One of the reasons for opening a vended laundry might be the chance to run a business that does not require its owners to be present for much of the time.
In fact, on one of the most popular self-managed businesses is that of vended laundries.
These are businesses with no employees that do not need the owner to be on the premises. Clients can use the washing machines and dryers on their own, especially if they are easy to use.
Vended laundries also allow the user to pay in a simple way, either by inserting coins into the machine itself or with a payment station that controls the machine selected.
As you can see, setting up a laundry means having a business that generates revenue on a daily basis while the owners are at home or wherever they want.
They might be people with another job or other businesses. For them the laundry is simply an additional source of income. There are also people who have several laundries and can run all their vended businesses from one place.
However, in the past it was not so easy. While owners did not need to be in their laundry all day, they could only see what was going on there by visiting it regularly. Moreover, if a client had difficulties, the owner had to go to the premises to help them, or at best solve the problem by telephone, though this was not always possible.
Fortunately, the major leap forward in technology in recent years has practically eliminated these limitations. Thanks to the Internet of Things, today a vended laundry can be run without being on the premises, providing a remote control system is installed.
This term is used more and more, as it represents a technological advance that is as surprising as it is unstoppable.
It consists of connecting everyday objects to the Internet in order to monitor their operation remotely, as well as scheduling and activating the desired events.
In technical terms it means assigning an IP to the object. Through this the owner can access the objects connected and give them instructions. Of course, they can also review the information collected and stored on the server.
This technology has been coming in to use in the home for years, though domestic automation still has a long way to go. These systems allow the autonomous operation of some electrical appliances in the home, so that technology contributes to the design of increasingly smart spaces.
In fact, this technology is also present in vended laundries.
With the remote control systems some manufacturers have designed, it is possible to have a very comprehensive management system, one with which the owner can monitor practically all the operating parameters of the washing machines and dryers, as well as everything to do with turnover in the business and the use of their machines.
This allows laundry owners to manage their business anywhere, anytime, simply by connecting to the server from their computer, tablet or telephone.
The technological innovations used in vended laundries make it much easier for their owners to manage the business.
Not only do they drastically reduce visits to the premises and monitor what is going on all the time, but they also boost the efficiency and profitability of the business by providing an overview of output and turnover.
For example, an owner might realise that they have less clients at certain times. In this case, they can run an offer so that at slack times the price of washes is a little lower or some additional incentive is offered.
The opposite might also happen: if they detect that there are times or days with significantly more clients, they could increase the price of washes to make higher profits.
This is why, when an entrepreneur is deciding which supplier of washing machines and dryers to choose, they should take into account whether they include systems of this kind and what features are on offer.
The most important features a remote control system for vended laundries needs to offer are listed below:
The minimum you should demand from software of this kind for laundries is being able to see in real time which machines are running, which are available and which are waiting to be emptied.
It is also a good idea for the remote management system to send you notifications when any alarm is tripped or if any machine is out of order. Ideally, this notification should specify the possible causes of the problem and offer suggestions for solving it.
Another key feature the remote control platform for your laundry should offer is the possibility of checking the turnover, both in real time and historically.
In this respect, the system must be able to store these data and update them automatically. For this to happen, it is essential that each machine record the programmes run and their prices throughout the day.
You should also be able to see the number of cycles run in the laundry every day. This includes checking on the cycles run on each machine. It also gives you the chance to find out which programmes are most used and which extra options are in the most demand.
As you can see, these are data that show how the business is performing in great detail. Consequently they help the owners to take strategic decisions to promote some programmes or change the price of their services.
As we pointed out at the start, the Internet of Things allows to you programme events, and this is something to expect from vended laundry management software.
Like this you can change the status of your machines - activate them or put them out of service - according to your needs or, even more usefully, you can control the washing or drying programme of whichever machine you want using the software. This is particularly useful when a client asks for help, as it allows you to solve their problem immediately without having to leave home.
Girbau has developed its own remote control system for laundries, the Sapphire software.
All the tasks listed above can be performed using its platform. Like this laundry owners can monitor everything that is happening in their businesses from anywhere.
To make this possible, all you have to do is connect the Sapphire Connectivity Box to Girbau machines. From then on, not only can you manage and configure a host of details in your laundry from home, but you can also make changes, programme actions and then assess their effect on turnover.