2017-2018 State of the Self-Service Laundry Industry (Part 3)

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(Photo: ©iStockphoto/CatLane)

Bruce Beggs |

50% of store owners purchased at least one piece of equipment in 2017

CHICAGO — I’m sure you chart the course of your self-service laundry business month by month, but wouldn’t you like to know how your store measures up to others in the industry? Did you have a “good” year or a “bad” year in 2017, comparatively speaking? Is your pricing strategy in line with others?

The answers to questions like these and more can be found in American Coin-Op’s annual State of the Industry survey, which offers store owners and operators a valuable opportunity to compare their operation to others in the industry.

This year’s survey focused on 2017-18 business conditions, pricing, equipment, common challenges, turns per day, and utilities cost.

When asked about their 2017 business results, respondents were given the opportunity to state whether their results were up, down or unchanged. This is a departure from surveys compiled in 2011 and earlier, when respondents were asked only if their business was up or down. Keep this in mind as you’re making comparisons to previous years’ results.

The survey was an unscientific, online poll of American Coin-Op readers who operate stores. Some percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding or other factors.

PURCHASED IN 2017

Fifty percent of respondents purchased at least one piece of equipment (washer, dryer, water heater, vending machine or other) in 2017, down from 63% in 2016.

Following is a breakdown of 2017 purchases. (Editor’s note: Percentages do not total 100% because some buyers purchased equipment in multiple equipment categories.):

  • 6.9% of respondents purchased at least one top loader. The average purchase was 16.8 machines. (Editor’s note: This calculation does not include a 460-machine purchase by a multi-store owner).
  • 38.9% of respondents purchased at least one front loader. The average purchase was 11.1 machines.
  • 22.2% of respondents purchased at least one dryer (regular or stack). The average purchase was 14.1 machines.
  • 18.1% of respondents purchased a water heater.
  • 13.9% of respondents purchased a vending machine.

Coin/bill changers, seats, folding tables, security cameras and an HVAC system were also listed as having been purchased.

2018 SHOPPING LIST

Operators were asked if they purchased, or plan to purchase, new equipment this year.

Roughly 38% of respondents plan to add some type of equipment (washer, dryer, water heater, vending machine or other) to their mix, or have already done so, in 2018. By comparison, in last year’s survey, a similar share had added equipment during the year or planned to do so.

Following is a breakdown of purchases operators have already made in 2018, or plan to make by the end of the year. (Editor’s note: Percentages do not total 100% because some buyers purchased/plan to purchase equipment in multiple equipment categories.):

  • 11.1% of respondents have purchased, or plan to purchase, a new top loader this year. The average purchase is (or will be) 6.1 machines.
  • 25% of respondents have purchased, or plan to purchase, a new front loader this year. The average purchase is (or will be) 4.2 machines.
  • 18.1% of respondents have purchased, or plan to purchase, a new dryer this year. The average purchase is (or will be) 10.8 machines.

Our analysis concludes on Thursday with operational challenges, turns per day, utilities cost, and predictions for 2018!

Part 1: Audience characteristics; 2017 overall business vs. 2016; breakdowns of drop-off, commercial laundry and vending business

Part 2: Vend prices for wash and dry

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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