Two things jump out at me in this year’s distributor survey: Obtaining financing for newly constructed stores continues to be a burden, and distributors are still unsure about how their businesses will fare this year. These are just two of the things covered in American Coin-Op’s annual distributor survey.Every distributor on American Coin-Op’s mailing list was invited to participate in this unscientific survey.THE PERFECT SIZEI seem to hear it all the time: Self-service laundries are getting bigger. Is that true? Here are the most popular store sizes, in square feet, for those that opened in 2008:
Twenty-nine percent of the new stores cover 2,000 square feet or less. Forty-seven percent are more than 2,000 square feet but not more than 3,000 square feet. Twenty-four percent are larger than 3,000 square feet.The largest laundry in the survey is 8,000 square feet, and the smallest store is 1,000 square feet. The average newly constructed store in 2008 covers 2,743 square feet. The prior averages were 3,200 square feet (2007) and 2,831 square feet (2006).MATCHING UPIf you built a new store in 2008, how does it match up with the numbers from this survey? Here’s a quick equipment snapshot of newly constructed stores in 2008: The new stores average 5.8 top loaders, 27.8 front loaders and 32 dryer pockets. The stores are, on average, 2,743 square feet.Here are the new-store profiles for the past three surveys:2007: 6.7 top loaders, 27.7 front loaders, 35.2 dryer pockets, and 3,220 square feet.2006: 9.5 top loaders, 28.2 front loaders, 34 dryer pockets, and 2,831 square feet.2005: 8.2 top loaders, 26.3 front loaders, 29.6 dryer pockets, and 2,546 square feet.REASONS FOR EVERYTHINGThe distributors who had a good year in 2008 in terms of new-store construction listed a variety of reasons for their success. The top-two reasons are the ability to negotiate better leases and offer more attractive equipment.For those with lagging new-store construction last year, financing problems, by far, was the No. 1 cause. Other reasons garnering significant responses include high impact fees, scarcity of good locations and permit problems.KEEPING BUSYOne-third of the distributors broker coin laundries. Forty-three percent of respondents operate some type of route laundry.More than half of the distributors (55%) plan to hold an open house/service school in 2010. A good number of the shows are scheduled for the fall; however, spring events are also on the schedule. (Keep a close eye on our calendar page for a complete events schedule.)SUMMING UP THE YEARAre business conditions improving? Forty-one percent of respondents believe 2009 overall sales will surpass those of 2008. Twenty-five percent expect lower sales this year, and 33% expect overall sales this year to be the same as last year.Click here for Part 1 of this story!