Annual Distributors Survey Offers Mixed Results (Part 2)

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Bruce Beggs |

Average new self-service laundry: 2.5 top loaders, 28.6 front loaders, 33.4 dryer pockets, 2,824 square feet

CHICAGO — The share of distributors reporting their business had improved year-over-year declined for the fourth straight year, yet still represented the majority polled in American Coin-Op’s annual Distributors Survey. A majority of distributors is also expecting overall 2018 sales to surpass those of 2017.

Slightly more than half of distributors polled (53.1%) say that business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2017 compared to 2016. When it comes to sales projections, a slightly larger share (56.3%) believe their company’s 2018 overall sales will be better than 2017’s.

Approximately 22% of respondents say 2017 business was worse than 2016’s, while 25.0% say that business has stayed the same.

Distributors listed in the previous edition of the American Coin-Op Distributors Directory were invited to participate in this year’s unscientific survey, which charts 2017 business and makes comparisons to previous years. In this summary report, percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

EQUIPMENT MIX

Wonder what equipment that store owners and distributors are installing in new stores across the country? Here’s a quick analysis on trends, based on this year’s survey results.

Just one-third of new stores in 2017 had at least one top loader, which is the lowest share recorded in recent distributor surveys. Past survey percentages were 46% in 2016, 41% in 2015, 60% in 2014, 63% in 2013, 45% in 2012 and 58% in 2011.

Vended laundries newly built in 2017 have an average of 2.5 top loaders, compared to averages of 3.2 per new store in 2016, 2.8 per store in 2015, 4.6 per store in 2014, and 4.5 per store in 2013. (These figures factor in new stores with no top loaders.)

Breaking it down, following are the most popular number of top loaders installed in new stores in 2017:

1) 0

2) 8

3) 5 and 6 (tie)

When it comes to front loaders, vended laundries that were newly constructed in 2017 have an average of 28.6 front loaders. This compares to averages of 33.3 in 2016, 28.5 in 2015, 27.5 in 2014 and 26.6 in 2013.

The most common number of front loaders installed in newly constructed laundries in 2017 was:

1) 30 and 35 (tie)

3) 40

4) 25

Vended laundries that were newly constructed in 2017 have an average of 33.4 dryer pockets. This compares to an average of 39.1 dryer pockets in 2016, 31.7 in 2015, 32.4 in 2014, 32.8 in 2013 and 30.8 in 2012.

Following are the most common number of dryer pockets installed in newly built coin laundries in 2017:

1) 40

2) 20, 30, 36 and 50 (tie)

SURVEYING STORE SIZE

Are the new stores that were built in 2017 smaller and more manageable, or are they taking up more real estate?

The most popular store sizes, in square feet, reported in this year’s survey were:

1) 3,000

2) 4,000 and 2,000 (tie)

4) 3,500

Stores constructed in 2017 that are 2,000 square feet or less account for 24% of the total, while 52% are between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet.

These figures compare to the 20.6% of stores measuring 2,000 square feet or less and the 41.2% covering between 2,001 and 3,000 square feet reported for 2016.

The largest newly constructed vended laundry built in 2017 covers 9,000 square feet, while the smallest measures just 800 square feet, according to survey results.

The average newly constructed vended laundry store for 2017 covers 2,824 square feet, which is smaller than the 3,132-square-foot average of last year’s survey but more in line with prior annual surveys. Prior averages were 2,639 (2015), 2,696 (2014), 2,663 (2013), 2,754 (2012) and 2,721 (2011).

On average, a newly constructed store sold for $520,045 in 2017 (distributors were asked to exclude the cost of land and building). Prior average sale prices were $558,097 in 2016, $452,000 in 2015, $360,394 in 2014, $368,214 in 2013, $386,591 in 2012 and $366,000 in 2011.

In Tuesday’s conclusion: Facts and figures; other business; and the annual forecast

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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