When starting a laundromat you can decide to leave it unattended, hire an employee or supervise the laundromat yourself. There are advantages and disadvantages to all. If you leave the laundromat unattended customers may feel frustrated should a problem arise but be sure to keep a contact number posted and easily visible in case a customer needs to contact you. A disadvantage of hiring employees is having to manage and pay them. A disadvantage of supervising the laundromat yourself is that you have to sacrifice your time. Job duties of operating a laundromat include opening and closing the store each day, collecting the money, filling change machines, repairing broken machines and keeping the laundromat sparkling clean. You can also decide to offer a wash and fold service which is convenient for busy people who don’t have time to do their own laundry. If you do offer the wash and fold service you can not leave the laundromat unattended.
Where will you work?
Choosing a location for your laundromat is critical! Your location could make or break your business. The majority of your customers will come to your laundromat because it is in a convenient location to where they live so it is essential that you find an area where there is a large population of your target market (targeted customer). Your target market are low income renters, young single people and students since they are most likely to not own washing and drying machines and therefore are potential customers for your laundromat. Do market research and gather demographic information to see if your desired location has good potential. Also research your competition. Your laundromat should not be near other competing laundromats. If your desired location already has enough laundromats to fill demand you should look elsewhere. If you are building a new laundromat make sure that zoning laws allow a laundromat in your location.
Starting a Laundromat requires a large amount of capital regardless of whether you are building a new laundromat or buying an existing one. According to Entrepreneur.com starting a laundromat can range from $200,000 to $500,000. It is a large amount of capital for most people, however manufacturers and distributors of the washing and drying machines will give you the option of financing. In addition to washing and drying machines other basic expenses of starting a laundromat include tables to fold clothes, overhead expenses such as rent, employees if you decide to hire any, laundry baskets and change machines.
Starting a Laundromat Tips
Gain Experience– Try getting a job at a laundromat first to see if it is a business you really want to start. You can learn a lot about a business just by working in one even part time.
Learn about the Industry– Before deciding on whether to start a laundromat business, you should learn about the industry. Reading trade magazines and joining associations such as the Coin Laundry Association can help you research the business. At CoinLaundry.com you can get information for operating a laundromat such as a list of suppliers, seminars and more.
Talk to experienced owners– By talking to other laundromat owners you can get a better sense of what it is like to start and run a laundromat. They can offer you valuable advice and help you decide if this is the kind of business you want to get into. When seeking advice it is a good idea to go over to the next town so the laundry owners don’t think that you will be their competition.
Mature Market– When getting into the laundromat business you should be aware that this is a mature market- meaning that if there is a need for a laundromat most likely the need has be filled by current laundromats (however there are exceptions). Therefore buying an existing laundromat or opening one in a growing area should be considered. If you are buying an existing laundromat make sure you get an accurate estimate on how much the laundromat makes monthly or yearly. Laundromats tend to make around the same amount every year.
Instead of using the conventional coin operated machines you can decide to use smart card models. Even though the smart card models can be more convenient in the aspect that you don’t have to keep emptying coins from the machines every day, they do have a disadvantage. Hackers can find ways to add value to their card by manipulating it on their personal computer. As a result this can increase your loss due to theft.
Today many laundromats are trying to make the laundry experience more comfortable by adding a play area for kids, televisions and vending machines. Other additions can include video games, computer stations, Wi-Fi, free coffee and more. Just be sure not to go overboard on the additions, you will have enough expenses when starting a laundromat.
When advertising a laundromat keep in mind that you will be advertising to your local area. Customers most likely will not drive more than 1 mile to get to your laundromat in an urban setting. Seek advertisement methods that will reach your local target market.
- Word of mouth– Get people talking about your laundromat. You’ll be amazed at how this free form of advertisement can also be your most effective form of advertisement.
- Flyers– Determine if you can put up flyers in local grocery stores, bakeries and restaurants. It is best to ask the owner of these businesses for permission first. Also hand out flyers to passer byes on the street and place them on car windshields.
- Local.com Having a listing at Local.com can help people that are searching for your service or product locally find you.
- Yahoo Local Searches– If you include your business in the Yahoo Local Searches, when people search for your service your business will appear in the list. To add your business to Yahoo local search, enter the term “add business to yahoo local search” in Yahoo.com and click on the first link.
- Google Local Searches– Google has a local search as well. To add your business to Google local search, enter the term “add business to google search” in Google.com and click on the first link.