Successful laundry operations rely on efficient and durable equipment that gets customers in and out quickly, while reducing operating costs and increasing profitability. Like any other piece of equipment, commercial washers and dryers that undergo constant use have a certain lifespan in which they run at the greatest efficiency. Once laundry equipment ages beyond that timeframe, it can lead to longer cycle times, more repairs and increased utility expenses that may be costing more than the revenue they are generating.
While the cost to replace aging equipment may seem like a large investment up front, it can almost immediately be offset by the savings and new profit centers it will provide. With advanced control systems that increase profits per turn, a durable design that reduces downtime and new technologies and efficiencies that reduce utility expenses, replacing outdated equipment can positively impact an operation’s bottom line.
Utility costs continue to rise nationwide. In fact, a 2015 Coin Laundry Association (CLA) Survey reported that 65 percent of store owners consider the high cost of utilities one of the largest problems they face in their operation.
With that in mind, it’s now more important than ever to weigh the benefits of replacing aging, less-efficient machines with cutting-edge equipment that clean linens faster and reduce utility costs to ultimately increase profitability. Older top-load machines use on average 32 gallons of water per cycle, but that amount can drop to as low as 12.9 gallons per cycle with new, high-efficiency front load washers.
Today’s industry-leading washer-extractors also require significantly less water for each cycle. The average 12-year-old, 35-pound washer-extractor currently costs a store owner $1.04 in utilities per cycle, while a brand-new 40-pound washer-extractor cost can be as low as $0.33 per cycle. That means a store owner could save approximately $910 per year on utilities by replacing just one machine. If a store owner was to replace a bank of eight machines, this would result in an annual savings of more than $7,200, as well as an annual water savings of 655,104 gallons.
The same is true for today’s tumble dryers. New machines feature more efficient drying airflow patterns to complete customers’ loads faster, resulting in increased customer satisfaction and more profit, as a store owner can service more customers.
Cut Down on Costly Repairs
As washers and dryers age, repair needs become more frequent. Replacing equipment not only provides more reliable machines for customers, but also decreases repair and downtime costs.
Money-saving features on revolutionary washer-extractors, such as auto water leak detection and slow drain detection, can also help avoid expensive water and sewage bills. The technology monitors drain systems and immediately alerts a store owner if there is a leak or obstruction causing water to be wasted. Advanced control systems can send up to 40 possible warnings and error codes that notify store owners about potential issues that could harm or slow down a machine.
Fewer repairs and maintenance costs also provide laundromat owners with more room in their budgets for upgrading other machines to further optimize their profitability.
Open the Door for New Opportunities to Profit
Customers expect to pay 10 to 20 percent more for new equipment, and beyond the opportunity to increase vend prices, there are many new profit drivers innovative equipment provides.
For example, equipment with advanced controls offer the freedom to tailor wash and dry programs and set prices accordingly. State-of-the-art control systems allow for multi-level pricing which lets the store owner charge different prices for each wash cycle to capitalize on premium selections. Additionally, creating a pricing structure encourages customers to use the equipment in the way that best fits their budget and washing needs. A “heavy soil” program can increase washer revenue by four to five percent, and overall, cycle modifiers can add more than $2,000 in profit per year.
Advanced control systems let store owners take advantage of peak laundry hours and boost usage during typically slower periods by customizing price settings according to traffic volume. Store owners can set their machines to charge premium prices when their facility is busiest, and offer special rates to drive traffic during off-peak hours. The controls also provide a lucky cycle, which rewards customers with a free wash or dry and helps encourage customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Another benefit is the enhanced monitoring capabilities advanced control systems provide. Through wireless networking, store owners can program, monitor and diagnose their equipment from any internet-connected device, anytime and from anywhere. Store owners can also view machine usage and revenue reports in real time and make informed decisions, such as when to set time-of-day pricing.
The Best Time for Replacement is Now
Before making the final decision on replacement, consider both the short- and long-term benefits new machines can have on a laundry operations’ efficiency and bottom line. Upgrading washer-extractors and tumble dryers will create new revenue streams to further improve profitability, as well as save owners thousands on utilities each year. This savings can result in an added cash flow of more than $91,000 over the lifespan of the equipment.
For laundromat owners interested in replacing their equipment, Speed Queen is currently holding its third annual contest for store owners who reinvest in state-of-the-art Speed Queen equipment financed through Speed Queen Financial Services (SQFS). Eligible store owners can submit an original piece of art, such as a photo collage, video, poem, drawing or painting that showcases their unique journey into the laundry industry to have a chance to win the $100,000 loan pay off grand prize. Speed Queen “Art of the Journey” contest entries will be accepted through Oct. 31, 2016.
For more information on the contest and to enter, visit the “Art of the Journey” website.