Our How to Start a Laundromat Series aims to give entrepreneurs an extensive overview of the laundromat industry. This month, we’re looking at the most important aspect of any laundromat business — its customers.
In a hurry? Jump to our quick tips section.
Know Your Area’s Demographics
Before opening the doors of your new laundromat business you should know a little about the demographic makeup of your neighborhood. Understanding the people who live in your area will help you provide the services that they are looking for, gaining your business a strong base of returning customers.
Know The Type Of Housing In Your Area
A neighborhood made up exclusively of single-family homes is probably not be the best place to open your first laundromat — residents of single-family homes typically own their own washer and dryer. Locations near apartment buildings (particularly older buildings without washer/dryer hookups), mobile home parks, or college campuses would be a great place to start.
Know Your Traditional Customers…
Traditionally, the “typical” laundromat customer was anyone who didn’t have laundry appliances at home. This included renters, those in middle or lower income brackets, and people who live in an area for a short period of time like college students or seasonal workers.
…But Don’t Overlook New Markets!
Of course, people who fall into the demographics above are great customers for laundromats, however, there is no perfect laundromat customer and no perfect area. For example; an area with new condos may not seem like an attractive location because each unit comes with appliance hookups. But the young-professionals in these condos may prefer the convenience and time savings of a wash & fold service over purchasing their own appliances.
Look For Underperforming Stores In Established Locations
The laundry industry has been firmly established since the 1950s. Because it is such a well-established industry, you are unlikely to find many “perfect” neighborhoods that aren’t already served by at least one laundromat. If you want to get into an established area, your best bet might be to buy and retool an underperforming store with older equipment. Modern high-spin washers can dramatically boost a laundromat’s profits by cutting utility costs and helping businesses serve more customers per hour.
Look For Neighborhoods In Flux
Recent years have seen dramatic shifts in the makeup of our towns and cities. High-tech industries have become established very quickly and have attracted an influx of highly skilled professionals while property prices in downtown areas have skyrocketed, forcing many people to move out to surrounding suburbs. These shifts in population mean that neighborhoods that could only sustain one or two laundromat businesses in the past, may now be able to sustain many more successful stores.
Quick Tips for Entrepreneurs in a Hurry
- Look for areas with a lot of new construction. Both residential and commercial construction may provide opportunities for potential laundromat owners.
- Look for areas with a lot of commuters. Commuters don’t want to spend their downtime doing laundry. Look for locations near highways or train stations and offer drop-off services to capture this market.
- Stores with older equipment may provide a great opportunity. Buying and retooling an underperforming store may be the best way to break into an established market. Learn more about Replacement Parts and Repairs and Maintenance.
- Look for population increases in satellite towns and cities! Increases in population in these areas provide great opportunities for laundromat owners.
- Ask Laundrylux to put you in touch with your local laundry experts! We have a huge network of commercial laundry distributors who can advise you on the demographics in your area.
So, Is the Laundromat Business Right for You?
Hopefully, you now understand the benefits of owning a laundromat and the time, skills, and investment needed to run a successful store. Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts, where we will explore, in much greater detail, the many different aspects of running your own laundromat business.
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