New Laundry Opening Nearby is Source of Concern: Survey

Bruce Beggs |

More than one-third of respondents fear competing store that’s more attractive or larger

CHICAGO — When a new laundry opens in your area, how do you react? Are you anxious about the impact it will have, or are you unfazed because you’re confident in your own operation?

This quarter’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey asked coin laundry owners about sizing up the competition. More than 41% of respondents to the unscientific poll say they don’t fear competition, but the remainder do in one respect or another.

For 37% of respondents, their worst fear is that the new laundry is “more attractive or larger than my store.” Vend prices that are cheaper than theirs concerns 10.9% of respondents the most. Another 8.7% fear the new store offering higher-quality equipment, and 2.2% are afraid it will be cleaner than theirs.

Have you ever personally visited a competing laundry to get a sense of its operation? Based on our survey results, the likely answer is yes. Among respondents, 93.5% admit to having visited a competitor’s store.

If a “good” laundry opened near them this week, 63% believe they would take a “mild hit.” Roughly 24% say they would “lose little, if any, business,” and 4.4% “would lose no business.” Only 2.2% believe they “would take a major hit.” Roughly 7% aren’t sure how the opening would impact them.

Roughly 41% of respondents believe there are too many laundries in their area, 43.5% say there are not, and 15.2% are unsure.

When going head to head with the competition, 34.8% of respondents believe the cleanliness of their store is their greatest strength. Roughly 20% say it’s that all of their equipment up and running, and 13% say it’s the size and/or layout of their store. Approximately 11% lean on their “reasonable prices,” and 6.5% stand behind their “ideal machine mix.”

The remaining 15.2% of respondents see something else as their greatest strength. In many cases, they say all of the previous points combine to be their greatest strength. Location, attendants on site 24/7, and larger machines were also mentioned among the “other” choices.

In what ways do you differentiate yourself from your competition? Here are some of the responses from those who took the survey:

  • “I’m a hands-on owner of one store. I make an effort to drop in during busy times and make customers feel welcome.”
  • “I offer free Tide on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
  • “45 years of experience.”
  • “We show our customers that we put money back into the business for their benefit.”
  • “Clean, secure, attended laundry with equipment that is maintained regularly.”
  • “Make them feel at home.”
  • “We have the most locations (five).”
  • “Five words: Clean, safe, easy, fast, friendly. This really is all about customer service!”

While American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents a snapshot of store owners’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Qualified subscribers to American Coin-Op e-mail blasts are invited to participate anonymously in the industry survey.

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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