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Survey: Face Fears, Steer Clear of ‘Turkeys’ in Vended Laundries

Holiday-inspired poll results ID scary scenarios, areas of thankfulness

CHICAGO — Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner, so this quarter’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey played on those holiday themes, challenging store owners to admit their darkest fears and to identify those things for which they are thankful.

The majority of vended laundry owners polled (31.3%) consider a child being injured while playing in their laundry as the most frightening ownership scenario.

Other possibilities that give owners the creeps include a competitor opening a new store nearby (25%), their store being without power for a long period (12.5%) and a key piece of equipment being down (12.5%).

Left to come up with their own scream-worthy scene, the remaining 18.8% of respondents mentioned things like losing “decent” employees, dealing with young people out for destruction, or the “unknowns ahead.”

Some store owners have already faced frightening scenarios:

  • “Lack of service techs.”
  • “Ceiling panels falling during rainstorm due to roof leaks.”
  • “Dryer fires.”
  • “Employees not showing up for shifts.”
  • “COVID-19. So much disinformation about it, and very unclear directives from the mayor’s office on how to do business without getting a citation and (being) shut down.”

As for giving thanks, spirits were high among most store owners responding to the survey. Roughly 88% said they were thankful “because our operation is performing well.”

American Coin-Op asked the trade audience if they agreed with this statement: “Our customers appreciate the service we provide.” Nearly 65% said they “completely agree” and roughly 35% said they “somewhat agree.”

Who or what is the biggest “turkey”—headache-causer—in your self-service laundry? Equal shares of 31.3% pointed to “customer(s)” or “employee(s).” “Equipment” wasn’t too far behind (18.8%). Other choices were the “landlord,” “competitor(s)” or “other,” each selected by 6.3%. In the “other” category, fear of the unknown reigned.

The magazine also asked respondents to name one aspect of their business for which they are most thankful. The most popular responses related to the pandemic in some way:

  • “Surviving during difficult times.”
  • “While a number of people I know do not have a job to go to, people continue to come in and wash their clothes and I can still pay my bills.”
  • “Laundromats are an essential business. They’ve proven again to be a recession-resistant business. I am thankful I am in Laundromats rather than a travel business.”
  • “We are open and everyone is healthy.”

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 emails are invited to participate anonymously in the survey. The entire trade audience is encouraged to take part, as a greater number of responses helps to better define owner/operator opinions and industry trends.