CHICAGO — After COVID-19 ravaged 2020’s self-service laundry profits, the industry rebounded in 2021. Based on results from this year’s American Coin-Op annual State of the Industry survey, many self-service laundry owners and operators are still working their way back.
But despite any challenges left by the pandemic and more recently by inflation and higher costs, nearly three out of four owners polled this year say their total business improved in 2022.
The annual State of the Industry Survey report provides many statistics valuable to store owners and investors who wish to compare their operations to the industry average. This year’s survey focused on 2022-23 business conditions, vend pricing, equipment, turns per day and utilities cost.
When asked about their 2022 business results, respondents were given the opportunity to state whether their results were up, down or unchanged. (Surveys conducted prior to 2012 asked only if business was up or down, so keep this in mind if you’re making comparisons to results of that vintage.)
The annual survey is an unscientific, online poll of American Coin-Op readers who operate stores. Some percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding or other factors.
Part 1 examined the characteristics of the self-service laundry audience—store numbers/types, labor, payment types accepted—and so on. Let’s continue today by looking at year-over-year self-service business, drop-off wash/dry/fold, commercial laundry, and vending sales performance:
2022 BUSINESS VS. 2021
For 2022, nearly three-quarters of respondents (71.4%) say their overall self-service vended laundry business in gross dollar volume increased from that of 2021. By comparison, 86.7% reported increases in the 2021-22 survey.
The average 2022 business increase was 13.2%, down from 17% in 2021. Other past average business increases have been 7.1% (2020), 12.6% (2019), 9.9% (2018), 9.4% (2017) and 11.2% (2016).
Following is a breakdown of 2022 business increases (the figures relate to those reporting increases, not all respondents):
- Operators with a business increase of less than 10%: 25.7%;
- Operators with a business increase of 10-14%: 34.3%;
- Operators with a business increase of 15% or more: 40.0%.
Roughly 8% of operators polled faced a decrease in total business (in gross dollar volume) in 2022, compared to less than 4% in 2021. Results from previous years showed the following business declines: 58% in 2020, 12% in 2019, 8% in 2018, 10% in 2017, and 22% in 2016.
The average 2022 business decrease was 8.9%, compared to 20.0% reported for 2021. Other prior average decreases were 20.5% (2020), 7.5% (2019), 5.0% (2018), 6.7% (2017) and 9.1% (2016).
Among respondents who reported experiencing decreased business in 2022, the drop was as low as 4% or as high as 20%.
Roughly 18% of respondents say their 2022 business was unchanged compared to 2021 business.
DROP-OFF SERVICE AND PRICING
About 53% of operators surveyed reported that drop-off service business (in gross dollar volume) increased for them in 2022, compared to 62% in 2021, 34% in 2020, 54% in 2019, 58% in 2018, 68% in 2017 and 61% in 2016.
The average increase in drop-off wash/dry/fold service business last year was 13.4%, compared to 30.4% in 2021, 14.2% in 2020, 21.0% in 2019, 29.8% in 2018, 26.1% in 2017 and 18% in 2016.
Just 2.6% of respondents saw a decrease in 2022 drop-off business, which matches the share from 2021. In previous years, the shares of laundry owners with declining drop-off business were 51% in 2020, 12% in 2019, 10% in 2018, 16% in 2017 and 6.5% in 2016.
Roughly 45% of respondents say their 2022 drop-off business was unchanged from the previous year. That compares to 36% for 2021, 20% for 2020, 34% for 2019, 32% for 2018, 16% for 2017 and 35% for 2016.
Current drop-off pricing (in dollars per pound) ranges from 90 cents to $2.50, based on the survey responses.
Following is a breakdown of the most popular drop-off service prices (per pound), followed by the percentage of operators who charge them:
- $1.25 (16.7%)
- $1.75 (14.3%)
- $1.50 (11.9%)
Overall, prices for drop-off service remain fairly consistent with previous years’ surveys. In total, 17 different drop-off prices were reported in this year’s survey.
Roughly 65% of operators who took the annual poll offer drop-off service, which closely matches the share from last year’s survey.
Among store owners who offer commercial laundry services (the share was 47.7% in this survey), 35.5% reported that business (in gross dollar volume) increased for them in 2022. The average increase was 8.5%.
Roughly 7% of respondents reported a decline in commercial laundry business; the average was 17.5%. Approximately 58% of respondents say their 2022 commercial business was unchanged.
The share of respondents reporting their vending sales rose in 2022 was 39.1%, compared to 65.3% the previous year. The average vending sales increase last year was 10.4%.
Thirteen percent reported declines in vending sales in 2022, compared to 8.2% for 2021. The average decrease in 2022 was 19.3%.
Operators reporting no change for 2022 accounted for 47.8%, compared to 26.5% in the prior year’s survey.
Coming Tuesday in Part 3: Wash and dry vend pricing trends
Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].