Survey: Coin Laundry Biz ‘Somewhat Better’ for Majority in 2015

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — The majority of coin laundry store owners polled (54.4%) say that overall business was “somewhat better in 2015” compared to 2014, according to results from this month’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey.

While 15.2% say their business performed “much better in 2015,” 19.6% say that business this year was the “same as 2014.” Only small percentages reported business being “much worse in 2015” (6.5%) or “somewhat worse in 2015” (4.4%).

In terms of their expectations, 68.9% of store owners say their business performance this year was “about what [they] expected,” while 20% say it was “better than [they] expected.” The remaining 11.1% say it was “worse than [they] expected.”

Roughly 61% of store owners say that a “customer base increase” was one of the reasons why their business improved this year, while equal shares of 30.6% attributed the improvement to “[installing] new equipment” or “[raising] prices.” (Respondents were asked to select as many as applied from six options.)

Equal shares of 25% chalked up the improvement to “improved marketing” or the fact that “costs/expenses decreased.”

Roughly 8% gave other reasons as to why they believe business improved, such as maintaining good customer relations and a clean store.

For those whose coin laundry business worsened this year, the majority (45.5%) believe “competition cut into business.” Equal shares of 36.4% attribute the dip in business to “customers [cutting] down on number of visits” or “costs/expenses [increasing].” And equal shares of 27.3% say that their “customer base decreased” or their “extra-service income dropped.” (Again, respondents could select any from among a list of six factors.)

Some store owners stated other reasons (18.2%) as to why business worsened this year.

Finally, store owners were asked to describe the “most notable change” in their laundry that occurred in 2015. Here are some of the responses:

  • “Drop in energy prices helped improve our profitability.”
  • “Switched brands in our newest store.”
  • “Installed 18 new … washer-extractors, and increased wash prices by 25 cents across the board.”
  • “We added credit/debit card readers.”
  • “Fired an employee that was caught stealing.”
  • “We are noticing more regulation and intrusiveness by government agencies.”
  • “We have not changed anything physically within the Laundromats, though I have worked on the Internet presence so that we can be found easier for those using smartphones and tablets.”

While the Your Views survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Subscribers to American Coin-Op’s e-mails are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

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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