How to attract and keep customers in your laundromat

April 9, 2019

When considering the best way to approach gaining new customers and getting your current customers to come back into your laundromat, it’s important to consider a few important aspects of your business and how appealing these are. Some of these decisions can really impact your success and should be duly considered even before you decide to open your laundromat, to ensure the best possible result and a great return on your investment.

What makes a laundromat attractive to customers?

1. Location & Signage
When people search for ‘laundromats near me’ online they will usually select a business in that local area, something familiar to them that they have seen when driving past or walking by. This is why visibility with good signage is very important for a laundromat. Being seen from the road or footpath means that any ‘foot traffic’ from the area will be able to easily identify your store and its services.

Knowing the demographics of the local area is a crucial factor. Families or couples living in single family houses in wealthy areas are more likely to own their own washing machine. Traditionally, the customers who used laundromats were those people who do not have a washing machine or dryer. These included students who lived in the area for a short time, renters, people in low income brackets, and tourists.

Nowadays, users of laundromats also include apartment dwellers. Homes in Australia are becoming smaller and an unprecedented number are now living in apartments. Even customers who have their own washing machine at home are now using laundromats because the machines can handle bigger loads and they can utilise their time by shopping or enjoying other facilities the modern laundromat now offers. (see ‘Facilities’ below)

2. Parking
Since people usually bring their washing loads in their car, parking is also a key factor. Washing loads can be heavy so naturally people don’t want to have to carry it far. Therefore, free car parking nearby and on the same side of the road is also a key factor when selecting which laundromat customers are going to use.

Traffic is another consideration. People like convenience so some people would prefer to travel a little further to another laundromat than sit in a lot of traffic to go to a closer one.

3. Accessibility
When carrying loads of washing, customers do not want to negotiate stairs or trying to squeeze through narrow doorways. People want to be able to walk in straight off the street. Wide doorways also ensure you can get equipment in and out more easily.

4. Choice of payment methods
The modern laundromat needs to provide a cashless option for paying payment. While there is still merit in having coin machines as an option, the move towards a cashless society means that more and more customers are expecting to be able to use their credit card or an online payment method to transact.

It is best practice to offer both options to ensure you are catering to all customers, giving them more flexibility and greater choice. However, there are a few great advantages to a cashless system.

A cashless system will allow you as an owner to avoid having to collect coins or have issues with vandalism to access the coin box. Going cashless also allows you to collect important operational data from your laundromat and better service customers should an issue occur with payment.

5. Automatic detergent dispenser
Automated dispensing has advantages for both the customers and owners of laundromats. For customers, they no longer have to worry about bringing their own, nor do they have to try and calculate how much detergent to use. The machine measures the correct amount depending on the wash cycle selected.

For owners, having the machine dispensing the correct amount of chemicals released will help to lengthen the life of the machine as too much detergent increases wear and tear on the washing machine’s pump and motor.

Too much washing powder leaves excess residue in the machine. This means loads do not drain properly, which results in wetter clothes. It can also leave stains or residue on clothes and lead to an unpleasant odour in the machine

6. Machines
As a customer, there is nothing worse than having to wait for a machine to finish its cycle so you can use it. The best laundromats have 10 or more washers and a mix of small medium and large capacities. The small washers are perfect for single loads, whilst the medium and large washers will be used for doonas and large blankets.

7. Opening hours
Whether you have 24/7 standard or long opening operating hours will also depend on the demographics and the location of your laundromat. Shift workers may prefer early opening hours, while closing late in the evening may be suitable for parents working full time.

8. Cleanliness
Cleanliness is a major factor when people are selecting a laundromat to use. Unpleasant odours are associated with a lack of hygiene and poor maintenance. Nobody wants to walk into a laundromat and smell damp, strong chemicals, rubbish, or any other unpleasant odours. A laundromat that smells of detergent and fabric softener is much more inviting.
Washers and driers should also be kept clean. Remove any debris left inside and wipe down the outside regularly. Also check for any leaks or wear and tear periodically. Filters and lint traps should be cleaned regularly.
Floors should also be kept clean, and any rubbish bins emptied on a daily basis.

Extras

Any extra services the laundromat provides will also make it stand out from other laundromats.

1. Facilities
Apart from providing bench space for folding and separating items to be washed, in order to stand out against competition, the modern laundromat also needs wifi access and some form of entertainment such as a TV. It is also a good idea to provide coffee or food, either through a vending machine or a café area in the laundromat. What better way to wait for their washing than to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the cafe while they wait? Comfortable seating is also a must.

2. Wash, dry and fold service
To have someone else wash, dry and fold your clothes is greatly appreciated by many groups of people. Whether it is a busy professional who needs clean clothes in a hurry, a parent who is looking after a sick child, or simply someone with little time, this is a valuable service to offer.

3. Ironing service
Some customers may follow a washing service with ironing, or some may simply like to have someone else do their ironing. Providing an ironing service will attract customers such as those who are too busy to iron at home, those who have large families and mountains of ironing to get through, or even those who simply hate ironing.

4. Alterations services
Many people these days do not know how to alter or mend clothes, and it can be very difficult to find people nearby who have this expertise. An alteration service will do things including lengthening or shortening hems; replacing buttons, hooks and elastic; repairing a torn lining or pocket; fixing or replacing zippers. A laundromat which provides this service will stand out.

5. Pet only machines
Having pet-only machines will provide a place for pet owners to wash pet bedding, blankets and outfits. Having designated machines for pet paraphernalia will also be some comfort to customers who may have allergies to certain animals.

Looking at opening a laundromat or thinking about upgrading your current space with some of the above great features, Aqualogic can help. Get in touch with our laundry specialists to discuss your requirements today on 1300 222 119 or contact us online.