The laundromat owner’s secret weapon
You don’t hear much about tokens. And for good reason: It’s the laundromat owner’s secret weapon.
Shhh… that’s the sound of tokens quietly at work. No high-tech bells and whistles. No loud trumpeting by the Coin Laundry Association. Just a simple self-service pay format that laundromat patrons embrace and operators love to keep hush-hush.
Why all the secrecy surrounding something many consider old school? One token chain store owner summed it up this way: “My competitors don’t know what I know.”
Indeed, what happens in a token-op stays in a token-op. Yours truly might get invited for a look behind the scenes, but mum’s the word upon exiting.
Those who run token laundries prefer playing it close to the vest and going about their business while laughing all the way to the bank. Nobody can do what they do — fast collections, one-stop credit cards and automated promotions — at a lower price tag.
And all it took was a switch from cash coins to cashless brass tokens.
In an industry that’s awash with options, tokens remain the biggest no-brainer in laundromat pay. But you’ll never hear those words from machine manufacturers, distributors or even the operators themselves.
Want in on laundromat’s best-kept secret? Keep reading.
Grab ’n go collections
Token-op owners relish their in-and-out collections. Unlock the changers, grab the bills and head home. Emptying the washer and dryer vaults can wait. Here’s why: One dollar-valued token replaces four real quarters so there’s plenty of extra space for more vends. The other reason is bad guys don’t break into boxes with cashless brass inside.
One store, one reader
If your laundromat has more credit card readers than the local Walmart, then you’re not among the legions of owners who saved tens of thousands designing their stores with as little as one device. At a token-op, debit and credit cardholders swipe at the changer’s reader, scoop up the golden goodies and go start any machine in the house.
Axe the babysitter
Token laundromat operators don’t need to hire and train staff to babysit their pay system. The token-op mirrors the coin-op, a self-service format the general public is accustomed to using on its own without the aid of an attendant.
Where float meets walk
Loyalty card laundry owners talk about float as if they’re the only ones cashing in. Token store operators reap a similar windfall when their custom coinage walks away and never gets redeemed at washers and dryers. Dollar-valued tokens cost around 25¢ apiece; quarter-valued ones are roughly 15¢ each. I’ll let you do the math. In all my years, I’ve never heard a token-op owner complain about writing a check to replenish stock. My father certainly didn’t.
What’s the buzz?
Big bill bonuses aren’t only on offer at loyalty card-operated laundries. Kicking out extra tokens at the changer for tens and twenties — or higher denomination credit card transactions — is the norm at token-ops. Want to know what token store owners do to create even more buzz with their brass? Giveaways, freebies and raffles.
Own the bank
Token-op laundromat owners enjoy freedom others don’t. They’re not locked into a single source to pay for proprietary cards, fees or technical support. And banks can’t hold them captive like quarter store operators when it comes to supplying needed coins and processing deposits.
Token pay isn’t reliant on a network, so owners never worry about their entire laundromat going down. And unlike card-only stores, token-ops have the backing of reliable coin acceptance — built-in redundancy without even flipping a switch.
Every token laundromat operator owns a private money system. They can custom design tokens, assign them a monetary value and stockpile quantities at a big discount.
How and what to pay out at the changer is an individual decision — quarter-value token only; dual quarter-value and dollar-value tokens; dollar-value token and quarter coin; or two dollar-value token and quarter coin, just to name a few.
Token-op laundromats remain under the radar. But their appeal and success as a payment format is no secret.