CHICAGO — April sales were up in three of the four regions, according to the most recent AmericanCoinOp.com StatShot unscientific survey. Attendant wages are also fairly consistent across the United States, with the average pay ranging between $8.25 and $9.25.
April sales rose 3.3% in the Midwest (compared to April 2011). Only 10% of the respondents reported a decrease in sales. Despite the results, comments from several Midwest operators were only cautiously optimistic.
“Apartment rentals are increasing, causing increase in business,” reports one operator. “Competition is heavier, causing decrease in business.”
“We are in Michigan and we were hit hard,” adds another. “It has stopped getting worse, but (business is) not growing very fast, if at all.”
Southern self-service laundry sales were up 2.5% in April from the previous April.
“Lots of construction people dropping off laundry,” says one operator located in a region that suffered tornado damage last year. “Most will be here at least two years. Average wash and dry customers (are) still finding other ways of getting their laundry done without coming to the Laundromat.”
An operator attributed last month’s performance to students, while another said it was due to the area’s strong Hispanic population.
April’s numbers were virtually flat in the West, where sales increased 0.1%. A greater share of operators experienced sales increases, but those who saw their sales fall offset the pluses with more significant decreases. Many operators in the region say they are seeing a slow recovery buoyed by gas prices coming down.
Operators in the Northeast had a tough April, with sales falling nearly 5% for the month. Twice as many owners reported sales decreases as increases; several operators suffered double-digit declines. As you might expect, reports from the area were less than stellar.
“(There is) a slow erosion of Hispanic population due to economic conditions,” says one operator. “Competition fierce with everyone struggling for every last customer.”
“Too many mats are charging very low prices and not making a profit,” adds another.
But there were some positive assessments tied to the increased presence of construction workers and refinery workers.
StatShot respondents were also asked about attendant wages. Attendants in the West have the highest average hourly wage ($9.09); this region also had the highest wage this time last year ($8.87). Next highest is the Northeast ($8.94), followed by the Midwest ($8.81). The average hourly wage for attendants in the South is well behind the others, at $8.38.
In the South, the hourly wage range is $7 to $10. The low-end wage in the Midwest is $7.70, with the top-end wage being $10. Attendants in the Northeast have the largest pay range: $7 to $11 per hour. In the West, attendants are paid at least $8 per hour, the survey results show. The top-end wage there is $11, and at least one-third of attendants make at least $10 an hour.
The StatShot includes information on sales, wages, costs or other financial data based on anonymous survey information provided by industry owners and operators.
Audience members are invited via e-mail to participate in these unscientific surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website. Self-service laundry operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define industry trends.