Last year, small businesses were plagued with wave after wave of unforeseen challenges and obstacles. However, there was one seemingly insignificant issue that disproportionately affected laundry businesses: the national coin shortage. As other industries were able to skirt past this issue without incurring too much damage, the laundry sector wasn’t in such a fortunate position. With many facilities running coin-operated machines – sometimes exclusively – this shortage dealt a serious blow. Here, we’ll take a look at what caused the coin shortage, where it’s at now, and what it means for your laundry business moving forward.
What happened exactly?
As people were stuck at home with no place (or desire) to spend their money, the number of coins in circulation dwindled rapidly. In a world of credit cards, mobile payments, and other digital forms of exchange, not all businesses were equally impacted. For laundry facilities, this was a major blow as quarters are a staple form of payment for coin-operated machines – which are still prevalent in the industry for their convenience and simplicity.
Where are we now?
Fortunately, the pressure laundry businesses felt from the national coin shortage is starting to alleviate. Consistent production of coins from the U.S. Mint and considerable investments from larger financial institutions are working together to increase the number of coins actively being used in the economy. More relevant to laundry facility owners, a coin order cap on quarters was lifted by the Federal Reserve on November 16th of last year. Quarter caps aren’t completely lifted, but the circulation of quarters in retail spaces is expected to increase throughout 2021, which is excellent news for the laundry sector.
How should we move forward?
Although the situation is improving greatly, we’re not out of the woods yet. Furthermore, it would be a waste to let this problem come and go without learning something valuable and adjusting your business accordingly. What the national coin shortage exposed for many laundry businesses was a heavy reliance on coin payments. This issue highlights the importance of having diverse payment methods, especially in an industry that’s so heavily attached to one.
It’s not that all laundry facility owners should run out to replace all of their coin-operated machines today. Instead, it’s about understanding the advantages of having flexible payment options and considering how your business might be able to implement these changes moving forward. Let’s take a look at some specific upsides of offering more than just coin-based payments in your laundry business.
Upsides of Having Multiple Payment Options
It’s more convenient.
Doing laundry is a chore. As a result, people are often looking to get in and out as quickly as possible – no matter how inviting the laundry facility. Having multiple payment options gives customers one less thing to worry about. If they forget coins or simply don’t have any at the time, they’re still able to get their laundry done quickly and efficiently. On your end, the processing of digital payments is much easier than handling hundreds of quarters.
It gives you a competitive edge.
If you’re located in even a semi-populated area, there’s a good chance you have at least one competitor with which you’re vying for local customers. An excellent way to set yourself apart is by offering multiple payment options. You’re essentially casting a wider net that will inevitably attract more people.
It’s easier than you think.
The idea of getting new equipment to accommodate new payment systems immediately turns off most laundry facility owners. It’s seen as a no-go investment. However, you might be surprised by just how easy and affordable it can be. When working with the right laundry service provider, you’ll get access to top-of-the-line equipment that can take coins, credit cards, smart cards, and some that even work with apps. You won’t even have to pay for installation!
If you’re running a laundry facility in your multi-family housing or dorm-style building, the Coin Meter Company has the tools, equipment, and resources to help you make this area of your business a success.