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.