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Survey: Business Numbers a Bit Brighter (Part 3 of 3)

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top five problems graphic
(Credit: Alissa Ausmann)

Paul Partyka |

CHICAGO — Is your laundry still suffering from the lingering effects of the recession, or are you finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel? It seems to be a mixed bag when it comes to the state of the industry.Some of the business numbers in this year’s survey are a bit more positive than last year, yet operators didn’t purchase as much new equipment in 2010 as they did in the prior year.American Coin-Op’s annual State of the Industry survey focuses on 2010/2011 business conditions, pricing, equipment, common problems, turns per day, expenses and utilities cost.The survey is an unscientific electronic poll of American Coin-Op readers who operate stores.ADDING EQUIPMENT IN 2010Forty-seven percent of the respondents purchased at least one piece of equipment (washer, dryer, water heater, vender or changer) in 2010. In 2009, that figure was 50 percent.Here’s a further breakdown of the 2010 purchases:

  • Eleven percent of respondents purchased at least one top loader. The average purchase was 8.2 machines.
  • As for double loaders, 16 percent purchased at least one machine. The average purchase was 7.3 machines.
  • Twelve percent purchased at least one triple loader (includes washers up to 50 pounds). The average purchase was 5.3 machines.
  • Fifteen percent purchased at least one “big boy” washer (more than 50 pounds). The average purchase was 3.7 machines.
  • Seventeen percent purchased at least one dryer last year. The average purchase was nine machines.

These sales figures were just a bit lower than last year. However, in last year’s survey there were more comments about retooling stores than in previous years.SHOPPING IN 2011Respondents were asked if they have bought, or plan on buying, any new machinery this year. Forty-seven percent intend to add something (washer, dryer, water heater, vender or changer) to their mix, or already have done so. Last year, this figure was 33 percent.

  • Seven percent plan on buying, or have already bought, a top loader in 2011. The average purchase is (or will be) 6.2 machines.
  • Fourteen percent plan on buying, or have already bought, a double loader in 2011. The average purchase is (or will be) 6.1 machines.
  • Thirteen percent plan on buying, or have already bought, a triple loader (washers up to 50 pounds) in 2011. The average purchase is (or will be) 5.2 machines.
  • Seven percent plan on buying, or have already bought, a “big boy” (50 pound or larger washer) in 2011. The average purchase is (or will be) two machines.
  • Seventeen percent plan on buying, or have already bought, a dryer in 2011. The average purchase is (or will be) 5.5 machines.

TROUBLE BREWINGWhat problems cause you the most grief? Here are the top-five industry problems:

  1. High cost of utilities
  2. Dealing with employees
  3. A lack of customers (people leaving the market area)
  4. Stagnant economy
  5. Rent

Gone from last year’s list are dealing with loans and vandalism.TURNSThe average turns per day for top loaders is 2.9, down a bit from last year (3.2). The average turns per day for a front loader is 3.4, also down a bit from last year (3.7).UTILITIESWe asked operators about their utilities cost (as a percent of gross). The responses ranged from 12 percent to 70 percent. The most popular response is 30 percent, followed by 25 percent.Operators are paying an average of 25 percent for utilities (as a percentage of gross).2011 BUSINESS FORECASTSlightly more than half of the respondents (51 percent) expect their 2011 business to be the same as 2010. Thirty-seven percent expect business to improve in 2011, and 12 percent believe business will drop in 2011 compared to 2010.Click here for Part 1 of this story.Click here for Part 2 of this story.

About the author

Paul Partyka

American Coin-Op

Paul Partyka was editor of American Coin-Op from 1997 through May 2011.

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