Areas with lots of high rise buildings, campuses can be a strategic location to open up a laundromat business. A laundromat is a simple concept where you provide reliable, efficient, commercial washers and dryers in a retail space and request payment for the usage of the machines. It will require a great deal of starting capital to buy the commercial machines and ensure everything is up and running but once that is out of the way the sailing should be smoother.
Today we look at how to start a laundromat. l’ll summarize it by these few pointers in order of priority.
- Understand the business
The first key step is to understand the business model. Laundromats concept is a pretty new phenomenon which is yet to be accepted as an alternative laundry solution in the country and not many people know about it nor understand it. Find out from already existing laundromats how it all works. To get a bit more practical, take your week’s laundry to one of them and sit and observe. You will learn quite a lot. Understanding the business means going into the nitty gritty – for example what do the wash symbols in garments mean, different types of stains and how to remove them, which is the best detergent to use to clean heavily soiled garments, how do washing machines work and driers. This is the core of everything.
- Develop a business plan
Just like any other business, laundromat requires a business plan drawn with all the, pricing strategy, cash flow projections, budgets and taxation. This will be beneficial if you are seeking financing and will act as a guide to your day to day operations and long term goals.
- Select a strategic location
This is another critical cog in the preparatory steps. Do a feasibility study in the area you want to set up one to assess business appetite for your new venture. If you have washing machine and home, offer to wash some laundry for your neighbors and you will slow see a pattern and it will help you know whether its calculated risk going into that business venture. You wouldn’t want to set up in a highly affluent area where most people have washing machines at home as your business would be redundant. This study will determine your pricing strategy and help you preempt traffic to your business once you set up. Remember the more traffic to your shop the higher the margins.
- Purchase machines and installation
This is perhaps the nuts and bolts of the whole process. Setting up a laundromat requires that the business invests in commercial washing machines and driers. This can be a heavy investment depending on the make, type and the number of machines you would like to start with. The more the machines the faster you are able to turn around laundry. You can get commercial machines locally at LG retail shop – a commercial washer goes for approximately Kshs 320,000 with the drier setting you back Kshs 152,000. Other than buying the machines, another key element in the process is its installation and plumbing which ideally shouldn’t take you more than two weeks if you are installing a water reservoir too.
- Market your laundromat
Lastly, just like any other business, market your business through social media platforms, do some fliers, door to door campaigns and get people in the neighborhood to know that you exist. The best platform though is word of mouth so when that customer walks into your door, make them have a fantastic experience and they will refer ten of their friends building you traffic in the long run.