RIPON, Wis. — Today’s Laundromat customers are looking for more than someplace where they can do their laundry. They are looking for a clean, safe store that is equipped with modern machines and additional services and amenities to enhance their experience. However, in order to provide this complete laundry experience, store owners must lay a solid foundation with high-quality, reliable equipment.
Like all machines that undergo constant use, laundry equipment has a certain lifespan. If machines reach beyond that time frame, not only will it be more challenging to keep them to a high standard of service, it will cost more money to operate them. While the initial investment of replacing equipment may seem like a large cost up front, it can almost immediately be offset by the efficiencies and additional revenue streams that today’s advanced equipment provides.
Replacing older machines with equipment that features advanced control systems can help store owners manage their business more efficiently and can provide unprecedented levels of profitability. The advanced controls wirelessly connect laundry machines, so an owner can program, monitor and diagnose equipment from any Internet-connected device, anytime and anywhere.
If you’re a new store owner who recently acquired an existing Laundromat with outdated equipment, or you have been in the industry for many years and are considering replacing your equipment, read on to learn how reinvesting in your Laundromat can transform your business and increase your profitability.
MANAGE FROM ANYWHERE WITH REAL-TIME MONITORING
Technology is constantly changing and evolving every day, and the laundry industry is no stranger to these advancements. Through advanced control systems with wireless networking, modern washer-extractors and tumble dryers provide real-time monitoring capabilities that report on machine usage, revenue, customer trends and more. All of this information is just a click away and can also be delivered by e-mail.
Such monitoring capabilities give store owners insight into day-to-day operations, and help them make informed business decisions that will ultimately help increase their revenue. Adam Naxon, a multi-store owner in Dallas, knows firsthand the benefits replacing outdated equipment have on a business. Naxon owns two Laundromats in the greater Dallas area and plans to open a third shortly.
After purchasing his first store in 2013, he ran the business for one year before replacing the outdated machines. The new efficiencies and advanced controls made a significant impact on his business. Not only were his customers happy with the new equipment, the increased control and visibility into his operation completely changed the way Naxon could run his business.
“I was initially drawn to the Speed Queen® equipment because of the technology,” says Naxon. “With the Quantum® Gold controls and networking, I can see exactly what is going on with my machines at any time and from anywhere. It has been a huge benefit for my business.”
Naxon likes to know how his business is performing at all times. Not only does he view his store reports to track machine usage, he relies on the revenue reports to track profits. Before he replaced his equipment, Naxon would count coins by hand each week, a time-consuming and labor-intensive task.
“With my new machines, I can now see how many coins are in the equipment at any given time, so I know when it is time to empty the change boxes,” he says. “Since we replaced the equipment, our customer base has grown significantly and we can’t always wait a week to remove the coins, as the boxes can reach maximum capacity in a few days. Now, it is very easy for me to know when they are full, and we can remove the coins ahead of our weekly schedule when needed.”
LEVERAGE ADVANCED EQUIPMENT FEATURES TO BOOST PROFITS
Replacing equipment can positively impact a store owner’s bottom line by opening up new possibilities to increase profits. According to Naxon, his upgraded equipment provides many opportunities to increase cash flow — from setting new pricing models to slashing utility bills to providing a more inviting atmosphere for customers.
“Since installing the new machines, my revenue has been significantly higher and the impact was felt almost immediately,” he says. “Additionally, the word got out in the neighborhood and my business just exploded.”
Revenue can remain stagnant on older machines since water usage and cycle settings are not often customizable, which forces owners to adopt a less-efficient “one cycle fits all” approach. However, store owners can modify the amount of water used in each wash cycle on new machines, which can help reduce utility costs. This also allows owners to charge more for premium cycles that use more water.
Naxon utilizes cycle modifiers in his stores by charging extra if customers want a “heavy soil” wash or an additional wash or dry cycle. Furthermore, he utilizes multi-level pricing to boost revenue by charging more for premium hot-water cycles that have higher utility costs than lower-cost cold-water cycles. By taking advantage of advanced features such as cycle modifiers, owners can increase washer revenue by an estimated additional 4-5%.
Similarly, store owners can utilize the advanced control systems to analyze machine usage data and adjust prices to further increase revenue. Owners can make informed decisions to create time-of-day pricing: customized settings based on a store’s traffic volume. Machines can be set to charge premium prices during peak laundry hours and offer specialty lower costs to boost usage during slower periods. The advanced features on new machines also enable store owners to create a “lucky cycle” program, which encourages customers to revisit a store by rewarding a free wash or dry after a predetermined number of cycles.
“I use special time-of-day pricing for slower periods and utilize the lucky cycle pricing feature, which randomly rewards customers with a free wash or dry and helps increase customer loyalty,” says Naxon. “I can also use the lucky cycle feature to help increase traffic on some of the machines in the back of the store that don’t get used as often as those in the front.”
Check back Thursday for the conclusion: Greater efficiencies lead to reduced utilities, and manage more effectively by preventing costly repairs.