August 13, 2019Comments are off for this post.

Can You Manage A Laundromat Remotely?

If you’re entering the laundromat business with the concept that you’re going to sit on a beach and collect your money–this is a myth. Like most businesses, laundromats aren’t stocks–they are active investments. They require your effort. The great news is there are ways you can use technology and process to reduce the time spent. This will free up your time to work on other opportunities to get to the purest form of “passive income”–retirement. 

In the past, managing your laundromat remotely implied self-reflection–do you treasure your limbs or freedom more? You could pay an arm and a leg for a card system or you could be a slave to your store. This changed with the invention of mobile payment technology. 

Not all mobile payment technology is equal and I would recommend reading, “Are All Mobile Payment Systems Equal.”
Mobile payment technology combine the advantages of a card system with low-cost. You can purchase a mobile system for as low as $149 for one machine. Or you could do a large store for under $10,000. You can do a laundry room for as little as $300. This makes adding electronic payments to your store or laundry room a no-brainer.

July 16, 2019No Comments

5 Ways Coin-Op Laundry Rooms Cut-Costs And Increase Profits

Putting a laundry room on your property can be a substantial money-maker. Here are the 5 ways it lowers costs and makes you more money:

  1. Saves you on purchasing washers & dryers for every unit. Not only is this more up-front capital but it decreases maintenance and operating costs. Every machine you have out is another chance at something going wrong.
  2. On-site laundry is an amenity which you can charge additional rent for. You won’t be able to charge as-much rent as in-unit but you will also reduce your operating costs and hassles. A few machines is much-better than 10’s of machines. 
  3. Coin-op laundry is a revenue generator. Now you took a burden and turned it into a revenue generator. A stackable washer/dryer could bring in as much as $1,000/month on a busy property. PRO-TIP: You can use 1 washer & 1 dryer to service 10 apartments.
  4. Commercial machines are bullet-proof. These machines last forever. The only real headache is collecting the funds. With mobile payment solutions like ShinePay you now don’t need to collect the coins. Tenants don’t need to get coins and can pay with their phone. You can also charge more for rent for having electronic payments on your laundry machines. 

Combined with smartphone laundry payments, like ShinePay which removes the the once large-hassle that commercial machines posed–collecting coins and vandalism. ShinePay does this at a reasonable cost

July 9, 2019No Comments

5 Tips To Keep Your Laundromat Customers Coming Back

  1. Cashless -- Nobody carries cash with them. Particularly in metropolitan areas. This trend is transcending socioeconomic barriers as smartphones become ever prevalent. Providing convenience is huge. Mobile payment systems allow you to do this at a low-cost.
  2. Appearance & Experience is Everything -- It’s important to embrace the reality people make split-second judgements and DO judge a book by it’s cover. If you get something at a restaurant and it looks appealing you’re more-likely to try it than if it looks like the chef had tremors when assembling your sandwich. Easy things you can do to improve the feel and experience of your store
    1. Cleanliness – Make sure the store is kept clean. People go to your store to turn their dirty clothes clean. If your store looks and appears dirty it isn’t going to be an appealing place to clean ones clothes.
    2. Fresh Paint  – Don’t choose a dark color. Choose something light and inviting. This will also help with lighting. Dark colors absorb light and light colors reflect it.
    3. Good Lighting – Make sure all your bulbs are working and that your store is well-lit.
  3. Responding to Yelp Reviews -- We have all faced challenging customers in our stores. However, it’s important to keep your cool and be the bigger person. While a challenging customer might be gone forever (not necessarily a bad thing), good customers will appreciate your caring & empathetic tone. Responding to unreasonable complaints with an empathy, understanding, and kindness will speak volumes about the character of the stores management and minimize the impact of a negative review. An example response could be:
    1. We understand sometimes things don’t go as expected. We try to do our best to please our customers but are human and sometimes not perfect. If you can reach out to _____@mylaundromat.com we would be happy to see if we can find a remedy.  
  4. Restrooms Speak Volumes – If you have a restroom, keep it clean. It’s better to not have it than have one that’s dirty. If you have a standard, you want to ensure that standard is applied to all aspects of your business even the ugliest parts like the restroom. Keeping your restroom clean will help invite customers back.
  5. Parking Lot  – Keep your parking lot clean. If you have parking spaces, make sure the lines are painted and bright. You can even put new lines in a parking lot by hand. People won’t notice if they aren’t perfectly straight. But they will notice that they are bright white. Keep trash away and don’t allow people to loiter or liter.  

June 28, 2019No Comments

Can I Reduce My Laundromat Business Insurance Premiums?

Short Answer: Remove the possibility of vandalism by using a low-cost mobile laundry payment solution like ShinePay.

If you are a victim of vandalism you might be facing a wave of increases in your laundromat business insurance premiums. This can happen when you have coin-changer machines & laundry machines broken into time & time again. If you have multiple mats in the same location the increase in premiums can be exponential.

Laundry Card Systems use to be the only viable solution until you saw the price-tag. Now there is a reasonably priced option–smartphone laundry payments.

Smartphone laundry payments leverage a users phone for the expensive stuff–internet connectivity, screen, and payment processing. This allows you to offer customers credit card payments at the low-price of $149/machine + 3.9% flat transaction fee on your new & old laundry machines.

The best part is you don't need to make a drastic change. ShinePay works in conjunction with coins or as a stand-alone payment solution. You can choose to go all coin-less and eliminate all vandalism or you can make that decision down the road. It's your business and smartphone laundry payments put you in the drivers seat.

June 28, 2019No Comments

Are Card Systems Investments Into The Past?

When compared to coin, card systems have been the technology evolved payment solution for decades. However, with the smartphone investing in card system is now an investment into the past. No one wants to carry cards with them. Everything revolves around the smartphone.

Today’s laundromat & multifamily customers prefer to use their smartphone for purchases. Mobile payment solutions are great because they are low-cost and featureful. Investing now in a card system could be a costly mistake and here’s why:

  1. Cost -- Card-based systems have always been known to be notoriously expensive and prohibitive for most coin-op laundry operators. Mobile systems change the game by offering all the features of a card based system at about 1/10 the cost. Doing a large laundromat with ShinePay will set you back under $10,000 vs $100,000+ with a card system. You can try one machine for as little as $149. And there is zero obligation and 30-day return policy.
  2. Simplicity -- Mobile systems have a small box that go securely inside your machines. The user brings all the complex stuff in with their phone. With card-based systems you were taking something simple like laundry and making it very complex. You need to purchase expensive credit-card readers which open yourself up to costly vandalization. You need to purchase special WiFi and Cellular base-stations, kiosks, and cards. This adds up not only in money but also in time spent playing with payment systems instead of investing time in additional opportunities.
  3. Upgrading is Expensive --  Card system hardware is expensive to upgrade. It has a screen, connectivity, and payment processing. With mobile payment solutions the user brings this technology in their smartphone and they bare the cost of upgrading it.
  4. Mobile Payments Change With The Times -- The core of mobile payment technology is the software that resides on the users phone. As payment technology change with software we integrate this into our system at no cost to you. The investment you make now will improve with time like a fine wine.

More-costly not to upgrade -- This probably sounds like a scare/sales tactic but it’s not. People spend more when they use a credit card. They choose where to go based off convenience. Many studies show this. And you can choose to pass on the cost of the fees to the user as a convenience fee, if that’s something you desire to do. Giving them the option to pay a lower cost with cash similar to many gas stations.

June 8, 2018Comments are off for this post.

In God We trust! In Quarters — Not So Much

A quarter is an alloy of copper and nickel, 0.955 inches in diameter, with a picture of George Washington on the back. They’re easy to recognize and just as easily evoke the wrath of Old Testament proportions in anyone who has ever had to daily dealings with the damned things, especially those whose business depends on their use.

One hundred years ago a quarter bought you 3 pints of milk, five grapefruits or a pound of bacon. Now there’s value for you — Walmart, eat your heart out! Now, this humble coin has become an object of derision well past its sell-by date, an artifact that generates unease, like the mad uncles our Victorian forebears are reputed to have kept locked in the attic.

Those in the vending machine business who compel their customers to pay in quarters and those who have to procure them in order to buy the services they make possible, hate these coins in equal measure. It’s not hard to see why; we’re not short of reasons to look down our 21st-century noses at the lowly quarter.

Quarters wear you out!

Who wants to spend their time schlepping to and from the bank with quarters? Put this question to any group of random Americans and you’ll be able to count the number raising their hands to enthusiastically embrace the task, on the fingers of one foot. Most of us would rather push a pistachio nut up Mount Rushmore with our nose.

Those whose have no option but to shuttle by bus to and from the bank with mountains of moolah — $500 of quarters weigh 30lbs — will gain some health benefits from the physical exertion, but this back-and-forth is guaranteed to erode the soul faster than a ten stretch in the latter day Alcatraz of Florence Maximum Security Prison.

This truck in coinage will hit your pocket too — you could replace all the tires on a Greyhound for the cost of your annual bus pass — a state of affairs that sits uneasily with those with little disposable income.

Even if you have your own car: Is driving around the city collecting quarters worth the drudgery of being repeatedly stuck in traffic as you shunt from stop to stop?

A counter-intuitive downside to the use of quarters in laundromats is that a scarcity of quarters in customers’ pockets can actually result in machine breakdown. Why? Because although most people want to spread loads of laundry across multiple machines they often have insufficient quarters to do so and end up overloading the units — a surefire way to shorten the machine’s effective lifespan.

Quarters raise issues of trust and security too. Ask yourself these questions: Do you trust your employees with cash? Do you trust your laundry service provider with cash? If an employee collects your quarters, can you be certain they aren’t a silent partner as well as an employee? Simply having quarters in a machine acts as a magnet for vandals.

So far, so bad. Quarters are heavy, cumbersome and soooo 19th century. But enough of this gloom, already. What can we do about this two-bit tyranny? Plenty, as it turns out. It’s time to consider Smartphone payments and to wave the quarter goodbye because technology has come to our rescue. Let’s face it, for those running a multi-family or laundromat operation, hauling quarters is time-consuming, back-breaking, and as we shall shortly learn, wholly unnecessary. Cue the song: ‘So long (quarter), it’s been good to know you.’

End two-bit tyranny with ShinePay, now!

Leading mobile payment system, ShinePay, offers market differentiation to your laundromat or multi-family property. The benefits of moving to a smart system like ShinePay are compelling.

For starters, the public’s dislike of quarters makes it much more likely they’d pay a premium to be rid of them altogether, using ShinePay’s smart systems instead. Remember that people tend to spend more with a credit card than with cash and you’ll quickly realize that you can increase rental charges without complaint since, from the client’s perspective, you are increasing the value of the property you rent out to them.

A sizeable percentage of Laundromat customers come from low-income groups. Yet amongst these groups Smartphone usage is high. Systems like ShinePay, therefore, appeal to this section of the community.

ShinePay technology eliminates coin usage by letting people pay for their services with their smartphones. Even if you use a service to collect quarters, ShinePay systems allow you to audit them passively, generating reports to compare with their own, giving you additional security.

ShinePay can help minimize or even eliminate wilful damage to machines by reducing or eliminating coin usage. This, in turn, reduces the incentive for bad people to rob or destroy your machines. Estimates of criminal damage can exceed $1000 per unit and serial vandalism is not unknown. This is an issue of great concern for multifamily & laundromat coin-op operators.

The ShinePay benefits of a quarter-free future, embrace the use of Smartphones and Smart devices, and they’re available right now. Consider the following few examples:

  • Eliminating labor costs associated with emptying machines
  • Eliminating transportation costs from depositing coins
  • Eliminating coin changers and reclaiming that capital investment
  • Eliminating repair costs resulting from customers overloading machines
  • The option to deposit money instantaneously to any bank account
  • Growing your operation through remote management

— George Melcer, CEO ShinePay

June 8, 2018Comments are off for this post.

The top money-making add-on for your rental property

What’s the most lucrative upgrade you could make to your existing real estate portfolio right now? Would you believe it’s most probably the addition of a Coin-Op Laundry Room?

That’s probably not the answer you were expecting, but believe it or not, increased returns from installing coin-operated washing machines in rented property is a hotly debated topic among landlords right now. So, to help you get the information you need to makes this business-critical and possibly lucrative decision, here’s our expert guide.

To install or not to install?

To install or not to install? Hamlet, Prince of Denmark asked himself a similar question. Although only Harvard professors of English understand the answer to this most famous Shakespearian question of all time, a decision on whether or not to install coin-operated laundry machines can be a lot less perplexing — provided you have the right information.

It might help to conceptualize washer-dryers as ‘doors’, setting rental levels so as to cover investment, repairs, interest, utilities, and profit (Can you see where this leads?)

Just remember from the get-go that if you’re going to install possibly expensive machinery you’ll want to make sure your buying the best — kit that isn’t the latter-day equivalent of an 8-track car stereo, a laser disc player or a Betamax VCR or any of the comparable technological flotsam that has washed up on the consumer’s shores over the last 20 years.

Economies of scale

Coin-operated machines will make you money, but only with economies of scale. Bear in mind that laundry machines have many mechanical parts, so you need to factor in operating costs. It’s hard to state the optimum number of machines you’ll need to buy to break-even, but an investment of fewer than four units in a single property is unlikely to lead to profit — at this level, you might not lose your shirt, but you might lose your initial investment.

For maximum earning power, go for top-quality washing machines — brands like LG, Electrolux or Maytag. There’s a good chance they will turn out to be energy-efficient, reliable and robust work-horses.

However, don’t let the need to invest in economies of scale to really make money dissuade you from putting a single washer-dryer kit in one of your properties. Just having a washer-dryer on site will attract renters. And rental agreements which charge tenants for services like water and electricity means you won’t lose out on any shiny new kit you decide to purchase.

Earning from coin-op laundry machines

A commercial washing machine can earn you money in two ways: through leasing or by outright purchase. Leasing works best for mid-size properties. Here you share any profits with your chosen manufacturer. You’ll have no outlay and your maintenance will be for the manufacturer’s account. In other words, your share may be considered straight profit.

Outright purchase works better for larger properties. The machines won’t be cheap and there’ll be regular upkeep costs, but larger properties have the potential to make larger profits. Do your research: check local laundromats to see what they charge for the same size washer-dryer, then set your price at least 10% higher.

Why would anyone pay a 10% premium? In a word — convenience. We all know that you can rustle up a cup of your favorite Mocha Java at home for a couple of cents. The reason we’ll gladly pay Starbucks three bucks at a drive-thru for the same cup of coffee is convenience. Consider Coke: Convenience store Coke, $1.20. Same Coke at Walmart, $5. Yet all Walmart has done is add some ice.

Additional income streams

Profits gained through tenants’ use of laundry equipment needn’t be the only income stream from your on-site laundry. Install a dispenser that vends soap, fabric softener and dryer sheets, because although some tenants will supply such laundry accessories themselves these dispensers get well used. There’s not much of a risk in doing so either — they’re a low-maintenance source of passive income.

Actually, it’s hard to think of a better location for vending machines of all kinds than the laundry room. This is a place which effectively traps people for several hours at a time. And during this time people get hungry and thirsty. So make your laundry room a home from home for your customers. Put in a television set, and a WiFi connection. Create an environment that says please stay, encouraging your customers to enjoy the facilities (and use the vending machines, of course) while they wait for their laundry.

Going above and beyond

Owners of high-end properties might consider partnering with a local dry-cleaning service or laundromat to offer laundry services to tenants. Pitch this right and you’ll get a slice of the profit for attracting customers to them.

You could also consider investing in high-end, environmentally sustainable laundry machinery for your properties. A significant initial investment for sure, but this will allow you to charge higher rents, especially in high price areas. An in-unit washer and dryer is a powerful selling point for those in the market for a luxury apartment.

As a general principle, property owners should always be on the lookout for opportunities to squeeze more value out of their properties. Granted, the yacht you plan to buy will need to stay in the marina a while longer if you’re solely dependent on profits from the detergent vending machine in your building's laundry room, but don’t turn your nose up at small contributions — over time these add up, becoming significant sources of passive income.

Bottom line, your rental property is a business, so there’s no need to feel guilty about looking for new ways to make more money from it. After all, the services you offer add value to your tenant's lives.



Worst Case

Even if the entire neighborhood effectively boycotts your washer-dryer, you’ll still have your initial investment.

10% Tenant Usage

Your machines are there when wanted. You’ll have minimal wear and tear and your utilities will be covered (less than 20% of vend price). You’ll have the repair factor and a profit element covered too.

50% Tenant Usage

All of the above with more profit.

100% Tenant Usage

Down payment on another 4-plex.

— George Melcer, CEO ShinePay

May 30, 2018Comments are off for this post.

The Internet of Things (IoT): What’s in it for Multi-family Property Managers?

As paradigm-busting concepts go, the Internet of Things (IoT) is right up there with the invention of quantum computing and, quite possibly, Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey too. The IoT combines existing technological components like cloud computing, embedded sensors, and machine to machine (M2M) communications, adds the magic dust of instant connection and the ability to interpret and act on data in real-time using your smartphone as an interface. The result is a life-transforming digital near-future which promises to be awesome.

It all started in the late ’80’s when two electronics enthusiasts connected a Sunbeam Deluxe Automatic Radiant Control Toaster to the Internet. Granted, using an iPhone X to instruct the toaster in your Des Moines townhouse to serve you up a lightly browned bagel, while you’re on holiday in Florida, apart from being pointless, hardly ranks alongside the invention of the wheel. But that simple net-enabled toaster provided a powerful proof of concept for the IoT, one that leads straight to the smart cities of our very near future.

Yet, regardless of how the IoT might change our lives a few years from now, it’s power is available to us right now and much of it is highly relevant to multi-family property managers.

The IoT and multi-family property management

Through the smartphone in your pocket, you can control all kinds of business-related devices: lights, pool pumps, pool heaters or HVAC Systems, to name but a few. Many other devices may be similarly connected and used for monitoring, from Fit-bits and Pedometers to doorbells and smoke detectors.

This real-time super-fast connectivity offers greater visibility, whatever the scale of your operation. And of course greater visibility equals more effective decision making which ultimately saves you money.

Operational opportunities to maximize profit

Our salespeople will always look for new markets and customers. That’s the nature of business. But the high level of control over our connected devices which the IoT gives us helps us to squeeze every last dime out of the business we already have. Let’s take one simple example: Simply by moving a laundry business from a coin collection model to a mobile laundry payment system, can cut your operating costs by thousands of dollars — dollars currently lost hauling quarters around in bags, fuelling gas-guzzling vehicles with their expensive maintenance, repair and insurance costs, costs which constantly erode your bottom line.

Efficient access

We already have systems that work similarly to IoT — video monitoring systems for example — and have been around for decades. But with the IoT, you don’t have to make a trip to the office to see what your cameras have captured. We often have huge amounts of data. It’s just that we cannot easily access it, because doing so takes more time that we can afford. The huge advantage of IoT lies in its ability to gather, analyze and make available in the palm of the hand, enormous volumes of digital data from existing equipment, from anywhere in the world.

Can I make more money with IoT?

Yes, you can. Studies show that Millennials and Generation Y would willingly pay more for a smart apartment.

To Infinity and Beyond!

Much has happened in the intervening 30 years since the creation of the humble smart toaster that kicked off the Internet of Things. Already we have hundreds of examples of the practical value to be derived from M2M connections operating in the cloud. Already, millions of us have smart wristbands, energy meters, and cars that park themselves.

Yet this merely scratches the surface of what is to come. Soon smart concrete will automatically give us early warning of catastrophic collapse. Temperature sensors embedded in roads will alert drivers to slow down when ice poses a danger up ahead. These are but two examples of the transformatory power which the IoT promises to bring within our lifetimes.

— George Melcer, CEO Shinepay

© ShinePay 2019  |  2744 East 11th Street Suite D05 Oakland, CA

© ShinePay 2018    |  Oakland, CA    |    hello@getshinepay.com

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