A laundry business, also known as a dry cleaning business can be an easy and profitable business to start. There are many aspects of laundry businesses that you can engage yourself in, which includes dry cleaning franchises, home-based laundry, etc.
Knowing how to begin a laundry business usually starts with selecting the right type of service you will offer but before we look at the steps to starting a laundry business, let’s first look at the pros and cons of a laundry business.
5 Reasons to Start a Laundry Business
- Laundry business is an easy and convenient business to start
- It is not capital or management intensive
- You can start this business right from home and grow from there
- It is a very lucrative business, as not everyone that puts on clothes has the time to do the laundry involved thereafter. Many people have a tight schedule, so they consider it a waste of time doing their laundry. This is the reason why you stand a chance of making a lot of money because this people will definitely seek your services.
- You are your own boss. One of the wonderful advantages of establishing your own laundry business remains that you will have freedom to do your things your own way. You won’t be taking orders from anyone except your customers.
Starting a Laundry Business – Sample Business Plan Template
1. Consider your Financial Resources.
Starting a laundry business may or may not be capital intensive; depending on the scale you are starting on. You may decide to get a franchise to reduce the level of risk but this may result in lesser control over your business and additional overhead in the form of royalties and all other expenses. Yet, a franchise is a nice option because of its marketing and operational benefits, among others. However, you can start this business right from home especially when you have little or no money.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Laundry Business?
It will be a wise decision to first and foremost take out time to conduct detailed cost analysis before investing your time and money into the business idea. The truth is that some businesses fail simply because proper cost analysis was not carried out prior to starting the business.
As a matter of fact, some entrepreneurs back – out after conducting detailed cost analysis of the business they intend starting. In most cases they would have discovered that they don’t have the financial capacity to start and run the business. In some cases some entrepreneur would have to go back to the drawing board to re strategize and perhaps raise more money to finance the business.
Consequently, if you intend starting your own laundry business, it will be to your best interest to conduct a detailed cost analysis before starting the business. Conducting cost analysis will basically give you the total cost of starting and running a laundry business in your chosen location. The report you get from your cost analysis will help you set realistic financial goal for your business (starting cost and running cost). Let us examine a detailed cost analysis for starting a laundry business;
- The Cost of Registering the Business-: The cost of registering business varies from country to country. For example, the cost or registering a business in Nigeria is about 10,000 Naira. You can confirm from the corporate affairs commissions of your country to get the exact amount required in registering a business.
- The Cost of Renting or Leasing a Facility-: The truth is that the cost of renting or leasing facilities varies from country to country and even from location to location within the same country and state. For example; if you want to rent a decent facility for your laundry business in Lagos state, Nigeria, you will pay an annual rent within the range of 250,000 naira to 400,000 naira in most part of the city.
- The Cost of Acquiring Commercial Laundry Equipments-: Basically you would need a washing machine, dryer, industrial iron, pressing table, generator, shelve and hangers, supply of detergents, starch, bleach and nylon. The cost of these items varies slightly in different countries and cities in the world. On the average, you are supposed to budget within the range of 400,000 naira to 600,000 naira. It could be more and it could be less due to some changing market factors.
- Salaries for a Minimum of 3 People-: Another cost you should consider if you want to conduct detailed cost analysis for your laundry business, is the cost of paying salaries for a minimum of 3 people for a period of 6 months. The 3 employees basically will be the washer man, the person that handles ironing of clothes and the pick – up and delivery person; you can handle any of the duties along side administrative and other oversight roles if you intend cutting cost. Just like most of the cost listed above, salaries of employees vary from country to country. Taking Nigeria as a case study, an average employee that works in a dry cleaning firm earns about 25,000 to 40,000 naira per month. Since you are budgeting for 3 people for a period of 6 months, i.e. 40,000 X 3 = 120,000 per month, then for 6 months it will be 120,000 X 6months = 720,000 naira for 6 months.
- Tax and Bills-: Regarding tax and payment of bill, it also varies. There are factors that determine the amount of tax you are to pay in your country, it is important to make enquiries from the nearest tax office around you. You should also factor the cost of bill payments when conducting cost analysis for your laundry business. You are expected to pay basic utility bills (power, water and other bills unique to the location where you intend starting your laundry business).
- The General Running Cost and Miscellaneous-: General running cost covers, the cost of fueling and servicing your delivery van, cost of fueling your generating set, cost of adverts and promotion (optional) and other re – occurring cost that you might incur when running your laundry business. This cost varies and it can be controlled.
2. Draw your Business Plan
A business plan is very crucial to the success of any business. You have to describe the way you would like to run your business in writing. List the services you will provide including specialized ones such as pick-up and delivery, wash-and-fold, etc.
You should also determine your target market and demographics. Are your target customers apartment building residents, busy professional or college students? This is an answer you must find and a good way to find such an answer is by conducting a feasibility study. You should also carry out research on how well other laundry businesses in your locality are surviving and meeting the population requirements.
Example of Service ideas in the Laundry Industry
- Home Pickup and Home Delivery-: One of the ideas that you can adopt in the bid to building and growing your laundry service is to offer home pickup and home delivery to your clients. Most clients appreciate it if you pick up dirty clothes from their homes and deliver clean clothes to their homes at no extra cost. Every human loves comfort and they tend to move towards anyone that can offer them comfort.
- Create Unique Laundry Service for Hotels and Motels-: Instead of targeting individual clients alone, one idea that will help you generate more income for your laundry business is to create a unique laundry service for hotels and motels around you. Of course they are likely going to be some of your biggest clients and as such their prices should be discounted. Your unique service to them might be manning their laundry department or picking up and delivering laundries from them at specific time on a daily basis.
- Create Unique Laundry Service for Boarding Schools-: Creating unique laundry service for boarding schools is another fantastic business idea that can help your laundry business generates more revenue. Therefore, approach boarding schools around you to help them handle their laundry services.
- Create Unique Laundry Service for Hospitals-: Another highly sellable business idea for laundry business is to create unique laundry service for hospitals. Once you are able to win contracts to help hospitals around you handle their laundry jobs, you are not going to struggle to keep your laundry business growing because there will always be jobs for you to handle.
- Create Unique Laundry Service for Churches and Seminaries-: You can also create unique laundry service for churches and seminaries around you. There are loads of churches out there whose choristers and clergies make use of robes. Washing and ironing these robes can be difficult so if you offer to help them handle it, you are likely going to get the contract if they don’t have anyone handling it for them.
- Start Selling, Repairing and Servicing of Laundry Equipments-: Lastly one of the ideas that you can consider in the bid to generate more income for your laundry business is to start selling, repairing and servicing of laundry equipments in your area. You will be so amazed at the income you will generate when you include this as your business offering.
3. Look for an appropriate Location
Except you intend operating from home, your business location is something you should not handle like a pinch of salt. When choosing an operating space or location, you need to look for an area that is accessible and close to apartment buildings. This will help attract customers who do not have laundry machines at home. However, you must not open a store near a competitor; except the competitor is not up and doing or you feel you have a competitive advantage.
4. Buy the necessary equipment
After spotting and securing a good office space, you will need to order for dryers, washers, pressing iron, laundry carts, detergents.
You can make a search for an online auction sites for deals on used laundry equipment. You can also purchase top-load washers to economize your money. Or better still, you can lease or rent equipment and run your business until you are bouyant enough to buy your own equipment outright.
5. Market your Laundry Business
After your business is up and running, you should endeavor to advertise it. A good way to start is by placing door hangers on apartment building doors. You have to include a list of your services and offer coupons to your new customers.
- Bonus Service-: Another idea that you can introduce in your laundry business is to offer bonus service. It is simply, you can decide to give wash and iron two clothes for free for every dozen of clothes a customer brings and paid for. In case you don’t know, people like bonus including those who can afford to pay for the service without stress.
- Offer Discounts from Time to Time-: Another idea you can introduce in your laundry business is to offer discounts from time to time. Customers like it when they know that they are likely going to pay less for a service; it will sure increase your sale. You can afford to start with little discount and then grow as your business grow as well.
You should also differentiate your laundry business from your competition by emphasizing on any specialized services or perks you offer, such as free wireless internet, televisions and couches. You should as well hang fliers on local bulletin boards and place ads on online newspapers or in print.
- Do a house-to-house sales call and let your neighbors know that you are in business. Also tell them the kind of services you offer.
- Visit offices, workplaces and corporate organizations and let them know the type of services you offer.
- Place of directional sign post at strategic locations within your neighborhood.
- Put your business on the web and get on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, etc
Now every business, no matter how lucrative the business is comes with its own fair share of challenges. The fact that laundry business seems to be a profitable business does not mean that you are not going to encounter some form of challenges when you start the business. Either way, the challenges people who own laundry business face varies from region to region and from country to country. The bottom line is that there are challenges that are unique to laundry business.