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How Does Your Store Compare to Others?

Paul Partyka |

CHICAGO — While there's no such thing as a "typical" coin laundry, laundries can share some common traits such as equipment prices, turns-per-day, equipment purchases and even daily "headaches."American Coin-Op's annual State of the Industry survey and Wire surveys focus on a variety of industry data. With the 2007 State of the Industry survey appearing soon in the pages of American Coin-Op, it's a good time to review some of the most recent survey data to see where your business stands.PRICINGHave operators reacted to the recent utility hikes? Have washer and dryer prices shot up during the last two years? Nearly 49% of the State of the Industry survey respondents planned on raising washer prices in 2006. However, as the end of 2006 rolled around, 70% of the respondents to a Wire survey said they had raised washer and/or dryer prices.The most popular price for a top-load wash, in the State of the Industry survey, is $1.50 followed by $1.25, $1.75 and $2. What's interesting is that the number of operators charging $1.75 for a wash nearly doubled from the previous survey. While the $2 price was in fourth place, it was almost non-existent in the 2005 survey.The most popular price for a 35-pound washer is $3.50, followed by $3.75 and $3.25 (tie), $3 and $2.75. The $3.50 price has led the way for the last two years, but the $3.75 price moved into a second-place tie in 2006, even though it didn't really appear much in previous surveys.The price range for a 50-pound wash is $3.50 to $6. Here are the most popular prices (2006):   1. $4.50   2. $4.25   3. $4   4. $5Here are the most popular dryer prices (2006):   1. 25 cents/8 minutes   2. 25 cents/10 minutes   3. 25 cents/7 minutes   4. 25 cents/6 minutes   5. 25 cents/7.5 minutesThe current most popular price, 25 cents/8 minutes, took the top spot in 2005 and has stayed there ever since. The only real change is that the gap between the two most popular prices (see above listing) and the other prices has widened a bit.When it comes to overall equipment pricing, look for subtle hikes across the board when the 2007 survey data is released, according to recent Wire surveys.While about seven out of 10 operators said they raised prices in 2006, about a third of the operators were ready to bump up prices this winter if their utility bills remained high. Thirty-seven percent of the operators didn't expect to raise prices during this winter, even if their bills were as high as feared. Twenty-six percent of the operators were undecided about raising prices during the winter.TURNS-PER-DAYThe average turns-per-day for top loaders in 2006 was 3.2. In 2005, the number was also 3.2. The average turns-per-day for a front loader in 2006 was 3.9, up a bit from 3.78 in the 2005 survey.EQUIPMENT PURCHASESDid you buy any equipment last year? Forty-four percent of the survey respondents planned on buying at least one piece of laundry-related equipment (washer, dryer, vender, etc.).Nearly 15 percent of the respondents planned to add at least one top loader in 2006. Those predicting the demise of the top loader may be surprised to hear that number. In addition, about two-thirds of the operators, according to a recent Wire survey, plan on keeping their top loaders for at least several more years.About 14% of the respondents said they were going to add at least one double loader. About 7% of the respondents intended to add at least one large front loader (40 pounds or more). Twelve percent of the respondents plannned to add at least one dryer.DAILY HEADACHESOperators were asked what the biggest problems were that they face on a daily basis. Here is what they said:    * Rising utility rates    * Deaing with employees    * Maintenance    * Too many coin laundries    * Cost of doing business    * Vandalism    * Customers not respecting the store    * Rent    * Worries aobut raising prices    * InsuranceBUSINESS PROJECTIONSForty-six percent of the State of the Industry survey respondents believed 2006 would be a better year than 2005. The next State of the Industry survey will shed some light on this prediction. Were the operators a bit pessimistic? The most recent Wire survey (Jan. 2007) has 63% of the respondents reporting a business increase in 2006 compared to 2005. 

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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