Survey: Confronting the Scary, Avoiding the ‘Turkeys’ in Vended Laundry

Bruce Beggs |

Holiday-inspired poll challenged store owners to admit darkest fears, give thanks

CHICAGO — Inspired by the Halloween and Thanksgiving holidays, this quarter’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey challenged coin laundry owners to admit their darkest fears and to identify those things for which they give thanks.

The majority of vended laundry owners (31.7%) consider a “competitor [opening] a new store nearby” as the most frightening ownership scenario.

Some other possibilities that give responding store owners the creeps include a “Child [is] injured while playing in [the] laundry” (26.8%); “Business is down and you don’t know why” (17.1%); “Key piece of equipment is out of order” (12.2%); and “[The] store will be without power for [a] long period of time” (9.8%).

Some store owners have already faced frightful scenarios:

  • “Having store struck by lightning. Took three long days to get everything back up and running.”
  • “Homeless and panhandlers that bother customers and will steal or do damage just because—because that’s all they know how, or want, to do.”
  • “Fire in shopping center not originating in my store. Shut down for three months.”
  • “Customer drove through front of store.”
  • “My nearest competitor, who is a good friend of mine, put an ad on a billboard across the street from my store. He said he didn’t know where it would be put up.”

As for giving thanks, spirits are high among the store owners responding to the survey. Some 95% said they were thankful “because our operation is performing well.”

American Coin-Op asked the trade audience if they agreed with this statement: “Our equipment works well and isn’t a concern.” The level of agreement was less concentrated, yet still overwhelmingly positive. Roughly 44% “completely agree” with the statement and another 41.5% “somewhat agree.” Much smaller shares “neither agree nor disagree” (2.4%), “somewhat disagree” (9.8%) or “completely disagree” (2.4%).

And the final statement: “Our customers appreciate the service we provide.” Again, the responses were largely positive. Roughly 53.7% “completely agree,” 41.5% “somewhat agree,” and the remaining 4.9% “neither agree nor disagree.”

Who or what is the biggest “turkey”—headache-causer—in your self-service laundry? Top pick among respondents was “employee(s),” at 26.8%, but not far behind were “other” (24.4%), “equipment” (22.0%) and “customer(s)” (17.1%). In the “other” category, individual responses were often tied to utility rates or business taxes/fees.

The publication also asked respondents to name one aspect of their business for which they are most thankful. The most popular responses related to loyal customers, good employees, and the ability to make a living.

American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents an unscientific snapshot of the trade audience’s viewpoints. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.

Subscribers to American Coin-Op e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in the quarterly industry survey. The entire audience is encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses helps to better define owner/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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