CHICAGO — During the past two years, it was common to label the self-service laundry industry “recession-resistant.” Is this label accurate? Respondents to the latest Wire survey give the lowdown on six laundry “beliefs.”
“The Self-Service Laundry Industry Is Recession-Resistant.”Fifty-five percent say this is a myth. Thirty-two percent call the “recession-resistant” label a reality, while 13% are not sure about the validity of this statement.“Commercial Work Is Going To Be The No. 2 Extra Profit Center (Trailing Drop-Off Service) In The Near Future.”It’s a mixed bag when it comes to the emergence of commercial work. Forty percent of respondents are not sure if this service is ready to make a huge industry impact. Thirty-seven percent believe the ascent of commercial work will be a reality, and only 23% see commercial work in the No. 2 spot to be a myth.“Barring Unusually Cold Weather, My Winter Utility Bills Are Going To Be Just About The Same Or Less Expensive Than Last Year.”Score one for optimism. It’s not that unusual to hear operators gripe about skyrocketing utility bills as the temperature drops. However, 62% believe their winter bills will be the same or less expensive than last year. Twenty-eight percent expect their bills to rise, and only 10% are not sure what this year’s bills will bring.“The Dollar Coin Will Make A Major Impact On Our Industry In The Next Five Years.”A whopping 70% of respondents don’t see the dollar coin making a major impact on the industry. Ten percent see the dollar coin playing a major role in the next five years, and 20% aren’t sure if the dollar coin is ready to make a big splash in the near future.“Landlords Are Easier To Deal With Now Due To The Soft Real-Estate Market.”Forty-four percent believe more “agreeable” landlords are a reality, while 32.7% say this is a myth. Twenty-three percent have yet to determine if economic conditions have made landlords easier to deal with.“There Will Be Fewer, But Larger, Laundries In The Next Decade.” Fifty-six percent see fewer, but larger, stores as a reality. Seventeen percent call this a myth, while 27% are not sure if there will be fewer, but larger, stores in the next 10 years.IT’S YOUR TURNWe asked respondents to share their industry myths and realities. Here is just a sampling of the submissions:Reality — Landlords aren’t stupid.Myth — It’s an easy business that only needs passive involvement to be successful.Myth — The recession is over, and things are getting better.Reality — Just like drycleaning, the self-service laundry industry is declining.Reality — There will be fewer Hispanic customers during the next five years.Myth — Laundromats are an easy way to make a living.Reality — Pricing does matter; time-of-day specials work.Myth — There will be many more card stores.While the American Coin-Op Wire survey presents a snapshot of the audience’s viewpoint at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.Subscribers to the Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. Click here and follow the menu instructions to sign up for the free e-mail service.