Tips for Starting a Laundry Business
Despite the undebatable need for clean clothes, a lot of people cannot afford the luxury of time that it takes to handle this seemingly simple task. In fact, laundry is often rated as most people’s least favorite chore.
To the outside observer, running a laundry business might seem fairly simple: take in dirty laundry, turn out clean laundry. It’s a simple enough concept, but the reality is that commercial launderers have to do much more than just clean laundry to be really successful.
Whether you’re running a small neighborhood dry cleaner or a large commercial laundry operation, here are a few tips to help you find success in the industry:
Gain Experience in the Laundry Industry
While running your own laundry business usually does not require specific qualifications or experience except the basic knowledge of knowing how to wash clothes, it is usually advisable to be vastly experienced in any business one intends to venture into.
This would also help learn more about the trade and understand what customers actually want.
Carry out Market Research
Before venturing into a laundry business, conducting thorough market can be quite helpful and it can also be an effective way to ensure there is demand for laundry services in your area.
Carrying out market research will help you determine how customers are likely to respond to your new venture.
List Out the Needed Items
It is quite essential to make a list of all the items and equipment needed for the effective running of the laundry business. For example, washers, dryers, detergent, hangers and so on are some of the most important things to be factored into your starting out budget.
Determine Your Target Market
Most times, the category of persons that usually need laundry services are fairly broad, ranging from elderly customers who are not able to take care of the washing themselves, to busy working parents who do not have time to wash the family’s laundry, students who do not have their own washer or basically working class people who have busy schedules. It is very vital to determine your target market before launching the laundry business.
Look for Innovative Ways to Increase Service Offerings
Expanding your customer base can be difficult in a business that depends heavily on location such as a laundry business. Even if you have an incredibly efficient pick-up and delivery service, your customers are likely still within a certain geographic radius of your facility—leaving you with a pretty finite number of potential customers.
Obviously the first approach to this problem is to open more locations, but that’s not always prudent. Expanding service offerings, however, can be a cost-effective way to both increase revenue from current customers and attract new business.
Extra services could include: Pick-up and delivery (if those are not already part of your business), Press and fold, Specialty cleaning and Rush service.
Find something that you can add without extending your staff or your budget too far and see how it works for you. If the service is high quality, you’ll impress your customer base and create opportunities for new acquisition.
Nothing can ruin a solid revenue stream in the world of commercial laundry like an extended period of down-time because of equipment or supply issues.
In the laundry industry, it’s always better to be over-prepared, so be sure that your equipment is up-to-date on maintenance and your supply closet is never close to empty. Keep track of when machine warranties run out and look for local repair resources that could help you out in a pinch. In short: Do everything you can to avoid down-time.
Don’t Let Utility Costs Get in the Way
According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, water costs represent more than 50% of total operating costs in the typical commercial laundry. With energy costs on top of that, utilities can be a huge—even prohibitive—expense for launderers.
Limiting water and energy usage even slightly can be a game-changer for commercial laundry businesses. Limiting water usage by up to 80% and energy usage by up to 50% can save you extra cost.