Hitting the Big 8-0
The goal is simple: Getting rid of quarters — lots of them. Getting there is another matter.
Strange as it sounds, less is more when it comes to coins in the coin laundry biz. Less coinage translates into less collecting which, in turn, allows for more free time.
Running a prosperous self-service laundromat and enjoying the fruits of your labor is a balancing act that eludes many overseeing these seven-day-a-week operations and their endless circulation of quarters.
Desperate to stem the coin flow into the cash box, some operators throw buckets of money at the problem, installing costly loyalty card systems or credit card readers on every machine. Tens of thousands or —in the case of multi-store owners — even hundreds of thousands of dollars are expended in the mission to cut down the number of coins.
This isn’t anything new. Keeping alive a quarter century of quarter vended machines while equipment capacity grows and prices rise doesn’t sit well with those forced to make an extra weekend run just to empty out money boxes filled to the brim. If you’re reading this, chances are I’m describing your routine. A first world problem indeed, but one that more and more store owners have been dealing with for years.
Short of chucking out every coin acceptance device, there is only one field-proven solution to do away with up to 80% of quarters in the money box — dispensing dollar coins or dollar-valued tokens. Go ahead and pay out those “golden” beauties from your changers and customers will plunk ’em in the drops, leaving plenty of room for more inside the vault. And best of all, reaching the big 8-0 mark won’t cost you a princely sum.
Among those attending the recent Clean Show in New Orleans were owners from far and wide visiting the Imonex booth seeking a way to take back their weekends. Carrying big key rings to church, missing noon kickoffs and dragging oneself out of a warm, cozy bed — all to empty the big boys — wasn’t what these operators had in mind when they inked the store lease. Their message was loud and clear: I want to run my laundry, not have the laundry run me.
Some weren’t quarter-weary and happy to share how they were enjoying laundry life.
Ken Barrett, the Alabama entrepreneur who coined the phrase “Dollar Coin Mostly,” stopped by to offer me a status report. Dollar coin only changer payouts while welcoming those carrying in quarters is yielding a collection bucket ratio of 80% dollars to 20% quarters at his three-year-old Washin Oxford.
Dollar-valued tokens — used exclusively for store promotions and refunds — are accepted alongside the two coins at every washer and dryer drop, adding another dimension to Barrett’s format.
With eighty percent of the quarters gone and plenty of breathing room between collections, Ken and his wife Trina hit the Clean convention floor, volunteered for a charity free laundry event and took in the town. Collecting coins and filling changers wasn’t on their minds — only savoring the good life some 400 miles from home.
Read more about Ken and his Dollar Coin Mostly format in our Laundry Case Studies section.