Business Plan For Laundry
Many laundry owners also employ attendants to keep an eye on the store and help customers use the equipment.
Laundromat Renaissance The coin-operated laundry industry has changed in response to several trends.
Other social phenomena, like the prevalence of two-income families, suggest that convenient services such as wash-and-fold will continue to grow in popularity as working parents have less time to attend to household chores like laundry.
According to a survey from the Coin Laundry Association, more than half of coin laundries offer wash-and-fold.
The industry is what experts describe as a "mature market." Save for areas that are seeing high population growth, pretty much every neighborhood that needs a laundry has one -- or two or three -- that are competing vigorously.
In some areas of the country, there are too many laundromats already. Many get into the business by purchasing an existing laundry and renovating it.
"I don't think we'll ever cross that threshold into making laundry fun," Wallace said, "but we're making it more comfortable."Tom Leavitt, owner of Darcies Laundry in the Seattle area at time of interviewing, opened three new stores, all of them near older, smaller laundries, most of which have since closed.
Darcies offers customers a better deal: bigger stores with play areas for children and attendants on duty at all times. "They're clean, they have a friendly environment, and they have a lot of machines, so you can get in and out of there as fast as possible."The Good News As the population of the United States grows, the number of renters -- your main market -- is likely to grow, too.
"Trying to generate additional revenue per square foot has always been an issue," he said.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 1, 2008, and has been updated.
It was excerpted from our Coin-Operated Laundry start-up guide, available from Entrepreneur Bookstore.
"The industry is now getting a facelift," said Brian Wallace, president and CEO of the Coin Laundry Association, a national association for self-service laundry owners.
"There's a trend toward coin laundries being more comfortable for the customer."Newer laundries have snack bars, a place to leave off and pick up dry cleaning and video games. Instead, customers use swipe cards that subtract the cost of the wash or dry, much like a phone card or debit card.