Unlocking the secrets to better coin management
It’s one of those unforgettable “Aha!” moments. The instant you realize your coin laundry can run on more than just quarters. Suddenly, life gets a whole lot better.
Bye-bye, weekend collecting. So long, grab-and-go change runners. Farewell, five-minute dry cycles.
Get ready to discover next level pay solutions. We’re going beyond quarters to unlock 10 secrets of better coin management.
Fifty years of change
Back in the day, vend prices moved up and so did the coin denomination. My father was among those taking top loaders from nickel-and-dime bumps to quarter jumps and his ten-cent dry to twenty-five.
Pivoting from the smallest change to a single quarter was a godsend. Money box space was freed up, rewarding him and others with more days off between collections.
Across the aisle, a new generation of front loaders spun on quarters from the get-go. In 1973 our family flagship vended 35-pounders for $1.25 or five quarters. Fast forward to 2023 and a similar washer takes quadruple that — 20 quarters or $5 on average — to start.
Remarkably, here we are half a century later with prices up four-fold and owners still getting paid in quarters.
Not all of them. Some discovered how to buck the system. Their customers can start a modern 35-pounder by depositing the exact same number of coins it took 50 years ago.
Today’s sharp laundromat owners supersize, swapping four quarters for one dollar and put the nation’s billion-plus $1 coin inventory to work. The higher denomination currency satisfies machine vends with fewer insertions. A five dollar wash needs five coins, not twenty.
The four-for-one exchange dramatically increases vault and hopper capacity, affording owners the luxury to bypass weekend collections. Many leverage America’s highest-value circulating coin by rounding up wash prices to whole dollar amounts and boosting quarter dry cycles to minutes-per-dollar.
The supersize stand-in
Supersized coinage also has a cashless stand-in — the dollar token, which mimics a $1 coin but costs operators roughly 25¢ to stock. Savvy token-op owners prefer to be their own banker and circulate a distinctive “golden” brass inventory sourced through one of the country’s specialty mints.
Why tokens instead of the real thing? They combine a familiar coin-like experience with credit card-to-token friendliness. Another bonus: Each dollar token that leaves and never returns puts the operator up 75 cents.
Welcome to the next level beyond quarters. Now let’s unlock those 10 secrets of better coin management.
#1: The crowd favorites
Running a laundromat on more than quarters opens the door to new pay formats. Among the crowd favorites are dollar/quarter, dollar token/quarter and dollar-mostly.
Dollar/quarter features a blended $1/25¢ changer payout paired with laundry machine acceptance of dual coins. Dollar token/quarter mirrors that, but with a dollar token substitution.
Dollar-mostly features an exclusive dollar coin or dollar token changer payout paired with machine acceptance of what is changer-dispensed plus any customer-carried quarters.
#2: Walk in your customer’s shoes
Laundromat pay involves what’s brought in, gets dispensed and then accepted at machines. Step into the customer’s shoes and walk yourself through the transaction process to help ensure things flow seamlessly, reliably and efficiently. Every coin and token coming out the changer should go in every washer and dryer.
And remember, next level coinage doesn’t snub quarters. Dollar coins and tokens work hand in hand with them.
#3: Take advantage of built-in dual coin capability
Whether you go beyond quarters with dollars or tokens they’ll both sync to the low- and high-value coinage vend capability that’s been built into washers and dryers for over two decades. Larger diameter dollar coins or dollar tokens correspond to the high value vend setting and smaller diameter quarters or quarter tokens to the low value.
Even the most seasoned veterans are surprised to learn their stores have long been dual coin-ready.
#4: Up the coin and up the minutes
Time is running out on dryer minutes-per-quarter as natural gas and electric rates spike. The solution: Higher value dollars or tokens reversing the downward spiral with higher minutes-per-coin.
Further Reading: >>> The Heat’s on Dryer Pricing
#5: Multi-coin/token’s full-flex muscle
The beauty of going beyond quarters is there’s no guesswork or math for patrons at the machine. Sharp coin managers prefer the user-friendly single inlet drop, providing one entry point for both denominations to automatically register pulses and count down before the customer’s eyes.
Flexibility is essential to better coin management. Factory-built customized drops designed to accept a dual denomination mix of both coins and tokens now or in the future permits the option to pivot using the same hardware. Multi-coin/token acceptance helped many forward-thinking operators weather the pandemic when quarter circulation seized up.
#6: Watch that hopper jump
Moving away from quarter-only changer payouts optimizes capacity. For example, a 5,600-quarter capacity hopper equates to a $1,400 bank, while the same size hopper can accommodate $4,400 in dollar coins.
Using the above illustration, a changer with twin quarter hoppers offers total capacity of $2,800 compared to a dual dollar hopper/quarter hopper setup with $5,800 capacity — an increase of $3,000 in the same cabinet.
Optimizing changer capacity
Dual hopper 25¢ Coin/25¢ Coin = $2,800
Dual hopper $1 Coin/25¢ Coin = $5,800 (+$3,000)
The result: Owners optimize change-making ability with more inventory and less frequent replenishment.
#7: Maximize inventory and minimize cost
On the flip side, savvy operators optimize changer capacity while minimizing their cash outlay with a strategic token substitution.
In the first illustration, cash totaling $5,800 is inventoried in dual dollar/quarter coin hoppers. If the hopper containing $4,400 in real dollars is replaced with dollar-valued brass tokens costing roughly 25¢ apiece or approximately $1,100, the inventory’s cash cost is dramatically reduced.
Optimizing changer capacity at reduced cost
Dual hopper $1 Coin/25¢ Coin = $5,800
Dual hopper $1 Token/25¢ Coin = $2,500 (-$3,300)
As a result of the substitution, both configurations retain the same $5,800 exchange value, but the dual $1/25¢ coin hoppers hold a $5,800 cash inventory while the $1 token/25¢ coin inventory held in side-by-side hoppers is stocked at approximately $2,500 — a whopping $3,300 less than the twin all-cash setup.
#8: Beat the quarter bandits
Under either changer scenario above, sharp operators shoo away those sneaky quarter bandits who stop in for change without wash and disrupt the recirculating supply chain.
Further Reading: >>> Beating the quarter bandits
#9: Credit card friendly with one reader
Better coin management is achieved by welcoming customers clutching debit and credit cards. The most cost-effective method is installing an ATM to make cash available for transactions at the adjacent coin changer or token dispenser.
The intermediary ATM step can be eliminated through a one-stop, card-to-token dispenser. Stand-alone units or add-on readers are available through changer manufacturers and payment suppliers. Under card-to-token, store owners typically shoulder the processing fees, making the transaction not only quicker, but less costly for patrons compared to an ATM.
#10: It’s all about control
Pull in, grab the bills and head out. Process wash-dry-fold and machine refunds without cash. Ward off those bad guys seeking money. Run big bill bonus promos automatically.
Laundry cards? Nope, tokens. Many of the best in the biz manage better by keeping what flows under their control with a proprietary cashless coinage system. They know dollar tokens boast four times the purchasing power of quarters at the machine and do much of what plastic does more economically.
Aha!… You got it! The biggest secret in better coin management is made of brass.
Interested in learning more? Check out Imonex’s free, no obligation brochure >>> Going for the Gold: A Guide to Dollar Coin and Token Self-service Laundry Operations <<< or call 1-800-446-2719 to receive your complimentary guide in the mail.
Laurance Cohen is part of the Imonex team and welcomes inquiries on innovative payment solutions for your business.