Even though a load of laundry only costs a laundromat customer a couple of dollars, an average laundromat can generate up to $500 a day in vending revenue. That’s a lot of small transactions! What laundromat payment systems are being used to manage those transactions, and which one is right for you?
Laundromat Payment Systems
If you’ve ever lived in an apartment building or a dorm, you remember setting quarters aside for laundry day. However, laundromat payment systems have come a long way since the days of coin-only washers and dryers. There are lots of variations, but there are three basic types: coin-only, cashless, and a coin/cashless hybrid.
Let’s start with a classic. Coin-operated machines were the standard for a long time, and there’s a reason they’ve endured. Most customers expect coin-operated machines and will come to the laundromat prepared to use them. They’re also very easy to use, which helps cut down on customer confusion and staff time spent assisting them. Coin systems are also cheaper because they are the industry standard for washers and dryers, and they don’t require any special upgrades or additional investments.
While coin-operated machines are a great solution for many laundromats, there are some drawbacks. The coin box is a temptation for thieves, who might damage equipment trying to pry it open. Also, as we increasingly move into a cashless world, some people simply don’t carry change! Customers who do expect a cashless option will be disappointed, and may go elsewhere to do their laundry. Finally, coin-operated machines require some additional effort to track expenses and revenue that other systems do not, as you will need to count coins after removing them from the machines.
While coin is king, cashless options are becoming more common as laundromat payment systems evolve. This system sometimes involves a kiosk that allows a customer to add laundry money to a payment card. Another option is to simply add credit card swipers directly to the machines, or to accept mobile payments. There are a lot of positives for laundromats that can embrace this system. While many laundromat customers do use cash, there’s a growing population that does not, and they may actually prefer your laundromat if they don’t have to worry about rounding up quarters to get their laundry done! This system also simplifies tracking transactions and prevents the theft that plagues coin-operated machines. If you wish to use a payment card for your cashless machines, you may want to explore adding customer rewards to the cards as well, like free loads of laundry or free machine upgrades. This can be a huge draw for cost-conscious consumers!
All that said, there are a few drawbacks to cashless systems as well. While cashless payment systems have come a long way, they still require a bit more effort. There will likely be an additional cost to install them and to train your staff to use the system. You may need to learn how to use new software, or change how your accounting works in order to accommodate the system. Finally, while these machines are not too complicated for the average customer, people who are not comfortable with technology will require additional assistance.
Why not offer your customers the best of both worlds? The hybrid model is exactly what it sounds like. Machines can be updated to accept both credit cards and coins. Laundromats also use loyalty cards that can be loaded from kiosks that accept coins, credit cards, and cash.
Hybrid systems offer a lot of advantages. Any customer can use them, and they allow for the option of a loyalty program that can be used by all customers, whether they prefer to pay by card or cash. However, it’s important to note that many of the disadvantages listed above for the individual systems do apply to the hybrid system. You will need to install new equipment, retrain staff, and potentially modify your accounting system to allow for both options.
Ultimately, you are the expert on your laundromat. Which laundromat payment system works the best? Whichever one works for you!
If you own a laundromat or are planning to purchase one soon, check out Laundry Solutions Company‘s products and services. We’re a full-service provider of premium vended, on-premises, and multi-housing commercial laundry equipment. Our leasing program provides no mileage fees, no service fees, and no parts fees. You will be able to use high-quality Speed Queen equipment while enjoying a flexible lease and predictable payments. To learn more, please give us a call at 800-383-9274 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!