CHICAGO - Almost half of coin laundry store owners polled (49.5%) do not believe in the notion that the self-service laundry industry is “recession-resistant,” according to data from this month’s American Coin-Op Your Views survey.
“People can find all kinds of ways to cut laundry spending––wash at a friend or relative’s, hang clothes to dry, wear clothes longer … [and] cram six loads in a four-load machine,” says one store owner.
While a small portion was not sure if the industry is “recession-resistant” (9.7%), 40.9% considered the idea a “reality.”
Store owners were also asked if “one person can run as many as four stores” without hiring assistance. Roughly 44% say that the idea is a “reality,” while 37.6% say it is a “myth.” Roughly 18% were not sure.
In terms of other operational “myths vs. realities,” an overwhelming majority of respondents believe that a “well-kept laundry reduces [a store’s] chances of being vandalized” (75.3%). While 17.2% considered the idea a “myth,” 7.5% were not sure.
“People come into my laundry expecting to find a dump, [but] it is clean and [has] no out-of-order signs,” says a store owner.
In advertising their business, 78.5% of store owners believe that word-of-mouth advertising is the “best form of laundry advertising,” while 14.0% say that it is a “myth.” Only 7.5% of store owners were not sure.
Store owners also weighed in on the industry’s future myths and realities.
When asked if the dollar coin will have a “major impact” in the next five years, 39.8% say that the idea is only “myth,” while 32.3% were not sure. Only 28% say that the dollar coin will impact the industry in a major way by 2018.
Store owners also forecast that “fewer, but larger, laundries” will be a “reality” in the next decade (58.1%), while 25.8% were unsure. Roughly 16% of respondents say the notion is only a “myth.”
“My favorite myth is that you can operate a store as an absentee owner in six to eight hours per week,” says one respondent, with many others echoing the sentiment.
“My favorite myth is that anyone can run a laundry,” says another store owner. “You must have the self-drive to get up every day and do the rounds and be vigilant.”
While American Coin-Op’s Your Views survey presents a snapshot of the audience’s viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. 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.