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Is a little payment variety a smart move for your laundromat?


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Is a little payment variety a smart move for your laundromat?

Cash is still king – it isn’t called “coin laundry” for nothing, after all – but there is something to be said for variety when it comes to payment methods.

A 2014 report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco showed that the average American consumer used cash roughly 40 percent of the time. However, the typical American also had debit cards, credit cards and mobile payments at their disposal. In fact, alternative payment methods are gaining popularity, especially as it becomes easier and safer to buy using smartphones and plastic.

With this in mind, laundromats could draw in more customers if they offer more options to consumers. For example, a machine could accept credit or quarters. This flexibility is a smart way to reward consumers without overhauling the business model.

Alternative payments catch on
While still a small percentage, laundromats across the country are looking for ways other than cash to pay for services.

“Cash is king, but alternative payments gain steam.”

The Chicago-based media outlet the Daily Herald interviewed Coin Laundry Association president Brian Wallace about the trend of non-cash payments in the industry. He pointed out that roughly 15 percent of U.S. laundromats – about 29,000 in total – offer alternative payments. These include laundry cards, machine kiosks and credit- and debit-compatible machines.

There is value in a non-cash laundromat. Wallace noted the sheer weight of coin as one example. In addition, quarters take up a lot of space, so employees have to empty machines on a regular basis. Customers carrying cash can also be risky, especially in stores that are automated and open around-the-clock.

Options improve customer loyalty
Another bonus of cash and alternative payments is customer loyalty. There are few things people love more than a choice, and having the option to pay for these services with quarters, with cards or electronically is liberating.

This was the experience of one new laundromat in Morgantown, West Virginia, according to local media outlet The Daily Athenaeum. Called “The Laundry,” the 24-hour shop offers plenty of payment options to customers, including cash, credit or mobile.

The integration of technology and laundry helps draw in more people as well. Allan Feldman, The Laundry owner, told the publication that he can run certain deals thanks to the system in place at the store.

“The thing that gets the customers going is our loyalty system,” he said to The Daily Athenaeum. “A customer comes in, they give us a phone number and a PIN, and it gives them 5 percent off. What I also usually do is give them a dollar to start out.”

Your laundry business doesn’t have to remove coins altogether, but it is worth it to consider alternative payments to add a little variety to your stores.

Financing new equipment for a laundromat