OSHKOSH, Wis. — Not all laundry improvements need be complicated or require more labor. Some involve simple changes or additions to existing vended laundry equipment. Singly or comprehensively, they’ll work to set your laundry apart and generate more income per square foot.
In the right concentrations, ozone gas almost completely eradicates bacteria, superbugs and viruses from the wash. A microbe-free wash is important anytime, not just during a global pandemic. It’s also relatively simple to integrate an ozone system with the washers you already have on the floor.
These systems work by injecting ozone gas into the cold water supply of the washer. In addition to sanitizing laundry, ozone loosens fibers and breaks down and washes away soil and stains. Moreover, ozone results in cleaner laundry and requires less hot water, which helps lower utility costs.
Ozone sanitization can be used as a marketing hook to attract and retain both self-service and full-service wash-dry-fold customers. It’s also a way to differentiate a laundry from competitive vended laundries, apartment laundries and home laundries.
Heather Valconesi, co-owner of Evans Express Laundry Center, in Evans, Colorado, attests that ozone delivers peace of mind.
“Our customers want to know that their laundry, and our machines, are sanitized,” she says. “They don’t have to worry about who used the machines before them, and the ozone leaves laundry fresh smelling, bright and clean.”
AUTOMATIC CHEMICAL INJECTION
While not all vended washers have the capability to automatically inject detergents, softeners and disinfectants, some washers do. If your washers have this capability, then consider activating this feature, especially on larger machines.
There are new chemical injection products on the market designed specifically for vended laundries that automatically dispense specially formulated detergents, brighteners, softeners and disinfectants into compatible washers. They’re intended to provide excellent, consistent cleaning results in less time.
Using automatic injection on your biggest washers means customers don’t have to lug and manually load detergents. Even better? Simultaneously provide ozone in combination with automatic chemical injection for faster cycle times and higher profits.
Pearl Laundromat, in San Diego County, California, recently added automatic chemical injection to a 90-pound washer for great results. Ever since, it’s turned 8 to 10 times per day during the week and 12-plus times per day on weekends, according to owner Mark Mariani.
UPGRADE WASHER CONTROLS
Finally, give customers more options and control over how they wash their laundry. There are two ways to do this: invest in new washers with controls offering extra wash options, or upgrade existing washer controls so they feature these “extras.”
Customers will appreciate customizing the wash process to better fit their needs, and as an owner, you’ll make more money on every vend.
For example, Continental offers a control for vended washers that offers four primary cycle options: “Superwash,” an extra-long cycle for heavy soil; “Hot,” for whites; “Warm” for colorfast and permanent press items; and “Cold” for colors. It also allows customers to add an extra wash, rinse and/or spin. Each time customers choose an “extra,” the vend price goes up — contributing to increased revenue.
Phil Irwin, owner of Waters Express Laundry Center, in Tampa, Florida, maintains that customers enjoy these options.
“(The) ProfitPlus® (Control) has been a benefit for us,” he says. “Anytime you can offer customers more choices and options, it sets you apart from the competition. The control is absolutely impacting our bottom line. Customers select an ‘extra’ 28% of the time, and with each selection, pay an additional 50 cents.”
At the end of the day, owners don’t have to make gigantic changes to realize the advantages. Start out with baby steps by outfitting one washer with automatic chemical injection, a new control and/or ozone. After a few months, analyze the impact of those changes on that machine’s daily turns and revenue. Then, assess whether it makes sense to expand to an aisle of washers or an entire store.