How To Start A Laundromat Easily (Tips & Strategies)

Khyati Hooda
By Khyati Hooda 25 Min Read

Ever thought about taking the leap into the world of suds and spin cycles? Well, today, we’re here to share some valuable insights on how to start a laundromat.

Starting a laundromat isn’t just about clean clothes; it’s about creating a thriving business that caters to the laundry needs of your community. Whether you’re looking to be your own boss, invest in a recession-resistant venture, or simply want to know what it takes, you’re in the right place.

We’ll guide you through the process, from selecting the perfect location to choosing the right machines, and even some tips on keeping your laundromat spick and span. 

So, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and dive into how to start a laundromat, let’s get started! 

Key Takeaways:

  • Gather Market Insights: Conduct in-depth research within your local area to know the demand for a laundromat. Identify the target audience, analyze existing competition, and pinpoint potential locations.
  • Craft A Business Plan: Make a business plan that outlines your objectives, financial forecasts, intended customer base, offered services, and tactics for promoting your venture.
  • Select The Ideal Location: Consider choosing a location close to residential zones and apartment complexes.
  • Invest In Quality Equipment: Invest in top-notch laundry machinery that includes washing machines, dryers, folding stations, and currency exchange apparatus.
  • Financial Planning: Determine the precise amount of capital necessary for inaugurating and maintaining the laundromat. Explore options such as personal savings, loan arrangements, or potential investors.
  • Marketing Strategies: Make a well-crafted marketing strategy. Use a combination of digital and traditional approaches, including social media, printed materials, and local promotional efforts.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Undertake regular upkeep and machinery repairs to ensure seamless operations.

Types Of Laundromat Services

Before I jump in and discuss how to start a laundromat, you need to understand that there are various types of laundromats, and you need to pick one that best suits your plan and finances:

Self-Service Laundry

In the self-service laundry, customers arrive with their laundry, use coin-operated machines for washing & drying their garments, and then manage the entire procedure independently. This is one of the most prevalent laundry services out there.

For example, BlueLeaf Laundromat offers a self-laundry service in New Jersey.

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Full-Service Laundry

Customers leave their laundry at the Laundromat, and the facility’s staff handles the complete washing, drying, and folding process. It is perfect for individuals with time constraints or who prefer skilled professionals to manage their laundry.

For example, Wash Works Laundry Service provides a full-service laundry in Connecticut.

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Wash-and-Fold Services

The laundry is delivered to the establishment in the wash-and-fold services, where the staff wash, dries, and fold your clothes. It is perfect for individuals with hectic schedules or those who’d rather not handle the laundry tasks themselves.

For example, The Laundry Room offers a wash-and-fold services in the California.

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Dry Cleaning Services

Some laundromats provide dry cleaning services alongside their regular laundry offerings. This creates a convenient hub for diverse clothing care requirements.

For example, Laundry Heap provides dry cleaning services in the United States.

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Commercial Laundry

Specific Laundromats offer their services to businesses like hotels, restaurants, and hospitals &  address their extensive laundry requirements. Commercial laundry involves industrial-sized machines that accommodate significant volumes of laundry at once.

For example, Laundry Smart offers commercial laundry services in New Jersey.

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In the next section, let’s talk about the permits you need to start a laundromat business.

What Permits Do You Need To Open A Laundromat?

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You need certain permits to open a Laundromat. Here are they:

  • Water pollution control permit – A water pollution control permit is similar to a permission slip granted by authorities to companies or individuals who may release specific substances into water bodies. This permit has regulations and boundaries to ensure the water remains pure and safe for everyone.
  • Health permit – A health permit is an acceptance from the health department, confirming that you abide by all the crucial regulations regarding preparing and selling food. It is a way to demonstrate your commitment to people’s well-being and ensure they can savor your treats without any concerns.
  • Sales tax permit – A sales tax permit indicates that you’re authorized to collect a small additional sum from your customers on behalf of the government. It’s a method for the government to monitor the amount of tax you’re gathering and ensure fairness.

Now, it’s time to disclose how to start a laundromat.

Steps On How To Start A Laundromat Business

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Here is a step-by-step process on how to start a laundromat business. Let us look at them one by one:

Step 1. Explore Your Local Market

Conduct research within your local market to ascertain the level of demand for a laundromat. Then, check out your competitors, pinpoint your intended audience, and evaluate potential locations.

Develop a business plan representing your objectives, services range, pricing structure, and marketing approaches. Also, gain a deep understanding of your prospective customers and determine if they align with the offerings you intend to provide.

Step 2. Learn About The Industry

After establishing the viability of a new laundromat, familiarize yourself with the industry. Engage in forums or communities frequented by fellow laundromat proprietors.

In addition, you need to gain insights from experienced individuals and uncover valuable tips & strategies.

Step 3. Craft A Solid Business Plan

After concluding your industry investigation & delving deeper into the laundry sector, the next step involves writing a business plan.

An effective plan is a roadmap that directs your strategic decisions, pinpoints potential challenges, and enhances your prospects of obtaining the necessary funding for the expansion & advancement of your venture.

You can include these points in your business plan –

  • Begin with a summary that provides a concise introduction to your enterprise & outlines the factors that contribute to its projected success.
  • Compose a narrative detailing your business & clarify the advantages that set it apart within the competitive landscape.
  • Examine the organizational framework.
  • Outline your funding needs & present crafted financial statements.

Step 4. Select A Business Name

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Choose a suitable business name for your services. You need to remember specific points while choosing the perfect business name, such as a memorable name, relevance to your business, and the ability to capture attention.

Undertake registration that is dependent on your specific business structure. Secure endorsement from the relevant local or state governmental authorities where your business is established.

Step 5. Set Up Your Business Structure

Establish a proper legal business framework for safeguarding your assets. The precise structure you select depends upon individual circumstances. Here are the four types of business structures –

  • A sole proprietorship involves a single individual owning and operating the business without legal separation between the owner and the business entity.
  • A general partnership is a simple type of partnership that naturally arises when two or more individuals collaborate in a profit-oriented business venture.
  • A limited liability company stands as a highly favored option among small businesses due to its flexibility & protection.
  • A corporation stands as a distinct legal entity owned by its shareholders. It shields proprietors from personal accountability for the corporation’s financial liabilities & responsibilities.

Step 6. Open And Fund Business Banking Account

Maintain a dedicated business bank account & credit card. This ensures a clear distinction between personal & business dealings that provide specific legal safeguards.

Different financial accounts help in the establishment of business credit. Open your business account as soon as you start incurring business-related expenditures or receiving income.

Step 7. Get Your Accounting In Order

Accounting is a task that reconciles numerous expenses and profits.

Maintain records of income and expenditures that regularly generate reports to gain insights into the operational performance of your laundromat business.

Contact a nearby accountant who knows your locality’s specific laws and regulations. You can go for a consultation to discuss your needs and potential collaboration.

Step 8. Plan Your Marketing

Follow a marketing plan to enhance the visibility of your laundromat. You need to establish an online footprint by crafting a website & your presence on social media platforms.

Employ techniques like distributing flyers, displaying banners, & advertising in local newspapers to attract potential customers.

Also, focus on building a website and diligently refine your local search engine optimization tactics.

Keep in mind that this approach aligns with your first-year strategy. As you progress, evaluate your marketing endeavors. Shape a fresh plan by implementing successful practices.

See how Door Dash Laundry is advertising its high-end laundromat & pickup/delivery service.on Facebook –

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Step 9. Establish Your Brand

You can start branding once you’ve clarified your business plan and marketing strategy.

During this phase, you can create logos, design menus, and craft various signs. In addition, consider the need for a fresh sign.

You can engage a professional branding agency that specializes in this domain.

See how Load Laundromat is doing branding on Instagram –

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Step 10. Choose The Perfect Location

There are several choices when selecting potential laundromat locations. The most economical route is to acquire an existing laundromat business up for sale.

You can also explore properties that can be renovated & have existing commercial zoning. In addition, you can invest in a franchise.

Step 11. Secure Financing

You need funds to start and operate a business. Having sufficient initial capital sustains your operations for an entire year.

You can seek financial support from family members & potential investors and explore avenues such as securing small business loans to fulfill your capital requirements.

Step 12. Obtain Necessary Permits

You need to secure a range of permits to ensure the legal operation of your laundromat.

Among these, essential permits include those from fire inspectors, permissions for signage, a valid business license, and permits for air and water pollution control.

Fulfill various fee requirements and maintain proof of payment. These fees are related to sewage connection, public impact, environmental impact, and wastewater, which should be associated with your permits.

Step 13. Safeguard With Business Insurance

Examine the insurance requirements for opening a laundromat. The crucial categories include commercial property insurance, general liability insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance.

Ascertain your specific insurance needs and strictly adhere to local regulations to maintain compliance.

Step 14. Source Laundry Equipment & Supplies

Implement a card-operated system that involves a notably higher cost. It potentially reaches tens of thousands of dollars in certain instances. Another substantial equipment-related expenditure is a commercial-grade water heater.

Essential equipment includes fabric softeners, laundry carts, office supplies, fire extinguishers, and more.

Construct a comprehensive inventory of essential startup items alongside a secondary list of significant requirements. You can address the secondary list gradually as your business gains profitability.

Step 15. Set Customer Pricing

Although generating income through washing and drying machines is the primary avenue, examine various avenues for revenue generation.

Determine whether to opt for conventional coin-operated laundry machines or the more modern card-operated machines.

A subscription-based laundry service is perfect for individuals who entrust their laundry to you. This approach establishes a consistent and predictable income flow.

Step 16. Build Your Business Website

Many platforms like GoDaddy, Wix, WordPress, and Squarespace can craft a business website.

Consider whether your aspiration lies in laundromat ownership or in dedicating your time to marketing for a laundromat.

See how Big Waves Laundromat has designed its website professionally.

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Step 17. Assemble Your Team

If you aim for semi-passive income streams, engage at least one individual to manage daily operations.

You can opt for referrals from acquaintances or pursue the conventional path of posting recruitment advertisements.

Consult with your attorney and accountant to clarify your responsibilities and the required documentation for this undertaking.

Step 18. Establish Operating Procedures

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Craft standardized operating procedures (SOPs) for your staff. You must ensure coverage ranging from equipment maintenance schedules to financial management guidelines. 

Strong devised SOPs have the potential to result in substantial annual savings for your business.

Now, you are aware of how to start a laundromat business. So, let us know about the grants.

Grants To Start A Laundromat

A business grant is a monetary amount an individual or a group offers to support business growth. If you want a grant, fulfill the grant provider’s eligibility criteria and apply.

For those new to grant applications, you can consider the assistance of a skilled grant writer.

Here are the grants to start a Laundromat:

  • Grant initiatives to support entrepreneurship among women, individuals of diverse backgrounds, veterans, and those with disabilities.
  • Governmental bodies and private entities offer financial incentives to businesses adopting eco-friendly practices.
  • Invest in a laundromat franchise.
  • Explore opportunities with external investors for your business venture.

Let us have a look at how you can open a laundromat without money in the next section.

How To Open A Laundromat With No Money

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Did you know you can open a laundromat without money? Yes, that’s true! I am not joking!

Here are the steps to open a laundromat with no money:

  • First, you need to have access to a washer, dryer, and reliable transportation. This business model involves collecting clients’ laundry, using your machines to wash and dry the clothes, folding the items, and then delivering them back to your clients.
  • Contact friends and family you believe might be interested in investing in your laundromat venture.
  • Decide the specific kind of laundromat business you wish to establish.
  • Then, search for a location close to multiple apartment buildings.
  • Ensure the chosen space has suitable plumbing and water line connections necessary for your operations.
  • Factor in the cost of business insurance as well.
  • Formulate a comprehensive business plan.
  • Also, identify the permits and licenses you’ll need to obtain for your business.

Now, it’s time to look at the expenses incurred by the laundromats.

Expenses That Laundromats Incur

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Laundromats have to incur many expenses. Here’s a list of expenses that you have to incur:

  • Monthly utility expenses are approximately 15% of the generated revenue.
  • Building a fund for repairs and maintenance to reduce equipment downtime.
  • Business insurance is crucial and often mandated by law for operating a business.
  • A substantial space to accommodate sufficient machines.
  • Equipment costs constitute another substantial financial outlay besides the property.
  • While many customers might bring their detergent and softener, you must stock some on-site for those who still need to.
  • When hiring employees, you must consider the costs of workers’ compensation insurance and various state & federal taxes.
  • You need to dedicate a portion of the budget to marketing and advertising. An ideal range for the marketing & advertising budget lies between 5% and 10% of the total revenue.

How Much Do Laundromats Cost?

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A new proprietor that ventures into the laundromat business should anticipate an initial investment from $200,000 to $500,000 to establish operations.

The expenses associated with a laundromat exhibit significant fluctuations based on location and size.

Acquiring businesses in metropolitan areas carries a higher price tag. Certain states inherently involve greater expenses compared to others.

Also, some considerations influence the costs, such as joining a franchise, establishing a fresh business, or acquiring an existing laundromat.

Let us look at the earnings of laundromats in the next section.

How Much Does A Laundromat Earn?

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Laundromats generate approximately $450 to $500 in earnings. This involves income from washing machines, dryers, and supplementary sources like vending revenue.

The daily income spectrum for self-service laundry spans from about $100 to as high as $1,500 per day.

Pros And Cons Of Owning A Laundromat

Here are the pros and cons of Laundromat:

+ Generates income stream

+ Minimal overhead costs

+ Scalable business

+ High demanding service

+ Minimizes staffing costs

+ Not seasonal business
– Needs regular maintenance & repairs

Growth Potential For A Laundromat Business Plan

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The growth possibilities within the Laundromat industry are virtually boundless. These businesses can operate on a smaller scale, using just one building to cater to numerous customers through a selected number of machines.

Alternatively, you can initiate an enterprise from your residence and offer laundry and folding services.

You can manage multiple locations across a town or city on a larger scale. Certain laundromats strategically position themselves near colleges and dormitories, enabling easy access for students seeking laundry solutions.

Now, let us look at whether a laundromat business is profitable.

Is Laundromat Business Profitable?

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Yes, a laundromat business is profitable. Its profitability depends upon a range of factors, including its location, the demand within the market, operational expenses, pricing strategies, and management.

You need to select a strategic location within densely populated regions or close to apartment complexes that can bring a consistent number of customers.

Efficient management practices, regular equipment maintenance, and streamlined procedures can effectively reduce downtimes & optimize machine utilization.

A laundromat’s profitability success depends on initial planning, proficient management, a keen understanding of the local market, and adaptation to evolving situations.

Engaging in thorough research, formulating a comprehensive business plan, and closely monitoring financial performance are key steps in evaluating and augmenting the profitability of your laundromat.

Real-life Examples Of Laundromats

Here are the real-life examples of laundromats:

The Eco Laundry Company is one of the top-rated laundromats in the United States. They offer wash & fold, dry cleaning, and other high-quality services.

how to start a laundromat

Rosie Wash Express Laundry is another high-rated laundromat in the United States. They provide wash & fold, commercial laundry, self-service laundry, and pickup & delivery services.

how to start a laundromat

24 Hour Laundry is one of the best laundromats in Houston. They offer wash & fold, commercial laundry, washateria, and tablecloth ironing services.

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Now, you understand how to start a laundromat. Let us see some FAQs.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) On How To Start A Laundromat

1. How profitable is owning a laundromat?

Laundromats represent lucrative investments that generate substantial cash flow. On average, these investments yield an unencumbered return ranging from 20% to 30%.

2. How many washing machines do I need to start a laundromat?

You’ll need over 20 washing machines to start a laundromat.

3. Is owning a laundromat a smart investment?

Laundromats have exceptional returns on investments that range from 20% to 35%. Compared to alternative sectors, laundromats exhibit significantly higher ROIs and position them as an ideal option for your consideration.

4. What are the skills needed to build a successful laundromat?

Building a successful Laundromat requires certain skills. Let’s look at these skills:

  • Knowledge of laundry equipment, upkeep, and operational procedures
  • Skillful marketing capabilities play a pivotal role in drawing customers and enhancing visibility
  • Ability to pinpoint and resolve issues, whether it’s machine glitches or addressing customer concerns
  • Mastery in financial management involves accounting, budgeting, and cost analysis.

5. What is the monthly cost to run a laundromat?

The store costs span from 65-115% of the gross income. Your typical monthly expenses fall between $4,000 to $8,500.

Final Thoughts On How To Start A Laundromat

Laundromats offer a convenient solution for people who don’t have their laundry machines. They provide a DIY option for washing and drying clothes.

You can check out the local market to see if there’s a demand for a laundromat in your area. Once you know the demand, find a good spot to set up your laundromat.

You’ll need to officially register your business and get any licenses or permits required by local and state authorities.

The next step is getting the necessary laundry equipment, such as washing machines, dryers, tables for folding, carts, and a payment system.

Remember to come up with an effective marketing strategy. And always keep an eye on what’s new in the industry so your laundromat business stays competitive.

I hope this article on how to start a Laundromat sounds helpful!

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Khyati is an entrepreneur, marketing consultant, and a personal finance expert.Building on her achievements, Khyati wrote two acclaimed books: "Failure's Gold," exploring success through hardship, and "Tomorrow's Wallet" on the future of money management.Her work has also been featured by LinkedIn, PPC Hero, Social Pilot, and Training Mag.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more - successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.Khyati has managed over $50M in marketing budgets across various industries including technology, finance, education, retail, consumer goods and more – successfully delivering over 15x ROI for her clients.
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