Steven Dawkins and Casey Norman are in-laws as well as business partners. Marriage, you might say, is what their chain called Peanuts is all about. Here, they hitch self-service laundry and car wash along with coins and tokens.
Dawkins has been a multi-coin fan since entering the laundry-car wash biz nearly two decades ago in and around Augusta, Georgia. Adding credit card pay to laundromat machines also piqued his interest and he gave it a try. While patrons gave the pay-by-card option a thumbs-up, the price tag to roll out hundreds of tethered readers at six laundries received a thumbs-down from ownership.
Then, a few years ago, when he and his son-in-law were developing one of the newest Peanuts laundries, their thoughts turned again to credit cards. The plan: Let customers swipe a card at a single point and receive dollar-valued tokens to spend at any washer or dryer.
This time around, the cost to offer a cashless payment option was peanuts compared to individual readers. All it took was a little wall space next to a traditional bill changer to dispense tokens and ask their distributor, Bill Gilbert of SLM Commercial Laundry Products, to include dollar token acceptance on their multi-coin capable drops. The result: hybrid coin and credit card laundry pay at a small fraction of what a store full of readers would run.
Dawkins and Norman’s single reader dispenser not only elevated the venue to 100% card-friendly status, but ensured cash-strapped patrons wouldn’t rack up ATM fees just to get the wash done.
Going credit card storewide for a few thousand rather than tens of thousands of dollars is a feat in and of itself. But what makes the Peanuts operation all the more remarkable is how easily customers embraced it, pulling out plastic and plunking in tokens. No signs, no complicated instructions, no attendants. With nothing more than a prominent position alongside the bill changer, token transactions accounted for one out of five dollars in revenue just months after opening the doors.
Dawkins and Norman’s approach to credit card pay without individual machine readers is being mirrored in markets across the country. Check out what’s going on inside Linh Nguyen’s Cheetah Speed Laundry chain in our Laundry Case Studies section.