Annual Survey: Latest Numbers Reflect Continued Year-to-Year Improvement (Part 1)

Bruce Beggs |

54% report their overall coin laundry business increased in 2012

CHICAGO — How do you think your self-service laundry business compared to others in the industry last year? Did you have a good year or a bad year in 2012? How does your pricing compare to others?

American Coin-Op’s annual State of the Industry survey offers you the opportunity to compare your operation to others in the industry. It focuses on 2012/2013 business conditions, pricing, equipment, common problems, turns per day, and utilities cost.

In instances where respondents were asked about 2012 business results, they were given the opportunity to state their results were up, down or unchanged. This is a departure from surveys compiled in 2011 and earlier, when they were asked only if their business results were up or down. Keep this in mind as you are making comparisons to previous years’ polls.

The survey is an unscientific electronic poll of American Coin-Op readers who operate stores. Some percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding.


In 2012, 54% of respondents saw their overall coin laundry business increase from 2011.

More specifically, these operators reported an increase in business (gross dollar volume) in 2012 compared to 2011. In last year’s survey, 45% reported an increase in business, and two years ago, 42% reported a bump.

The average 2012 business increase was 11.7%, up only slightly from 11.5% last year. Other past average business increases were 10.8% (2010), 7.9% (2009), 14% (2008) and 12.2% (2007).

Here’s a closer look at the 2012 business increases (the figures relate to those reporting increases, not all respondents):

  • Operators with a business increase of less than 10%: 41.0%
  • Operators with a business increase of 10-14%: 27.9%
  • Operators with a business increase of 15% or more: 31.1%

The largest single increase in 2012 was reported to be 50%.

Approximately 30% of respondents saw their business decrease (in gross dollar volume) last year. In our survey of 2011 business, roughly 35% saw a drop in business. The percentage was 58% in 2010 and 59.8% in 2009.

The average 2012 business decrease was 9.5%, down a bit from last year’s figure (10.2%). Previous averages were 11.2% in 2010, 13.7% in 2009, 14.3% in 2008 and 13.2% in 2007.

Were the losses consistent last year or did they vary? Here’s a closer look at the 2012 business decreases:

  • Operators with a business reduction of less than 10%: 50%
  • Operators with a business reduction of 10-14%: 32.4%
  • Operators with a business reduction of 15% or more: 17.6%

The largest single decrease in 2012 was reported to be 40%.

Approximately 16% of operators reported their 2012 business was unchanged compared to their 2011 results.

Overall, these results continue to reflect year-to-year improvement, on average. The number of operators reporting an increase in business was up slightly from last year, as was the average business increase.

The average business decrease (9.5%) was nearly a percentage point lower than the prior year. Additionally, the number of operators suffering a large business deduction (15% or more) shrank from 26.8% in 2011 to 17.6% in 2012.


Drop-off service has become a popular choice for self-service laundry operators looking for ways to help customers free up time for other pursuits, and the numbers continue to bear that out.

Approximately 42% of respondents reported that drop-off-service business (gross dollar volume) increased in 2012. For 2011, approximately 32% reported business increases in that category.

The average drop-off-service business increase last year was 16.2%, falling below 2011’s average increase of 17.3%, but it’s worth noting that 77% of respondents whose drop-off service improved in 2012 reported double-digit gains.

Twenty-six percent saw a decrease in drop-off-service business. The average decrease in 2012 was 18.1%, which matched the average from the prior year. Previous averages were 18.8% in 2010 and 24.2% in 2009.

Approximately 32% of respondents said their 2012 drop-off-service business was unchanged from 2011.

About three out of five respondents offer some type of dry cleaning service, and 19.4% reported business increases in 2012. The average business increase was 27.6%, and the average decrease was 33.7%.


Roughly 44.6% of the respondents had an increase in vending sales business in 2012, exceeding the previous year’s reported 35%. Approximately 22% saw their vending sales business decline in 2012, and 33.7% saw vending sales remain unchanged.

The average vending gain was 11.3%, up slightly from last year’s figure (11.2%).

The average decrease in vending business was 9.1%, compared to 11% in 2011.

Check back on Monday for Part 2: Washer, Dryer, and Drop-Off Service Pricing

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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