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Survey: 67.4% of Laundry Owners Report Better Business in 2012

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — More than two-thirds of self-service laundry owners and operators polled in the last American Coin-Op Wire survey of 2012 said their business was better (“much better,” 18.6%; “somewhat better,” 48.8%) this year than it was in 2011.

Roughly 28% said their business was better than they had expected, while another 51.2% said it was about what they expected. The remaining 20.9% of respondents said their business was worse than expected.

Operators whose business rose attributed it primarily to installing new equipment (50%), a larger customer base (34.4%) and/or raising prices (31.3%). Better marketing efforts (25%), lowering costs/expenses (18.8%), offering new extra services (18.8%), and decreasing competition (15.6%) were other important factors. (Respondents could choose from any or all among several suggested factors or offer their own.)

Among respondents who said their business worsened in 2012, a declining customer base and increasing costs/expenses were the biggest reasons, each selected by 45%. (Again, respondents could choose from any or all among several suggestions or offer their own.) Following closely was customers cutting down on the number of visits, cited by 40%. Other significant factors were competition cutting into business (20%), “other” (20%), and lower extra-service income (15%).

Roughly two out of five operators (41.9%) said they raised washer and/or dryer prices in 2012.

Finally, respondents were asked how they would grade their 2012 management performance. Approximately 47% gave themselves a B, and another 27.9% gave themselves an A. Roughly 19% said they only deserved a C, while the remaining 7% were unsure.

The Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment but it should not be considered scientific.

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take a brief 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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