Hey – all good questions. Happy to take this to a phone call if easier. I’ll give you the spark notes here and let you reach out by email if you have more. My email is mvlaskamp @ thefolde.com.
1) Starchup has an app for the end customer so they can use the app on their phone or the iFrame embed on your website. We find most people use the website for their first order then download the app and start using the app for all future orders. It is super user-friendly! On top of the customer app, the drivers have their own app and they are developing a facility app for the laundry teams to use. So, it’s all mobile-friendly.
2) Good idea. The vertical integration is the only way to get scale and retain customers. My advice would be to just talk to the store owner. It is a better deal for him than it will be for you. So, get any wholesale price you can from him. But, realize that any break-even customers you have now will be very profitable customers when you get your own laundromat. Theoretically, it is simple. But, managing your burn rate is going to be your biggest challenge.
3) We have always been flat rate. I don’t like per pound. It is how the old school guys price their service and they like to be vocal about how wrong flat rate pricing is. I see a couple benefits to it: 1) it lowers the barrier to entry to a customer who is unsure about testing it out bc they know exactly what they are paying 2) we save a ton on payroll and efficiency not weighing every bag, 3) we’re doing a ton of laundry anyway – who cares if the customer stuffs it full? Letting them feel like they are gaming the system is a huge marketing approach to gamify the ordering process.
4) Have a solid terms and conditions on damage and refunds. You will need lots of storage space. Vet drivers before hiring them because insurance will kill you on certain drivers with a bad record.
5) Everything runs through Starchup – barcodes, routes, tracking, time clock, coupons, etc. If you reach out to them, tell them I sent you.