In a perfect world your washing machines never stop running. The entrance to your laundromat is a revolving door and your customers are not only satisfied, but loyal and eager to return. That's the dream of every laundromat owner, But let's face reality: running a laundromat isn’t always that easy. Owners juggle many challenging variables—fluctuating utility bills, equipment maintenance, customer service issues, and the ever-present competition threatening your foothold in the local market.
Increasing revenue seems like an obvious priority for any laundromat. But it goes deeper than meeting your bottom line; it's about securing the future of your business, expanding your offerings, and setting yourself up to provide top-notch service to your community for many years to come. More profitable revenue directly supports your opportunity to do just that.
In this blog post, we'll cover the most effective strategies behind profitable laundromats. This includes how to attract new customers, ways to enhance the overall customer experience, and some little-known tips to keep those machines running at optimal levels. So whether you're a laundromat pro or just starting out, here are some of the most tried and true ways to boost revenue.
Why increasing revenue matters
Laundromats represent a unique business prospect at the crossroads of generating self-sustaining revenue and meeting an essential community need. One of the critical challenges of a small business, like laundromats, is figuring out how to increase revenue in small business setups without compromising on customer expectations.
Of course increasing revenue matters—this is true for just about any business model —but how deep does this run in the laundromat industry? Let’s break it down:
Direct impact on sustainability and growth
A robust revenue stream is the lifeblood of any business, and laundromats are no exception. Here's why:
- Stability in turbulent times: Whether it's an unexpected spike in utility rates, unforeseen repairs, or an economic downturn, having consistent and growing revenue gives your business a buffer against uncertainties. This cushion allows for better planning and smoother operations, solidifying your laundromat’s place in the community.
- Reinvestment opportunities: More revenue paves the way for reinvestment opportunities and continuous improvements. That may be state-of-the-art machines with faster cycles, eco-friendly technologies that appeal to the environmentally conscious, or even just a more inviting lounge area with free wifi for guests to enjoy while they wait for their laundry to finish. All these minor upgrades go a long way in bringing more revenue to your business.
- Expansion and diversification: You may be satisfied with the way your business is today. But perhaps you picture yourself opening a second location in the future. Or perhaps diversifying into a related business like a café, restaurant and bar, or nightclub (yes, you read that right) within the laundromat? These aspirations need capital, which a growth-minded revenue strategy can provide.
Profitability: Beyond just cost-cutting
It's a common misconception that profitability hinges primarily on cutting costs. While cost-efficiency is an important consideration, relying solely on this approach can lead to diminishing returns and even negatively impact the quality of service.
Increasing revenue, on the other hand, offers a more scalable solution. Consider this:
- Limitations of cost-cutting: There's only so much you can trim before hitting a wall. Reducing expenses might affect the quality of detergents or maintenance schedules, which in turn could deter loyal customers from returning.
- Growing the pie: Focusing on revenue growth means looking for ways to increase your customer base, upsell additional services, or even extend your operational hours. It's about creating a bigger pie rather than just trying to save a piece of the existing one.
- Innovative opportunities: When you're in growth mode, you're more likely to think creatively. From loyalty programs to partnerships with local businesses for combined offers, the sky's the limit when you're thinking about expanding revenue streams.
How to increase laundromat revenue
To increase laundromat revenue, diversify services like wash-and-fold and dry cleaning, and optimize machine use with modern systems. Strengthen local SEO via website and Google My Business optimization, and retain customers through loyalty programs. Add ancillary revenue sources like vending machines to maximize earnings. By combining operational efficiency with digital marketing tactics, you can effectively increase footfall, average transaction value, and customer retention, thereby boosting overall revenue.
Here are some strategies you can implement tomorrow and others that you can shoot for as a longer-term goal. Some of the tried and true methods of increasing laundromat revenue include:
Increasing foot traffic
This one is a no-brainer. But are you sure you’re checking all the boxes to maximize foot traffic? Before redesigning your whole business plan by adding a micro library or a parisian pastry shop to your laundromat, make sure you’ve picked the low-hanging fruit first.
- Location visibility: Make sure your laundromat is easily seen from the road. Bright signage, well-lit interiors, a clean and maintained exterior, and clear directions will allow you to stand out and draw people in.
- Community events: Host free community-based events, like a 'Wash & Learn' where locals can attend a short workshop or lecture while waiting for their laundry. This shows that you care about your customers and want to create an immersive, welcoming environment.
- Local collaborations: Partner with nearby businesses, like cafés or bookstores, for mutual promotions. A coffee discount for customers waiting for their laundry or a free wash coupon for those buying books can be a win-win and foster camaraderie in your local economy.
Offering promotions and discounts
Your customers love a good deal—who doesn’t? Special offers can attract new customers but can also reward and retain the loyal ones.
- Loyalty programs: Introduce a loyalty card where, for instance, the 10th wash is free. This encourages repeat business and fosters a sense of belonging among customers.
- Happy hours: Consider off-peak discounts. Offering reduced rates during traditionally quieter times can balance out the customer flow throughout the day.
- Referral discounts: Reward customers who bring in friends or family. Word-of-mouth is still one of the most potent marketing tools available.
Adding additional services
Diversifying your services can cater to a broader audience and fulfill more of your existing customers' needs. While these improvements can’t be made overnight, they’re smart things to shoot for in the future, further bolstering your revenue strategy
- Dry cleaning: A significant leap, but offering dry cleaning can tap into a more premium market and provides a one-stop solution for customers.
- Pressing and ironing: Many people dislike or don't have the time for ironing. Offering this service can be a massive relief for these customers and an additional revenue stream for you.
- Pick-up and delivery: Convenience is king. Providing a service where you pick up dirty laundry and deliver it clean and folded can launch you into a whole new category, especially for those customers who are particularly strapped for time.
Leveraging technology to boost revenue
Even the most traditional brick-and-mortar businesses like laundromats must adapt to the wave of technology sweeping consumer-service industries. Laundromat technology can make your business processes simpler, saving you time, as well as make your customer experience better and amplify laundromat revenue. That’s a win-win-win! Here are some high-impact technology upgrades you should consider, and why they’re so important for a growth-minded laundromat owner.
In today's world, expecting customers to carry coins is a stretch. Payment methods have evolved, and your laundromat should follow suit. Contactless payment systems like Cents Connect meet the modern needs of your laundromat customers.
- Convenience personified: Think of the busy parent, the student rushing to class, or the executive with back-to-back meetings. For them, the luxury of tapping their card or phone for a swift payment isn't just a convenience; it's a necessity.
- Health and hygiene: The recent pandemic has heightened the need for contactless interactions. By offering this, you're not just modernizing; you're assuring customers of a sanitized transaction experience.
Inventory management systems
From detergents to fabric softeners, the importance of efficiently managing your inventory cannot be overstated. Ensuring you're adequately stocked not only prevents operational hiccups but also guarantees that customers have a seamless experience every time they visit. That said, accurately tracking can be intricate and time-consuming, so bringing in technology can make all the difference. Tools like Cents OS handles the most important aspects of operating your business with features such as:
- Real-time monitoring: Ever faced the chaotic embarrassment of running out of essential supplies? Advanced inventory systems alert you in real-time, allowing you to replenish stock before it runs out.
- Data-driven purchasing: Identify usage patterns, forecast demand, and optimize purchasing. Say goodbye to dead stock and hello to efficient inventory turnover.
Mobile apps for customer engagement
The dedicated mobile app is like having a direct conversation channel with your customers. This allows you to personalize your customer experience and deliver unparalleled convenience.
- Engagement galore: Push notifications about discounts, loyalty rewards, or even fun facts about8 laundry can keep your brand top-of-mind.
- Personalized experience: Tailored recommendations based on a customer’s previous usage, gamified loyalty programs, and easy issue redressal can elevate the user experience.
Role of design in customer experience
First impressions matter immensely, so the design and aesthetics of your laundromat play a pivotal role in defining a customer's experience. Beyond just delivering clean clothes, the ambiance, atmosphere, and overall presentation can be the deciding factor for many on whether they'll return or recommend your business to others.
The essence of cleanliness
A clean environment is fundamental for any business, but for a laundromat, it's the very essence of your brand. Customers trust you with their personal items, and a spick-and-span establishment not only instills faith in your service but also creates a pleasant atmosphere for those waiting. This includes:
- Spotless machines: Regularly maintained and cleaned machines indicate care and professionalism, ensuring customers their clothes are in safe hands.
- Staying tidy: A clutter-free counter, organized waiting areas, and well-kept restroom facilities elevate the overall customer experience.
The psychology of colors
Color is not just about aesthetics; it's a silent yet potent communicator. The shades you choose can evoke emotions, set moods, and influence decisions. This is directly tied to your overall customer experience, and in turn, your revenue potential.
- Blues: Often associated with trust and reliability. It's calming and can be ideal for creating a serene environment.
- Greens: Evokes feelings of freshness and cleanliness. It can also be associated with environmental friendliness.
- Yellows and Oranges: These are energizing colors that can uplift moods, especially beneficial during gloomy days.
Lighting is important
Lighting is more than just visibility; it sets the ambiance and can dramatically affect perceptions of space. Make sure the lighting is bright, yet calming and welcoming, can elevate the experience of your customers and create a positive association with your establishment.
- Natural Light: It's invigorating and creates a welcoming ambiance. Large windows or skylights can make the space feel larger and more open.
- Ambient Lighting: Soft lighting during evenings can provide a cozy and warm atmosphere, making wait times feel more pleasant.
- Task Lighting: Brighter lights over folding tables or reading corners ensure functionality without compromising on comfort.
Mastering the layout
The layout of your laundromat should seamlessly guide your customers through their laundry journey, from washing to drying to folding. Your customers are there to cross a chore off their checklist; do everything you can to make it as easy and mindless as possible for them. Major things to consider include:
- Flow and traffic: Machines should be placed to allow smooth traffic flow and avoid bottlenecks, especially during peak hours.
- Functionality zones: Designate areas for different activities. For instance, a quiet corner with comfortable seating for those looking to work or read, and a play area for kids can cater to different customer needs.
- Space optimization: Ensure ample space around machines for loading and unloading, and enough folding counters to prevent crowding.
Marketing and branding
Just about every laundry business owner finds themself faced with the question of how to make a laundromat more profitable. As a business model intrinsically tied to a brick and mortar format, it may feel natural to lean on more traditional methods for driving growth. But today, the age of digitization has thrust even the most historic industries into modernization. Using digital marketing and modern branding techniques in your laundry business can be the secret ingredient to unlocking a whole new world of revenue opportunities.
Importance of a strong brand identity
A laundromat brand is more than just a logo or a catchy tagline; it's the sum of all experiences a customer has with your establishment.
- Consistency is key: From the color palette of your interiors to the design of your website, maintaining a consistent image creates a memorable and trustworthy brand, reinforcing the relationship you have with your customers.
- Voice and values: Your brand voice communicates your values. Whether you prioritize sustainability, community involvement, or technological advancements, this should be echoed in all your messaging.
- Differentiating factor: In a market saturated with options, your brand identity can be the very thing that sets you apart, making you the preferred choice.
Social Media marketing
In a world dominated by digital interactions, your social media presence becomes your storefront.
- Engaging content: Share behind-the-scenes looks, customer testimonials, or laundry tips. Content that adds value or entertains will likely be shared, increasing your reach.
- Promotions and interactions: Use platforms like Instagram or Facebook for promotional offers, loyalty rewards, or even weekly contests. Engaging with comments and feedback builds community and trust and humanizes your brand.
- Visual appeal: Utilize high-quality images and videos, showcasing clean clothes, happy customers, or state-of-the-art machines. This not only promotes your services but also emphasizes the quality and care you provide.
Google My Business and local SEO
Local customers are your primary audience, and being easily discoverable when they search online is a non-negotiable. Here’s 3 steps to improve your laundromat Google listing:
- Claim and optimize: Confirm you've claimed your Google My Business listing. Regularly update your operating hours, contact information, and photos. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews.
- Consider your keywords: Think about what potential customers might type into Google when looking for a laundromat. "Best laundromat near me" or "eco-friendly laundry in [city name]" are potential phrases. Incorporate these naturally into your website content for better search rankings. If you want to bump it up a notch you can even invest in an SEO tool.
- Find local listings and directories: Beyond Google, ensure you're listed on local directories and review sites. The more places you’re listed, the more visibility you gain!
Launching a comprehensive marketing strategy for your laundromat is a tall task and may seem daunting. Things like this are smart to outsource so you can focus on your bread and butter. Tools like Cents Accelerate take the burden of troubleshooting effective digital marketing with a full suite of professional services designed to attract, impress, and retain customers.
Maximize profits with revenue tracking and KPIs
When it comes to bolstering your laundromat's revenue, operating on intuition or gut feelings just won't cut it. The world of business thrives on data, and this extends to the laundromat industry. Efficiently harnessing this data through key performance indicators (KPIs) and leveraging the right tools can transform your establishment from a traditional coin-op shop to a revenue-generating powerhouse.
Critical purpose of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
KPIs are like the pulse check of your business. They not only indicate the health of your laundromat but also spotlight areas needing improvement. Here are some key metrics you should be tracking:
- Customer frequency: How often do customers return? A rising frequency can indicate satisfaction, while a drop might signal a problem in service or equipment.
- Average Transaction Value: Understanding the average spend per customer visit can help tailor promotions or introduce premium services to boost this value.
- Operational efficiency: Track metrics like machine downtime, maintenance costs, and utility bills. Efficient operations often translate to improved margins.
- Customer feedback and reviews: Positive reviews can act as a testament to your service quality, while consistent negative feedback on a particular aspect demands immediate attention.
Tools and software: The ultimate performance enhancer
In an age of technology, manual tracking is not just tedious; it's inefficient. Investing in the right tools can streamline the tracking process, save you time, and provide real-time, ultra-precise insights.
- Point of Sale (POS) systems: Modern POS systems do more than just handle transactions. They can track sales data, identify purchasing trends, and even manage loyalty programs. Having this intimate look into your revenue gives you a brand new power to capitalize on the things that work and overhaul the things that are holding you back.
- Inventory management software: For laundromats that offer ancillary products or services, managing inventory efficiently ensures you're neither overstocked nor run out of essentials. This allows you to control costs and consistently meet customer expectations.
- Energy management systems: Given the high energy consumption of laundromats, monitoring and optimizing energy use can lead to significant cost savings and an increase in your profit margin.
- Customer feedback platforms: Digital platforms, where customers can leave feedback or rate their experience, can provide valuable insights. In fact, nothing is quite as impactful as the qualitative feedback directly from your customers. Acting on this feedback not only enhances the customer experience but also boosts loyalty.
Begin your revenue journey
Laundromats find themselves at the rare intersection of timeless and ever-adaptive. Their role as community cornerstones makes them particularly essential, and their potential for growth is evident in their adaptability to trends and technologies. From the heart of its operations, which depends on a strong, reliable revenue stream, to the outer layers of technological integration and branding, the importance of increasing revenue for laundromats is multifaceted.
By balancing the traditional methods with innovative, modern strategies, laundromat owners can strengthen the sustainability of their businesses while paving the way for future expansions and diversifications. In a nutshell, while cost-cutting measures have their merits, embracing growth through revenue generation offers laundromats the chance to thrive in both the present and the future.
As the industry moves forward, the most successful laundromats will be those that continuously seek ways to enhance their services, adopt the latest technologies, and connect meaningfully with their communities.
Questions you may consider
How can I attract more customers to my laundromat?
Attracting more customers involves a mix of traditional methods and innovative strategies. Some effective ways include location visibility, community events, local collaborations, promotions and discounts, social media marketing, Google My Business and local SEO.
What types of technology can help increase my laundromat revenue?
Leveraging laundromat technology can significantly boost your revenue and streamline operations. Modern tools like contactless payments, inventory management systems, mobile apps, and integrated booking systems can take your laundromat to the next level.
How do I calculate the profitability of my laundromat?
Profitability is determined by subtracting your total expenses from your total revenue. Here's a basic step-by-step:
- Determine total revenue: Calculate the total amount of money earned from all services, including washing, drying, dry cleaning, etc., over a specific period.
- Calculate total expenses: Sum up all costs associated with running the laundromat. This includes rent, utilities, salaries, maintenance, supplies, and any other operational costs.
- Subtract expenses from revenue: Deduct the total expenses from the total revenue to get your net profit.
- Calculate profit margin: For a more detailed insight, calculate the profit margin by dividing the net profit by the total revenue and multiplying by 100. This will give you the percentage of your revenue that represents profit.