There often comes a time when small-business owners have to decide if investing in new equipment, supplies, software or furniture is worth the spend. When it comes to laundromats, upgrading washers and dryers is a smart move that can improve customer satisfaction, boost profits and save money in the long run.
Speed Queen, a washer and dryer manufacturer, states on average, top and front load washers last between five and seven years. Washer-extractors and tumble dryers last between 12 and 15 years. This is of course contingent upon wear, frequency of use and other factors, such as maintenance over time. Also, keep in mind that just because a machine is running doesn’t mean it works at maximum capacity.
Small-business owners thinking about upgrading their laundry equipment should consider the following benefits to acquiring new washers and dryers:
Customers appreciate new equipment
Reliable, sleek machinery is a huge customer draw. As Planet Laundry pointed out, appearances mean a lot to consumers, especially if they’ve never used your facility before. New washers and dryers build customer confidence that the business will deliver quality results.
In addition, the Coin Laundry Association’s 2013 Coin Laundry Industry Survey found 64 percent of consumers enjoy large-capacity machines with 40-lb, 50-lb and 75-lb load options. These larger loads can help decrease customer turnover and reduce the number of loads each person has to do.
Customers enjoy clean, safe environments
Along the same lines, a clean and fresh environment is crucial to laundromat success. Upgrading machines instantly modernizes a laundry facility and instills a greater sense of safety in users. Plus, many new models take energy efficiency into account, preventing laundry day from taking such a toll on the environment. Customers appreciate this consideration.
Just because users complete fewer loads doesn’t mean the business has to lose money. Many new washers and dryers come with automatic upcharge capabilities, which would offset the cost of the machinery.
As Russell Hylton, a laundromat owner, pointed out to Speed Queen, customizable laundry features can also add to a laundry business’s bottom line. Offering clients the choice to upgrade to higher level washes for a slight price increase can add up over time. Charging 10-20 percent more for new machines and technology is acceptable. Newer machines also have more customized cycle options, which would set your laundromat apart from competitors and save money. Hot water, which costs more, could be reserved for only certain types of loads. Cold water typically works well for everything and is a fraction of the price.
When investing in new capital for a business, you can then write off the price of equipment through depreciation. The U.S. government awards depreciation allowances for the expected deterioration of equipment necessary to a business’s functionality.
Reduced maintenance and utility costs
When an older machine routinely breaks down or requires maintenance, this not only costs money to solve, it drives clients away. No one wants to wash their clothing at an unreliable laundromat with run-down equipment.
When 67 percent of small-business owners running a laundromat claim utility costs as the most intrusive factor to building a profitable business, it’s time others paid attention. Eighty percent of laundromat owners spend 26 percent of their revenue on utilities. Preventing machines from stagnating due to maintenance issues is the key to staying in business, and upgrading washers and dryers is the first step.
Upgrading machinery could also make the financial aspect of planning an expansion or revamping a laundromat easier. Including the cost of the machines into the entire package could improve your chances of receiving financing.