How to Start Your Own Drop-off Laundry Service: The Ultimate Guide

Starting your own laundry wash and fold laundry services can be a great way to increase your laundromat’s revenue. It can be especially lucrative if you live in a high-density area with a lot of people who don’t have the time or energy to do their own laundry. In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about starting and running your own laundry wash and fold business!

The laundry service business is different from a self-serve laundromat business. With a self-serve laundromat, you are providing the machines and the space for people to wash their clothes. With a laundry service, you are doing all of the washing and folding for your customers. This means that you need to have a reliable process in place for getting clothes clean and folded quickly and neatly.

We’ll go through the steps you need to take to start your own wash and fold laundry service, but first, let’s understand who a typical wash and fold customer is. It’s important that we understand who our target customer is so that we can best serve them.

Who is a Typical Wash and Fold Customer

The typical wash and fold customer is someone who doesn’t have the time or energy to do their own laundry. They may be a busy professional who doesn’t have time to go to the laundromat, or they may live in a high-density area where there are no self-serve laundromats available. They may also be someone who just doesn’t enjoy doing laundry!

More and more, people are valuing their time over money and paying for time-saving services and for convenience. When determining your ideal customer, think about who is likely to utilize your laundry services.

As mentioned above, that may be busy professionals who want their clothes professionally cleaned, or it may be a family with two working parents. It also may be the busy small business owner who can save time by letting the laundry experts wash their towels, napkins, and sheets while they attend to their business.

What Do Wash and Fold Customers Expect?

Wash and fold customers expect their clothes to be cleaned and folded quickly and neatly. They don’t want to spend hours sorting through their laundry looking for matching socks! As the business owner, it’s your job to make sure that your customers’ clothes are washed, dried, perfectly folded, and organized for your customer’s convenience.

Now that we know who a typical wash and fold customer is, let’s go over the steps you need to take to start your own laundry service!

Check out this webinar I hosted with a couple of laundry drop-off business all-stars! It’s full of practical advice on how to start and grow your laundry wash-and-fold service in your laundromat!

How to Start Your Own Laundry Wash and Fold Business: The Ultimate Guide

Step One: Determine Whether or Not You Need a License

In order to determine whether or not you need a specific license, you should check with your city or county. You will likely need a business license at a minimum if you don’t have one already. But, it is important that you have all of the proper licenses, permits, and permissions to run your business.

Step Two: Get Insurance

Insurance is another important step in starting your own business. You’ll want to make sure that you have liability insurance, as well as insurance for your employees and your equipment. You can shop around different insurance options to make sure you get the coverage you need at a price that makes sense.

If you’re adding a laundry service to an existing self-serve laundry business you should check with your insurance agent to see if you need any additional insurance coverage for the new fluff ‘n’ fold service.

Step Three: Choose a Business Name

You’ll need to decide if you’re going to keep your wash and fold business under the same brand as your self-serve laundry business or create a second brand. Many owners choose to keep the same brand name, but some decide to separate it out as its own brand.

Step Four: Set Up Your Business Structure

If you are starting a laundry drop-off service as an addition to your existing laundry business, you may choose to keep them under the same entity. However, if you decide to separate the self-service from the drop-off service you may want to set up a new entity. This is something you’ll want to discuss with an accountant and lawyer.

Step Five: Set Up a Place for Customers to Drop Off Their Laundry

In order to start your laundry wash and fold business, you’ll need a place for customers to drop off their clothes. This can be a physical space or it could be as simple as having a designated location where lockers are kept.

There are many ways to set up a wash and fold laundry service, so think about what model fits your situation the best. You may have an attendant present at all times to accept laundry drop-offs. You can set it up where an attendant is only present on certain days or at certain times for laundry drop-off.

You’ll have to develop a schedule that fits your business model and communicate that schedule clearly with your existing and potential customers.

Step Six: Determine the Cost of Your Service

One of the most important aspects of your laundry wash and fold business is determining how much you will charge for your service. You’ll want to make sure that you are charging enough to cover your costs and make a profit, but you don’t want to price yourself out of the market.

An easy way to get started is to analyze the competition in your area and set your prices similar to theirs. However, as you gather more information and improve your service you may decide to adjust your prices and charge more.

People will pay for quality and value. You create value in this business by delivering clean clothes, neatly folded and drawer ready. Increasing convenience and creating even more time for your patrons to live the life they want instead of dreading laundry day.

There are additional considerations to make when determining the cost of your wash and fold laundry services. For example, some operators accept drop off for dry cleaning and outsource that service to local dry cleaners. You can also offer options based on laundry preferences, such as offering a specific detergent or fabric softener as an upsell.

Offering additional options and services increases the value you’re providing to your customers and allows you to charge a premium.

Step Seven: Train Your Employees Well

If you’re hiring employees to help with your wash and fold laundry business, it is important that you train them well. They should know how to operate a commercial washing machine and a commercial dryer.

Employees will need to know the basics of how to do laundry properly. In fact, the goal should be to turn your employees into laundry experts. You’ll want them to know every step of the cleaning process.

Paying attention to each care label on every piece of clothing, understanding how to remove stains, perfecting the art of folding linens, and knowing how to hang pants will all help you run a proper business that will win repeat clients.

Proper garment care is essential to running a successful laundry service business. Ensuring that your employees know how to properly wash various types of garments is fundamental. Your clients are entrusting you with sometimes thousands of dollars worth of clothing. Treat their clothes with the care they deserve.

You must also train them in customer service so they can provide good service to your customers. The goal is not just to make laundry convenient, but also to make it pleasant!

Step Eight: Market Your Business

Proper marketing is a huge opportunity for your wash and fold laundry business. Using both offline and online marketing techniques, as well as both paid and organic methods will help you build your business faster.

One tip for you marketing DIYers out there: don’t pitch your service with your marketing message, pitch what your wash and fold laundry service provides. Focus on how much time a family will get back, how convenient your laundry service is, and how the 2 minutes to drop laundry off is way less time than the hour-plus it would take to do it themselves. You’re trying to get people to buy your laundry service, but you’re selling them an ideal picture of life.

Next Steps

Offering a drop-off laundry service is no different than most other businesses. The formula for success is relatively simple. Continually provide an exceptional experience and quality services over and over again for a long period of time. Grow, learn, adapt, improve continually, and look for ways to serve your community, and your fluff ‘n’ fold laundry service will succeed!

Now that you know how to start a wash and fold laundry business, it’s time to get started! Use these tips to set up your own wash and fold service and start serving your community today.

"It's your job to make sure that your customers' clothes are washed, dried, perfectly folded, and organized"

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