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Coin Laundry Biz Better for Vast Majority in 2022: Survey

Raising vend prices, installing new equipment, growing customer base among contributing factors

CHICAGO — More than 88% of coin laundry store owners polled say that overall business was better for them in 2022 compared to the prior year, according to results from this quarter’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey.

Roughly 38% say their total laundry business performed “much better in 2022” and 40.6% say it was “somewhat better in 2022.” Just shy of 10% say their business last year was the “same as 2021.” As for those on the red side of the ledger, 9.4% reported business being “somewhat worse in 2022” and 3.1% described it as “much worse in 2022.”

In terms of their expectations based on the economy, 56.3% of store owners say their 2022 business performance was “about what [they] expected,” while 25% say it was “better than [they] expected.” The remaining 18.8% say it was “worse than [they] expected.”

Among store owners whose self-service business improved this year, raising prices (61.5%), installing new equipment (46.2%) and increasing their customer base (46.2%) were the top reasons; respondents were asked to select as many as applied from eight options.

About 19% chalk up their improvement to improved marketing efforts. Their boost was due to offering new services, say 11.5% of respondents. Equal shares (7.7%) point to decreased competition or lower costs/expenses.

Roughly 15% gave “other” reasons as to why they believe business improved, such as an increased emphasis on store cleaning or offering loyalty points for app users.

Among those whose coin laundry business worsened in 2022, 72.7% blame it on increased costs/expenses, and 36.4% point to competition cutting into it; for this question, respondents could select any from among a list of six factors.

Equal shares of 18.2% attribute the tough year to a decreased customer base, customers visiting less often, or extra-service income declining. Under the “other” category, a respondent blamed increased payroll costs needed to keep good employees and to recruit new ones.

Just over 78% of store owners polled raised their washer vend prices in 2022.

If they were to grade themselves on how well they managed their business in 2022, 59.4% would give themselves a B, 21.9% would grant an A, and 18.8% say it’s a C.

Respondents were invited to offer additional comments about operating a self-service laundry in 2022. Here is some of what they had to say:

  • “Costs go up, and so do prices. We are not a charity.”
  • “Like any business, you have to keep moving, check the competition, work with your customers (and) keep up with trends and opportunities.”
  • “Utility increases combined with flat sales offset the benefit of a year of improvements and new equipment. New equipment prices have gone totally out (of) range. Equipment prices and interest rates have worked to put any retooling plans on indefinite hold.”
  • “Be sure you are staffed properly before starting a drop/fold business.”
  • “Just like every year, it’s almost impossible for me to get away for any kind of serious vacation!”
  • “Glad things are back to normal. Last year was a killer!”

While American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents a snapshot of store owners’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it is not scientific. Qualified subscribers to American Coin-Op email blasts are invited to participate anonymously in a quarterly industry survey.

Survey: Looking Back at 2022
Survey: Looking Back at 2022

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].