Steve Marcionetti, President of Card Concepts, Inc (CCI) and multi-laundromat owner, joins me on the podcast this week to cover a HUGE range of laundromat-related wisdom. 

We center around the pros and cons of adding a card system into your laundromat as a payment alternative or replacement for the increasing number of coins required to operate laundry machines. Steve gives a ton of great advice on how to add value to your customers AND to your business through using a card payment system without drifting into a sales pitch.

This episode by a true veteran in the industry is packed with practical information, including:

  • Steve’s background in the laundromat industry
  • Changes he’s seen in the laundromat industry over the past 22 years
  • What draws investors to this industry
  • What changes are coming in the laundromat industry
  • What Steve thinks successful owners are doing better than average owners
  • The benefits of a card payment system
  • Things to consider when deciding to add a card payment system
  • Are card systems suitable for lower-income areas?
  • Effective promotions with card systems
  • How to add value to your customers
  • Getting referrals before you get into business or make a large business purchase
  • Is a card system too big of an expense for your laundromat?

And a ton more!

Listen To The Podcast Here

Watch The Podcast Here

Today's Sponsors

AtmosphereTV We’re brought to you today by my friends at AtmoshereTV! Now You may have heard my interview a few months back with Mike Kelly from AtmosphereTV where we talked about what a simple change in content on your TVs can do for your laundromat by getting depressing news stations OFF and something much more fun, entertaining, and family-friendly ON.  Since then, Atmosphere has grown to 50+ channels included in their service with everything from Surfing Dogs to Extreme sports, hilarious fails, and jaw-dropping videos from all over the world built specifically for business use. Atmosphere can be used to supplement your cable or you can completely cut your expensive cable bill and use Atmosphere 100% FREE saving thousands a year! Use my code RESOURCE when you check out or click the link or image to have your setup fee waived or contact for more information!

Laundromat Resource Marketing If you need help building or managing a website for your laundromats, let the experts at Laundromat Resource Marketing help you design and build a custom, professional website for you! As experts in the laundromat industry AND in web design and online marketing, we at Laundromat Resource Marketing are able to provide you with a professional website at an affordable price. We’re always transparent so there are no hidden fees. What we quote you is what you pay. Satisfaction and performance guaranteed! With no contracts to sign and guarantees like that, why not let us take care of your online presence while you focus on welcoming all of your new laundry customers? Click the logo or link above to find out more information. 

Steve's Bio

Family owned and operated, Card Concepts, Inc. was born from over 40 years of experience in the vended laundry industry. The company was founded in 2000 with the aim of providing innovative and reliable payment products, making strong use of redundant systems to protect our customer’s interests.  Steve Marcionetti started the business with his father Dion and brother Andy and has built a distribution network of over 200 resellers that now serve over 2000 CCI locations.  The Marcionetti family also own an operate a small chain of Laundromats in the Chicagoland area as well as run a laundromat equipment distributor.

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    Episode Transcript

    hey hey what’s up guys it’s jordan with
    the laundromat resource
    podcast this is show number 58
    and i’m super pumped you’re here today
    because today we’re talking
    with steve marcinetti who is the
    of cci which is card concepts inc
    and they’re the makers of fast card
    laundry card
    you are maybe familiar with some of
    these card payment systems
    and we have an awesome interview because
    not only is he the president of cci but
    he also owns laundromats himself
    and so we get to talk a little bit about
    those laundromats we get to talk a
    little bit about car
    payment systems how they can be
    when you should consider getting one who
    shouldn’t consider getting one and a
    whole lot more
    in this episode a lot a lot a lot of
    really great tips i took a lot of notes
    i wrote down a bunch of quotes and i
    just had a blast getting to talk with
    and i learned a ton i know you will too
    and i cannot wait to get into it
    uh but real quick i want to just mention
    that the forums are still going
    super strong so if you haven’t been over
    there in a little bit go check out the
    forums laundromat
    forums that link and all other links
    that will be discussed today will be
    on the show notes which will be at
    laundromat resource dot com
    show 58 show five eight and also if
    you’re on youtube it’ll be down in the
    all right uh man i’m super pumped about
    this interview with steve
    really really honored to have him on and
    uh can’t wait for you to hear
    this interview with him i know you’re
    gonna get a lot out of it so make sure
    you got something to write
    with uh because you might want to take
    some notes unless you’re
    driving or exercising quick side note
    a lot of you guys have told me that you
    listen to this
    podcast while exercising you know riding
    bikes going on jogs
    and lifting and just i know i’ve
    mentioned this before but
    man go get it today man do that extra
    that’s what i like to hear all right i
    just felt like i should just
    pump you up a little bit uh all right
    well after this
    quick message we’re gonna jump into it
    with steve marcenetti president of cci
    card concepts inc all right guys today’s
    episode is brought to you by
    atmosphere tv you may remember back in
    episode 34
    when atmosphere tv’s mike kelly joined
    me on the podcast it was an
    epic epic episode if you haven’t
    listened to it show
    34 show 34 go check it
    out it’s incredible a ton of value there
    one of the things we talked about is
    just the importance of
    creating a good positive atmosphere in
    your laundromat
    and i was just rereading the book by
    simon sinek start with why
    and one of the things that really stands
    out to me is that people
    don’t make purchase decisions based on
    you know the logic of you know any
    decision that they’re making to spend
    their money it’s more based on a feeling
    and an association
    and so it’s really important to
    create a positive feeling a positive
    no pun intended uh and you’re a
    laundromat to help people associate
    this chore that most people don’t like
    doing with something
    positive atmosphere tv is an incredible
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    and basically if you haven’t heard of it
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    fail videos draw dropping videos from
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    there’s automobile channels there’s a
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    love love love it and my customers love
    it atmosphere tv could be a great way to
    either supplement your cable
    or a lot of us laundromat owners are
    cutting our cable bill
    completely and running atmosphere tv
    they’re designed to be used
    with no audio but they also do have an
    audio option that way you can kind of
    design the atmosphere of your laundromat
    the way that you want it so get rid of
    cable get rid of those news channels
    that are bringing negativity into your
    laundromat and fill your
    laundromat with positive videos that
    bring positive vibes to your
    customers with atmosphere tv and if you
    use the code word the keyword the
    promo code i don’t know resource promo
    resource then they’re going to waive
    your setup fee
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    there’s no monthly fee for it
    you can use it for free in your
    laundromat and it’s going to bring a
    positive vibe to your
    atmosphere so check out
    i’ll put a link down in the description
    on youtube or in the show notes
    check it out there make sure you use the
    keyword resource that way you can get
    that thing for free
    and or if you’d like email mike
    mike.kelly all right let’s jump into
    it with steve
    steve thank you so much for coming on
    the show i’m super excited to hear
    your uh what like 30 years of wisdom
    that’s coming our way right now
    in this industry thanks for coming on
    man how are you
    i’m doing good but i don’t know if i
    feel as good anymore because it’s not
    been quite 30 years but if i look that
    old then
    uh it looks like it’s time to touch this
    white stuff up
    not at all not at all well i’m super
    excited to have you on
    um and just hear your wisdom from this
    industry i know you’re coming from a
    a pretty unique perspective we haven’t
    heard from yet on the podcast so i’m
    but before we jump into that why don’t
    you tell people who you are and how many
    years you do
    have in this industry sure well thanks
    sure i appreciate uh
    including us and this is uh uh
    interesting times and
    it’s interesting it’s great to
    communicate this way so yeah i’m steve
    marcinetti i’m the president
    of cci card concepts for those who don’t
    know what that stands for
    you know we’re we’re a payment systems
    manufacturer we like to think ourselves
    think of ourselves a little more than
    that um
    but i’ve been in the industry for 22
    years so not quite 30 yet but
    working my way there but cci’s been
    around for 21 of those years
    um and yeah we come from an interesting
    um you perspective i guess and that’s
    something that kind of sets
    um sets me apart i guess a little bit
    from some of others is that
    we are store owners that my family has
    been in the
    laundromat business for 50 years
    certainly before i was involved in it
    but we own stores in the chicagoland
    area as a family
    um and manage those uh we also have a
    distribution business
    so you know those who buy laundry
    equipment um
    are familiar with the distribution model
    we we have a distribution
    company that runs locally here and
    services this area and then
    in 2000 uh we saw essentially an
    in the payments area this is obviously a
    long time ago people weren’t quite
    thinking about alternative payments as
    as much as they are today and um
    so you know my background prior to
    getting in the laundry business was in
    more of an i.t background
    and as a as a family that was installing
    building stores for investors as a
    we um we were essentially selling
    other payment systems there were other
    payment systems on the market
    um and we just saw an opportunity my
    background in i.t i saw
    it seem like there was something missing
    uh primarily it was reliability and
    support some of the things that kind of
    give a lot of opportunity out there and
    we decided to
    to look at building our own products and
    so that started cci
    and got us into the manufacturing side
    of business so
    you know fast forward like i said 21
    years and over 2000 locations
    with our product it must be working
    we’re still
    we’re still putting them out there um
    but that’s it so you know it’s kind of
    nice because people who buy our products
    they typically see
    can tell that it came from a laundry
    operator because pretty much everything
    that we do
    is tested in our own laundries before we
    ship it out to anybody else so
    you know having uh the distribution
    experience the store owner um
    experience um and then obviously the
    manufacturing side
    um just kind of rounds us out we pretty
    much part
    we’re a big big proponent to the cla and
    it’s difficult to choose what category
    i’m in i’m on the board of directors now
    actually i’m in my sixth year
    on the national board of directors i am
    in as a manufacturer but
    in all fairness i could probably go in
    in any any category
    yeah so okay how many years have you
    laundromats um um so
    you know the family my my father has
    laundry for years uh prior then it was a
    bit of a gap
    um and then we have now owned as a
    owned stores for about 10 years okay
    um i think that’s uh the oldest one is
    about that
    um and we’re still uh you know uh
    investing in new locations and things
    we’re not super aggressive about it it’s
    got to be the right spot just like
    um but we’re confident we really i
    really love this industry frankly it’s
    provided my
    myself and my family you know every
    opportunity that we could think of and
    so you know it’s um
    uh you know we believe in it you know
    we’re willing to invest in it and
    not not just ask people to buy our
    products but we’re willing to
    invest in it as well so yeah
    well how many years have you been in
    uh 21 years 22 years yeah okay
    so yeah i mean here’s here’s the reality
    of the situation that i undersold your
    if we’re going to add these oh okay i
    mean you’re talking like
    50 years of experience yeah if you count
    i don’t know i don’t know it get time
    served if you kind of just add it all on
    yeah i guess
    i guess it really really starts that’s
    my mistake i
    under undersold your experience here the
    wisdom we’re about to receive from you
    yeah that’s
    very cool that you i mean you’re you’re
    like all
    all up in everything from you know
    distribution to the tech side of things
    with your
    with the payment system to owner
    operator side
    of things on the cla board i mean you’re
    you’re you’re in the thick of it you’re
    in i’m in i i went in both feet in
    and you know i love it i do i do like it
    a lot and it’s um
    you know it’s actually it’s exciting for
    my family i’ve got a couple
    of of kids and my son’s in college now
    and he sees
    a future there and you know and
    typically you know young people
    i mean maybe this is my perspective they
    don’t look at the laundry business as
    being real exciting you know what i mean
    it’s not the industry that’s real sexy
    that people
    in college want to go in but he sees it
    differently he sees
    um how well you can do if you work hard
    and this is an industry that certainly
    has a good return if you work hard and
    you do things right
    um and so that’s a great it’s a great
    role model for for young people that
    want to get interested and i
    i find it exciting because we need more
    young people frankly to get involved
    this year there’s a lot of
    um there’s a lot of people been doing a
    lot of years
    me included i’m not ready to let go yet
    but um
    uh but we need young people to get
    involved because this injuries isn’t
    going anywhere we’re going to be
    needing to wash clothes for a long time
    that’s right yeah
    yeah well and that’s that’s interesting
    you know just as i was hearing you talk
    about your
    your experience your nearly 50 years of
    collective experience
    no but your your experience and you know
    as you were saying
    i think people weren’t thinking about
    payment systems the same way when
    you know when you kind of started 21
    years ago or whatever
    um and you know and then and then saying
    hey we need more new people
    you know coming into this industry
    bringing fresh perspective so i’m
    curious as to
    you know what changes have you seen
    you know in the industry over these
    years you know the last 20
    so years uh that you’ve been in here um
    because i’m sure there’s been
    quite a few changes and then just to
    prep your mind
    yeah i want to ask you what changes you
    see coming down the pipeline but yeah
    let’s talk about
    let’s talk about the past sure um
    you know we’ve seen a lot and i guess to
    put in a perspective of
    of our of our payment side something
    that’s been interesting
    um is you know 20 years ago people
    didn’t really know much about
    alternative payment and so we were
    we were continually struggling with just
    getting people to accept the idea that
    you didn’t have to accept only quarters
    or or to potentially think about
    eliminating quarters
    and so i think the one thing that’s been
    good and bad for us over the last 20
    years is there’s been a lot more
    there’s a lot more options now that
    hasn’t haven’t always been there
    and so now people aren’t necessarily
    you know they’re questioning whether
    they should eliminate coin it’s more
    there’s a lot more legitimacy into
    considering how to run your business
    and we’re not here to tell you that
    coins are the wrong way you know we have
    you know we we run coins in one of our
    stores and you know it’s
    it’s um there’s a lot of different ways
    there’s a lot of things you have to
    think about when you’re thinking about
    but people are way more um
    willing to consider uh
    something different than quarters alone
    certainly and and many of them are
    looking to eliminate coins and there’s a
    lot of there’s a lot of benefits to that
    um so i think just over the years just a
    better mindset
    on it um yeah i mean i think for
    from our um from that perspective for
    sure i think
    from a store ownership perspective i’ve
    you know early on it seemed like you
    know from our distribution side
    it seemed like we were building stores
    for the same guys that have owned stores
    forever and they were building adding
    another location and they were there
    and they’re great people and operators
    but what i’ve seen
    is particularly as the years have gone
    on is a new generation of owner operator
    investor i’m
    actually going to call them investor now
    not not even as much owner operator
    although they need to be but they’re
    willing to invest in an industry that
    has a lot of stability
    you know i think a great example and you
    know we’re all coming out of we hope
    coming out of this pandemic
    um and um just
    the stability that i think laundries
    were able to kind of
    maintain their business you know
    obviously we had some struggles in some
    points but in some areas
    more than others but it’s opened the
    eyes up to people who are looking for a
    way to invest
    money and laundromats is a way that’s
    attractive so
    you know it’s it’s opened up um more
    people to consider
    our industry as a viable way to
    their you know their their funds and i
    think that’s that’s good because
    those investors come with fresh eyes and
    fresh minds and they want to do things
    are right by the customer and they have
    new perspectives
    i think all of us that have been doing
    this for a long time
    um we can all get in our own habits you
    know we get into ruts and we don’t see
    the forest through the trees or the
    trees through the forest and
    um you know it takes fresh minds to kind
    of wake us up a little bit
    and uh make sure that we’re not uh
    forgetting about what’s important and
    trying new things so
    i’ve seen a lot of things being tried
    just from fresh
    eyes being there and so that’s exciting
    that’s exciting
    yeah i mean i i think you’re right on
    about that and it’s kind of i mean one
    of the coolest things for me
    just personally and selfishly is doing
    this podcast is hearing
    you know and i’ve said this multiple
    times in the past but like
    this is a very simple business right but
    are so many different ways that people
    are running this business
    and you know successfully uh that
    it it’s very surprising to me right and
    so we had
    um a guy tom donnelly on a few episodes
    and he lived out here in california he
    partnered with another investor
    and they bought a laundromat in atlanta
    or outside of atlanta
    sight unseen he’s never seen it and you
    and that’s just a you know crazy way to
    do and
    possibility yeah thomas landenberger who
    lives in
    you know the italian countryside and he
    some laundromats in italy but he also
    owns laundromats in florida
    right and so it’s kind of there’s
    a whole lot of different ways you know
    there’s people who are succeeding
    like the willafords who own a thousand
    uh you know laundromats but they’re all
    self-serve laundromats right and then
    there’s guys like rick rome who shut
    down himself serve laundromat to do only
    pick up and deliver and there’s just
    there’s so much variety and so many
    different ways of doing this that
    i think it you know hearing about that
    for me at least has really opened my
    eyes to okay
    how do i want to run my business because
    i when i got in this industry
    i thought okay well it’s going to be a
    self-serve business i didn’t even think
    that because that’s just what i assumed
    right and it’s going to be i’m going to
    put new equipment in there i’m going to
    keep things clean
    and the machine’s running and it’s going
    to be good to go right and that is a way
    to run the business
    but it’s not the only way by any means
    so it’s yeah
    that fresh eyes is it it’s interesting
    you say that because
    you know i’m almost embarrassed to admit
    this but in some of the stores we own
    there’s one location that we’ve owned
    close to 10 years i’ve never been there
    that’s awesome now i know i know what it
    looks like because you know you have the
    the camera systems and we have the the
    payment side so i’m very aware of its
    business and what it does but
    you know there is a way to build a model
    where you know you can remotely operate
    i guess that’s really the
    the interesting part and certainly some
    of the technology helps with that you
    know um
    in aiding and that but yeah it’s
    possible it is and we’re seeing we’re
    seeing a lot of that so
    we’ll see it opens up opportunities for
    people who never thought this industry
    was for them
    yeah and i think technology like you
    know like yours this the
    you know the payment systems like that
    allow for a lot of those new
    opportunities and and kind of they don’t
    force owners to think about that but if
    you don’t start thinking about
    some of those things you’re at risk of
    getting left
    behind you know right with with the
    industry because
    the industry has been like molasses
    changing for a long time and now yeah
    more recently
    the pace has been picking up a lot more
    and we’re we’re playing catch-up in a
    lot of ways to the rest of society but
    we’re playing catch-up a lot quicker
    than in the past
    yeah and i think i think part of it is
    to add on to that you asked about what
    changes do you see coming
    and it’s already started is that there’s
    so much more confidence i think in our
    industry that it’s
    allowing people who are interested
    investing a lot more than they might
    have considered before
    you’re seeing a lot of acquisitions uh
    of distribution
    businesses you’re seeing franchises and
    come out of the you know come out from
    everywhere you know and
    and and you know whether you have an
    opinion whether you like the
    you know happening or you like all these
    franchise you know deals coming out
    what it should tell you as an investor
    is just the legitimacy
    of this industry and that it’s stable
    not going anywhere
    and people with um with real money are
    willing to invest in it
    and and it’s not going anywhere so you
    know i
    that’s where i see that i see that
    happening more i think we’re going to
    see more and more of that going on
    um i i don’t have a strong opinion
    whether it’s good or bad or interesting
    i just think it’s gonna change
    i think it’s a way that all of us do
    business is gonna change a bit
    um and as you said you either have to be
    willing to make those changes
    and adapt or you might get left behind
    and so
    people are going to have to make
    decisions um but at the end of the day
    people still have to do laundry and as
    long as they still have to do laundry
    we’re all going to still have an
    opportunity in this business
    yep i yeah that is right that is right
    on and i love
    you know i i love that you say you don’t
    have an opinion good or bad
    i kind of think that’s a fruitless
    opinion to create in a lot of ways
    you know it’s like trying to stop a
    train you’re just right you’re just
    not gonna be able to stop it so you
    might as well
    get on board one way or another or
    figure out how to work with that
    or within those the new changes because
    they’re coming right right happening now
    yeah in
    and you know i mean listen it’s going to
    one of these deals where like you said
    you can’t stop it
    and if you even if you and usually the
    reason why you would want to stop it is
    because you’re in one of your ruts
    you know i talked about we doing this a
    long time and i’m i’m certainly guilty
    of it i’ve been doing things a long
    a long time the same way and it forces
    us all to rethink what we’re doing and
    this is just another example of us
    kind of being forced to rethink what’s
    happening yeah
    yeah i think that is right on and
    it’s hard too i mean when you’ve been
    doing things like i’m empathetic to that
    right you’ve been doing things a long
    way it’s been working really well
    and all of a sudden you know things are
    and you’ve been pretty comfortable for a
    while and it gets uncomfortable when
    things change and you have to adapt and
    i’m empathetic with that but at the same
    time if you don’t
    then you do risk getting left behind so
    yeah yeah for sure
    yeah uh any other changes you see coming
    down the pipeline
    for our industry oh gosh we could
    probably um
    talk about a lot of them but no i think
    you know that that
    you know all of it ties into that to
    some degree you know
    i think it all you know when you talk
    about larger players being
    interested in distribution we talk about
    larger players wanting to distribute
    laundromats literally become franchise
    you know then you’re going to see lots
    of changes from the operational
    you know again it’s it’s probably cliche
    at this point but this the the full
    service side of business
    um is really amazing to me it’s actually
    quite foreign um we’ve always
    as a as a family and a business been
    quite focused on the self-service side
    of things i think you alluded to that
    you know
    early on too and we are we are good
    self-service operators
    um and we’re just average to less than
    full-service providers but we know it’s
    an opportunity too and again some of it
    is bandwidth you know if you’re willing
    to put the effort into
    it then you can make something have of
    it and to some degree we have to
    have to make time if we want that to be
    a part of it but there’s an attractive
    nature to the self-service industry that
    that i like because i we have we are so
    busy that those stores can run
    in a self-service mode without us having
    to to
    be there every moment you know not that
    we don’t have a presence there
    but um the full service side of things
    is a different
    it’s like to me it’s like almost like
    opening up a dry cleaner you know where
    you’ve got to be really focused on the
    customer and there’s a quality concern
    there’s complaints and there’s loss and
    things like that that
    are very profitable if you decide to get
    into that but you have to be willing to
    put that energy into it and so i think
    we’re going to see more and more
    of that happening i think we’re becoming
    a society that
    likes things done for us and we’re
    willing to pay for it and so i don’t see
    that changing
    but i but at the same time i don’t i’m
    not i’m not um
    i’m not bearish on the idea that
    self-service laundries are going
    anywhere either i think that there’s
    going to be lots of people who
    want to do it themselves whether it’s
    they can’t afford it or they just want
    other people
    touching their stuff and i think that
    there’s a lot of that still in that it’s
    you know i don’t think i could convince
    my wife
    to drop off our laundry somewhere else
    not because she loves doing laundry
    but she cares about her stuff very you
    know in a way that would be very
    difficult i think for a retailer to
    to sell her on the idea that it would be
    cared for in the same way she
    would do it and it’s not a not a down
    play on any laundry operator it’s just
    mentality but as the yeah and as the
    group gets older and they have the money
    to afford that you know like my son you
    certainly couldn’t afford to do that
    today but you know as he gets older he
    he probably thinks very differently
    about that than than than others so
    it’ll be interesting to see that play
    out and obviously there’s tons of
    providers and
    um you know trying to trying to show how
    to run that side of your business so um
    it’s again should be
    it should be something exciting for
    self-service owners as well because
    that’s a profit opportunity if you so
    choose to go at it
    you can take advantage of yeah
    absolutely and i think
    you know i think not only do we need to
    look at what’s going on in our industry
    but i think we need to look at what’s
    going on in
    society as a whole you know and you know
    that the outsourcing
    culture is i think only going to grow so
    like you’re saying the
    the full service side of things is
    definitely an opportunity for growth and
    a lot of that has to do with
    one laundry is like the worst thing in
    the world to do
    uh for a lot of people and but two you
    people are buying time and convenience
    uh back with their money and yep that’s
    you know that’s going on all over the
    place now from you know doordash and
    ubereats and you know and also the
    the gig culture could provide
    opportunities for people
    like we’ve had a couple people on um on
    the podcast
    uh nikila and mark vlaskamp who both
    started pickup and delivery businesses
    before they neither one of them still
    has a laundromat
    sure mark’s mark’s buying some
    laundromats now but
    um you know kind of doing it backwards
    and that’s sort of part of that gig
    where you don’t necessarily even have to
    have a laundromat to start a laundry
    service business yeah so uh yeah so
    again a lot of opportunities and if you
    have your eye on culture and where
    it’s going and how people are thinking
    and more importantly how people are
    and you can tap into that then there’s a
    lot of opportunity there
    so yep totally agree well okay
    so i mean let’s go back to all of your
    vast many many decades of experience
    uh collectively uh let’s
    i’m curious and especially i guess from
    your payment system side of things and
    maybe the distribution side of things
    and maybe even the the cla side of
    things what are you seeing
    successful owners do that
    you know maybe struggling owners or
    maybe just your run-of-the-mill
    owners are are doing what are successful
    owners doing
    differently or better yeah i think
    you know and it’s it’s gonna probably
    sound a little um a little simple but
    it’s not forget about the core customer
    you know and um we talk about some of
    those habits
    that we get ourselves caught into you
    know i think
    it’s one of the reasons you know some of
    some of the habits that are out there
    have attributed to to some degree our
    industry not always getting the best
    reputation and i think we’re all working
    hard and this is a good example of
    trying to elevate
    all of that and i know a lot of the
    people that you have on your show
    talk about trying to elevate our
    industry you know and just try to get a
    you know um get some of the stigma
    associated with it and
    some of those habits are the reasons why
    um some operators struggle and i think
    some of it is not having the right
    concern for the customer
    the guy that actually puts coins in the
    machine or swipes her card at the
    at the on the card reader or whatever it
    is and realizing that without him
    nothing matters and without him there
    without him being happy without him
    coming back
    every week that family doesn’t show up
    every saturday morning
    none of this works and so whatever you
    can do
    to make sure that that customer is happy
    has got to be looked at and it’s simple
    things i mean think about it really
    you know most people just want to be
    left alone when they go do laundry and
    so one let’s not get in the way of that
    and i think that to some degree we can
    easily get in the way of that by
    having lots of rules and having lots of
    things going on the store and directing
    them to things let them do their laundry
    the way they want to
    and i think that operators that have
    kind of embraced the idea of that
    they do very well one of the things that
    i would say if i had an opinion again
    this is
    i’m thinking way ahead of the game is
    that we have a lot of these
    you know franchise groups that are
    coming in and operating and and they all
    i think have very good intentions and
    and likely have good operational
    um ideas but the root of that’s going to
    have to come back to the customer
    and if you can’t execute on the customer
    they’re going to struggle just like it
    doesn’t matter because it says
    you know you know steve’s superwash
    laundry and they they own 20 locations
    if if it’s a terrible experience inside
    the store or it’s not convenient
    then it doesn’t matter and so you know
    people always call laundromats kind of a
    business you know it’s always kind of
    had that mentality
    and the reason why is because mom and
    pops could have done a really nice job
    because they greeted their customers
    they got to know them a little bit they
    incessantly um and at the bottom at the
    end of the day we can do a lot of fancy
    things but if we don’t
    remember those core values of
    um you know cleanliness is what we hear
    all about um
    you know value certainly is an important
    part of that value doesn’t always mean
    less price um yeah and then
    and just being convenient we’re a
    convenient business i think you
    mentioned that already and if we forget
    that we’re a convenient
    we’re all about convenience um we’re
    going to struggle
    and i think that goes right into the
    owners that are there they aren’t
    they aren’t thinking along those lines
    um as much as they
    and the good news is that generally they
    can change you know that’s not
    something you have to you don’t you know
    that’s not something you actively choose
    sometimes you don’t
    know that you’re doing that so i think
    paying attention you know i think that’s
    really what it comes down to and not
    being afraid to
    give a free wash once in a while because
    it’s the right thing to do when you see
    a family in there and you see them in
    there every week and you’re like you
    know what this one’s on me
    you guys are great love to see you how
    the kids all that stuff
    there’s that personal element that think
    about how many retail businesses don’t
    have that anymore you know because we’ve
    become big box type things and um you
    know um
    so i think that’s the difference between
    successful owners and not successful
    yeah and i love that because laundromats
    really have an opportunity to be a
    community gathering place so
    where better to have that great kind of
    feel that personal touch that care and
    than a community gathering place that’s
    that’s also your business
    right like a place where people go to do
    something that
    most people feel at least at the very
    least is not their favorite thing in the
    world to do
    right at the worst they hate it right
    but if you can come and make it feel
    like okay well i gotta go do my laundry
    but at least i’ll go get to see steve
    or steve’s attendant who’s gonna greet
    me with a smile or we can talk about
    my kids i know they’re gonna ask about
    my kid or whatever the case may be
    right make it a little more of a just a
    better experience for your customers and
    i love
    you know what you’re saying is you know
    putting the custom i wrote down
    a couple of quotes that will probably
    pop up on instagram or something at some
    point in time uh
    but i mean you said without the guy who
    puts the quarter in your machines our
    business doesn’t work
    right and he said you can’t execute on a
    like needs and and you know
    and wants then you’re gonna struggle as
    a business owner
    and i think right on the head and it’s
    really easy to
    get focused on wanting to you know
    keep things status quo not have to put a
    ton of effort in
    and and just let things coast right and
    you can to an extent
    but if you do that too much or too long
    you’ll start to see a drop
    off in your business because you know
    that personal touch
    it helps it goes a long way so sure sure
    awesome uh awesome advice for to help
    you know be successful owners and not
    just average not just
    you know struggling um okay well let me
    a little bit um
    i mean i want to talk a little bit about
    card payment systems
    and um just i mean what are
    you know from your obviously we’re gonna
    we’ll just acknowledge it you have a
    biased perspective
    but what are your uh what would you
    what would you say to a coin owner what
    are the benefits of putting in
    a card payment system into your store
    sure sure you know
    and and you know obviously we i am
    biased and i think we have a great
    solution but
    but the reality is is that um
    there’s a benefit to to at least
    supplementing coin you know and i think
    there’s two ways to look at it nowadays
    there are really two solutions out there
    um you can eliminate coin and there’s a
    whole bunch of
    benefits there and and some people think
    well they’re very owner focused
    um and not customer focused i somewhat
    disagree with that but then there’s the
    other solution which is a hybrid which
    keep taking coins but also offer
    everything right and so i i kind of have
    to take a
    take a step back and make sure that we
    look at both products uniquely
    real quick solutions yeah not sorry to
    interrupt you but
    i i always say hey if you’re going to go
    the hybrid system
    put in a hybrid system and then
    incentivize the card system
    sure because not only is that going to
    better for you and easier to run your
    but there’s a lot of perks you can do
    for customers with the card system that
    you either can’t do or are very
    difficult and cumbersome to do with a
    payment system so and you would be
    surprised too
    because i think that the biggest you
    know argument that
    you know a store owner makes about going
    coinless is
    that he feels he’s going to alienate
    some of his customers you know and
    nobody nobody’s afraid nobody has to
    lose any customers and we don’t either i
    mean we know we we’re an operator we
    certainly aren’t interested in that
    either but
    you know i can tell you from firsthand
    experience we have a store it’s close to
    our our office here
    that’s a hybrid store it’s calling in
    card and that store
    is 80 card i mean and and that’s not
    the customers elect that eighty percent
    of the transactions in that store are
    gonna be card
    and and in truth i would imagine that
    the twenty percent remaining or majority
    of that twenty percent remaining
    would go to card if we just gave them a
    little more reason to
    but they elect to go that route so you
    know the argument that says that it’s
    only owner benefiting you know the card
    side of it is that true
    you know you know think about how big
    laundry equipment has gotten
    just in in the i mean the 20 years i’ve
    gotten here i mean
    we have 130 pound machines in some of
    these stores now i mean what is that
    vent for 19
    20 a cycle i mean how do you put
    quarters in that that’s not even
    that’s not even an option you know
    that’s not you can’t even do it
    you know it would take you 10 minutes to
    start the machine that way so
    you know and of course there’s dollar
    coin options and tokens there’s all
    kinds of things that people can do
    but but the reality is there’s a there’s
    a we talk about just being a convenience
    how convenient is it to just be able to
    swipe your card
    whether it’s a loyalty card or a credit
    or debit card that’s convenient i mean
    i would argue that’s even more
    convenient than putting coins in a
    machine that’s even five dollars
    so you know we can’t forget that you
    know and um and that is one of the
    benefits is it’s not
    just store owner benefit because
    obviously you don’t have to collect the
    coins that’s great you know there’s less
    coins to co
    to collect or no coins to collect
    depending on the solution but
    customers don’t necessarily love
    carrying quarters around or leaving with
    three or four dollars in quarters that
    they’re gonna save for next week or
    find another way to to get to them so
    you know the coin side of things
    are um there i think it’s there’s equal
    benefit on both sides
    beyond that i think you know the
    benefits start to come into really more
    from a business sense
    and you think about every other business
    or retail place you go to
    i don’t care if if it’s at walmart or
    sam’s club or whatever
    nobody charges an event price
    whether you’re selling a pack of gum or
    a couch that ends in zero or 25
    you know and uh and the fact that we are
    we have historically been so connected
    to the quarter has really
    limited our ability to um to get a fair
    venn price for our machines and to
    really adjust with
    the changing of the of our utilities i
    i you know my dad taught us taught me a
    long time my brother and
    and i that we’re a utility business i’m
    sure you’ve heard this before
    laundromats are often referred to as
    utility businesses but unfortunately you
    know we can’t buy gas water and
    at a rate that’s never going to change
    it’s going to change always you know
    here in chicago we’ve got
    lots of water available to us and our
    water has historically been
    fairly easy to get in and inexpensive or
    but that’s changing in a hurry you know
    that they’re really spiking that
    how do you adjust a quarter machine
    to appropriately adjust for a five
    percent increase
    in something or an eight percent
    and and to a lot of degrees i think that
    some of the
    you know the poor stigma that we have in
    our industry
    comes from store owners that have been
    unwilling to make vend price adjustments
    because as their costs have increased
    you know
    one of the things that store owners have
    been lacking doing is increasing their
    vend prices just historically not
    everybody but
    if you don’t do that then you can’t do
    the things that are right by your
    customer which are keep it clean
    keep it operating you know do all the
    things that we talked about before
    because you’re not charging enough you
    got in this business because it made a
    nice return and it was a fair return it
    was all fair
    and now all of a sudden your costs have
    gone up your profits have gone down and
    you start to have a negative feeling
    about our industry
    and things start to slip and then you
    know years go by and all of a sudden you
    what’s the term now zombie mad right so
    now we end up with a zombie map because
    we didn’t take care of it
    and i think um card systems can play a
    big role in offsetting that because if
    you can adjust your vend price by five
    percent three percent eight percent to
    adjust for those changes
    um you’re making the margin that’s
    appropriate and quite frankly
    your customers are accustomed to changes
    in price
    and you know the the the story that i
    say all the time or the
    you know that i that i make for people
    to try to prove this point is that you
    go to a grocery store and buy a gallon
    of milk
    i could go and buy that milk for three
    bucks this week
    and i put up my cart and i drive off and
    i come back next week and that milk’s 3
    just in one week’s period i don’t think
    twice i still
    grab the milk i put it in my cart and i
    say yeah you know i know things go up
    and down we drive up and down gas
    stations all the time and they change
    every day
    the price of gas changes right it’s not
    because the gas in that
    tank or in the in the ground is more
    expensive it’s just
    it everything goes up and down in price
    you know and so what some laundry owners
    will do is that they’ll read they’ll say
    well i’ll just reduce the service dryers
    are the easiest way to do that they’ll
    cut a
    they’ll cut the time you know they’ll
    reduce the temperature or in a washer
    they’ll drop
    a cycle you know they’ll drop a rinse or
    something you know
    instead of raising the price and i would
    argue that well if i went to the grocery
    and i bought that gallon of milk and it
    was only full
    75 of the weight it was still three
    dollars i would not buy that milk i
    would go find a full gallon of milk
    you know and um so the idea that you
    know that
    that retail customers won’t adjust to an
    appropriate fair event price adjustment
    because our costs change
    is not realistic they do it every day
    they buy that way or they understand
    and you know having a payment system in
    place gives you that
    that capability and it’s really
    important to keep that in mind
    yeah that’s a pretty compelling argument
    i mean i hear all the time and i feel
    this myself too right like
    the price the price uh
    increases that you have to make in order
    to kind of
    adjust for the cost i mean it it can be
    difficult to make
    those adjustments you know especially
    over time you know if you have to
    you know raise your prices by you know
    50 cents or
    a dollar or whatever that just it feels
    uncomfortable to do that whereas if you
    if you can make you know 10 or 15
    a few times throughout the year that
    feels a lot more manageable both
    probably to the owner a little more
    and also to the customers as they kind
    of adjust with you so i like that
    you know the perspective is also changes
    as well and that kind of ties perfectly
    into what you just said is this kind of
    comfort level
    and laundry is a lot about perspective
    um you know it’s convenience and
    customers perspective because you know
    we all talk about
    uh my 40 pound washers are doing this
    and my 50s are doing that but do you
    think any of our customers know what a
    40-pound washer is or
    they have no idea they stick their head
    in the tub
    and they’re like my stuff will fit in
    there and it seems like that’s worth
    three dollars or whatever the vend is
    right right
    and you know when we when you raise the
    price in a quarter store
    from let’s say four dollars to 450 you
    know i would i would imagine most of
    them are not
    counting the price they’re counting the
    and so when they get to that you know
    normally it’s you know 27 quarters to
    start this machine all of a sudden it’s
    30 quarters to start this machine
    that there’s a perception that this got
    expensive that this is more money
    but you know card systems help kind of
    mitigate that perspective because it was
    the same push-pull of a card or the same
    swipe of the card last week is this week
    but it was eight cents more this week
    and the net effect you know
    if the cycles were all eight cents more
    that that customer might have paid
    80 cents more for their laundry that
    week and i don’t think that we would
    a lot of argument from our customers if
    because our prices change by 80 cents
    one week that they would
    give us a hard time and i think it’s all
    about perspective yeah
    that’s the other benefit yeah you know
    that makes a good point and you can just
    learn a lesson from chuck e cheese
    because we used to go to chuck e cheese
    all the time and give our kids
    a few coins and it would last like a
    long time because
    there’s a little bit of reluctance to
    put that core in because once it’s in
    there it’s gone
    but they switched to the cards yeah and
    that card gets drained real quick so we
    stopped checking the cheese so much man
    it got expensive
    um so learn lesson from chuck e cheese
    and make it easy
    again i mean kind of going back to the
    convenience but also the perception i
    think that’s
    i think that’s pretty compelling um
    you mentioned earlier and i wrote this
    down to ask you and i didn’t want to
    you mentioned earlier that you know
    certain things to consider when
    regarding whether you should
    add a pa like a card payment system to
    your store or not it may be
    a good fit may not be a good fit i’m
    just curious do you have some things
    that you feel like owners should
    consider when they’re considering
    adding a payment you know system card
    payment system to their store because
    typically not cheap right to add so it
    is an investment that you’re making in
    your store so how do you know
    whether that’s a good thing or not to do
    sure i think you know to be fair and
    if you have a store that’s struggling i
    am not going to hear and tell you that a
    card system is going to fix that you
    know that
    a good store is a good store you know a
    bad store is likely a bad store it
    doesn’t mean that you can’t do things to
    make improvements but
    a card system isn’t singularly going to
    change your world
    um now at least uh from from a
    perspective is it a good story a bad
    storm i’ve certainly seen people whose
    worlds have changed because they put a
    payment system in
    and it’s made their lives easier you
    know particularly multi-store operators
    they’re like
    i can’t collect any more coins i’m
    chasing like crazy and they you know
    just gives them their life back and i
    think you know there’s something to be
    said for that
    but you know is it a fit for everybody
    it’s not a fit for everybody
    i would say that before there were
    hybrid systems you know the systems now
    that can allow you to take credit card
    right out the machine
    you know we used to say that if you’re
    in a in a real transient like vacation
    type area where you know your customers
    are a lot of vacationers and they’re
    only there for a short time you might
    struggle with
    trying to convince them they had to buy
    a card you know they only can do laundry
    there for two weeks and they’re going
    home you know
    um but since we’re starting to take
    credit cards directly machine that
    actually is almost better for them
    because they don’t need to go look for
    quarters or they go to the change
    machine they can just
    they’re using their credit card for
    anything and every anyway we go that
    anyway so i think it really comes down
    to looking at the demographic a bit
    um you know again because i’m biased i
    think there’s most places can do it
    i think where it doesn’t work is when
    the store owner just
    can’t get their mind off of the fact
    that there’s no quarters anymore
    and usually there has to be a problem
    with their
    business model uh and there’s no gentle
    way to say this but
    you know people love our business
    because it’s a cash business and
    uh there’s a bit of eyes that people
    feel that a card system
    adds to their business that they may not
    be looking for
    i argue that’s not necessarily true
    nobody knows what you how you run your
    business you know when i file my taxes
    i don’t give them a list of all the
    hardware that i use to keep track of my
    books i just submit my taxes you know
    like anyone else and i think that’s the
    same is true with this but
    you know it’s not a good fit for those
    operators i think that just
    um can’t see the value in that and
    and that’s okay because um you know
    they’ll it’ll either come around or that
    store will flip
    and uh there’ll be other opportunities
    there but i think you know you have to
    you have to think about vacation spots
    and things like that
    um demographically um
    uh you know i’ve seen it work everywhere
    but you know
    we’ve gotten to the point now where
    there are so many options available if
    you can’t find one that fits it’s just
    you’re not ready and
    you know being a salesman for a long
    time you learn that you can’t really
    sell anybody anything they’ve got to
    want to buy it you’re just trying to get
    them to look at
    what you’re doing and show them the
    value that you bring to the table so
    if they’re not ready then that store’s
    not ready to go card
    yeah i mean i think that’s really good
    input let me ask you specifically
    because i get this question a lot
    what about in lower income areas
    uh i think there’s some concern about
    you know from people who are operating
    in lower income areas like you know
    lower income
    areas um you know and
    i think there’s some concern about using
    a card system in those areas
    what did which what have you seen have
    you seen it work in those areas
    how how well does it work in those areas
    or is that a
    an exception where maybe it doesn’t work
    as well i’m curious what you think
    i think it depends on the operator and
    what they’re willing to do and i and
    what i see what i mean by that is first
    of all
    laundromats there are no laundromats in
    beverly hills unless you tell me i’m not
    you’re closer than i am but there’s
    probably not a lot of laundromats
    in um and and laundromats are typically
    more successful in those demographics
    the business that we’re in um and it’s
    all about value
    already talked before it’s really about
    value and i would say that in those
    low-income areas i would argue that
    they’re probably the same demographic
    that are
    always looking for a coupon because
    they’re looking to get best value when
    they go to the grocery or when they have
    to buy something they’re looking for how
    do i save
    some money you know and you know and
    that’s where a card system can really
    a demographic like that because in a
    coin store how do you
    you know unless you’re just going to
    lower all your prices
    how do you offer a value proposition
    in a form of maybe a coupon you know i
    mean we’ve we have coupon programs in
    our in our products
    that allow you to attract that type of
    customer and give them more value say
    hey if you’re willing to use a card
    we’ll save you money
    and it’s as easy as that um and who
    doesn’t want to save money
    you know and and especially especially
    in those areas that you describe
    they probably need to save money and so
    as a
    as an owner operator how are you how are
    are you fulfilling that need where they
    need to find a way to save value and if
    it means that
    they got to put ten dollars on their
    card to get an extra dollar and save
    them 10
    i mean that’s a pretty good reward right
    there you know getting 10
    off on your laundry and what what you’ve
    done there is you’ve bought a little
    loyalty from that customer and in return
    you’ve given them a discount you know
    and there’s lots of examples
    of other programs that you can you know
    ben you know you can turn on and off and
    and and give yourself give your
    customers that value and you have to
    look at your area to see what makes
    sense but
    even in those low i’ve seen in the worst
    neighborhoods i mean let’s just
    call it what it is we call them tough
    neighborhoods tough neighborhoods
    it works there’s a safety concern there
    too you know what i mean
    um something that i noticed in one of
    the first stores that we put it inside
    going back
    20 years ago in a really kind of rough
    was as soon as people understood what it
    was you know because there was a little
    bit of a learning curve 20 years ago
    consumers weren’t quite sure what this
    was but when they realized what it was
    we saw people leveraging
    as a budgeting tool to walk into a store
    i mean not kidding put 50 in the machine
    and then leave the store
    and you’re like they didn’t have any
    laundry with them nope
    they were it was the first of the month
    they had just gotten their money
    and they wanted to make sure that 50 was
    there for the whole month yeah
    i’m not sure that’s why i budget but
    some people need that simplistic idea
    that this card has got my 50
    with a laundry on it and it ain’t going
    anywhere else and it’s staying in my
    until it’s time to laundry so you know
    those are that’s just an example of
    you know maybe some of the mentality
    that we deal with there
    really worked i mean that made me think
    you know that’s a that’s an awesome
    opportunity to incentivize that even
    right and like hey you know for the
    first two or three days of the month
    yeah you put 50 bucks in we’re gonna
    give you another five or ten bucks or
    you know just kind of incentivizing that
    and that
    not only will probably help them you
    know if they’re having
    trouble hanging on to money you know
    that’ll incentivize them to
    it’s almost like the four savings you
    know yeah were
    put aside for the chore um but it also i
    mean it’ll help
    them and it’ll give you that money up
    front to be able to do more things for
    your customers and for your business
    so that could be a big win-win so
    absolutely i love i mean i love
    the promotional possibilities
    and uh just ways to incentivize
    customers and i think you know
    incremental pricing
    is you know it can be that can be
    even a promotion in and of itself where
    instead of raising a quarter you’re
    raising the eight cents or whatever
    um but being able to you know gift
    money on their cards or incentivize them
    to put a certain amount on and give them
    you know so or however you know however
    it works or
    keeping track of how many washes are
    being used and giving
    you know free washes stuff like that so
    yeah yeah
    i love i love that and that stuff that’s
    some of that is possible
    if you’re using coins but man i tried
    when i first bought my laundromat i
    tried doing
    that where it was like i had punch cards
    my attendants were giving out blue
    quarters to
    like i was like oh this is horrible i’m
    not doing this anymore ever again
    that’s a nightmare yeah the benefits of
    that from a promotion are unlimited and
    we could talk we could have a whole show
    just all the ideas in fact
    you know it’s something that we’re
    trying to do is to get
    people’s minds together because we
    provide a lot of tools i like to
    but people the way they use those tools
    just varies across
    locations and um and so it’s really
    unlimited and the ideas that you know
    creative store owners can um come up
    to capitalize on the the benefits of
    having just some
    alternate payment option you know and be
    able to turn it into a card or
    or an app or whatever the case may be
    there’s a lot you can do
    uh can you spit a couple of like yeah
    promotions that you’ve seen
    out that i’ve seen some really cool
    stuff i mean you know one of the things
    i’ll tell you something that works
    really well you know this isn’t uh
    um i don’t know if it’s a secret because
    i tell it all the time now but here
    here when we open stores whether it’s
    for us or if it’s an
    investor and um as you might imagine we
    use our our payment technology in those
    is that we will instead of doing
    something like you know we always see a
    lot of stores open they go like half
    price wash and that’s a very common
    grand opening type of special well we
    a number of years ago and was
    there’s some problems with that in our
    eyes one is that
    you know you’re you’re advertising a
    price that you can’t maintain
    um and there’s a bit of a negativity
    surrounding the idea that the price is
    going to go up eventually and like oh
    this used to be a great place to do
    laundry and then the prices went up
    you know and which is well they went up
    to reality is what they went up to it
    can’t be half price forever
    and so what we did to try to offer
    something of similar value but didn’t
    um have a negative impact is we did
    something called double your money
    and you know it’s basically a variation
    of you know put twenty dollars in your
    card and get a ten percent return you’ll
    get two dollars a bonus added to your
    but taking it to the taking it out at
    the way ahead of that
    you know put twenty dollars in your card
    get 20 in bonus
    you know so now you got 40 on your card
    or you know and talk about
    people putting money on their card and
    people run that promotion for two weeks
    with people come with 50 bills 100
    bills putting literally 200 at a time on
    their card
    in order to take advantage of that
    and all all along that the vend prices
    on the machine
    are what you had they’re at the top
    they’re at right where you wanted to be
    when you open it’s well
    your performance were built on so your
    customers are
    absolutely they actually don’t care
    about your bend price at that time
    because they got so much money
    stashed up on their cards that the
    perception of the event price is almost
    and more importantly um what that does
    is it’s
    it’s a it’s a reason to return we call
    these loyalty card systems for a reason
    you pray in advance
    so that you’re loyal to return right
    and the other thing that we don’t we
    don’t talk about enough is the fact that
    laundromats don’t make anything we just
    we just divert where they used to do
    their laundry they were doing laundry
    somewhere before you opened
    and so it’s about getting them to do
    laundry with you not
    not with where they were doing it and
    laundry is also very habit
    you know i mean talk my wife always does
    her laundry on mondays i mean that’s
    that’s the day she does laundry you
    can’t convince her to do it other days
    i would imagine there’s a lot of that
    that goes on not to mention
    what laundry you go to every week if
    you’re using a laundry and the route you
    go to drive to that laundry is the same
    every week and
    and there’s a lot of habits involved in
    that and
    and i don’t know the specifics but
    there’s there’s a lot of studies out
    there about
    how many times do you have to change the
    way you do something for that to become
    your new habit
    you know it’s like it’s like seven times
    you gotta
    do it another way before that becomes
    your new habit and i don’t remember the
    exact number but it’s something in that
    how better of a way to get
    customers to use your laundry as an
    alternative to where they used to go by
    giving this a massive
    bonus on their card if they put 200 in
    value on their card that’s going to take
    them five
    six seven trips to spend that and what
    are they doing beyond getting a great
    value they’re changing their habit
    their habit has now shifted and now
    they’re that’s your laundry of choice
    and again that’s a good example of a
    promo that was really designed to
    give somebody you know 10 back when they
    put 20 on their card and somebody got
    really creative with it and said
    let’s just blow it out of control let’s
    just give them double their money
    instead of giving them half price wash
    it has almost a more powerful selling
    in the window of your store on the signs
    on the street but at the same time
    the the value is enormous to the store
    owner as well
    so that that’s a that was a big one you
    know there’s coupon
    programs to give people like free dry
    credits um
    there’s things that you can do to give
    people rewards for wash points you know
    kind of like a frequent flyer
    program that’s all about giving your
    best customers the best value
    for being loyal and returning um you
    know we do we have some we have some
    programs that allow you to
    turn like points into physical prizes so
    you talked about chuck e cheese you know
    what did they get after they played the
    game they got
    tickets that came spitting out of the
    machine and then you’d go up to the
    and you turn in this 300 000 tickets to
    get a
    magic eraser you know shaped like a
    um we we do things like that too where
    you can get points and then those points
    turn into prizes you know so it could be
    gift cards for
    the grocery store or a restaurant or you
    know in our stores we we do a
    we have a amazon fire tablet as one of
    the prizes
    takes a while to get to it but you can
    work your way up to it and
    surprisingly we probably give away you
    know seven or eight tablets a year
    you know uh in that program so it
    there’s it’s really
    um it’s really up to your imagination
    how you want to you know take advantage
    of these they’re just tools
    but there’s lots of great ideas out
    there yeah
    i love i love those ideas a lot of fun
    um and i love that chucky cheese has
    come up twice
    in this yeah
    well i i mean i love that and i think
    that there’s a lot of
    benefits to the card system and i think
    that there’s
    a lot of potential to create a lot of
    value i mean
    like you’ve mentioned like has been
    mentioned a lot on here you know what we
    need to be trying to do is creating
    value for our customers
    and you know utilizing whatever tools
    doesn’t have to be a card system but
    whatever tools we can
    including you know training our
    employees well you know and
    keeping things clean thinking about the
    flow of your store
    so people aren’t getting clogged all
    that stuff creates value for your
    customers but this can be another
    tool that an owner can use to
    to create that value for customers so
    absolutely i love that
    um i’m going to put you slightly on the
    spot not
    totally but slightly on the spot i
    forgot to prep you on this but you know
    what if you don’t get anything you don’t
    got anything so
    we have a section called secret sauce
    and we’ve talked about
    so many secret sauces
    um and you just i mean you just even
    mentioned one that you’re like i’m not
    sure if it’s secret sauce or not so
    maybe it is maybe yeah sauce but secret
    sauce our section secret sauce is for
    hey what’s something owners can do
    in their laundromats that might benefit
    them help them improve their business
    or or themselves personally even and
    maybe it’s card system related maybe
    it’s not but
    probably it is i would say but whatever
    you come up with
    uh what’s your secret sauce listen up
    it’s the secret sauce
    oh gosh
    you did put me on the spot we we’ve
    talked about a lot i would say
    you know secret sauce pick one yeah all
    right well
    let’s let’s talk about um let’s talk
    about value
    all right so i think you know whatever
    you can do to add value and convenience
    to your stores is huge and this isn’t
    card system related i’ll tell you
    something that we do in our stores
    that is we hate them but we love them at
    the same time we put electric
    sliding doors in every one of our stores
    let me tell you something about electric
    sliding doors if you don’t have one in
    your store
    they’re awful they break regularly
    they’re the worst service they’re
    they cost a fortune i want to tell you
    that if you go to your store
    on a busy saturday and you’ve got
    a mom with a couple of kids hanging onto
    the pockets of their jeans and they got
    a basket of laundry on the other hip
    to try to watch them go in and pull the
    door handle on a laundry
    if there’s no attendant or not attendant
    available but have that door just swing
    wide open
    and they just walk in the store that’s
    that’s thinking beyond
    um just the inside of the store but
    thinking about the customer that’s
    inside of it and your typical customer
    you know and and it really comes down to
    it there’s a value proposition there’s a
    convenience proposition that we
    i think we underestimate and we can do
    tons of things with the payment system
    that is something that is this
    inherently i would imagine that someone
    that goes through that it’s like i’m
    going to that store because i can’t get
    in the door
    uh with my three-year-old and my
    six-year-old if
    i can’t if i have to swing this open and
    carry this basket of laundry so
    you know anything you can do like that
    to add convenience and certainly
    payment systems helps with that is that
    is all part of the secret sauce and
    there’s there’s no one piece
    um there’s lots of examples like that
    i love that and i think you know i mean
    that’s kind of been one of the big
    themes of this whole
    you know interview right is yeah ways to
    add value and
    and and thinking about your customer i
    mean it goes right back to
    what you were saying earlier about don’t
    like keep your customer in mind you know
    without the guy who’s putting the cord
    in your machine or the lady
    you know you you don’t have this this
    matters it doesn’t matter it doesn’t
    matter yeah
    so i mean i think that goes right in
    line and i think it’s
    you know a perspective that’s easy to
    get lost when
    we’re in the weeds of things or maybe
    we’ve gotten in the rut
    those kinds of things and i would say
    part of that is being in communication
    with your customers and just
    every now and then just check in with
    them when you’re at the store
    you have a quick conversation like hey
    you know ask them how they’re doing how
    the family’s doing how it’s going and
    all that and say
    hey how’s your experience been here
    lately is there anything i can do to
    improve it
    and hearing from them and not saying
    that you actually have to do everything
    they say
    or they want you to do but you know
    starting to get their perspective
    like you said they’re they’re what
    matters most so
    even though i put you on the spot i
    would say those
    50 years of collective experience have
    shined in the secrets
    just kidding well you did so well i’m
    gonna put you on the spot again and we
    have a section called pro tips pro
    tips pro tips is more typically it’s
    more for new owner people trying to buy
    their first laundromat and maybe you
    want to address that and give a tip for
    or maybe you want to give a pro tip for
    somebody maybe who
    is thinking about putting a card system
    in for the first time
    in their store and maybe a tip to help
    uh get started in the right direction
    with the card system so go either way
    that you want to go
    sure sure i think you know
    i guess because that’s where my focus is
    we talk about investors and
    considering payment options you know it
    i would say now more than any there’s
    it can be you know it’s like paralysis
    by analysis there’s so many options
    and they’re all very different um so it
    can be a bit challenging to determine
    what’s the right thing for me
    and uh what should i do in my store or
    my demographic
    you know i think that nothing um and
    this is this is old-fashioned as well
    but nothing does better than going for
    referrals and what i mean by that is
    talk to people you know the cla is a
    good forum i’m sure
    you know you’ve got a bunch of customers
    or i say investors and store owners
    that you have talked to over the years
    that you could refer people to that have
    used various technology you have to talk
    to people
    and find out what they like what they
    don’t like
    and that will guide you towards the
    that fit your yourself you know your
    your needs the best and so
    you know it’s simp it’s simple but the
    reality is that people so often just
    something they see an ad for and it’s
    like oh that’s what i want that’s it or
    it’s the shiny new
    marble in the box you know oh i’m gonna
    do that but then
    they don’t take a look and talk to
    people and find out well how long has
    that marble been around you know how
    that marble’s been there for
    a year and that marble might not be
    there a year later
    and um you know i think when you talk to
    people who’ve been doing this a while
    and have had success with whatever it is
    that they invested in just paints so
    much more confidence in an investor
    that’s trying to figure out
    you know what what should i do from a
    payment perspective
    um don’t always be attracted to the
    the shiny objects every time not that
    you shouldn’t pay attention to them i
    think that there’s
    there’s a lot of good there but you know
    laundromats stick around for a while you
    know i mean typical laundromats last a
    long time and so when you make an
    investment in a payment system
    um is that is that solution going to be
    there in five years when you need them
    still you know do they have a
    sustainable business model that’s gonna
    make sure that they can take care of you
    and your in your needs
    when that time comes so you know that’s
    and i think the best way to get
    confidence that is to talk to people
    and you know that’s the that’s the pro
    tip for
    buying a card system yeah i mean i think
    that’s a really
    great pro tip because i think a lot of
    people you know they’ll
    i think you’re right a lot of people
    will just see an ad and say oh you know
    what that seems like a great fit and
    i’ll just jump on it
    maybe it’ll work out maybe it won’t
    there’s another contingent
    who will do some research and figure out
    which one fits best
    but i think a lot of things that get
    over a lot of times what gets overlooked
    that whole hey are they going to be
    around long term are they going to be
    able to support you what kind of support
    do they have
    you know are they uh are they actively
    updating it are they actively making it
    you know what kind of communication is
    there between you know
    me as an owner and them as a you know a
    software developer that’s
    yeah and hardware developer that’s you
    know creating a product that’s supposed
    to help my business
    you know those are questions i think get
    overlooked a lot and we get
    tied up in the features a lot too so
    that’s why
    i think talking with other owners who
    are utilizing the different systems
    comes in handy because they’ll have yes
    they’ll know the features
    but they’ll have the perspective of okay
    well how is this company to work with
    you know how’s the support when things
    go wrong
    you know those kinds of things so i
    think that’s awesome pro tips
    not just for buying a card system but
    for anything yeah
    i mean that’s that’s a great pro tip for
    anybody buying their first laundromat
    right like is this going to be a good
    investment for you maybe or maybe not
    the way you find out is yeah do some
    research listen to the podcast read blog
    go to youtube whatever but probably even
    more importantly than that is start
    talking to other owners and see what
    is like see what it’s like to own
    laundromat so
    yeah i think that’s what’s great about
    you know you know a forum like this
    which you know you’re having this
    conversation and hopefully it draws
    people to
    just just to see what’s there but it
    people who are interested in the
    business and interesting purchase
    is that it’s not such a big industry
    that you can’t reach out to that person
    individually it’s not like there’s some
    you know
    magic fence that you can’t get over you
    just reach out if you want to call
    jordan call jordan you want to call
    steve call steve and the people that are
    participating in these events and
    participating in these things
    they’re all very reachable it’s one of
    the things i like about our industry is
    they’re all people and they they’re just
    small business owners and most of them
    are actually proud of their success i
    think most people are
    and they’re actually okay with sharing
    what made them successful
    um and that’s really what people are
    interested in they want to make sure
    whatever they invest in
    it is expensive in a lot of cases but if
    i’m gonna do it
    is it gonna is it gonna work is it gonna
    be what i wanted is it going to help
    me and the only way you’re going to get
    that kind of confidence is to talk to
    people who’ve been through it already
    yeah yeah and i don’t think that ends
    like if you’re buying a car system or
    you’re buying a store i don’t think it
    after you pull the trigger on that
    because like you mentioned earlier like
    there’s things are changing things are
    you know we need to keep
    adapting keep evolving and keep our
    finger on the pulse of what’s going on
    and so
    after you buy your store after you buy
    your card system you know keep
    interacting with people that’s why you
    know we encourage people to
    interact on forums like the cla forum or
    the laundromat resource forum
    that’s why we encourage you know people
    to network with each other
    in whatever capacity that you know that
    is because when we kind of help each
    other we all
    do better right like that’s that
    abundance mindset of
    you know there’s plenty to go around we
    can all have success it doesn’t have to
    at the expense of anyone else and
    yeah and that’s a big mindset and i
    think it’s particularly
    true in in our industry like
    however your laundromats do have
    zero impact on mine right right
    i would argue in mine even the
    laundromat a mile down the road
    is going to have zero impact on my right
    absolutely you know and so there’s
    you know that’s i love i love that
    pro tip all the way around and you’re
    just showing
    your wisdom yeah right thank you so much
    seriously man this has been this has
    been really really good i want to make
    i don’t want to leave uh
    if you have anything else that you want
    to share about
    yourself about any advice you want to
    give or about
    uh your your product i want you to be
    able to share a little bit about that
    um if you have anything else you want to
    share yeah you know the only thing that
    you know i want to make sure that um is
    communicated well i think
    in in is that we we talk about these
    um in these payment systems and
    obviously that’s my focus but
    um there’s there’s generally a lot of
    talk about the expense of them
    you know what i mean and it’s kind of
    hard to hide frankly from the fact that
    these are these are some of these
    products are pretty expensive
    um and but i think that what’s important
    for people not to immediately run away
    with that is to realize that why are
    they expensive and at the end of the day
    does it matter how much it costs as long
    as it returns
    you know so now we’re maybe shifting
    slightly away from the customer
    perspective and now talking about owner
    investors and
    you know owning a laundromat i mean it’s
    a high capital upfront expense right i
    you put all your money up front on it
    and then you try to get your return over
    and frankly that’s that’s how that’s how
    payment systems are the good news is is
    um a lot of these systems have amazing
    returns and their return
    on investments are usually very fast
    um and that’s nothing that that referral
    tip that we talked about will help you
    i can tell you how great the roi is but
    it’s better if jordan’s store owner
    tells you because he’s had it he’s
    experienced it
    i’ve experienced it but i’m up i’m
    biased talk to people who have payment
    systems and talk about how quickly they
    think the investment
    paid for itself and you know i think
    um just like any investment if you had
    high confidence that it was going to
    return for you it didn’t matter what it
    cost you’d do it
    you would you would invest in it so you
    know these solutions
    are um very powerful
    um they will they add value in in a lot
    of ways that we’ve talked about
    uh they they do require an investment um
    but the return
    um is amazing at the same time so you
    know that that’s something that has
    happened in our
    in my industry is just a perception
    because sometimes people can’t look past
    the quote you know they don’t realize
    that there’s a reason
    uh you know for these things so any if
    anything i would say that would be
    something to add on to the referral side
    talk to people who’ve been through it
    they’ve spent the money that you’re
    being proposed if you’re looking at a
    quote right now
    there’s a reason why they bought three
    and four and five in some cases 20 of
    you know over the course of their their
    laundry career
    and um it’s not because they like me i
    think it’s because
    uh they like the return on investment so
    that’s that’d be one thing i think is
    important to kind of leave people with
    yeah i think that’s really good i get
    asked a lot um you know especially for
    this is semi-related um but especially
    people in in some of the larger markets
    the las the san francisco’s the new
    you know how much is too much to pay for
    rent and i always say like
    well it really depends like i don’t i
    wouldn’t mind spending
    10 or 12 000 a month for rent
    if my business was making sixty seventy
    thousand dollars a month like
    right that’s an okay amount does it
    really matter right it’s not about the
    hard number
    it’s about what kind of return and what
    kind of business can you generate
    utilizing that resource that you’re you
    know you’re investing in and in that
    case i’d be investing
    in a space um you know via rent
    in order to operate my business but if
    i’m investing whatever the amount is
    it the the hard number it feels a little
    intimidating right
    sure thousand dollars a month is crazy i
    mean that is a lot for rent right
    yeah right but on the other hand if it’s
    gonna let if it’s gonna let you net
    30 000 a month would you pay 10 grand to
    get 30 000 a month
    all day long yeah right so
    so you want you got to look at it from
    that perspective and shift a little bit
    from that hard number
    cost of how much is it going to cost me
    you know to buy to invest back into my
    and more on that roi um that like you
    were talking about so
    yeah i think and that that’s a little
    bit of a mindset
    shift it is right that it can be tough
    it can be tough to make that shift yeah
    we all go through that we all go through
    that when we’re looking at stuff we
    we all kind of sometimes sit back and
    like oh that
    that that oh that looks that looks tough
    but then if you analyze it and you say
    but i’m gonna make how much okay it’s
    just softens the blow
    and and i think to get the confidence
    that you got to talk to people you know
    hearing it from the guy that’s trying to
    get you to buy it
    it’s gonna not not be as
    powerful as if you know jordan who’s got
    multiple stores and says hey this is
    you know um and this is what it did and
    we’ve had multiple experiences like that
    just paints so much confidence and it
    really softens the idea of the
    investment’s worth it
    and maybe it’s not worth it maybe you
    talk to somebody that says nah it wasn’t
    but at least you’ll learn but um i’m
    pretty confident you’ll see
    people who actually read into it find
    that it’s actually a pretty good
    investment we wouldn’t be around for 20
    years if it wasn’t but
    there’s the attraction of all the
    payment system options are out there are
    um definers of the fact that we’re doing
    something right
    you know i mean so yeah that’s it’s
    yeah and i found especially for not to
    be labor at this point but especially
    for new business owners
    uh you know for the majority of us when
    spend money we’re spending money on
    that they’re not going to generate money
    for us right right so we’re buying a tv
    or we’re buying a car we’re buying
    even a house sure it’s not really
    generating money for us so when you
    spend money the money is gone right
    mentality to investing
    money because that’s what you’re doing
    when you’re buying a car system
    or you’re paying rent or whatever your
    expenses for your business as long as
    a good one right the intent should be
    that it’s an investment you’re not
    buying money and once you spend it it’s
    you’re spending it in order to generate
    back right and so that’s the mindset
    shift that i see
    new business owners need to make so i
    think that’s really good
    steve this has been incredible uh
    seriously a lot i know i joked a lot
    about the years of wisdom and stuff but
    seriously there was a lot of
    really really just quality stuff in here
    for both you know experienced owners and
    new owners alike and just
    a lot of really good perspective that i
    will benefit a lot of owners listening
    to this so i really really appreciate
    you coming
    on and sharing all that taking your time
    it’s a friday right now so you should be
    you know kicking your feet up but you’re
    here working hard for us
    i like that right i got one more
    question for you
    okay if people want to a either contact
    and ask you questions about
    your own experience as an owner or cla
    or anything like that
    or b if they want more information about
    the you know your card system that that
    you offer or maybe even distribution
    what’s the best way for people to get a
    hold of you to ask you those questions
    yeah i think you know as far as the
    payment systems are concerned if you’re
    looking to learn more about those
    opportunities you know the website’s the
    you know
    and you know lots of opportunities to
    reach out to us through the website
    um i get all of the feedback that goes
    through those so when you fill out a
    form saying i’m interested
    it all comes to me and our sales team so
    you know we’re a small company and
    it’s easy to get a hold of us um
    and you know so those are some of the
    easiest ways to to go through it um but
    you know um we’re we’re we’ve been
    having this conversation for a long time
    with a lot of people and um it’s been a
    lot of fun talking to you about it as
    well appreciate you and
    including me in this uh in your in your
    show and
    um yeah i’m excited just to see you do
    awesome well thank you again and i’ll
    put a link to that
    in the show notes for anybody listening
    if you’re on youtube watching
    it’ll be down in the description below
    so make sure you check that out
    and reach out to steve get some more
    information i’m sure he can connect you
    some referrals too if you’re interested
    in in that card system
    i’m sure you can connect you up with
    some people who have utilized it and
    you can get their perspective on it too
    and see what kind of investment it might
    be for your business so
    steve thank you again i really really
    appreciate it and
    looking forward to staying in touch and
    hearing how should you go in
    you know for your businesses but also
    you know
    for the card system i know you know any
    of these you know technology-based
    you know systems they’re going to just
    continue to evolve as you get input from
    you know from your customers and as
    things change in the industry
    and in our culture uh you know as a
    whole so a lot to have you back on down
    the line to see
    how things have been evolving and get
    your more than
    50 years worth of wisdom at that it’s
    been a lot of fun thank you it’s been
    yeah appreciate it all right we’ll talk
    to you again soon all right all right i
    hope you really enjoyed that interview
    with steve
    it was man i was so excited after this
    interview it was so so good i
    took a lot of stuff from this wrote it
    plan on putting it into practice and as
    you may or may not know
    every episode i encourage you to pick
    thing and put it into practice this week
    because action is what paves the way to
    you gotta be taking action if you just
    sit here and listen to these amazing
    absorb all this knowledge but don’t put
    anything you learn into action
    it’s not gonna help you achieve your
    goals you gotta take the action
    to get to where you’re trying to go all
    right so
    for me i wanted to quickly share the one
    thing that i
    am gonna i mean it really stood out to
    me and i’m gonna put it
    into action this week is i wrote down
    this quote he said he said if you can’t
    on the customer’s needs you’re going to
    you can’t execute on the customer’s
    needs you’re going to struggle
    so i’m on a fact-finding mission to find
    out what needs my customers have that
    i’m not
    meeting and try to remedy uh
    those things so i’m gonna go on an
    information gathering
    quest in my laundromats trying to figure
    if their needs that i’m not meeting or
    what needs i can meet
    better for my customers and that i think
    will improve my business
    not only with my current customers but
    hopefully will attract some new
    customers also
    so what about you what action are you
    putting into practice this week i’d love
    to hear about it on the forums
    forums go to the laundromat forum and
    let us know
    what action are you putting in this week
    can’t wait to read about it see you guys
    on the forums
    and if not there then i will see you
    next week on the laundromat resource
    this is jordan peace


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