Survey: 2012 Was Good Year for Many Coin Laundries

Bruce Beggs |

Sprucing up stores, raising prices among 2013 plans

CHICAGO — More than half of respondents to this month’s Wire survey say business was good (39.3%) or even great (14.3%) last year, while another 28.6% say 2012 business was average. The remainder—17.9%—call it below average.

Regardless of how their individual business fared, 58.6% say 2012 turned out as they expected. Thirty-one percent didn’t expect last year’s business results, and 10.3% weren’t sure what to expect in 2012.

Respondents were asked to list the best thing that happened to their laundry in 2012. There some expected responses, such as increasing or maintaining sales, adding commercial business, attracting more customers and putting in new equipment. Some mentioned the closing of nearby competitors.

And how about the worst thing to happen last year? The increasing cost of utilities, dealing with competition, and the re-election of Barack Obama received multiple mentions.

Weather factored into at least two responses: lightning struck one operator’s building and caused damage to many machines, while another had to make numerous repairs after a large hailstorm.

One respondent said opening a new store was both the best thing and the worst thing to happen last year.

So, what does 2013 hold for the respondents? They’re planning to spruce up their stores (63.3%), raise vend prices (56.7%), add new washers and/or dryers (50%), and do more marketing (40%). Shares of less than 10% will add other equipment or another service. Ten percent don’t plan to make changes this year.

Roughly 53% expect their business will improve in 2013, while 16.7% expect things to become worse. Roughly 27% expect business to be the same as 2012, and the remaining 3.3% are unsure how their business will fare.

While the Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. All self-service laundry owners and operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.


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