Distributor Business Remains Strong, Annual Survey Shows (Part 2)

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Bruce Beggs |

Average new laundry: 2.8 top loaders, 28.5 front loaders, 31.7 dryer pockets, 2,639 square feet

CHICAGO — It’s a different year but the same, old story. And it’s a good one!

Distributor business remains strong, based on the results of American Coin-Op’s annual Distributors Survey. The majority polled once again enjoyed better business than the previous year, and is expecting overall 2016 sales to surpass those of 2015.

Slightly more than two-thirds of distributors polled (67.4%) say that business—including sales of newly constructed vended laundries and replacement business—was better in 2015 compared to 2014. When it comes to sales projections, an even larger percentage (68.8%) believes 2016 sales will be better than 2015’s.

Just 13% of respondents say 2015 business was worse than 2014’s, while 19.6% 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 2015 business and makes comparisons to previous years.

EQUIPMENT MIX

Since perfecting the right equipment mix is critical for a vended laundry store’s success, we’re sure you’re wondering what equipment more and more store owners and distributors are installing in laundries across the country.

Here is a quick analysis on trends, according to this year’s survey results.

Forty-one percent of new stores in 2015 had at least one top loader, which is a sizable decline from 2014’s figure of 60%. Looking back further, the percentage of new stores with at least one top loader was 63% in 2013, 45% in 2012 and 58% in 2011.

Vended laundries newly built in 2015 have an average of 2.8 top loaders, compared to an average of 4.6 per new store in 2014, 4.5 per new store in 2013 and 3.4 per new store in 2012. (These figures factor in stores with no top loaders.)

Breaking it down, following are the most popular numbers of top loaders installed in new stores in 2015:

1) 0

2) 6

3) 2 and 4 (tie)

When it comes to front loaders, newly constructed vended laundries in 2015 have an average of 28.5 front loaders, a slight increase from 2014’s average of 27.5 and 2013’s average of 26.6.

The most common number of front loaders installed in newly constructed laundries in 2015 was:

1) 30

2) 25 or 40 (tie)

4) 50

Newly constructed vended laundries in 2015 have an average of 31.7 dryer pockets, which is slightly below 2014’s average of 32.4. The average was 32.8 in 2013 and 30.8 in 2012, by comparison.

Following are the most common number of dryer pockets installed in newly built coin laundries in 2015:

1) 40

2) 30

3) 12, 20, 28 or 50 (tie)

SURVEYING STORE SIZE

Are store owners opting for more manageable, smaller stores, or are vended laundries taking up more real estate? Among the most popular store sizes, in square feet, reported in this year’s survey were 2,000; 2,500; 3,000; 1,500; and 2,200.

Less than one-third (29.7%) of the stores constructed in 2015 are 2,000 square feet or less, while 47.5% are between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet.

These figures compare to the 33% of stores measuring 2,000 square feet or less and the 36.1% covering between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet reported in 2014.

The largest newly constructed vended laundry built last year covers 8,500 square feet, while the smallest measures just 700 square feet, according to survey results.

The average newly constructed vended laundry store for 2015 covers 2,639 square feet. Prior averages were 2,696 (2014), 2,663 (2013), 2,754 (2012) and 2,721 (2011).

The average selling price of a newly constructed store—distributors were asked to exclude the cost of land and building—in 2015 was $452,000, compared to $360,394 in 2014, $368,214 in 2013, $386,591 in 2012 and $366,000 in 2011.

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

Missed Part 1 of this story? Read it HERE.

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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