American Coin-Op’s annual State of the Industry survey, a random, unscientific mail poll of the magazine’s readers (self-service laundry operators), covers laundry business activity and focuses on 2008 business, pricing, price hikes, equipment purchases, and expenses.ADDING ONForty-five percent of respondents purchased at least one piece of equipment (washer, dryer, water heater, vender or changer) last year. Here’s a further breakdown of the purchases:
- Last year, 10.3% of respondents purchased at least one top loader. The average purchase was 8.2 machines.
- As for double loaders, 18.8% purchased at least one double loader. The average purchase was 8.2 machines.
- Twenty-two percent purchased at least one triple loader (also includes 50-pound and larger washers). The average purchase was 7.1 machines.
- Twenty-five percent of all respondents purchased at least one dryer. The average purchase was 11.3 machines.
SHOPPING IN 2009Respondents were asked if they had bought, or plan on buying, any new machinery this year. Forty-six percent intend to add something (washer, dryer, water heater, vender or changer) to their mix, or have already done so.
- Eleven percent plan to buy, or have already bought, a top loader in 2009. The average purchase is (or will be) 9.25 machines.
- Nineteen percent plan to buy, or have already bought, a double loader in 2009. The average purchase is (or will be) five machines.
- Triple loaders (including 50-pound and larger washers) continue to grow in popularity, with 15% of respondents planning to buy (or having already bought) one of these machines. The average purchase is (or will be) five machines.
- Nearly 16% plan to buy, or have already bought, a dryer in 2009. The average purchase is (or will be) 12.4 machines.
- Nine percent of respondents plan to buy, or have already bought, at least one water heater in 2009.
REACH FOR THE ASPIRINRespondents listed a host of industry problems. Here are the top five causes for headaches:
- High cost of doing business
Just missing the cut: excessive regulations, insurance, taxes, and finding new customers.TURNS PER DAYThe average turns-per-day for top loaders is 3.8, up a bit from last year (3.6). The average turns-per-day for a front loader is four, also up a bit from last year (3.7).NUMBER OF STORESSixty-three percent of respondents own one store, while 17% own two stores.2009 BUSINESSThirty-four percent of respondents expect business to improve in 2009, while 41% expect business to stay the same. One-quarter expect a drop in business in 2009.For those who believe business will stay the same or decrease, the top reason given is the slow economy and its various effects on customers. For those who believe business will improve this year, the top reasons given are improved customer service, new equipment, and less competition.Click here for Part 1.Click here for Part 2.