Laundromat Franchise Opportunities

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laundromat launderette franchises

A laundromat – a launderette or laundrette in the UK – is a business that provides washing and drying machines for customers to do their laundry. While this is usually a self-service set-up, many launderettes also offer to do the washing, drying and ironing on behalf of the customer with a collection or delivery service.

Who uses launderettes?

The first UK coin-operated launderette opened in 1949 in London. In the years that followed, this type of business grew in popularity, peaking in the 1980s. According to the National Association of the Launderette Industry (NALI), there were 12,500 launderette businesses in the UK in the early 1980s. Today, there are just 3,000. This decline reflects the increasingly low price of washing machines, enabling homeowners and landlords to furnish their properties with their own washing and/or drying machines.

This is not to say, however, that a new launderette business couldn’t see success. By setting up shop in the right location, you could create a profitable business that benefits the local community. But what constitutes the right location? In short, it is one that is home to people on low incomes who can’t afford to buy their own washing machines, and students or other people living in rented accommodation.

You should also shortlist areas that attract lots of tourists, who might stay for a couple of weeks and need to do a couple of loads of washing. Finally, your business will also be more profitable if you can provide a service for local businesses that don’t have an on-site laundry. These could include restaurants, pubs, hairdressing salons and B&Bs.

You could even get business from those who do own their own washing and drying machines. By offering machines with large drums, you can give customers a chance to wash their bedding and any other large items, such as horse blankets. You could also target local sports teams that might want somewhere to wash a collection of kits in one go.

As you can see, although a launderette business can make more money during the winter, when customers want to use tumble dryers rather than air dry their clothes, there is plenty of opportunity to generate a healthy income throughout the year.

How can I make money from a launderette business?

So how exactly can you ensure your launderette company is profitable? Well, the first thing you should do is establish the types of services you will offer, as this will have a huge impact on the amount of cash you make. Consider looking into dry cleaning, ironing, folding as well as washing and drying.

By incorporating ironing and folding into your offering alongside a collection or delivery option, you could gain customers who prefer to have their laundry done for them. This is called a ‘service wash’, and you should set a fixed fee for this. You’ll also need to invest in hangers, suit and dress covers, ticket books and duvet bags if you’re to offer service washes.

Secondly, make sure your business is in a convenient location with high public footfall, such as a busy high street or near a block of flats. If it is slightly off the beaten track, it should have a car park. Just make sure your business is easily accessible by all kinds of customers.

Finally, do your research. Not all launderettes offer the same services. Look around you at the kind of launderettes that stand the test of time and figure out what makes them work. Remember – compare their price lists and don’t overlook dry cleaning outlets in supermarkets. Then, adapt your business model to incorporate lucrative features.

One obvious way you can maximise your revenue is by introducing television screens, internet access, food and drinks facilities and a dedicated seating area to your launderette. Most people would prefer not to leave their washing unattended, so providing a space where customers can occupy themselves while they do their washing could mean that they choose your launderette over others.

Practical Elements

Here comes the practical bit; the nuts and bolts of launderette businesses. You’ll need around six or eight washing machines and tumble dryers – around 14 machines in total. The huge initial investment is one reason why prospective launderette owners are put off, but there is a way to combat this expense.

Opt to lease the machines rather than buy them outright. This way, the costs are spread across a period of up to eight years. Leasing equipment comes with the added benefit of minimal repair costs. This is because the lender should take on these expenses. Also, you should be able to easily upgrade the machines further down the line.

The washing and drying machines are only half of the story; you’ll also need to ensure that your business premises have a large incoming water supply or a water tank, a large outgoing waste pipe and a gas supply or gas mains nearby. Once you’ve taken care of these elements and purchased everything you’ll need to make your launderette business a success, you should expect to have spent between £60,000 and £100,000.

Launderette Franchise Opportunities

Rather than set up your own launderette business from scratch, you could just join an established franchise. Let’s take a look at the best cleaning franchises out there.

Molly Maid

This franchise has been offering domestic cleaning services for more than 35 years. It provides uniformed cleaners who take care of bathrooms and kitchens, wash floors, dust and vacuum. Established in Canada in the late 1970s, it was launched in the UK in 1984 and now cleans around 15,000 worldwide every single day. If you’d like to join Molly Maid, you’ll need to make a total investment of around £27,000.

Merry Maids

Merry Maids is part of the ServiceMaster group of home service brands. This includes TruGreen, Furniture Medic, ServiceMaster Clean and Rosemary Bookkeeping. Like Molly Maid, this franchise can offer bathroom and kitchen cleaning, alongside services such as dusting, vacuuming, mopping, emptying bins and cleaning windows. There are now more than 100 Merry Maids franchises in the UK, and you can join them for a total investment of £20,000.

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