CHICAGO — More and more laundry customers are flocking to 40- and 50-pound-capacity washers, according to the majority (46.3%) of coin laundry owners surveyed in this month’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey.
While 22% of store owners say they “haven’t noticed any significant [equipment] trends,” 17.1% say customers in their area are “flocking to larger—75-pound plus—washers,” while 12.2% say their customers are also utilizing larger-capacity dryers.
A small share (2.4%) say customer usage of smaller-capacity front loaders (18 and 25 pounds) is decreasing. There were no responses indicating that customers exclusively “want more top loaders” or “don’t want top loaders.”
Regarding the trend of top loaders, three-quarters of respondents say they offer top-loading machinery in their stores, while 25% say they do not.
While one respondent believes top loaders “will be history soon,” others begged to differ.
“While we hear everyone say [they are getting] rid of those top loaders, we have many customers—single people and elderly—that have such small loads [that] our top loaders are in demand,” one says.
“If there tends to be families … I would put larger-capacity machines. [With] college students, I would [install] 18-pound units because they don’t have that much [laundry],” says another.
Overall, a resounding 82.9% say they are satisfied with their store’s equipment mix, while close to 15% say they are not; a small percentage (2.4%) say they are not sure.
Given the chance to change one thing about their equipment mix, even shares of 20% say they would like to add more large-capacity washers (75 pounds plus), or add more large-capacity dryers (75-pound single pocket, or 45-pound stack) to their store. Roughly 18% say they would like to get rid of their top loaders altogether, while 10% would like to “offer a greater mix of smaller- and larger-capacity washers.”
While 7.5% listed “other” things they’d like to change about their store’s equipment mix, a small percentage (5%) are interested in adding small-capacity washers (18 to 25 pounds), while 20% say they “wouldn’t change a thing.”
The majority of laundry operators say they “seriously evaluate” their store’s equipment mix every year (43.9%), while even shares of 14.6% say they do this “every one to two years,” “every two to four years,” or that they “don’t evaluate” their mix at all.
Roughly 12% say they evaluate their equipment mix “every four to five” years.
The majority of store owners believe that staying abreast of customer needs is key to perfecting equipment mix.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions of customers [and] why they use the machines they do, regardless of load size,” one respondent says.
“We watch and talk to our customers at every chance,” says another. “We listen to what our customers want, and the majority wins. We also educate them on the benefits of doing one large load for less money and much less time in the store.”
American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents an unscientific snapshot of the audience’s viewpoints at a particular moment; due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.
Subscribers to American Coin-Op e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in an industry survey each month. The entire American Coin-Op audience is encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define owner/operator opinions and industry trends.