CHICAGO — What type of store owner are you? This quarter’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey asked self-service laundry owners to examine their workload, assess their skills and reflect on the business decisions they’ve made over the years, both good and bad.
More than 46% of respondents who took the unscientific survey say they spend between 20 and 40 hours per week at their store(s). Roughly 30% spend less than 20. Among the remainder, 13.0% spend between 40 and 60 hours a week, 4.4% spend more than 60 hours a week, and 6.5% say they “rarely visit” their store(s).
When it comes to performing maintenance, 41.3% of respondents believe their skills are “better than most owners.” Another 32.6% say their maintenance skills are “no better or worse than other owners.” More than 17% believe their skills are “not as good as most owners,” and the remaining 8.7% say they “don’t do any maintenance work.”
Very few respondents think their customer service skills are below par, based on the survey results. More than 56% say they “get along great with customers” and 26.1% rate their customer service skills as being “better than most owners.” Roughly 15% say their skills are “no better or worse than other owners.” No one answering the survey identified their skills as being “not as good as most owners,” but an extremely small share (2.2%) believe “it’s best that I don’t have to deal with customers.”
Nearly 70% of respondents say their management skills (number-crunching, making daily decisions, etc.) are “outstanding” (19.6%) or “better than most owners) (50%). About 28% believe their management skills are “no better or worse than other owners.” The remaining 2.2% admit their skills are “not as good as most owners.”
Thinking about the skills you utilize in running your own store, which do you think is your greatest strength? There was no clear No. 1 among respondents. Roughly 28% picked customer service as their greatest strength, 26.1% said it is management, 19.6% pointed to maintenance, 15.2% said it is the ability to delegate and 2.2% chose marketing. The remaining 8.7% were unsure about their greatest strength.
Respondents were asked about their best and worst laundry-related decisions. On the positive side, investing in new equipment, making operational or policy changes, and upgrading the facility in some way top the list. On the negative side, respondents largely pointed to decisions involving equipment (brand choice, capacity choice or placement), personnel (poor hirings) and putting off making a decision or taking too long to act.
Finally, respondents were asked to think back on their time as a laundry owner and state what they have learned about themselves. Here are some of the responses:
- “I can accomplish way more in 10-12 hours than I thought I could.”
- “Thank goodness I have other businesses.”
- “Can’t do everything myself and need to call for help when needed.”
- “I’m a ‘big picture’ guy, not details. I need good people to fill the voids.”
- “My people skills are pretty good, and I can be assertive when I have to be.”
- “My crazy ideas aren’t as stupid as I originally suspected.”
American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents an unscientific snapshot of the trade audience’s viewpoints at a particular moment. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
Subscribers to American Coin-Op e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in the industry survey. The entire audience is encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define owner/operator opinions and industry trends.