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Time for a Change: Moving Away from Quarters

Paul Partyka |

NEW ORLEANS — For years, quarters and self-service laundry owners were the perfect pair. However, have you ever considered that coins might be a nuisance for both customers and coin laundry owners in our increasingly cashless society?Bob Eisenberg, president of Qualclean Equipment, Blue Bell, Pa., challenged operators to take a new look at the relationship between quarters and laundries at a weekend Clean Show educational session.If you need some convincing to make the change, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your bank penalize you for bringing coins in to count?
  • How many quarters do your customers need to start a big machine?
  • How many quarters are trapped in your changer?
  • How do you run specials or sales?
  • Are price changes affected because you’re restricted to quarter hikes?
  • Do you trust others to collect when you’re away?

The good news is that if you want to make a change, several possibilities exist, as long as you’re willing to put in the effort, Eisenberg said. Operators can utilize debit cards, smart cards, or even credit card acceptors on individual machines.They do require some work, though. “It only works when you believe it will work,” Eisenberg said.The work an operator puts in can yield some impressive benefits, however. These include knowing your store’s cash on hand immediately and reducing collection time. Card systems also allow you to run equipment specials and other promotions to better manage customer flow and maintain customer loyalty. The ability to increase prices in one-cent increments also shouldn’t be underrated, Eisenberg explained.One of the most important aspects of cashless systems is increased marketing potential, thanks to the ability to track customers more effectively, Eisenberg said. “The more you know, the more equipped you are to run your business better — and perhaps more profitably.”Eisenberg spent some time discussing the differences between debit cards and smart cards, and the advantages of each. It all comes down to what’s best for an individual store though. “Decide what is best for your market.” 

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.

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