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May 8, 2018
Molly Blake

Laundry: Should PMCs Ditch the Coins?

Does anyone carry cash anymore? I never do. Venmo, credit card, or apple pay is everything. In fact, when my daughter lost her last tooth, I had to ‘borrow’ money from my other daughter’s piggy bank to fund the tooth fairy booty. I call that a parenting win. 

Yi, a FRONTSTEP product owner, gets change from the local Chinese restaurant around the corner from his building in order to pay for his laundry. And in a recent CAI forum topic, the discussion of a laundry coin machine that has been repeatedly ripped off garnered robust discussion about going coinless. 

A 2016 Federal Reserve study found the number of non-cash payments — including credit and debit cards — totaled 144 billion in 2015, a 5.3% increase from 2012 to 2015. There’s a Starbucks in Seattle that’s cashless, and many other restaurants are starting to test out cashless only options. So why not the last frontier … laundry! As PMCs, swapping out coin operated laundry facilities is something to consider. Here’s why PMCs should think about embracing coinless options:

Data: You can collect information about the machine usage, determine what times the facilities are being used the most/least, who is using them, and how often. This research is invaluable. One example, it’s possible to change rates, a la’ Uber surge pricing, during peak usage times. That means you can turn up the ROI on your clean investment. (Clean, get it?!) 

Less crime: This one is pretty obvious. No more bins full of coins just asking to be stolen and fewer folks wandering around with armfuls of money, either. 

Fewer repairs: Coins jamming and damaged coin boxes courtesy of frustrated residents or would-be thieves means costly repairs for PMCs. Many of the commercial laundry providers deal with the whole she-bang so no more collecting coins, or calling out for handymen to fix broken machines. Most machines can be retro-fitted, too, so no need to replace the entire fleet of machines. 

Resident happiness: Our friend, Yi, would much rather use a credit card, “as long as there aren’t any fees,” he said.  Not a big deal—loyalty cards eliminate fees, offer marketing opportunities and residents can monitor load progress from their smart phone. 

Managing multi-family or condo buildings isn't easy. There are many ways to streamline your work processes and keep residents happy. Now, if only the tooth fairy would take Venmo!

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