Survey Asks What’s ‘Myth’ and What’s ‘Reality’

Bruce Beggs |

Self-service laundry owners weigh validity of commonly heard industry statements

CHICAGO — When one enters the self-service laundry industry, it’s not unusual to hear certain statements — “the industry is recession-resistant,” or “one person can run as many as four stores without needing help” — that may or may not prove to be true.

In this month’s Your Views survey, American Coin-Op polled store owners on some of the “myths” and “realities” of the self-service laundry industry.

Nearly half of respondents (45%) believe the industry is recession-resistant, calling it a reality. Thirty-eight percent see the notion as a myth, and the remaining 16.9% aren’t sure whether it’s myth or reality.

About being able to run as many as four stores without hiring a manager or attendant, the majority of respondents (46.5%) say that’s a myth. Roughly 39% see it as reality, and the remaining 14.1% aren’t sure which it is.

The magazine presented some other well-known statements to see just how many store owners see them as myth and how many see them as reality:

  • “A well-kept laundry reduces your chances of being vandalized.” — Myth, 19.7%; Reality, 74.7%; Unsure, 5.6%
  • “Word of mouth is the best form of laundry advertising.” — Myth, 15.7%; Reality, 77.1%; Unsure, 7.1%
  • “The dollar coin will have a major impact on our industry in the next five years.” — Myth, 50.7%; Reality, 22.5%; Unsure, 26.8%
  • “There will be fewer, but larger, laundries by 2020.” — Myth, 18.6%; Reality, 55.7%; Unsure, 25.7%

Lastly, the magazine asked respondents to share their favorite industry “myths” and “realities.” Here are some of the responses:

  • “Reality: A Laundromat’s lease is just as important as its location in determining success.”
  • “Biggest myth: A coin-op laundry is a get-rich-quick scheme.”
  • “Favorite myth: The only way to do this is....”
  • “Reality: A coin laundry is a hands-on business.”
  • “Myth: That the card will replace the quarter.”
  • “Myth: A coin laundry runs itself. Just buy the equipment and collect the money. Reality: Location … is very important when looking for a good site and really determines success or failure.”

While American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents a snapshot of store owners’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Qualified subscribers to American Coin-Op e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in the industry survey.

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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