If you haven’t visited a new (or newly refurbished) laundromat of late, you might be surprised at the advances, resources, and management attitudes that are beginning to drive an industry that has changed little over the last forty years. With more efficient machines, Internet access, and a new focus on customer satisfaction, laundromats are becoming increasingly automated, resulting in less overhead and more profit. Let’s explore the recent trends in the laundry industry . . .
Trends in the Laundry Industry
Thankfully, the days of quarters and change machines (a favorite target of thieves and vandals) are coming to an end. The traditional public view of laundromats as the run-down hangout for shady characters has changed. This is due in part to the trend of coinless machines that provide no temptations for the desperate character looking to score an easy bag of quarters with nothing more sophisticated than a small crowbar. The switch to cashless machines has done more to discourage theft than video monitoring ever did. A coinless system is an important part of a more user-friendly environment. Automation that allows charges to debit and credit cards is far more convenient to customers than sifting through a jar of change for quarters.
Automation and Remote Management
Technical advances are bringing more investors to the laundromat industry. Investors and owners are interested in maximizing returns through fewer management obligations. As manufacturers introduce machines with more automation, owners and employees can spend less time on site and more time overseeing things remotely. The “Internet of Things” is growing into an advantage that allows overseeing transaction and price operations from any connected device. Kiosks allow customers to add value to cards and loyalty accounts without the need for an attendant. The money saved in employee wages can be reinvested elsewhere. Today’s automated payment systems can even allow for frequent adjustment of prices, for instance charging a few pennies more at peak times instead of manually changing each machine to require additional quarters.
Atmosphere and Amenities
More laundromat owners are focusing on optimizing profits, not by filling all the available space with machines, but by providing customer amenities in the hopes of drawing more customers. One of the major trends in the laundry industry is transforming the often crowded, impersonal, and dimly lighted laundromat into a stylish and comfortable facility with an array of features that improve the customer experience. A few plastic chairs and old magazines don’t cut it anymore. Large-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, modern vending machines, stylish décor, and comfortable seating make doing laundry a more pleasant experience. Technical amenities and cleaner, safer, and more pleasant surroundings have transformed laundry from an uncomfortable chore to an engaging social activity.
The newer generations of laundry machines utilize modern technology for more efficient water and electricity usage. High efficiency machines translate into lower utility bills from power companies and city water and sewage. In addition, many business owners are implementing structured maintenance routines to minimize costly leaks and breakdowns. “Out-of-order” machines that reduce profits and discourage customers are becoming a thing of the past.
Technological improvements and trends in the the laundry industry have not only reduced operating costs, but they have also provided an environment that’s easier on owners and customers alike. As laundromats join the digital age, more owners are viewing their enterprises not as basic, essential services, but as businesses that can thrive in promoting a better customer experience.
Finally, if you’re on the hunt for a reliable distributor, be sure to check out Laundry Solutions Company, 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 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!