Survey Says: Distributor Business Better in 2012 (Conclusion)



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Bruce Beggs |

Arrow continues pointing upward for ’13

CHICAGO — A majority of distributors polled in this year’s American Coin-Op Distributor Survey enjoyed better business than the previous year and is expecting overall sales in 2013 to beat those of 2012.

Sixty percent of survey respondents said business—including the sales of newly constructed self-service laundries, and replacement business—was better in 2012 than it was in 2011. And 61.8% predict that 2013 sales will be better than 2012’s.

Approximately 14% said business was worse in 2012 than 2011, and 25.7% said business was comparable in both years.

Every distributor listed in the American Coin-Op Distributors Directory was invited to participate in this year’s unscientific survey, which charts 2012 business and makes comparisons to previous years.


So, are small stores the way to go, or is having a larger store the growing trend?

Here are the most popular store sizes, in square feet, for those that were built in 2012:

1) 3,200

2) 2,000

3) 2,800

4) 2,100

5) 2,400

Approximately 19% of the newly constructed stores are 2,000 square feet or less. Roughly 52% are between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, the same percentage as last year’s survey.

The largest laundry mentioned in the survey results is 9,000 square feet, and the smallest store is 880 square feet.

The average newly constructed store in 2012 covers 2,754 square feet. Some prior averages were 2,721 square feet (2011), 2,663 square feet (2010), 2,712 square feet (2009), 2,743 square feet (2008), and 3,200 square feet (2007).

The average selling price of a newly constructed store—not including the cost of land and building—in 2012 was $386,591. That’s compared to $366,000 a year earlier.


If you built a store in 2012, how does it match up with the numbers from this survey? Here’s a quick equipment snapshot of newly constructed stores to offer some perspective.

The average newly constructed store in 2012 features 3.4 top loaders, 28.0 front loaders and 30.8 dryer pockets. It is, on average, 2,754 square feet.

Here are the new-store profiles for the previous five surveys:

2011: 4.5 top loaders, 30.0 front loaders, 34.1 dryer pockets, and 2,721 square feet.

2010: 3.8 top loaders, 26.9 front loaders, 32.1 dryer pockets, and 2,663 square feet.

2009: 5.7 top loaders, 27.3 front loaders, 32.6 dryer pockets, and 2,712 square feet.

2008: 5.8 top loaders, 27.8 front loaders, 32 dryer pockets, and 2,743 square feet.

2007: 6.7 top loaders, 27.7 front loaders, 35.2 dryer pockets, and 3,220 square feet.


Twenty-nine percent of the distributors that responded broker self-service laundries (compared to 41% in last year’s survey). Roughly 38% of respondents (compared to 29% in the 2012 survey) operate some type of route laundry.

Are open houses or service schools a distributor offering that you find valuable? Roughly 62% of respondents plan to host some type of open house or service school in 2014, compared to 56% in last year’s survey (you can check on upcoming distributor events 24/7 at’s Calendar).


So, are distributors optimistic or pessimistic about 2013 overall sales? Sixty-two percent expect 2013 sales to surpass those of 2012. Roughly 35% expect overall sales this year to be the same as last year. Just 2.9% believe that 2013 business will be worse than 2012 totals.

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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