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Forbes: Laundry Services a Dying Industry

Paul Partyka |

CHICAGO — Forbes.com recently ran a story that included the coin laundry industry as one of America’s fastest-dying industries. Whether you agree or disagree with Forbes, one certainly has to question some the of the reasoning used to justify the claim.First, the short article asks how many national laundry chains readers can name. As we know, national laundry chains are not a major factor in this industry for several reasons, one being that neighborhood demographics often dictate much of a laundry’s offerings.The article also points out that more than 90% of the establishments have less than 10 employees, which means relentless price-cutting competition among small firms. We’ll let you try to figure out what this means, and how it relates to the overall economic stability of the industry. While “pricing wars” can pop up in areas in most industries, American Coin-Op’s recent surveys actually show vending prices rising due to higher utility bills.Lastly, the article mentions that two large operators, Coinmach and Mac-Gray, rely on their institutional clients for the bulk of their revenue. Again, we’re not sure what this has to due with the stability of the coin laundry world.About the only thing in this piece that operators will probably relate to is the mention of rising rents and utility bills. However, in this economy, the rental situation may actually be becoming more of a buyer's market.IBISWorld, a research firm, is credited as the source for the article. Todd Appleman, a spokesman for IBISWorld, says the company did not supply all of the data for the article, nor did it supply the business conclusions listed in the article. We contacted Forbes but have not heard back from them.To read the article click here. 

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.

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