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A coin laundry is a business that primarily serves as a facility in which individuals can pay to do laundry through the use of clothes washing machines and dryers. These machines are often coin operated, from which such facilities have earned their names. This type of business may be operated simply as a laundry facility, allowing people to do their own laundry, though it may also be part of a larger business that includes dry-cleaning services as well. A coin laundry often makes profit primarily through payments to use the laundry machines, though secondary profits through vending machines are also likely.
Also called a Laundromat, a coin laundry business typically allows customers to do their own laundry without the assistance of an employee. Some of these facilities, in fact, do not even have employees on site and instead rely on regular visits from employees to monitor machine functionality and to remove coins from the machines. These facilities that lack oversight by employees can be less desirable for some customers, however, as there may be greater incidents of theft of clothing at such locations. An unmonitored coin laundry may also have a coin changer for customers, allowing them to convert paper money into coins for use in the machines.
Some coin laundry facilities are monitored by employees who can assist customers with machine problems and make change for customers when necessary. These facilities can be connected to a larger business that deals with other laundry needs, often providing dry-cleaning services. Dry-cleaning services are not typically provided for customers to do themselves, but instead involve clothing being left by customers for dry-cleaning by employees. While the dry-cleaning can potentially be done while a customer is washing his or her clothes at an adjoining coin laundry facility, dry-cleaning is typically returned to customers on a subsequent day.
Profits for a coin laundry business are often made through the coins deposited into the machines to use them. The amount charged to use each machine can vary, depending on the business and the cost of energy and appliances incurred by the company. Other sources of revenue for a coin laundry facility include vending machines for food and laundry products. These facilities often include machines that can be used to purchase detergent or fabric softener sheets, and while this may incur secondary costs for a company, revenue from such machines may ultimately outweigh the costs.
Laundromats are particularly popular in college towns. Students, after all, get their clothes dirty and need a way to wash them, right?
One of the most successful -- and largest -- laundromats I've run across combined a bar and arcade with a laundromat. Brilliant! People had something to do other than sit around and watch their clothes spin. And, yes, that laundromat was in a college town.