Higher utility bills. More downtime. Increased maintenance and repairs. Sound familiar? Your laundry equipment may be sending you a message. If outdated machines are stealing a portion of your monthly profits, retooling your laundromat equipment might be the best option.
1. Lower your utility costs.
Jason Fleck, lead sales development manager for Alliance Laundry Systems, says buying new equipment is just a smart business decision. It gives you an edge over competitors and reduces monthly expenses.
“Today’s machines use 40-50% less water than older machines that you find in a lot of laundromats,” he says. “New equipment can help your margin big time when you’re saving on utilities.”
2. Increase your upsell potential.
Not only is new laundromat equipment more efficient, but new technology—including cycle modifiers with upsell options—make it easier to manage your store for peak machine use and compete for new customers.
Modifiers like Extra Wash and Extra Rinse offer customers flexibility to customize cycles, while giving owners a revenue-enhancing feature.
Karl Hinrichs, president of HK Landry Equipment, which serves New York and Connecticut, says, “Just like restaurants will charge more money if you want to supersize your meal, if you ‘supersize’ your wash with an extra wash or rinse, you will receive more money.”
Look for new equipment that offers time-of-day pricing, which means you can adjust prices throughout the day. Multi-level pricing is also beneficial, as it allows you to charge extra for warm or hot water to recoup those extra expenses.
3. Save on maintenance costs.
Maintaining old equipment costs time and money. “Anyone who has been in the laundry business for a while has become resourceful and handy at fixing the machines,” Hinrichs says.
The cost of purchasing replacement parts on older machines adds up, and it comes with uncertainty. Take an electromechanical timer. It’s nearly $1,000—if the part is still available.
When owners replace outdated machines, maintenance goes from hundreds of dollars to nearly zero a month initially. Most distributors also provide a generous labor warranty. Huebsch washers, for example, have a five-year warranty on parts and a 10-year warranty on seals and bearings.
Plus, newer equipment often comes with added features that allow easier equipment maintenance. Manufacturers provide controls that let you monitor commercial laundry equipment from your laptop or mobile device, so you can retrieve and analyze performance data and alerts wherever you are. Service diagnostic troubleshooting also lets you run factory tests, diagnose problems and quickly understand issues.
4. Get expert guidance.
When you retool, it’s a chance to get expert support in envisioning your store’s future. Look for someone who is established in the industry, has been in business at least 10 years and has a bricks-and-mortar location.
“You want to partner with a company that is invested in the laundry industry and has a real office and showroom, not someone working out of the trunk of their car,” Hinrichs says.
- Make sure the distributor has a good reputation.
- Talk to other laundromat owners and get the skinny on them. Do they really do what they say they will do?
- Ask for recommendations on layouts, pricing your equipment and more.
- Get a replacement analysis to see your potential savings for purchasing new equipment.
Fleck recently worked with an owner to complete a replacement analysis. The laundromat owner had 30-year-old equipment. Fleck was able to show the owner he would save $456 in utilities and $200 in maintenance, $243 in new modifier income, $2,092 in additional income by raising prices by just 25 cents and more. The owner could more than pay for the upgrade monthly, with $200 left in his pocket and a five-year warranty.
5. Increase customer satisfaction.
New machines go a long way in updating a laundromat’s look. “Customers love something new,” Hinrichs says. “If you have a bright, new, retooled and renovated laundromat, people by human nature will gravitate to the newer store.”
Consider pairing the upgrade with a facelift for your facility, as well—whether it’s adding improved lighting or giving walls a new coat of paint. It’s an affordable way to improve the total experience at your laundromat.
But beauty isn’t the only way to increase customer satisfaction. Convenience is one of the top reasons people return. With Huebsch Command®, for instance, machines can easily accept mobile payments. And, it is the only brand that has Spanish and English right on the front of the controls. “Again, it’s a simple thing, but it makes a difference in the overall customer experience,” Fleck says.
The bottom line is, when you invest in new equipment, your utility savings, overall expenses and likelihood for custom return is much improved. And when you get a new customer to return, they often become loyal customers. If every new customer is worth $500 to $1,000 in gross annual revenue, just think of the long-term potential.
Glenn Catlin took ownership of Las Lavanderia, a laundromat in South Houston, Texas, in June 2018. He soon realized he had to retool, as the 7,000-square foot facility’s outdated and broken machines cost almost $6,000 per month in utilities and water. After installing new, efficient Huebsch® washers and dryers, his utility bill was cut in half.