Most of us hate doing laundry. It is cumbersome, boring, and may involve lifting baskets up and down multiple flights of stairs.
But some people really don't mind the task all that much. And anytime there is a task that most people dislike, it becomes an opportunity to side hustlers and entrepreneurs among us to make a few extra dollars.
Starting a laundry business from the comfort of your home is very doable. I'm back today to show you how to do it and make an extra $3,000 per month.
Related: Check out my Side Hustle Accelerator program to make an extra $20,000 per year
What is a laundry service business?
A laundry service business is a company that professionally washes, cleans, and folds clothes, textiles, and fabrics for individuals or organizations. Laundry businesses are popular, since they can save people time in having to wash and dry their own clothes.
Each business is different, but many support both individual and business customers alike.
In 2023, many laundry businesses even pickup and drop off clothes directly at their customers' locations.
Laundry business services
It is common for laundry businesses to offer multiple different services, including:
Cleaning of clothes
Drop-off and pick-up
Eco-friendly/Allergy friendly options
Other ad-hoc requests
1. Cleaning of clothes
First and foremost, these businesses will wash and dry clothes or other items for their customers. Depending on the business and items being cleaned, the clothes may also be folded, ironed, pressed, or dry-cleaned.
Sometimes, some of these services come with an upcharge.
2. Drop-off and pick-up
Like I mentioned, many laundry businesses will pick up dirty clothes and drop them off when clean and folded. This saves customers even more time and is a significant value-added service. As a prospective side hustle and business, you'll want to find a way to do this in a cost effective and timely manner.
3. Eco-friendly and allergy friendly
Eco and allergy friendly solutions have also become more popular in the past decade or so. For example, green laundry processes with high efficiency machines and chemical free detergents.
Likewise, many individuals are allergic or sensitive to chemicals in many mass-produced detergents on the market today, so offering no chemical solutions can be a great differentiator.
4. Ad-hoc requests
From time to time, you may encounter ad-hoc requests, such as washing shoes, for example. Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not to accept a job, but I thought I'd mention it here anyway.
How to start a laundry business
Starting a laundry business in 2023 is doable for side hustlers and prospective entrepreneurs alike. I recommend that you start by thinking through these 8 steps.
1. Perfect your ability to do laundry
If you're hoping to build a long-term laundry business, you are unlikely to be the one completing laundry for long. But that does not mean that you don't need to know how to do it.
You can practice on your own machines at home. Work on washing and drying on different settings, understanding what each dial or setting is to be used for. Then, you'll want to get really good at things like folding, pressing, and ironing. Good, crisp laundry that is neatly hung or folded is likely to be the best way for you to earn repeat customers.
2. Do your market research
As you get started, you'll next want to take stock of the competitive landscape in your area. Since laundry businesses tend to be local, rather than of an online nature, you'll want to familiarize yourself with those other companies in your direct area, since you'll be competing.
After you've identified who your competition is, I recommend that you think through the strengths and the weaknesses of their operation. Maybe they use all organic detergents, for example, but their pricing is also 25% higher than anybody else.
As you continue your market research, I encourage you to identify gaps in the market. What products or services are missing in the laundry business, and how can you fill them? Unique and specialized services tend to do quite well in today's economy.
I'm just spit balling here, but an example of this could be if you focus on business travelers. In your offering, you can offer weekend service with clean laundry returned by Saturday afternoon so that they can pack for their next trip(s).
As a business coach once told me, "the riches are in the niches."
3. Write and refine a business plan
Once you've dedicated enough time reflecting on your competition and gaps in your local laundry market, you can turn to writing and refining a formal business plan. I focus heavily on this in my Side Hustle Accelerator coaching program.
You have a couple goals from your business plan. First, you'll want to outline:
Your business model (exactly what laundry services you'll offer at what price point(s)
Who your target market is (busy moms, business travelers, etc.)
Your pricing strategy and model (subscription, pay per load, etc.)
How you plan to market and reach your target customers
Your first three years of financial projections
I also recommend all of my clients complete a SWOT analysis, an exercise that outlines your business' strengths, weaknesses, future opportunities, and threats. For instance, if I were starting a laundry business, I'd write something like this:
Strengths: I offer full-service 24-hour laundry completion and delivery.
Weaknesses: I don't offer dry-cleaning services, meaning my customers may need to separately handle that.
Opportunities: In the future, I can add dry-cleaning services once I have profits to reinvest in my business.
Threats: I don't own any intellectual property and could be undercut on pricing at any point.
4. Consider any legal requirements
When you first think about starting an at-home laundry business, potential litigation is likely the furthest thing from your mind. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared, though.
For instance, what would you do if you accidentally ruined a multi-hundred-dollar blouse or a multi-thousand-dollar suit? Your customers would likely expect reimbursement. Luckily for all side hustlers out there, small business insurance is easy to get and really affordable too. In fact, many base packages start at just around $20 per month.
Beyond that, though you'll also want to think about whether you want to formally establish your laundry delivery service as a business. In most cases, you'll want to consider establishing a limited liability corporation (LLC), sole proprietorship, or partnership.
Finally, you'll also need to make sure you're licensed to do business in your city/town/state. Usually, these licenses are easy to get, and they beat the alternative of getting fined in the event that you are found operating without a license.
5. Acquire needed machinery and products
At home laundry businesses are at the top of my 2023 side hustle list, largely because you already have all of the products and machines you need to get started. In case you don't though, you'll want to consider this list as a starting point:
A washing machine
The washer and dryer may not even be mandatory, either, particularly if you live in a city. Nothing stops you from picking up orders, heading to the local laundromat to wash and dry, and then complete the folding, ironing, and/or pressing at home. While you won't be in the comfort of your own home for the entire process, there can be benefits.
For instance, if you grow your operation, you'll be able to work on multiple customers' laundry at the same time! Just make sure to account for the costs of cycles at a laundromat.
6. Market your laundry business
Now that you're up and running, it is time to think about customer acquisition. This is where marketing comes in. With a local laundry business, you have a number of different options to consider.
Personally, I'd recommend you start with:
A Google Business profile
Social media profiles
Build a website
Google Business profile
Have you ever wondered how businesses show up online when you Google something like "laundry businesses near me"? The answer is through Google Business profiles. They can be really handy for local businesses.
Creating your own profile is a great place to start. Doing so is really easy too. Just click on this link and then complete these steps:
Enter your business name
Select the category your company belongs to
Select whether your business location can be visited by customers (most likely no for laundry services)
Select the area that your business services
Enter a phone number and web URL, if applicable
Verify your profile
It's that easy to show up on Google!
Social media profiles
Social media is also a great option as you're getting started. If you're serious about starting a laundry business, I recommend starting with Facebook, though you may be able to find success with Instagram or TikTok as well.
Facebook can be a great opportunity to share with the world what sets your laundry service apart. To maximize the experience, I recommend that you:
Build a business profile rather than a personal profile
Connect with friends and family that are more likely to share your content
I also recommend that you spend time creating a content schedule: consider sharing content about what makes your service different, the eco/allergy friendly practices you use, and the speed of your turnaround time.
Basically, highlight any of those differentiating factors that you pointed out as strengths when writing your business plan. Plus, in time, Facebook is probably the best platform for paid advertising.
Build a website
In time, you also may find it worthwhile to build an actual website where customers can interact with your content and laundry business.
Your website should have two main goals:
Further bolstering your visibility in your area
Providing a better customer experience for your customers
For instance, a properly built website will help you find more customers through the principles of search engine optimization, SEO for short.
SEO skills do take a lot of practice to learn and perfect, but I'm self-taught, so it absolutely can be done.
You'll also want your site to help your customers out. Accepting online orders and scheduling pickups and drop-offs without having to talk to someone can be an awesome value add.
Sites like Craigslist can also be a great place for you to advertise or connect with potential customers.
Remember that no matter which of these marketing channels you use, your goal remains the same. You're looking to meet your target customers where they are and when they need you.
7. Think about customer service
As hard as you try, you're never going to impress 100% of your customers. Complaints will come in, and this is part of being in business for yourself. And part of this is completely outside of your control. For instance:
Freshly ironed shirts could get creased if you hit a speedbump and the shirts fall.
Customers may complain about the scent of a detergent you use.
You may use too much/too little fabric softener for a customer's liking.
You get the point. It is impossible to contingency plan for every scenario. But beyond keeping these complaints to a minimum, you'll want to have a plan on how to handle them.
Will you, for example:
Offer a partial refund?
Offer a discount if a customer returns?
Otherwise fix the situation?
Of course, many customer service decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis, but it is a good idea to start to think about now.
8. Impress your customers
Above anything else, your goal is to impress your customers. This means doing all the small things, like taking a couple extra minutes to make sure your folding is perfect, treating stains properly, and assuring that all clothes you return are dry.
The small details are what will help you to earn repeat customers and get new ones too!
How much money can you make doing laundry?
To this point, I haven't really talked about how lucrative the laundry business can be.
In most parts of the country, businesses charge between $1 and $3 per pound of laundry. With some commercial washing machines holding up to 25 or more pounds of laundry, you could earn between $25-$75 per load of laundry that you complete, though most washers hold less than this.
Making $3,000 or so per month is really manageable shortly after starting. At an average profit of $50 per laundry lot, completing just two loads of laundry per day is equal to $3,000.
You may also consider different pricing models, including subscription models, pay by item, or pay by weight.
Starting a laundry business can be an attractive venture for side hustlers and entrepreneurs alike. It isn't hard to turn a profit, and it can be scaled with relative ease too!
I want to hear from you now. Have you started or considered starting your own laundry business? And if so, what were the results?
Tell me in the comments below!
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