The laundromat industry is going through a renaissance and there has never been a better time than now to learn how to start a laundromat business. With office dress codes becoming more casual a trend towards even higher income clients using laundromats is growing. The popular wash-and-fold service is even serving richer clientele as they find the convenience irresistible. But what exactly is needed to get started in the laundromat business?
What You Need to Start
When starting a laundromat business you first need to calculate your startup costs. Things you will need to spend your money on up front are market research, the construction or remodelling of the laundromat location itself, washer hookups, your business licenses, and of course the equipment.
One of the pluses of buying a laundromat is that you don't have to pay for any licenses or sewer hookups, but you will still have to pay to remodel and for any new equipment that you are using. Once you have learned how to start a laundromat business you must remember that you will still have ongoing expenses in addition to your startup costs. Some of these expenses include your lease for the location, utilities, insurance against losses like theft or fire, employee payroll, and benefits as well as cleaning supplies.
Buying vs Building
After you have done your initial market research you will need to see how much money you need to set up your location. You have to decide whether you are going to build from scratch, remodel, or buy an existing laundromat outright. No matter which you choose, you will probably spend between $200,000 and $500,000 for a normally sized laundromat, which is about 2,000 square feet.
If you are buying a laundromat that is already there, then figure out your startup costs by figuring out the value of the business. If you want to remodel you will need to add these costs on top of this figure. For example, if you want to paint and put in new floors, then you will need to add this cost on top of whatever figure you came up with for the value of the business.
If you want to build, things can become a bit trickier. The space you use for your laundromat may have been another business in a previous life and so you will have some major remodelling to do. You should hire a contractor to help you estimate the costs of all remodels. You might need to add a lot more outlets, move some walls, and provide for a large amount of sewer and water hookups to handle the daily business before your laundromat is ready for the public. It costs about $200,000 for the remodelling costs for an average-sized facility.
Licenses for the business that you can't forget would include your business license, a license from the health department if you will be serving food, a sign permit, impact fees, and other miscellaneous fees that are specific to your location. It is important to budget for these hidden expenses before you begin construction. For example, the sewer connection fees can cost anywhere from $200 to $8000 per washer when you are first starting out. If it is toward the higher-end of the spectrum you could end up paying as much in hookup fees as you do for construction.
Finally, top of the line washers and dryers can run anywhere from $500 to $2,000 a piece. In order to fill up your laundromat, you will want to spend between $150,000 to $300,000. This will ensure that you have all of the best equipment to serve your new customers when you open for business.
However, you should take your time to do some research and calculation to see what types of the machine will be this most cost-effective. For example, in this article, the owner of White and Bright Laundrette stated that since choosing to have certain types of dryer installed she immediately saved $20 in gas costs per week, per dryer.
Starting a laundromat business can be a challenging and expensive endeavour. But it is worth it to have a business that you know helps people and that you can be proud of for years to come.