View Full Version : Smart card laundry
08-09-2003, 11:42 PM
I am happy to have found this web site and appreciate any advice I can get from anyone. I have been in the drycleaning business for 17 years now and decided to purchase a defaulted laundey that is about 2 years old. The owners were consumed by huge lease payments and jumped ship. We picked it up for a fair price about 5 months ago and are still a ways from break-even, (about 20 customers a day shoud get us there). I noticed some negitive remarks on the bulliten board about card systems, none the less I now own one and believe it will work out. We are fully attended and the mat very new and clean. I guess my question is that of marketing a laundry? There are apartments all around of which most have washers and dryers. Should we be focusing on hitting these areas with fliers etc? We now have cards to reprogram the machines to raise and lower prices for running specials or having a discound day. I'm very happy with the system as you can up-charge for cold, warm or hot water, get information in seconds and all of the cash is green not silver.
The real problem we appear to be facing is that of charging a REFUNDABLE deposit of $3.00 for the card. Should we not be doing this? I am considering loading the card with $3.00 and selling it to them for $3.00 hoping they realize they actually get the card for free.
All and all, those who have been coming in love the place but we just need a little more volume to turn the cornor. Any thoughts on marketing this would be greatly appreciated
08-10-2003, 01:37 AM
Sounds like you have a good mat that just needs some time and customers. Then again, don't we all need customers....
A smart card system is one of the best systems on the market, but it does have the one big down fall -- the cards. Smart cards as you know have a small chip in the card that holds all the information needed to start your equipment. Smart cards also can charge multiple prices for one machine depending on the what options have been selected. Mag stripe cards (just like your credit card) are not capable to do multiple pricing, but the cards can cost as low as 25 cents whereas smart cards are $3 and up.
I have the Card Concepts card system and it uses mag stripe cards. My store is equipped with all Maytag equipment and the match between the card system and equipment is great.
Since the mag stripe cards are inexpensive I actually put $5 bonus on some cards and hand them out to potential customers. I don't charge a deposit. Nearly 90% of the cards return to the store and of those around 80% get more value added to the card. The cost of each customer that comes in the door is around $2 depending on what they purchase. In your case you might want to just take 1000 cards and put a value on them and hand them out to potential customers. Ask them what mat they use and if it isn't yours, then hand them a card. Maybe hand them a flyer promoting your store. All other cards that are dispensed can have a deposit. I wouldn't charge too much for the deposit since this is the biggest turnoff for customers. Just charge enough so the customer will not throw the card away when they are done with it. Also give them some incentives if you can. I give a free bonus dollar for every ten dollars they add to the card. This way they add more money and at the end of their visit they still have a balance on their card. Where do you think they will go the next time they need to do laundry?
You can also hand deliver the same flyer (as above) to all potential customers within a 1/2 to mile radius of your store. Do a block or so each week. Hire some high school kids to hand them out.
Does the laundry do drop off for drycleaning? (you probalby already have this covered.... ;O) )
Keep the store clean, the equipement running and you should be profitable in no time at all.
08-10-2003, 01:38 AM
One last thing... Become a CLA member. They will put you in contact with everyone you need to run a successful laundromat.
08-10-2003, 02:07 AM
Thank you for your response.
We do offer a .50 cent incentive for a $5.00 load on the VTM machine, a $1.00 for $10.00 and $2.00 for $20.00. Our store too is Maytag and everthing is working great with only a few minor reset problems we had to figure out on our dryers. I believe you are right that your cards are cheaper and this is something we will have to deal with; However, If we pony up now and start giving the loaded cards out now I believe we can get this thing rolling. This is a very different business than our drycleaners, as the customer base is of a different profile. And yes, we do offer drycleaning and fluff and fold to our customers which is helping to make up the shortcomings.
We are going to hit the locals (as well as the university a few miles away) with our specials. It's back to school time and this is the time to get the word out for any new cleaner or laundry.
Thank you again for your help, and how do we become members of the CLA?
08-10-2003, 03:22 AM
I might not give the .50 cent for $5 discount. The goal is to get the customers to put more money on their card so they keep coming back with a balance. With the .50 cent discount you will be giving almost everyone a 10% discount to your whole store. Give people an incentive to put higher amounts on their card. (this also helps when collecting money - less $1 bills to count...)
To become a CLA member just scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on CLA HOME then click on CLA MEMBERSHIP and then STORE MEMBERSHIP.
Or click here:
08-10-2003, 03:25 AM
Just FYI: The CLA Clean 03 show starts Monday in Vegas.
Maybe you can get a red eye flight tomorrow night in time for the week long show?
Just a thought..
10-26-2003, 05:08 PM
Hello, can you break down how much the smart card system package costs for every thing? The machine and the cards...everything. How much will it cost?