Survey: Most Coin Laundry Owners Happy with Distributors, but Making Change Not Out of Question

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — While a majority of respondents to this month’s Wire survey are happy with their distributor(s), there are still sizable shares that might be looking for the services and support they need elsewhere.

Approximately 60% of self-service laundry owners are happy with their distributor(s) — 29.6% said they were “very happy” and 29.6% said they were “somewhat happy.”

Roughly 19% are “somewhat unhappy” with their distributor(s), while the remaining shares of 11.1% are “neither happy nor unhappy” or “very unhappy.”

Approximately 41% of respondents rely on distributors for advice, and 60% of them are satisfied with the advice they get.

Respondents say they rely on distributors for parts ordering and requests, tech support, and operational advice, among other services.

“(My distributor) is not just trying to sell equipment but help me be a better owner so that my bottom line will increase and (I’ll) be able to upgrade equipment,” says one respondent.

Only 29.6% of operators are opposed to changing distributors, while another 29.6% are not sure how they would react if the opportunity to make a change arose.

Approximately 19% would change distributors if the opportunity arose, and 22.2% would strongly consider making the change.

“I own three Laundromats and contacted five distributors last month for new equipment. Two salesmen came to talk in person, the others called me. None provided any advice, just prices, and noneof them has contacted me since,” says an operator. “I don’t have a problem mixing brands of equipment, so I’ll decide by myself what to buy. I really do hate ordering thousands of dollars worth of equipment from someone who doesn’t really care if they make a sale or not.”

One operator in the Southwest had no choice but to seek out another distributor. “Our distributor pulled out of Texas without warning (and) left us high and dry.”

If you’re a distributor and don’t offer service schools, open houses, etc., you might want to reconsider. Thirty-seven percent of respondents are “very interested” in these events, and 25.9% are “somewhat interested.” Roughly 15% are neither interested nor disinterested in distributor events, and 14.8% have little interest. Only 7.4% have no interest in such events.

While the Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. All self-service laundry owners and operators are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.

To sign up for the Wire, click the “Subscriptions” button at the top right-hand corner of this page and follow the instructions.

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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