Survey Examines Industry Demographics, Unusual Occurrences


ALN Wire Survey Chart
ALN Wire Survey Chart


ALN Wire Survey Chart
ALN Wire Survey Chart

Bruce Beggs |

CHICAGO — American Laundry News asked its Wire subscribers to lift the veil on their profession: where they work, how many employees they manage, their salary, and even the most unusual thing that’s happened at their laundry.
Nearly 44% of respondents to the unscientific survey hail from the South. Thirty-one percent are based in the Midwest, while equal portions of 12.5% work in the Northeast and the West.
They work in hospitals (26.7%); commercial or industrial laundries (20%); nursing homes (10%); and prisons, schools, military bases or government institutions (10%). Another 30% classified their laundries as “other,” listing among them a psychiatric center, a mixed-use plant, a continuing-care retirement community, and a healthcare cooperative.
Nearly 44% of respondents say they manage or supervise 11-25 laundry- or linen-related employees. Equal shares of 16.7% manage 26-50 employees and 51-100 employees. Ten percent supervise 1-10 employees, and equal shares of 6.7% supervise 101-150 workers or no laundry/linen workers. No respondent supervises more than 150 workers.
Their educational backgrounds vary from a high school diploma to an MBA. Most respondents reported having received certifications from the Association for Linen Management (ALM), the Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA), or other organizations.
Annual salaries for most respondents are $25,000-$50,000 (38.7%) or $50,000-$75,000 (32.3%). Equal shares of 9.7% say their salary is $75,000-$100,000 or greater than $100,000. Another 9.7% declined to reveal their salary range, and no one said they receive a salary of less than $25,000.
Some of the advice they would give a prospective manager just entering the laundry/linen industry includes:

  • “Remain updated on changing procedures recommended by knowledgeable service reps.”
  • “Get as much outside training as possible.”
  • “If you think this is an eight-hour-a-day job and five days a week, you are in the wrong job.”
  • “It’s not rocket science, it’s laundry. Do not try to make it more complicated than it really is.”
  • “It is just as much about people, i.e. employees and customers, as it is about delivering clean linen on time.”
  • “Embrace and keep on top of new technology. This is an industry where efficiency and cost reduction are everything.”
  • “Get perspective from many different laundries.”
  • “Get out.”

Most of the comments about unusual things happening in their laundry related to items discovered in soiled linen. “Best items so far ... toss-up between the live squirrel and the chainsaw,” mused one respondent. Others reported having discovered a fetus or body parts.
Other notable incidents were the arrest of an employee who had assumed his cousin’s identity; the loss of a power grid that required the laundry to acquire a large generator to maintain operations; a visit by a streaker; and a manager talking an employee out of committing suicide.
While the American Laundry News Wire survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.
Subscribers to American Laundry News’ Wire e-mails — distributed weekly — are invited to participate in an industry survey each month. The survey is conducted online via a partner website. Each survey is developed so it can be completed in 10 minutes or less. Readers are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.
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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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