MONROE, NC – Real estate developers Ben and Mekell Joffs recently invested in a high-speed laundromat here. The 3,800 square foot Monroe Express laundry center, which opened in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, broke even in five months, according to the Joffs, and now averages more 4.5 rotations per day – well ahead of projections .
“Real estate is cyclical, so we wanted to invest in a business with predictable income,” says Ben. “The express laundry center® gives us all the tools and support we need, without being a franchise. »
With the help of full-service laundry equipment distributor T&L Equipment Co., in Charlotte, North Carolina, the Joffs found a location and soon opened the facility.
“T&L Equipment has been invaluable,” says Ben. “They have prepared a demographic study, revenue projection, competitive analysis, financing documents, as well as equipment installation and continue to provide ongoing service. I wouldn’t do it myself without them.
In the fully supervised laundromat, guests enjoy a safe and clean environment with free Wi-Fi, high-speed Continental Girbau ExpressWash® Washers and ExpressDry® Clothes dryers, flat screen TVs, a children’s reading center and the ability to pay their way. The icing on the cake? A washing/drying/folding of 60 minutes.
ExpressWash washers – in 20, 40, 60 and 80 pound capacities – are self-contained machines that achieve high extraction speeds of up to 400 G-force. They remove more moisture during extraction compared to slower, hard-mounted extraction machines (100-200 G-force) and, therefore, reduce the resulting drying time by up to 50%, depending on the maker. This time saving allows customers to carry out several loads of laundry in less than 60 minutes.
“The process is very quick,” adds Mekell. “Our customers say they spend twice as much time in our competitors’ stores because their machines don’t extract water as efficiently.”
Since customers get in and out quickly at the Monroe Express laundry center, it helps to avoid bottlenecks during peak hours. And, from a store owner’s perspective, clothes dryers run less often, saving expensive natural gas.
Laundry is all about making life simpler and more enjoyable for the customer, according to the Joffs. Attendants maintain a watertight vessel and clean machinery after each load, owners say. They also work closely with customers on the use of the store’s hardware and CCI FasCard payment system. Monroe Express Laundry Center allows customers to pay using coins, credit/debit, Google Pay, Apple Pay and the FasCard loyalty card.
“For every $20 spent, customers get $2 added to their loyalty card,” Ben explains. “Every penny is tracked using the FasCard system, so it’s really quick and easy to refund customers if needed. There’s also an app where customers at home can track when machines become available.”
For added convenience, self-service customers are encouraged to customize the wash process using the ProfitPlus® Control, which is standard on all Continental washers. The control offers more wash options and cycle features to the customer, with four main cycle options (Hot, Warm, Super Wash and Cold) and optional “Extra” cycles (including Extra Wash, Extra Rinse and /or Extra Spin). Each time a customer selects an “Extra”, the total sale price increases, helping to generate in-store revenue. Overall, customers do this 10% of the time and are charged an additional 25-50 cents depending on the size of the washer.
“Most people choose an extra wash, but others who are sensitive to detergents often choose an extra rinse,” says Mekell.
Catering to its entire population, Monroe Express Laundry Center also offers full wash/dry/fold service for residential and commercial accounts. This side of the business accounts for 8-10% of revenue, but is growing.
Meanwhile, the store’s highly efficient laundry equipment, LED lighting, HVAC system, and water heater combine for low utility costs that make up just 15-18% of gross revenue. Not bad when the national average, according to a recent Coin Laundry Association survey, is 24%.
“It was a fun learning experience for us and our kids,” Mekell says of the new family business. “Our customers love it and we love making their lives easier.”