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The pros of opening up a Laundromat


Published : Monday, September 25, 2023

When you’re thinking of launching into any new business opportunity, it’s important to consider the advantages and potential pitfalls of that business. Starting a laundromat is an attractive prospect for many entrepreneurs looking for a recession-resistant model that offers great flexibility, a high ROI, and the opportunity to meaningfully serve their community.

At the same time, it’s also critical to understand the start-up and operational costs of a laundromat, the possible competition from other laundromats, and the demands of owning your own business before making your decision.  

We’ve compiled a list of the pros of opening a laundromat, along with some things to consider before you start your journey.

Pros of owning a laundromat

1. High ROI and success rate

The laundromat industry has a high return on investment and a excellent survival rate, with 95% of new laundry businesses still thriving after five years. That’s almost double that of the average new business start-up!

2. Recession-resistant

Laundromats are essential businesses that provide a vital amenity to communities across the South Africa. Whether the economy is in a boom or bust, people always need clean clothes and linen, making laundromats one of the most recession-resistant businesses out there.

3. Low labour costs with little to no inventory

Because of the self-service nature of most laundromats, labour costs can be kept to a minimum, depending on the type of store you want to run. There is also very little inventory management required – other than providing your customers with laundry products like detergents, there is no ongoing ordering and stocking of items like in a retail store or restaurant business.

4. Work-life flexibility

Some laundromat owners see their business as a full-time operation, while others view it as an additional source of income alongside another career. When you run your own laundromat, you can choose opening hours and a schedule that works with your other commitments. Hiring laundromat staff to carry out extra duties or even opting for an unattended store means that the time you need to be on-site will be kept to a minimum.

5. Low barrier to entry

Unlike many careers, you don’t need to study for any degrees or certifications to open a laundromat business. A basic understanding of finance and marketing is necessary for running any type of business, but once you find a trusted laundry advisor, such as MEGA, to guide you through the necessary steps, you’ll be on to a winner.

6. Easy management

Remote management systems have made it easier than ever to manage a laundromat business in recent years, with the ability to remotely set pricing and promotions.

Cashless payment options also save you time counting coins by providing accurate revenue reports at the end of each day.

7. Potential for a hybrid laundromat business

Some laundromat owners choose to maximise their profitability by offering other products and services alongside the laundry. If you have an interest in hospitality, why not open a coffee shop? Or if you have a talent for pampering, why not combine your laundromat with a nail bar? The possibilities for a hybrid laundry business are endless – the right one will help you stand out from the crowd and offer a next-level experience as customers wait for their laundry.

8. Family business

Owning a laundromat is an ideal opportunity to introduce future generations to the concepts of small business ownership. Many laundromat owners employ their family members and hand the business down to their children when they’re ready to retire.

9. Unlimited growth potential

Depending on the preference of the owner, a laundromat may be operated at a small scale with one location servicing a neighbourhood, or on a large scale, with multiple locations across a city or region. Once you’ve created a strong laundromat brand identity and store design, it will be easy to roll out across multiple stores. Once your reputation grows, customers will recognise your business in other towns and feel confident that they’ll get the same great service and quality.

Points to consider before opening a laundromat

1. Start-up costs

As with any small business, the initial start-up costs of owning a laundromat can be significant. Your commercial laundry equipment, supplies, and accessories will all add to your initial costs such as rent, shop fitting and hiring staff.

2. Competition

Depending on the location of your store, there may already be several laundromats in the area. It’s critical, therefore, to research and understand your local competition so you can create ways to stand out from the crowd.

The first way to do this is to equip your store with commercial laundry equipment that offers more reliability and faster laundry times than anywhere else in town. Creating custom wash and dry programs that meet the specific needs of your customers and providing them with easy payment options, can all add to their experience and build loyalty to your business.

Creating a great store design and amenities that offer customers more convenience, like free WiFi and USB charging points, could also help them choose between your store and another laundromat.

3. Ongoing running expenses

The key to building any profitable business is to maximise revenue while keeping running costs as low as possible. When you run a laundromat business, your primary recurring costs, will be your monthly utilities like electricity and water. If you don’t invest in commercial laundry equipment that effectively targets these ongoing expenses, your hard-earned revenue could end up leaking out of your business.

4. Unpredictable demands

Store owners are required to be flexible and respond to situations whenever they occur, which could infringe on vacation or other planned time away from the business. Moreover, laundromats are a customer service business, so complaints (though rare) can occasionally be challenging to manage.

While there are risks associated with any business, learning as much as you can ahead of time, understanding your customer demographic, and partnering with a trusted advisor will help you to build a successful laundromat with the potential for unlimited growth.

To find out more about our commercial equipment perfect for Laundromats, please visit our website, or contact us on 010 900 4998, 021 180 4998, 031 563 7273