The laundromat industry ain’t what it used to be. Revenues have been declining for the past decade, thanks to shrinking demand and rising utility costs. However, an increase in the number of renters should help to slow this trend through 2017, according to forecasts by market researcher IBIS World.
A strategically placed, well-run laundromat can still be a profitable enterprise — and mobile payment technology can help make it even more lucrative. Here are six ways that processing payments via smartphone offers advantages to laundromat operators, particularly those who work (or have staff) on the premises:
1. Making change — Let customers swipe a credit or debit card on your mobile phone in exchange for $10 rolls of quarters. You could even “recycle” spent quarters from your washers and dryers and avoid having to install or maintain change machines on the premises.
2. Selling supplies — Invariably, some customers will want to buy detergent, fabric softener, bleach, and other supplies. Instead of stocking (and making change available for) vending machines, accept mobile payments. You could sell a wider range of products, too.
3. Selling refreshments — As long as you’re selling supplies, you could buy an assortment of prepackaged snacks and drinks to sell at a profit. Customers may be more likely to buy refreshments if they can swipe a credit or debit card instead of using more quarters.
4. Offering laundry services — Thinking of expanding your self-serve operation to include laundry services (washing, drying, starching, ironing, and pressing clothes)? You wouldn’t have to set up a cash register to accept mobile payments; your smartphone is all you need.
5. Offering curbside service — Who wants to carry all that heavy laundry out the car? When a customer arrives to pick up laundered or pressed clothing, you could bring the garments to the vehicle and process a credit or debit card payment on the spot.
6. Offering delivery services — Why make customers come to you at all? You could start a pick up and delivery service. Charge customers a fee for the convenience (and to cover your expenses), and accept their payments via smartphone when you arrive at their homes or offices.