CHICAGO – Self-service laundry operators in three of the four regions reported their sales declined in July, traditionally one of the weakest revenue-generating months of the year, according to the most recent AmericanCoinOp.com StatShot survey.
The West was the lone bright spot, posting a 6.3% sales increase when comparing July 2011 to July 2010.
In the South, month-to-month sales fell a collective 2.5%. More operators reported sales increases than not, but the double-digit losses incurred by the minority outpaced smaller gains elsewhere.
July-to-July sales in the Midwest were down 1.2%. In the Northeast, they were virtually flat—down only 0.2%.
At times when sales falter, running a self-service laundry as efficiently as possible is paramount. Operators were asked about their utilities cost as a percentage of gross. Northeastern operators fared the best, paying 16.6% for utilities in July. Western operators paid 20.3%, while Midwestern operators paid 27%. Operators in the South paid the highest percentage for utilities at 29.9%.
How did some operators keep their costs down? By repairing or updating equipment such as washers, dryers and water heaters. One operator reported installing a white insulated roof.
Some operators in the West credit cleanliness and a friendly atmosphere for helping them maintain their efficiency.
Meanwhile, one Northeast operator who reported their July-to-July sales were unchanged says that theft makes it difficult to run a laundry efficiently. “Attendant stealing is at an all-time high,” the respondent wrote. “Much of the money is missing from the inside.”
AmericanCoinOp.com’s StatShot includes information on sales, wages, costs and other financial data based on anonymous survey information provided by industry owners and operators.
Subscribers to AmericanCoinOp.com’s Wire e-mails are invited to participate in these unscientific surveys, which are conducted online via a partner website and only take a few minutes to complete.