If you are opening a laundromat, whether you bought an existing business or built your own from scratch, you may be thinking: should I hold a grand opening event? The answer is simple: Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!
You’ve done a ton of work to get your laundromat customer ready, so now it’s time to show off the neighborhood’s newest business! A grand opening celebration is a perfect way to get the word out that there’s a new laundromat in town. Hopefully, your grand opening marketing will reach potential customers and they’ll tell friends.
What Exactly Is a Grand Opening Celebration?
It can mean whatever you want it to mean. You may decide to hold an actual gathering on a single day and even invite the mayor for a ceremonial cutting of a red ribbon (see below.)
Or, you can run a longer event with cost-saving specials (half price washes, BOGO, Bring a Friend, etc.) for a full day, a week or a month. In fact, it’s your business and your grand opening celebration can last for as long as you want–even up to the first six months!
View your grand opening as a chance to not only find new customers, but also to keep their business and earn their loyalty. The more people they refer, the bigger your regular clientele list will be.
How Do I Advertise the Grand Opening?
This is no time to be shy. Advertise your grand opening in a big way. Money spent on promoting your business is money well spent. There are many ways to advertise your laundromat, including:
- Put signs on the windows of your laundromat and at the entrance of the mall, if your store is in a strip mall.
- Rent a “wacky waver” or “air dancer”–an inflatable, eye-catching tube propelled by a wind machine.
- Put up Grand Opening banners and flags on your storefront.
- Deliver direct mail to the surrounding neighborhoods.
- Hire people to pass out flyers to people walking by, or tuck under windshield wipers, if it’s allowed in your community.
- Advertise in local shopping guides or community newspapers.
- Ask neighboring businesses if they will put up your flyer (and offer to promote, too!)
- Explore online advertising options including Facebook ads.
- While we are at it, don’t forget to share the news of your new business’s grand opening on your own social media platforms and all friends to do the same!
Before you put up signs, or tuck flyers under windshield wipers, be sure to check with local zoning regulators and your landlord, about the lawful display and distribution of these items. You want to be a good neighbor from the start.
What Should My Ads and Flyers Say?
People love a discount, and that’s something you will want to offer for at least the first few months or until you’ve established a steady flow of repeat customers.
One easy way to discount your services and track customers is by installing the ShinePay cashless payment system on each of your washers and dryers. Customers install the ShinePay app on their smartphone, scan the QR code on the machine and they are on their way to a basket of freshly washed and cleaned clothing. They will love the convenience of never needing exact change!
As the owner of the laundromat, you can use ShinePay to set and change pricing for all your machines, track business and move your daily proceeds from your personal dashboard in the ShinePay app to your bank account.
Be sure to include your hours of operation on your flyer, and to advertise that you offer coin-free machines. Suggest they download ShinePay and set up their account so they are ready to go on their first visit to your laundromat. While coinless operations are convenient, you can still offer customers the ability to pay with coins.
Also, if appropriate, definitely mention your brand new, high-efficiency machines and any other special features that set your laundromat apart and above the others.
Everyone Loves a Free Gift
Another way to attract people to your grand opening celebration is to hold a gift basket drawing for the first 100 customers. Or, you can offer a prize (such as a bottle or box of laundry detergent) for the first 50 customers who walk through the door.
As mentioned before, be neighborly and everyone wins! Work with neighboring merchants to come up with a marketing plan that benefits everyone. Will the smoothie shop two doors down sell you coupons for a “free smoothie” at a discount? Give those out at your celebration as door prizes! Get creative!
We’re Opening Our Doors Today!
The best publicity is FREE publicity. There are a few things you can do to increase the excitement and boost your visibility that won’t cost you a penny!
- Contact your local newspapers. Send them each a press release announcing the date you’re opening your doors, and also send them an invitation to tour your new laundromat on opening day. Newspapers love to feature local businesses in their papers–especially businesses that advertise with them. It’s good for their business and it’s good for the community.
- Reach out to your local government. Who hasn’t seen a ribbon-cutting ceremony on TV, with someone wielding an oversized pair of scissors? Why not have your own ribbon cutting? Invite the Mayor, or even someone at the state or national level. Being seen in the community and supporting a local business benefits them, too.
- Once the doors are open and you’ve got customers inside, take this opportunity to explain the features and operation of each of your machines. Encourage your customers to download the ShinePay app right then and there, so that they can familiarize themselves with how it works. (This is a good chance to offer an added incentive to your customers for downloading the app.)
- Make the day fun for everyone. Offer light refreshments for customers and balloons for the kids. Maybe hire a DJ or just play music to add to the fun, festive atmosphere.
One last thing: Be sure to have extra staff on hand on opening day. Recruit family and friends to help you out in your new business, if they’re willing.
The most important thing is to make your customers feel welcome in your new space, so that they’ll return, week after week, for years to come.