There are no certainties in any business which you are aware of. In the laundromat business a constant concern is competition. Is a new owner going to build across the street on bad advice? I don’t know, maybe. Can we both survive? I’ve had new laundromats built near me twice and we found a way to survive both times. Both locations are doing better now than they were before the competition opened. But its still on my mind.
Another would be a bad lease. If you can own the property that is the way to go. I’ve seen many laundromat owners be forced out of a location for varying reasons. Maybe the landlord decided to raise the rent at renewal, maybe the landlord wants to own your laundromat, or maybe the landlord is a goof and won’t fix that leaking roof.
Can utilities skyrocket all of sudden? Sure can, 2008 or 2009 if I remember right. The news was all over gasoline prices, but natural gas took a huge increase.
Employees can make you or they can break you. Finding and retaining good quality help is a huge challenge and should never be over looked. If you have wash & fold, you will be there folding clothes when someone calls in or quits. If you are unattended, you will be there cleaning that location. If you own 10 locations, you will be cleaning all 10 if that same employee cleaned multiple locations.
Bad customers are real and it can be a tough getting rid of them, especially in a unattended store. I had a crack head shooting up in my bathroom last week. Dude was screaming and punching holes in my walls as I was standing right outside the door. If he keeps coming back that will turn off my customers, they won’t feel safe.
Maybe the great location you bought in is changing. It could become a better neighborhood by the means of new developments and high rent. Those are not self service customers, they are wash & fold customers though. Maybe the neighborhood gets worse. This could be good for the self service end but will create challenges keeping the location clean and safe.
Every business has a set of challenges and unknowns that could be its demise. COVID for example is killing restaurants, bars and a ton of other industries, who saw that coming two years ago??
I hope I didn’t scare you off. There are a ton of positives as well.