When the general public thinks about coin laundries, one of the first images that comes to mind is that of the store owner raking in all of those quarters. Unfortunately, that’s an image that many would-be thieves have as well.

So, if your self-service laundry business requires you to collect quarters, here are some personal safety precautions to heed:

Vary your collection schedule.

The first basic tip to remember is to alter your collection schedule. If someone is going to rob you, there is a good chance that he will watch you and your store for a period of time before actually following through with his plans.

Typically, would-be thieves know exactly who the laundry owners are. In fact, they probably know more about your business than you think they do. They probably know where you keep your money and how often you collect. What’s more, they’ve probably been in your store more than once. To prevent yourself from falling into a routine, don’t collect on the same day or at the same time, because it just makes you an easier target for robbery.

Use discretion when handling money in your laundry.

Another key is to not attract attention, especially when you’ve got your changers open and a stack of bills in your hands.

Also, be discreet when carrying the day’s or week’s proceeds from the store to your car and then from your car to the bank. Don’t put your money in a canvas bag with the name of your bank proudly emblazoned across the front. Put your cash in a toolbox, or some other container that will not make it so obvious that you are taking money out of your laundry.

Some laundry owners have even altered large boxes of detergent, placing metal cases inside of the soapboxes. This way it looks like they are just carrying soap in and out of the store. Other store operators put their money at the bottom of a laundry basket full of clothes so that it appears they’re simply taking clothes out of the store.

Be observant when collecting.

Of course, there’s no specific way to not be seen dumping quarters out of your washers and dryers, which is why it’s even more crucial that you don’t become distracted while doing so.

Keep an eye on who is in your facility. Obviously, if you work in your laundry consistently, you’ll no doubt recognize many of your regular customers. However, if there’s a shady-looking character hanging around, don’t open your changer.

Alter your route to the bank.

After collecting, make your deposit as soon as possible. Don’t make a routine stop at your house first, or to some other place where you typically might do your counting, because this could increase the chance that a criminal will follow you home.

Just as you vary your collection schedule, be sure to vary your route to depositing your money as well. Again, continue to be as observant of your surroundings as you were when you were collecting in your store. Don’t let your guard down. Alter your stops and your route to the bank. And, above all, don’t put your money in the trunk of your vehicle and go home.

Collect during business hours.

Collect during the daytime or during business hours whenever possible. If your store is too busy to collect during store hours, lock the doors after hours, or do the collections first thing in the morning.

Collect with a partner.

Use two people when you collect your store. One person can collect and the other person can watch your back. He can keep an eye out for what is going on inside and outside the store. One person can’t be aware of his surroundings at all times.

Collect in bags, not buckets.

Many owners collect their coins in buckets, which can be a big mistake. You should really collect coins in bags. You can’t see the coins in a bag. Plus, buckets are loud. When you dump coins into a bucket, it sounds like a drum. And a bag full of money lies on a cart less conspicuously. If the money is in a bucket, it’s obvious.

Carry a sacrificial bag.

Perhaps consider carrying a sacrificial money bag when collecting. If you get robbed and you don’t having anything to give the thief, he may tend to get upset and do crazy things. So, if you’re going to carry out the day’s proceeds, maybe have one sacrificial bag that has 20 $1 bills in it. If someone is going to run up and grab something, let it be that. You wouldn’t mind paying $20 for peace of mind.

When collecting, park close to your store.

In fact, park right in front of your laundry. Some owners may be tempted to leave a choice parking space near the front door for a customer. However, when you’re leaving your store with the day’s proceeds, you want to be as close to the safety of your vehicle as possible.

Also, park in a lighted area if you’re going to be leaving your store at night.

Call someone.

When you walk outside after collecting, especially late at night, be talking to someone on your cell phone. That way, if you are accosted, even if you drop the phone in panic, the person on the other end will immediately hear that something is wrong.

Also, when you call someone to let them know you’re leaving your store, you’re creating a timeline. Now someone is expecting you. If something does happen, you’ll be missed more readily.

Walk tall.

Posture can draw or repel predators. People who are afraid tend to hunch their shoulders and lock their hips. Work toward avoiding such fearful posture.

These tips are intended as guidelines to help you stay safe. Make sure you also protect your business and its assets with the appropriate property and liability insurance. Click the link below to begin an application.