When you think of a laundromat, what is the first image that comes to mind?
In most cases, it will be the traditional self-service laundromat, where you handle washing and drying duties on your own. The self-service business model has been particularly effective in the laundromat industry, as more businesses are finding this strategy to be the most affordable, viable option today.
Take Tacoma, Washington-based Mr. Bubbles, for example. This laundromat recently upgraded all its equipment, lighting and other amenities to better serve customers, according to Laundrylux. The owner, Susie Boyd, decided that revamping an existing storefront was the better solution to create a modern, efficient self-service laundromat.
“New technologies and trends will improve self-service laundromats in 2015.”
In fact, self-service laundromat financing has become the largest niche for Eastern Funding over the years. We dedicate a substantial portion of our business to visiting laundromat owners, industry manufacturers and dealers to better tailor our products and services. In a feature article for PlanetLaundry Magazine, I explained some of the growth Eastern Funding has experienced recently, as well as what I’ve learned from working closely with customers.
How self-service laundromats are changing
The self-service laundromat industry, and the way equipment financing, lending and other financial services are procured, are changing. One example is the shift away from pen-to-paper contracts. Instead, customers are looking for eDocuments and eSignature capabilities.
Overall, laundromat owners are as intelligent as ever when it comes to financial decisions and equipment trends in the industry. More businesses are aware of the benefits of higher G-force washers, as well as hybrid payment systems. The days of dedicated coin-operated self-service laundromats are behind us – integrated card systems will become more commonplace in the future.
No matter what, though, laundromat owners must be aware of the increased costs of doing business. In order to remain solvent, it is important that owners find additional revenue streams to keep their companies afloat. Even so, the industry itself appears poised for continued growth, and the integration of social media and digital marketing will only help to keep customers coming through the doors.
Above all else, I am excited for the economic future of the laundromat industry. Given the trends established in 2014, it seems that 2015 will be a strong year. The improved economy should allow more store owners to upgrade their equipment and business development, leading to more exciting prospects on the horizon.