\The washer is under repair again. This time the crew took the unit to their service center in Salt Lake City. You now find your self in a coin-operated laundromat. You brought a book with you to kill time while you let the machine do their work. Strangely, you find the smell of detergent and the whirring of the devices a little bit calming.
Occasionally, you would take your eyes off your book, lift your head, look around, and observe people coming and going, doing the same thing you’re doing: the laundry. You go back to your book. But something is bugging you. You look up again, and you see that rarely do the machines become vacant for a long time. Customers just come in one after another. You’ve been looking to establish your business, and you asked yourself, “Why not a laundromat?” You haven’t a clue about how to do it.
Here are a few points for you to consider:
An Overview of the Laundromat Business
Although it is currently on the downward trend, the laundromat industry in the USA still earned $5 billion in revenue as of October 2019.
2016 figures indicate that there are approximately 30,000 laundries in the US. The projected annual income for the coin-operated laundromat is in the low $15,000 but could rise to $300,000. The size and location of your shop are factors that influence your revenue.
A Needed Service
Food businesses, whether it’s a restaurant or a grocery store, will always respond to a need. People need to get from one place to another, so the transportation business also responds to a need. The laundromat business does the same thing, which makes the potential for success high. Unless you’re an absolute slob, you would need to clean your clothes. Here are a few things to note when starting this business.
- What’s available? You can start from scratch for this business. Or you can scout in your area those that are offering franchises. A franchise would be a plug-and-go thing as the franchiser will provide you with the equipment as well as the entire process of managing the business. Starting your own, on the other hand, gives you more flexibility and higher profit margins. You will, however, be burdened with sourcing all equipment.
- Location. Think of the future when you’re deciding on the location. Because you’re starting and you might think that a smaller place would be fine. What if you get a call from a hotel with more than a hundred rooms? A laundromat owner recalls a story about being given 15 minutes by a 500-room hotel to decide if they could wash their linens. They had to answer “yes,” and suddenly, the operation was bigger than what they had planned. Be prepared for possible expansion.
- Decide on your services. Instead of reading a book next time, talk to people about what specific services they want from a laundromat service. This will give you insights as to what potential customers want. Will they often use dry cleaning services? Will you offer a delivery service? Get the pulse of the people and see how it goes.
- Equipment. You would need commercial washing machines. Choose wisely and within your budget. Newer models have better features, but they tend to be more expensive.
You need, of course, to draw your business plan and clearly outline your financial plans and marketing efforts. Be ready for possible expansion and the need to raise funds. You also need to deal with customer service and learn how to keep customers happy.