What new owners should know about the laundry business
Breaking into a new industry is no small feat. For an entrepreneur, this means coming up with a viable idea, a business strategy, the right financing and the perfect location.
In fact, the to-do list can get quite long. Don’t worry, though – there are a number of ways to make things a bit easier. One is to know what you are getting into when you open a laundry business.
Here are five things you should know:
1. Expect mom-and-pop competition
The laundry industry is full of mom-and-pop stores. Looking around the country, you’ll actually have a hard time finding any major chains, especially on a national scale. Instead, you’ll see a lot of smaller, one-off laundromats and other businesses. Keep this in mind as you build your own store – competition will likely be locals who know the market well.
2. Don’t sweat experience
Experience is important when running a business, but experience tailored to the laundry industry itself can be hard to come by. For example, Entrepreneur Magazine interviewed many business owners for its Coin-Operated Laundry guide, and found that none had dedicated laundry experience. With that in mind, don’t worry about this aspect. Focus on the business-side first, and the laundry expertise will come.
3. Get creative with customers
When you first think of a laundromat, you often think of a customer-base that is full of local people, typically living nearby and perhaps low-income. However, this approach could hamper your growth. For many laundromats, only a percentage of their business comes from the average person. Instead, many find success by balancing that clientele with commercial accounts. Consider branching out when you first get started.
4. Capital depends on clients
Who do you want to serve? If you want to follow the above example and pair residential customers with commercial ones, you’ll need a certain amount of capital. Businesses with an industrial focus will often need millions in startup capital, while laundromats that only want to serve the local community will need less. So, plan ahead during the financing phase.
5. Network and network some more
Your professional relationships are incredibly important to your success as a laundry business. The best way to build these connections is to network in the industry. There are a number of laundry-centric events throughout the year, and make sure you are talking to as many people as possible. Networking will also come in handy if you want to expand your commercial clientele. Talk to other businesses in your area and see which ones have a need for your services.
With these five things in mind, you’ll be on more stable footing as you grow your laundry business. Perhaps the most important tip to know, though, is that you should never stop learning. Even the most seasoned professionals are in search of more knowledge, and a complacent attitude can lead to a stagnant business.