Paying it Forward With a Laundromat.
Making a Difference can improve not only Someone's Life but Your Business as Well!
One of my favorite things about the coin laundry business is how easy it is for an owner to help those in need within the local community and in some cases, it doesn't cost them a single quarter. For those of you who know me or have listened to my 1-hour free call about Laundromats, you might remember how I talked briefly about this subject. However, for the benefit of those who missed it, I talked about two ways for a Laundromat owner to give back.
The first way is simply to donate all of the lost clothing that gets left in the store to a local charity. This could be a homeless shelter, neighborhood church, or organizations such as the Goodwill or the Salvation Army. The point is, instead of throwing out the lost clothes; wait for a month or so for customers to reclaim them. Then, just take them down to a charity that can help get the clothes to people who could really use them.
Benefit Fundraisers Help Those In Need!
The second way of paying it forward is to actually donate a part of the profits of the business to a local charity that touches your heart. Now I'm not going to get up on my soapbox and try to convince you why you should be generous with your bounty. Except to say, that in my experience, I have received far more back than I have ever given.
We all know that one way of donating is to take a certain percentage of your business' income and donate it and I enjoy doing that on a monthly basis. Today, however, I'd like to talk about a way of donating to your favorite cause, which will not only help it, but also get your customers talking and involved as well. This form of donation is doing a benefit fundraiser. There are a couple of reasons why a benefit makes sense in the coin laundry business.
First of all, by doing a benefit, you are able to raise awareness about the charity you are promoting, while at the same time letting your customers know that their wash dollars are going to a good cause. It is your chance to personally talk to your customers in an atmosphere of generosity. In addition to telling them about the charity they're supporting, just by washing, you can also survey them on how other aspects of your business is performing. Customers will be more apt to give you honest feedback once the ice has been broken with your explanation about the charity event.
Let's face it, customers talk, and Laundromat charity events are good publicity! If you promote the event well, you have a good chance of having some new faces show up to do their wash just to support the charity. What most laundry mat owners tend to forget is that a new customer is worth upwards of $600 a year in revenue. Gaining just a handful of new customers from a benefit event for your charity, could more than pay for it.
Let me give you an example of an event we just did in one of our stores. We called it, "Wash For Children's." It was a benefit event where we donated the entire wash revenue on the last Saturday of July to the Intensive Care Unit at Oakland Children's Hospital in celebration of our one-year anniversary in Oakland.
The event was a great success. In addition to donating the wash revenue, we also had a bucket available for customers to make an extra contribution to the charity. The hospital provided banners, brochures, and DVD's which we handed out to customers as they washed their clothes.
Furthermore, every customer was given a postcard sized thank-you letter from us, thanking them for their support of the event. Not only were we able to raise awareness for Children's Hospital, but all totaled we were able to donate $1,500 for the charity. Not bad for our first attempt.
Besides being able to help kids truly in need, our customers felt proud to be part of the event and invited many of their friends to join in, several of which have told me that they will be back to wash regularly.
- Brian Brunckhorst