What’s the most common technology-related innovation that laundromats rely on to boost business? It’s not a new kind of washer or dryer. Believe it or not, it’s Wi-Fi. But is operating a laundromat with Wi-Fi worth it?
Is It Worth It to Offer a Laundromat with Wi-Fi?
Offering Wi-Fi is becoming more and more common at laundromats. A recent survey of business owners by Bredin Research concluded that Wi-Fi access brought in more customers. Over half of those surveyed also stated that they believed Wi-Fi access was responsible for repeat business. If you’re trying to build a customer base and keep them happy, Wi-Fi may be the investment you need to make.
At the same time, is it really worth the hassle and expense to operate a laundromat with Wi-Fi? It depends on your situation, but many laundromat owners would say yes.
Wi-Fi Is a Customer Convenience That Keeps You Competitive
If you’re an experienced laundromat owner, you might find the idea of offering your customers Wi-Fi access odd. After all, they came to your business to do their laundry. Why would you provide a service that encourages them to hang out on their computers instead?
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. Say you’re a college student working on a paper, or a work-from-home employee on deadline for a project. If you had to get your laundry done at the same time, would you go to a laundromat without Wi-Fi, even if it was the more convenient option? Probably not. People have time to kill while they do laundry, and offering them Wi-Fi is a way to make sure they know they can use that time how they want to while they do business with you. That’s why Wi-Fi is becoming an expectation for laundromats, not an exception. Failing to offer it might cost you business in the long run.
Managing a Wi-Fi Network Is Easier Than You Think
Sure, Wi-Fi is great for your customers, but what about the burden it puts on you as a business owner? People might take advantage of the offering and linger in your laundromat to do their business on your dime. They might even download pornography or illegal materials, leaving you potentially responsible. Even if those things don’t happen, what if you just don’t know how to manage a Wi-Fi network?
Fear not! As free Wi-Fi has become the standard, the technology around offering Wi-Fi to customers has also improved. Using tools like captive portals, internet site filters, and even time-limiting software is easy and affordable. Many internet service providers offer Wi-Fi packages specifically for businesses, and will walk you through the tools and technology you need free of charge.
To Free or Not to Free?
If you do decide to offer Wi-Fi, you may not want to offer it for free. However, did you know that most businesses that offer free Wi-Fi see increased sales after they implement it? In fact, 75 percent of businesses surveyed report that free Wi-Fi is important to their overall success. Charging for Wi-Fi access is becoming a thing of the past, and lots of business owners are embracing the new normal. Figuring out a pay portal can be a hassle for business owners and customers alike, and if the laundromat down the street offers it for free, you’ll be fighting a losing battle.
That said, there are some situations where charging for Wi-Fi might make sense. For example, if you have limited seating space that is constantly being taken up by internet moochers, a pay portal could make that option less appealing. However, it will add to the work you have to do to manage the network, and also make using the internet less appealing to your paying customers. If you use tools like time-limiting software and web filters instead, you’ll make your own life easier and your customers much happier.
Yes, running a laundromat with Wi-Fi requires an upfront investment of time and money, and if it is not in your budget, it will not be worth it. However, if it’s an investment you can make, you may find that it pays off.
Be sure to check out Laundry Solutions Company, a full-service provider of premium vended, on-premises, and multi-housing commercial laundry equipment. Since 1976, we have been providing exceptional sales support, laundry design services, commercial laundry equipment (and leasing options), and laundry equipment service and parts. To learn more about our products and services, please give us a call at 800-383-9274 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!