Home Forums Laundromats Laundromat Research – Unexpected Results

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    As an aspiring laundromat owner, I recently came up with an idea to get better information about what customers look for in a laundromat and how they view the one they go to. I put together a short little survey covering the information I was looking for and decided that I’d do a drawing: anyone who filled out the survey would be entered for the chance to win $100. And yes, before you ask, I was actually going to pay them if they were randomly picked. I figured that if someone was waiting for their laundry to finish washing, they might as well take a chance with nothing better to do. Why not?

    I was going to do this every afternoon before I started noticing the same people, then I’d compile the results, pick a winner, give them a call and call it a day. Starting today.

    Now, I consider myself a salesman. I’ve been told “no” more times than I can possibly count but after the first fifteen or so people gave me cold, flat out nos, I realized that maybe I wasn’t going about this the most efficient way. I thought about changing my body language, the way I approach them, the words I used to ask them. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’d actually already gotten the information I needed, just not the exact info I was looking for. And I was not going to be able to make the charts and graphs I wanted.

    Like I said, the totally unanimous response I received was a flat “no,” other than the people that didn’t speak English and just shrugged me off. But that’s not all. Something else I noticed was that every person, in every laundromat I’d visited, looked unhappy and uncomfortable, even before I approached them. This was really the in-person equivalent of a cold call. Nobody seemed to be having a good time. The customers of the nicer laundromats did seem noticeably less unhappy, but it was obvious that they really did not want to be there.

    My takeaway from this is that people do not like going to the laundromat. That may be a controversial statement on a laundromat forum, but it seems to be the case in my experience. I already knew this to some degree but I vastly underestimated it. That being said, every little thing that owners can do to make the chore of doing laundry less uncomfortable, the better. Lots of little things add up to make a big difference. All other things being equal, the laundromat that looks like its been cleaned in the past month is going to be more attractive to customers than one that is cleaned daily. Put a TV in there too, it doesn’t seem to matter what channel it’s on, people will watch and it’ll help take their minds off of things. Ultimately, I never needed ink on paper because the expressions on people’s faces (even through masks) coupled with their surroundings told me everything I needed to know. I didn’t need to ask.

    In retrospect, I feel like all of this should have been obvious but I do feel like I learned something here. I’m sure you industry veterans are either laughing or shaking your head at me right now and I don’t blame you haha. I think I would’ve gotten the same result if I surveyed local DMVs. What do you think?


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