CHICAGO — Every region in the country posted year-over-year sales gains in October, according to results from this month’s American Coin-Op StatShot survey, with store owners in the West reporting the largest gain, 7.4%.
“Great local commercial and government building projects has kept business on a continual uptick,” writes a store owner from the region.
“Business is booming,” writes another. “Even folks who once had in-house washing appliances can’t afford to repair them when they break, so more and more people are coming to the Laundromat.”
“With a tightening of payrolls, this has forced a belt-tightening by consumers and leaves little money for repairing their own washers and dryers,” echoes another store owner.
Owners in the Midwest and Northeast also saw positive year-over-year sales last month, up 4.7% and 3.7%, respectively from October 2012.
“Market is good, business is up [and] our economy is good in this area due to oil and gas boom,” reports a Northeast store owner.
“[Natural gas] prices are fairly low, so keeping prices at status quo will hopefully churn some profits,” adds another in the region.
Some Midwest store owners are reporting that competition there is increasing.
“We are having more stores [charging] 75 cents every day versus the slower days of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” one owner writes. “It is costing us some sales, but our margins are better than theirs.”
“A new laundry opened last year, taking a hunk of our business,” adds another. “Not enough business in the county for two Laundromats.”
Store owners in the South posted a modest gain of 1.4% in year-over-year sales in October, with one store owner saying, “High unemployment is a challenge to increasing business.”
American Coin-Op also asked participating store owners to compare their current dryer prices to October 2012 prices. In cases where dryer prices varied, owners were asked to list the lowest price. (Reports of free dry were not counted in these results.)
The current average dryer price in the West went down 1 cent to 25.8 cents for 7.2 minutes, compared to 26.8 cents for 7.5 minutes in October 2012. Current drying times range from 5 to 12 minutes.
The average dryer price in the Midwest also saw a small reduction, currently at 25.0 cents for 6.8 minutes, down from 25.6 for 7.5 minutes last year. Drying times range today from 5 to 10 minutes.
The South was the only region reporting higher dryer prices, with many respondents citing the rising cost of gas and utilities as the cause. The average price went up to 28.4 cents for 7.2 minutes, compared to 28.0 cents for 7.1 minutes in October 2012. Current drying times for stores in the region range from 5 to 10 minutes.
Average dryer prices in the Northeast did not see much change, as the current average is 27.5 cents for 7.4 minutes, compared to 27.5 cents for 7.7 minutes last year. Drying times range today from 5 to 12 minutes.
The unscientific StatShot survey includes information on sales, wages, costs or other financial data based on anonymous survey information provided by industry owners and operators.
American Coin-Op audience members are invited via e-mail to participate in the surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website. All self-service laundry owners and operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.