer till accountability.
Advanced components can include customer-facing websites and apps for attracting and retaining customers, and apps for drivers and other employees specific to their functions, Chapleau says.
“An in-store laundry POS needs an integrated scale so it can grab the weight automatically,” says Matt Simmons, who created the Curbside Laundries wash-and-fold software solution with brother Aaron. “This helps streamline the process, helps eliminate mistakes, and speeds up the process.”
Rohan Bedi, head of sales for CleanCloud, a cloud-based, multifaceted POS platform, also favors the integration of a scale.
“They’re able to weigh the items (and) it goes directly into the POS,” he says. “Everything can be managed a lot easier that way.”
Rick Rome founded and owns WashClubTrak, an all-in-one laundry and drycleaning POS system for walk-in or drop-off business.
“I believe in cloud, because we’re cloud-based,” Rome says. “You don’t need any special hardware outside of aesthetics, really. If you want to use an iPad to look cool, no problem. If you want to use a desktop, a laptop, you can even use your phone, as long as you have (access to) the internet.”
Pickup and delivery solutions need to be in the cloud, Simmons believes: “Customers place their orders online and drivers need to access their route and customer information while on the road.”
Check back Tuesday for Part 2: capabilities and customer benefits
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].