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View Poll Results: Future of the Mat Biz?
Steadily Decreasing 4 2.38%
Slowly Decreasing 23 13.69%
Stagnet 29 17.26%
Improving 52 30.95%
Huge increase 4 2.38%
Who cares I'm just here for the quarters 3 1.79%
There well always be dirty clothes 53 31.55%
Voters: 168. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-07-2004, 08:22 AM
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Future of Laundromats ??

Anyone sit back and think, What is the future of the laundromat business ?

Has it peaked and is now on a downward trend ?

Are laundromats on the way out because of low cost machines and cheap financing ? (Example: Sears is offers something like $10. a month financing)

What do you think ???

Last edited by anonymous; 02-07-2004 at 08:28 AM.
Old 02-07-2004, 09:14 AM
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Jim I think with changing management style mat's customer base is growing. More middle class are starting to consider the mat either for WDF or to get all clothes washed in less time. There are still many apartments that don't have the utilities to handle laundry equipment. Unfortunately in my area the fastest growing sector is in our demographic profile. Laundry is very high on the list of peoples essentials. Our business is here to stay.
Old 02-07-2004, 04:37 PM
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Per capita I believe self-serve laundry demand will be steady to slowly trending down. I think wash and fold/drop-off service will increase.

I have seen conflicting data but I believe home-ownership is increasing. The largest gains in ownership have been made in the lower income levels. Some of these incomes would be considered demographically a nice fit for the coin laundry industry. Much of this is due to historically low interest rates and perhaps it is a short term trend, I certaintly can't predict what will happen.

One can also look at this question and try to predict what will happen by comparing it to similar trends:

Only a generation or two ago it was not uncommon to see one car families; one car families are the exception now-I am a one person family and I own three vehicles.

Before 1975 not every family had two televisions, I think it is almost the norm to have TV's in every bedroom now; three to five per household is not out of the ordinary.

Many families today who are considered "poor" today have all the modern conveiniences most middle class families had 20 years ago. Without a doubt not everyone is in the same boat. I do know I see just as many big screen tv's in the front rooms in the lower income areas as I do in the high rent district in many cities I've been to.

That said I beleive there are some differences in the way people of differnet income levels choose to spend their discretionary income.
Old 02-07-2004, 05:34 PM
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Laundromat Future

Business is not too bad right now, I am sure most of us will agree.

With this in mind, we are weathering the worst storm in the last 10 years. Yes, interest rates are at an all time low, but as the rates go up, and they will go up, our business will get better. We may have a period of flattening out over the next two to three years, but from that point on we will see big increases as interest rates go up and families continue to have both parents working. Our industry and the restraunt / fast food busines will continue to grow at a fast clip. Remember in addition to this we are an inflation-proof business. As things get worse, we get better. Be ready and enjoy the ride.

Old 02-07-2004, 11:09 PM
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pete f pete f is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Las Vegas, NV
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I agree with the comments on self serve. Coin laundry is an idea from the 50's, and as demographics and lifestyle changes, the very long term futures of self serve mats appears to be headed the way of the pay phone. They are still around, just a lot less of them. Any new development, ie, apartment buildings, will almost always have w/d in units, or a nicer laundry room. In areas that have sub-standard housing, where many customers come from, will get rebuilt in time. In my area the small apt buildings and duplexes, and small hotels that house transients, are getting ripped down for bigger projects, new condos, homes, etc.
In another area I have a mat development has a super Wal Mart taking the place of a big mobile home park, and the vacant land and older small homes are being turned into single family homes. All this is less customer base for self serve mats. Maybe w/d/f and dry Clean will take up the slack. I learned in real estate markets change very slowley, so I am not bailing out anytime soon. I am sure changes will be made in this business to compensate for the changing customer base. In the end, there will always be dirty laundry! As Kitty always asks, does the pie ever grow? I think not, but that does not mean you can't bake another flavor..
I am sure there are markets that will not change much over time, like rural mats, some urban settings will be hard to change, ie, city mats.
if it was that easy everyone would do it..
Old 02-08-2004, 10:08 AM
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It is clear that the pie is getting bigger (US population today is about 290 million it is projected to be 330 million in 20 years) but it may not be as simple as that. One of the groups growing at the highest rate is the Hispanic community. I would say most of us would agree that a large percentage of our clientel is Hispanic. Initally I think that this is a positive for our industry, but if you look closer this may not be the case. The US Hispanic community tend to climb the economic ladder faster than other groups. Your customers today may not be your customers of tomorrow.

I am not negative on the industry, I think the self-serve component will not see growth it enjoyed years ago. On the other hand I think there are incredible opportunities on the laundry service (drop-off) side.
Old 02-08-2004, 01:38 PM
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mike mike is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: montreal
Posts: 2,786


I agree that interest rates will go up, increasing business,

but that is a two-edged sword,

it will make financing our machines a lot more expensive !

I would say NOW is the time to upgrade equipment, beacause any decision on

financing has 5-year ramifications.


I agree with what you said about Hispanic customers,

but in my neck of the woods, any minority population in my neighborhood

even when they become upwardly mobile, they always come back sat. & sun.

to do their laundry ! (sort of a "bonding" with their community, and "see the old

neighborhood" all in one)
Old 02-08-2004, 04:06 PM
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Let me ask you guys this..Who likes to do laundry!!?? Not many people -at home or in the Laundromat- are happy, smiling while doing laundry-want to get out, finish fast!!???

as long as, they say, "will do it tomorrow, next day, next week..etc.." we will do fine..
I have many Hispanic 90% customer, and some of them have washer, dryer too, but still come to laundrymat..Why!!?? they don't want to stay home do laundry all day, they have other things to do, they come to mat finish in an hour all their laundry go home relax enjoy rest of the days with other things..
so, I think laundry mat business here to stay long time..
another point, why in the World people are opening new, bigger Laundromat all over!!!??
Old 02-09-2004, 09:57 AM
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PeterH PeterH is offline
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Location: Marietta, GA
Posts: 871

When polls are done in "women's" magazines, laundry is usually the 2nd worst household chore behind cleaning the bathroom. But laundry is usually the top of the list when asked which chore they enjoy the most. It's a love-hate thing...
Old 02-09-2004, 10:32 AM
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I voted that the business will improve....

My thought process is that our customer is essentially my primary tenant. Most of my apartments rent in the $600.00 to $700.00 range to blue collar workers. They are basic and for the most part do not have washers and dryers.

This past year demand for these "affordable rentals" has skyrocketed. Last winter if I had a vacancy it went empty for a month or so. This winter if I put up a sign I get overwhelmed with calls.

Sure lots of people are buying houses with washers but lots of folks also seem to need my apartments and therefore our mats.

I do have a few higher income rental props $1,000 & $1,100 rented to white collar folks and they are just as close to the edge as the blue collar guys, meaning same percentage of late rent, bounced checks etc. Just nicer apartments and better cars.

I guess expenses always rise to meet income.
Old 02-09-2004, 10:35 AM
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No Sean, for most expenses rise to meet at least 105% of income - that is why they are always working to support the credit card payments.
Old 02-09-2004, 08:41 PM
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Admittedly, I'm a newbie but my major concerns revolve around utilility, real estate tax, and labor cost escalations eroding margins. Increased home ownership, development, and institutional operators improving facilities @ apartment complexes and universities will all contribute to stabilization or reduced growth within the independent mat segment.

Just a newbies opinion.
Old 02-10-2004, 03:28 PM
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I hope this poll is correct... it looks positive so far...
Old 05-05-2004, 09:03 AM
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Default There will always be dirty clothes

That is my answer. I don't know if it will grow or it will decrees since I am an outsider.
How ever there will always be dirty clothes and money to spend.
Only need to find a way to get those money.
I think the Self Service Laundry will evolve.
I don't know much about laundromat history but I know enough to see that this business evolved. Equipment evolved, payment systems evolved, marketing strategies evolved.
Fisics low said "nothing is loosed everything is transformed".
May be in the near future we will see a slow decrees until will find a new way to grow.
I think it is a very long way until this business will die.
Old 03-03-2005, 03:39 PM
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Coin Laundries will only get better. Most of my customers live in apartments that have laundry rooms and some have washers at home. Customers come to the mat because they can get their laundry done quickly using multiple machines rather than washing clothes all weekend. If the real estate bubble bursts and forclosure rates go up, more people will move to apartments that don't have washers and dryers.
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