CHICAGO — What have you learned since you joined the business? Have there been painful lessons along the way? Respondents to this month’s Wire survey had plenty to say when it came to looking at the ups and downs of the laundry world.MEETING EXPECTATIONSMore than two-thirds of respondents say the industry has met their overall expectations (16.7% said “Yes, without a doubt,” and 52.1% said “Yes, for the most part.”) in terms of return on investment (ROI), daily challenges, workload, etc. based on initial assumptions. Twenty-seven percent say the industry hasn’t met their overall expectations (“No, with some exceptions,” garnered 14.6% and “Absolutely not,” drew 12.5% of the responses). Four percent aren’t sure if their expectations have been met.EQUIPMENTHaving equipment problems is one way to sour an owner on the industry. However, most operators are satisfied with their equipment. Fifty-six percent say their equipment has been above average, while 14.6% say their equipment has been great. Twenty-three percent call their equipment “fair,” and only 6% say their equipment is “poor.”POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES“Learning how to fix things” (35%) is the No. 1 skill respondents have learned on the job. Other top responses include “learning how to be flexible” (26%) and “learning how to deal with people” (24%).Every industry has its share of painful lessons learned, and the self-service laundry industry is no exception. “Putting too much trust in others” (37%) takes top honors. Other painful lessons include “purchasing poor equipment” (17.4%), “overpaying for a store” (13%), and “letting my store run down” (11%). There were many “other” responses covering a wide variety of subjects.A BIT OF ADVICERespondents had plenty of advice to offer to newcomers. Most of the advice centered on the importance of doing due diligence. While it’s easy to be excited about opening a business, newcomers are urged to look before they leap — talk with other operators, attend shows, read industry articles, etc.While the American Coin-Op Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.Subscribers to American Coin-Op’s Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.Click here and follow the menu instructions to sign up for the free e-mail service.