Running a laundry-based business comes with more options and considerations than one might imagine, especially with today’s technology opening the possibility of nonstaffed laundry facilities. For those thinking of taking a spin in the laundry business world, it’s important to consider a potential marketing strategy for laundry services and how you could distinguish yourself from competitors.
Location, Location, Location
When thinking up the marketing strategy of a laundry shop, it’s important to consider the location. For instance, a laundry service in a largely residential, detached-home area may be a flop because houses tend to come with washers and dryers. Besides, families may be on tighter budgets, so they keep an eye on clothing labels and avoid those that might need dry cleaning, which could be seen as a luxury.
For dry cleaning, locations that can be highly successful are business areas downtown and places where there are a lot of high-rise apartments catering to city dwellers who are on the career track. The marketing strategy for a dry-cleaning business doesn’t have a vast variety of options – it needs to focus on cleaning clothes, being professional and getting it done on time. Some dry-cleaning services differentiate themselves by having pick-up and drop-off services for a premium, but they need to be located where incomes are high.
For laundry services that include wash/fold and do-it-yourself, success can be had in areas filled with low-rises, where buildings may only have one or two machines for a dozen or more apartments. Dense population is necessary for success, as more people than ever will have access to machines in homes or in their buildings.
SWOT Analysis for Laundry Service
A SWOT analysis is just good business. It’s a tool for identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for a business idea.
- Strengths: If location isn’t a strength, it’s a weakness, and it’s a huge hurdle for any laundry service. The kinds of technology in use can be a strength, such as faster cycles and gentler service. Extended hours, flexible service levels and staffed locations are all pluses.
- Weaknesses: Is there competition nearby? Is there enough parking? The start-up costs of buying machines can be expensive, or if taking over an existing location, machine maintenance can be costly too.
Opportunities: Are there hospitality businesses that need laundry for bedding, table service and other high-volume linen uses? Could future expansion be possible in the location? Is the business owner motivated to sell? Are new buildings going up? Technology has changed
what new, automated laundry services will attract new customers?
* Threats: The age of the machines in a business takeover can mean that a huge investment may be needed for new machines soon. City road work, transit expansions and other civic engineering could hinder access to the location. Low staffing needs make places like laundromats vulnerable to theft and other crimes.
Kinds of Laundry Services
Laundries are also known as launderettes and laundromats. Such a shop can be extremely busy, and machines can be hard to come by. Not everyone has the time to stand around for two hours to do their whole load from start to finish. Having the option of “transfer and fold” means that customers can separate their loads, start their washes and then pay staff to handle the drying, folding and packing up for later pick up.
Alternatively, some people love dropping all their laundry off to have it done entirely by the staff. It’s pricey, but it’s a real time saver for busy people, and for the shop owner, it’s a great way to keep staff occupied while turning a profit during nonpeak hours.
Bulk dry cleaning can also be popular. It’s similar to dry cleaning, but customers pay by weight, and there’s no pressing or other finishing services, just the basic cleaning. Some laundromats have bulk dry cleaning as another service/income option, and it's another terrific way to get the most profit out of staffing the business during all open hours.
Steffani Cameron is a professional writer who has written for the Washington Post, Culture, Yahoo!, Canadian Traveller, and many other platforms. Some writing projects have included ghost-writing for CEOs and doing strategy white papers. She frequently writes for corporate clients representing Fortune 500 brands on subjects that include marketing, business, and social media trends.