High inflation calls for a high denomination coin
Laundromat owners reacted to news of inflation hitting a 40-year high by raising vend prices.
Washers were a no-brainer. The smallest machines got bumped a quarter and the biggest ones by two or three.
Dryers required more thought. All that hot air is sold by the minute, not by the load.
Some who hadn’t touched their tumblers in ages turned to fellow operators on Facebook for advice. The consensus: Drop the time per coin even if it meant delivering less than a handful of minutes.
Joining the push on social media to drop in more and more quarters were vocal proponents of full cycle dry. Eight coins for 30 minutes, they cheered — all paid upfront, of course.
Want to pass on higher costs? Just keep piling on the coins.
The discussion threads didn’t mention the burden of handling all those extra quarters. When I chimed in and suggested dollars, there wasn’t a word — just crickets. Employing a big coin wasn’t part of the big picture for inflation-weary operators.
It begs the question as to why the self-service laundry industry can’t let go of the quarter. The simple answer is that the quarter itself is simple for all parties — customers, store owners and even equipment sellers. Nothing is as universally known, understood and accepted.
You’re unlikely to hear a distributor offer up a dollar coin option on a new machinery order. Quarters are their default currency setting and require no upselling. And consider this: By locking you into quarter-only acceptance and avoiding any mention of higher denomination dollars as the proven solution to achieving up to 80% fewer coins, sales reps can keep the focus on highly profitable add-on pay systems.
Pay-by-plastic and pay-by-phone can look pretty snazzy next to a pay-by-the-dozen quarter-only drop. That’s never been more true than in these times of soaring inflation when many large capacity washers command double-digit vend prices.
The decades-old pay solution
Bringing higher value coinage into the mainstream of the laundromat biz doesn’t happen overnight. It took many years to transition from nickels & dimes to quarters and the same will play out in an eventual move to dollars.
Paying to wash and dry isn’t — and shouldn’t be — confined to low denomination coins. It’s high time the blinders get taken off laundromat owners so they can see the benefits for themselves.
This isn’t a debate over the industry offering non-coin alternatives. It’s about giving coin-op owners and customers some much needed help during these challenging times.
Less coinage is a win-win for everyone. A $10 wash can be started with as few as ten dollar coins, not 40 quarters. And collecting them is equally painless.
Despite spiraling vend prices, quarters won’t be going away anytime soon. Dual hopper changers teamed up with dual coin mechanisms offer the flexibility to dispense and accept both dollars and quarters, leaving the door open to incremental pricing at the machine however the owner sees fit.
High inflation calls for a high denomination coin. It starts with those who help guide store owners in their buying decisions.
Is your distributor ready to talk dollars?