The coin laundry, or laundromat, business is attractive to many entrepreneurs because it seems to run itself. Customers provide their own labor, and aside from washers and dryers, there are few other essentials needed to open up. However, several aspects of the coin laundry business should be considered before heading into this industry.
CompetitionMost neighborhoods have at least two laundries within a short distance of each other. However, because laundromats are all run so differently, there is always room for another store to open up and be successful. For instance, if a neighborhood has two coin laundries that offer few extra services and have unclean facilities, it would be easy for a new store to come along and steal away some customers just by keeping their laundromat clean and putting in a TV and fully stocked vending machines.
ProfitsThe amount of profits one can make owning a coin laundry varies. According to Brian Wallace of the Coin Laundry Association, the gross annual income of laundromats ranges from $30,000 to $1 million. The actual profits of these stores heavily depends on their expenses. For example, you may gross $40,000 one year and only make $10,000 in profits due to not using energy-efficient machines, or you could make $30,000 in profits due to your yearly expenses being relatively low.
Offering ExtrasTo stand out from the competition, many coin laundries have started offering additional services to their customers. This includes wash and fold service, dry cleaning, vending machines with laundry detergent and fabric softener, televisions to watch while doing laundry, free coffee, nighttime security guards, children&#039;s play areas, free Wi-Fi and food cafes. What you should offer depends on who your competitors are. For example, if your two main competitors don&#039;t offer children&#039;s play areas or nighttime security, you could consider adding these services to your laundromat to attract their customers.
StaffIt is completely possible to run a laundromat by yourself. However, many coin laundry owners employ a few part-time workers to check in at their store and keep it clean since they have other duties to handle. Some laundromats that offer 24-hour service hire a security officer on an independent contractor basis, not only to keep their equipment safe but to give customers peace of mind as well. Laundromat owners that have little business experience often retain the services of a bookkeeper, accountant, marketing or public relations professional to help manage their business operations.
Daily ManagementUnless you hired staff to clean your laundromat and check in on it, you will have to visit your store daily and perform basic janitorial duties. Expect for machines to regularly need fixing--because they&#039;ll be under heavy use, it is quite common to have at least one washer or dryer not functioning at any given time. If your coin laundry has vending machines inside that you do not operate, prepare to interact with vendors regularly not only to collect your portion of their profits, but to handle customer complaints about non-functioning machines and lost money. Other day-to-day responsibilities of laundromat owners include public relations management, marketing and bookkeeping.