Increase Your Profits: Looking Beyond Wash and Dry
Your laundry is not just a space filled with washers and dryers; it is a prime piece of income-producing real estate, and you need to start looking at your store like a true retailer.
Take a grocery store for example. Every square foot in that store is valuable, and they attempt to utilize that space to sell as many products at the highest profit margins they can. It’s both an art and a science; one that you can learn from.
One of the best ways for a laundromat to increase income is to add new services or products. Depending on the layout and size of your store, you may be able to implement more than one of them.
If you have the right space in your store, an ATM can be a solid source of income. Some laundry owners claim that they make hundreds of dollars per month. You purchase or lease the ATM machine, connect it to a phone line or internet connection and sign a contract with an ATM processor. You keep the ATM regularly stocked with cash, and keep 100% of the surcharge (usually anywhere from $2 to $3 per transaction).
With enough use, those transactions can really add up. The funds are usually deposited to your bank account every 24 hours.
You can often find deeply discounted used ATMs to lower your upfront costs.
Also, owners need to keep security in mind as well. Unattended stores may want to think twice unless they can get an alarmed, in-the-wall unit, that is plainly visible from the outside.
This is another option that can do really well, in the right store. People love to snack, especially when they’re bored or have unruly children, so providing a vending machine of snacks and/or drinks can be a money-maker. The profit margins on these items are high.
The downside? You must keep it stocked, being sure to remove items that have expired. You’ll take a loss on any food or drinks that you weren’t able to sell. Some owners find that even a simple gumball/candy machine does well, and there are no worries around expiration.
Also keep in mind that you’ll need to handle any refunds for the occasion when a snack/drink gets stuck, so have a process in place.
If your store has plenty of room, consider purchasing or leasing an arcade game. This can be a welcome distraction for parents who have children in tow, and you’ll make some money along the way.
The downside is that they can also be a magnet for rowdy teenagers, so just keep that in mind when selecting the games you install. We recommend sticking with kid-friendly games like Pac-Man and not Mortal Kombat.
Don’t forget…it’s also one more “machine” in your store that may require an occasional refund.
Also known as wash-dry-fold or fluff-and-fold service. Middle-class and upper-class neighborhoods are especially likely to take advantage of full-service laundry.
However, it does require additional staff, equipment and space in your store. As a start, you’ll need at least a hanging scale, hangers, bags, tags and a way to process payments.
Rates are usually by the pound, and range anywhere from $1.00 to even $2.00 per pound in more expensive urban areas. You can offer pickup/dropoff service for additional fees as well.
Some owners even outsource their wash-dry-fold service to someone else. That person pays you a set monthly fee to operate out of your store, plus you get the benefit of them using your laundromat to operate their business. Be aware though that some landlords may consider that sub-letting, and it may be in violation of your lease.
Now that we’ve given you several additional ways to build income in your laundry, take a fresh look at your store. Consider something beyond the typical wash and dry, and you may find a very profitable side income stream. Weigh the pros and cons, think about your customer demographic, and decide what may work best in your store.
About Laura Dobbins
Laura is the founder and co-creator of Laundromats101.com, and owner of two laundromats in the Sacramento area. She’s a math geek (Calculus III was a breeze), and currently works as an Analytics Manager in the Healthcare Finance sector. When she’s not busy analyzing something, she loves cooking French food and blogging.
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