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Survey: Nearly Half of Laundry Operators Raised Washer or Dryer Prices Last Year

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — Nearly half of the laundry operators who responded to January’s AmericanCoinOp.com Wire survey say they raised their washer or dryer prices in 2011.

Roughly 46% raised washer or dryer prices (raised vend price or reduced the cycle time) last year, while 53.6% did not.

Based on what laundries in their area (including their own) are charging, 42% of respondents believe that vend prices are too low. Approximately 28% believe that operators are charging a fair price.

Some 17% aren’t sure if the pricing is too high or low, and 10.1% say pricing in their area varies too much to make a general statement about it. Just 2.9% say that vend prices are too high.

How important is pricing to customers? Nearly 48% of respondents say it’s among the two or three most important factors, while 37.7% believe customers think it’s no more important than things such as cleanliness, comfort and equipment mix.

About 9% believe it’s only really important when competitors are low-balling prices, and 2.9% say that pricing is the No. 1 factor to a customer when choosing a laundry. The remaining 2.9% aren’t sure of the importance of pricing to customers.

When the operators who were polled raise vend prices in their stores, 74.6% say they explain the move to their customers.

Thirty-two percent of respondents anticipate having to increase vend prices if utility bills are what they expect this winter, while 39.1% say they don’t. The remaining 29% are unsure.

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

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take a brief 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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