WALTHAM, MA - Mac-Gray Corporation, the industry leader in multi-housing laundry facilities management innovation, today introduced its Change Point® payment and monitoring system. Designed specifically for use in central laundry rooms, the Change Point® system is a significant advancement over the coin-only and laundry-card payment systems that currently operate in multi-housing laundry rooms across the United States.
Source: Mac-Gray Corporation
Change Point® connects washers and dryers to the Internet, giving residents the ability to pay for each wash or dry cycle with a debit card, credit card, or coin, eliminating the chore of finding the correct number of quarters or the need to keep track of or replenish a laundry card. Change Point® also utilizes Mac-Gray's proprietary LaundryView® monitoring system, which has been redesigned to provide new features for the multi-housing market, with robust service and revenue tracking capabilities for the property owners. It also allows residents to check the availability of washers and dryers before going to the laundry room, and to get a text message after their laundry is done. To learn more about Change Point®, please go to www.macgray.com.
The combination of Change Point® with the enhanced LaundryView® (version 3.0) allows Mac-Gray to now monitor every aspect of laundry equipment operation, from live reporting of when a cycle is purchased, to enabling the remote detection of malfunctions and automatic dispatch of a technician. Reports that account for each transaction – and include a comprehensive service history – are updated daily and made available to the owner or manager of the property through Mac-Gray's client extranet.
"The introduction of Change Point® represents another important innovation by Mac-Gray and the next generation of service in our industry," said Stewart G. MacDonald, Mac-Gray's chief executive officer. "Change Point® brings an unprecedented level of transparency to the management of laundry facilities. This is good for the clients we serve, good for their residents, and good for our company. Property managers no longer have to wonder how much revenue is passing through their laundry rooms; residents no longer need to hoard quarters or store money on a laundry card; and Mac-Gray is able to provide a truly differentiated and revolutionary product. We expect Change Point® will eventually yield higher utilization and higher operating efficiency, all while driving superior transparency and service."
Mac-Gray offers two configurations of the Change Point® system. One enables residents to pay at a wall-mounted "laundry center" that communicates with the machines using patent-pending technology. The other configuration allows users to pay directly at the machine, using either a debit or credit card, or coin. It was developed in conjunction with Heartland Payment Systems®, combining Mac-Gray's patented LaundryView® monitoring technology with Heartland's card readers and micro-payment processing capabilities. LaundryView® 3.0 now provides the owner or manager with an accounting of all transactions, coin or card, made at each machine. All credit and debit card transactions with both Change Point® configurations are processed through Heartland Payment Systems®.
"The two primary objectives in developing the Change Point® system were to provide our clients with total transparency to their laundry room operation and to give ultimate convenience to their residents. Change Point® achieves both objectives with features and benefits that are unique in the industry," said Bob Tuttle, Executive Vice President, Technology & Information Systems. "Having introduced LaundryView® several years ago for the academic market, we then started developing Change Point® with the aim of bringing that technology, and our experience, to the larger multi-family laundry facilities management market."
"The response to Change Point® has been enthusiastic," said Sheffield Halsey, Executive Vice President, Marketing. "With more than 80% of consumers owning a debit card, the feedback we have received is that Change Point® has made it much easier to pay for laundry. As a result, we are seeing revenue increases at some properties where we have installed Change Point® and eliminated the coin-only barrier to usage. But what people really love about Change Point® is the convenience they get from its LaundryView® component: seeing machine availability and getting a text message when their laundry is done. One property manager told us that his residents responded so well to Change Point® that he wants us to install it across the entire portfolio."
The Change Point® system has undergone comprehensive testing in laundry facilities managed by Mac-Gray. Locations have included apartment properties operated by premiere multi-housing companies such as Archstone, Camden Property Trust, and Equity Residential; as well as testing in laundry facilities in condominiums, off-campus student housing, travel centers, extended stay hotels and resort hotels.
One of the installations was at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, FL. Bruce Holdsworth, Director of Engineering, commented, "Prior to partnering with Mac-Gray, we were self-operating and laundry was a distraction for us. Mac-Gray has helped us improve the program with Change Point® and our guests have reported that using a debit card is much easier than quarters. And Change Point® gives us the flexibility to increase the vend price in smaller increments in the effort to create more revenue without a drastic increase in costs for our guests."
Another installation was at Camden Lakeside in Brandon, FL, where the Purchasing Manager, Rick Pippin, reported a very enthusiastic response by his sales team to Change Point®. One of the leasing consultants at Camden Lakeside said, "It makes me more confident as a leasing consultant to promote our laundry facilities despite not having washer and dryer connections in the individual residences."
"An important element of the testing was evaluating consumer acceptance of the system. This included user survey work as well as panel research to understand the impact of the system on people's laundering behavior. Universally, people found that Change Point® made the laundry task easier through both its debit / credit card payment feature and the time-saving benefits of LaundryView®," concluded Halsey.
Founded in 1927, Mac-Gray derives its revenue principally through the contracting of debit-card- and coin-operated laundry facilities in multi-unit housing facilities such as apartment buildings, college and university residence halls, condominiums and public housing complexes. Mac-Gray manages approximately 88,000 laundry rooms located in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Mac-Gray also sells and services commercial laundry equipment to retail laundromats and other customers through its product sales division.