How to Set Up a Laundromat

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A key decision in setting up a laundromat is the business model. The primary options include: a franchise, a turnkey business or starting from scratch. This how-to focuses on starting from scratch. Using this method, "Entrepreneur" magazine estimates start-up costs of $200,000 to $500,000. Owners can expect steady revenue with general population growth. Potential owners should keep in mind that their primary target consumers are apartment dwellers, and should work on developing customer rapport.

Find a location. Laundromats are a mature market, which means the arena is crowded with competitors. Most laundromats don't fill with customers automatically, so marketing will be among your start-up costs. Retail space may already be available; building a laundromat will mean a higher start-up cost. Consider a strip mall or centralized location. Most laundromats are at least 2,000 square feet.

Incorporate and prepare tax documentation. Complete this in conjunction with the local business authority. Business and building permits may be required. Consult with an attorney during this process.

Develop a marketing plan and sign laundry rental contracts. Equipment upkeep is essential; it costs more, but functioning machines are a key part of customer service. Determine whether the laundromat will have employees. An owner can complete the appropriate laundromat upkeep tasks, which take two to three hours a day.

Determine the amenities and hours. Laundromats in college towns are sometimes open 24 hours. In addition, coin-operated laundries in big cities have extended hours. Consider adding wireless access, debit or credit payment, food and television as extra features. Besides being convenient, these options have the potential to provide additional income. Add required accessories such as change machines, laundry detergent machines and dryer sheet dispensers.


  • About three-quarters of proprietors own one laundromat


  • Some stores operate at a loss for the first few years. Water bills and sewage connections can cost up to $250,000.