HU Blog Post

It may be time for full-cycle pricing on tumblers

As laundromat owners continue to improve the customer experience and bring something new to the table, a change as simple as full-cycle drying might be worth considering.  The drying side has often been viewed as a necessary evil and a bottleneck to getting customers out the door faster. It doesn’t have to be that way.

So why full-cycle pricing? How does it help the owner and contribute to a better customer experience.?

Jumping from 25 cents for seven or eight minutes of drying time to 50 cents is a giant leap, and a shock to customers – you’ve double the vend. We have all seen owners continue to bear the burden of increased expenses on the drying side; waiting until the last possible minute to either raise the price, lower the minutes or even dial back the heat. The bottom line is that this is revenue they will not get back.

By contrast, if an owner starts out with full-cycle pricing at $1.50, that move to $1.75 incrementally is much smaller as a percentage increase. Starting from a higher number just gives owners more options to adjust prices, and even more so if the store has a card or app-based payment system that allows increases of less than a quarter. These small changes make it less of an issue to the customer.

Customers are used to paying for a full cycle on the wash side. Pairing a full cycle on the dry side makes sense, especially given today’s technology.  The key is communication and helping make it intuitive to the customer what size tumbler they need. It’s incumbent upon owners and staff to train customers that splitting loads doesn’t speed up drying. Similarly, continued reinforcement that opening the tumbler door and checking loads slows the whole process.

By positioning your full-cycle drying correctly, it can be one of the most customer-friendly changes. You are essentially saying, “I’m going to help you stop over-drying and spending more than you need to.” The story gets better when you say, “if the load isn’t dry, additional minutes are on me.” Marketing is about spin, and if you can take that seemingly higher vend price and spin it to an exceptional value story – in terms of time and money – you have raised the customer experience.

Owners benefit from improved drying efficiency, faster cycles, more turns and overall better profitability.