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How To Run A Launderette in 2022

By Brisco Business on September 17th, 2022

Launderettes used to be a common sight on many British High Streets, mainly because washing machines used to be costly appliances that were a little out of reach of most householders’ budgets, meaning high business profits for the owner.

However, despite domestic washing machines becoming much more affordable, launderettes have stood the test of time and are still bustling centres for many local communities.

This is why starting your own laundry business isn’t a bad idea. If you have some spare capital to invest in modern, eco-friendly industrial washers and dryers and protect yourself with launderette insurance, you could be on to a winner!

These days, students doing their weekly laundry while studying and living away from home frequent launderettes. But increasingly, professional workers, who don’t have the spare time to do their own laundry, are using launderettes.

With this growing demographic, a savvy entrepreneur can reap the benefits of catering to their cash-rich, time-poor customers for great launderette business profit in the UK.

How Popular Are Launderettes in 2022?

Launderette services have been growing in popularity over the past decade, especially those that offer extra services such as dry cleaning, ironing, clothes repair and alteration services.

Many successful high street launderette businesses even offer free collection and delivery services for their time-strapped customers that rise early and work late. If you can also provide specialist-cleaning services for large and bulky items such as curtains, rugs, sofa throws, and bedspreads, customers will be knocking at your door.

With young working professionals leading busier lives, money isn’t an issue when tending to their laundry – but their precious time is! Even if they live in modern apartments with built-in washer-dryers, many workers aren’t at home for long enough to properly use them – but will take advantage of a local laundry service right on their doorstep.

How Can I Make My Launderette Stand Out?

The reputation of many launderettes took a sharp downturn in the 90s and early 2000s. These places became run down, and many owners no longer employ staff to work in them.

Most launderettes at this time were self-service setups where customers loaded and unloaded coin-operated machines. Customers even had to bring their own laundry baskets and fold their clean clothes on plastic chairs, benches or the top of the machines because machines took up every square inch of space.

When you want to start a laundry business, staffing your launderette and offering extra services such as dry-cleaning, ironing, mending and alteration services will be more appealing to busy customers than a sterile and bare self-service wash and dry option where there are no staff to interact with.

Offer Internet Connection & Working Space

You can make your launderette stand out by making it more welcoming and comfortable for self-service customers that want to wait while their laundry is done.

Many students and busy professionals rely on the internet for their work and study, so offering free wifi and internet and workspaces for laptops and tablets will enable students and workers to carry on working or researching during their lunch break while they take care of their laundry.

It can take up to an hour to do your laundry, so instead of your self-service customers sitting around bored, give them the option to surf the net and work or entertain themselves while they wait. You can fit some counter space and bench seating with power sockets and USB ports and display your wifi network key on a chalkboard in easy view.

Add A Coffee Machine Or Small Cafe

Encouraging students and young professionals to work while they wait for their laundry is an opportunity to capitalise on a captive audience when starting a laundry business.

Finding things for your customers to do and enjoy while they wait can give you a lucrative extra income stream. Installing food and drink vending machines is one way to improve a self-service launderette where you offer free Wi-Fi and working space.

Offering food and drink on your premises makes it convenient for your customers to fuel up or relax with a warm drink without the need to seek out a local cafe down the street to grab a bite to eat.

Offer Full Ironing & Dry-Cleaning Services

Self-service wash and tumble dry only launderettes make a consistent income, but it is not substantial enough to tempt many entrepreneurs into taking the leap. However, those launderettes that do generate a high-level turnover are those that offer additional services and complementary products.

Successful launderettes have always offered related services that exceed the standard self-service coin-operated laundry setup. These are those that employ staff and provide service washes where customers can choose to have their laundry washed, dried, ironed and folded for a set fee.

Dry-Cleaning services are popular with professional workers that wear shirts and suits to work each day. Many dry cleaners used to be separate establishments from self-service launderettes, but merging the two has proven very successful for many entrepreneurs entering this marketplace.

Focus On Delivering Convenience & Time-Saving Services

Don’t forget that a typical working professional customer will be pressed for time, so offering a level of convenience over and above a standard laundry service will prove fruitful.

For example, if your direct competition only offers service washes where the customers have to drop off and collect their laundry, then why not offer a free collection and delivery service to attract customers that want to save more time.

Also, your customers will need large and bulky items cleaned, such as duvets, pillows, rugs, curtains, and sofa throws. If you can offer your customers a one-stop shop where you can take care of all their household fabric and textile cleaning and refreshing needs on top of their regular laundry, your launderette will be an instant hit with your customers.

What Equipment Do I Need For A Launderette in 2022?

The equipment needed for laundry business can run into thousands of pounds, especially if you plan to offer dry-cleaning and associated services such as repairs and alterations. According to Electrolux, the typical cost for five standard and two large laundrette washing machines, plus seven dryers, is £19.5k.

But if you plan to offer extra services, you will need industrial dry cleaning machines, sewing machines for repairs and alterations, and don’t forget any additional equipment to keep your customers comfortable and entertained, such as seating areas, workspace, TV or music system, vending machines etc.

A cost-effective alternative to starting a business is to buy a laundry franchise instead. This means the launderette won’t be entirely yours, but you get to run it and benefit from the income and profits it brings in without having to spend money on buying the expensive equipment needed to run.

What Are The Typical Running Costs For A Launderette?

You can lease the equipment if you don’t have much capital to invest in buying your washing machines and dryers outright. For example, the washing and drying machines mentioned above would cost around  £500 per month over five years, with a six-month deposit in advance.

For an entrepreneur wanting to keep costs down, running a modern launderette offering basic self-service washing and drying machines can be run comfortably by one or two people.

Running costs include utilities, employee wages, business insurance, maintenance, insurance, supplies, property rent, machine lease payments (if applicable) and business rates. These costs will vary according to your circumstances and the size of your operation.

How Can I Market My Local Launderette?

Launderettes have always been at the heart of the local community, so why not get involved in a few community events to help raise awareness of your new launderette? A great way to attract new customers is to target those who would appreciate your services the most.

Think about sponsoring your local football or rugby team to get your name recognised. Not only will the team appreciate your support, but think about all those players bringing in their muddy kits for a clean during the football or rugby season.

Setting up a website and social media business pages for your launderette is a given nowadays. Offering discounts for first-time customers or a complimentary tea, coffee and biscuit to tempt customers on quieter days can often work well.

What Insurance Do I Need For My Modern Launderette?

Running any business where you will be interacting with customers and members of the public will always carry some risks. Insuring your launderette business against the most common hazards is a sensible step to help protect your livelihood from the challenges you face.

A popular choice for a launderette owner would be public liability insurance to cover you should a customer slip and fall on your premises and gets injured. You will also need insurance to protect you against any claims customers make for damage to their possessions caused by your machines.

At Brisco Business, we know how challenging it can be to run a launderette. We offer you a simple and fast way to compare the best insurance policies from leading providers to ensure you get the best cover possible at the most cost-effective price.

Conclusion

Starting a launderette can be a savvy move because people will always need clean clothes, no matter the economic climate. Business insurance protection will also ensure you have great peace of mind.

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