CHICAGO — A good deal of respondents feel guilty or apprehensive about raising prices, and nearly half of them don’t publicize price hikes in any fashion, according to the most recent Wire survey.Dealing with rising utility costs (43%) and simply needing to generate more revenue (33.3%) are the main reasons for raising prices, the survey shows. Other reasons for hiking prices include “I raise prices every so many years” (5.4%) and “I need the hike to afford new equipment” (5.4%).Fifty-five percent of respondents feel guilty or apprehensive about raising prices. Forty-five percent don’t share that sentiment.Operators are split on whether or not to publicize/explain price hikes through signage, attendant information, etc. Forty-seven percent don’t publicize price hikes in any fashion. Thirty-four percent let the people know what is happening and why, and 19% make a minimal, low-key effort to announce price hikes.Sixty percent have raised washer and/or dryer prices this year, or intend to do so before 2012. Thirty-one percent will hold the line on prices this year, and 9% aren’t sure if they will increase prices.Thirty-eight percent last raised prices in 2010, and 26% raised prices in 2009. Ten percent of respondents haven’t raised prices for at least five years, and one operator hasn’t raised prices since purchasing the store in 1992.Most respondents expect to lose customers when they raise prices. Sixty-five percent expect to lose 1-5% of their customers. Twelve percent expect to lose 6-10% of their customers if they hike prices, and 4.3% fear 11-15% of their customers will depart. Sixteen percent say they won’t lose any customers when they hike prices.While the American Coin-Op Wire survey presents a snapshot of the audience’s viewpoint at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.Subscribers to the Wire e-mails — distributed twice a week — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. Click here and follow the menu instructions to sign up for the free e-mail service.