Laundry and dry cleaning business is one of the businesses that are yet to be fully maximised in Africa.
Many people in Africa need laundry and dry cleaning services but they don’t get it because there are no dry-cleaning and laundry companies around them or the available dry cleaning and laundry businesses around them charge exorbitant fees.
You can fill the gap by establishing by your own laundry services business which offers unique services at a moderate cost. You can set up the business and run it yourself or employ people to run it for you.
This article is intended to show you how you can set up your own unique laundry and dry cleaning business and make money. It is lucrative and requires moderate start up cost.
What Dry-cleaning and Laundry Services Entails
Laundry involves the washing of clothes with water, soap , detergent or softners. It is the most common way of cleaning clothes either by hand or by the use of washing machines.
However, dry cleaning involves the removal of stains from clothes by the use of chemicals and solvents without the use of water.
How to Set Up Your Own Dry Cleaning and Laundry Business
1. Get trained or employ experienced personnel – This is vital. There is no substitute to practical training. Go to an existing laundry shop and learn practically the techniques involved in cleaning and washing clothes. Different clothes fabrics and stains have their unique ways of washing and drying cleaning.
Also not all clothes are washed together. You would also need to learn how to segregate clothes before washing and the proper way of packaging the clothes before they are collected by customers.
Three to six months training would be good. However, if you do not intend to run the business yourself, then you can employ an experienced launderer to run it for you.
2.Write your business plan – A business plan would help you to determine your business objectives, your target market, how to reach your target market, your business model and strategy, your marketing plan, staffing needs, among others. See how to write a professional business plan here.
3. Get the required capital – A medium scale laundry/dry cleaning shop will cost between 500,000 naira to 1,000,000 naira depending on the locality. Most of this cost would be for renting an office, buying a power generating set, washing machine and other assessories. There are proven ways to raise capital for your business. See them here.
4. Get the needed equipment –
You will need the following equipment and assessories for your laundry office:
Washing machine – You can get a 14kg top or front loader washing machine which can take more clothes and save time and resources. Some launderers prefer top loader washing machine to the front loader as the top loader allows you to add more clothes to the washing chamber while washing is going on. You can buy a quality washing machine here.
- Pressing iron – preferably industrial pressing iron.
- Iron board – for ironing the clothes effectively and efficiently.
- Buckets – they are useful for collecting water and also for sorting clothes.
- Water storage tank – you would need this to store up some water so as to ensure uninterrupted operations in case of public water supply outages.
- Hangers – for drying the clothes and also for arranging ironed clothes.
- Note books or a computer – for recording clothes received, date received and customers details.
- Clothe pegs – used for holding clothes during drying.
- Wash basins – get big and small sizes. They are useful before washing and rinsing and also for sorting the various clothes.
- Weighing scale – for weighing the clothes to know their weight and corresponding price to charge.
- Tables and chairs – for your reception room.
- Hoses – useful for transfering water without much stress.
- Clothe lines- useful for drying of clothes using sunlight.
- Baskets – used for proper clothes segregation and sorting.
- Plastic or polythene bags – used for packaging your finished product and getting them ready for pick up by your customers. You can customise the bags to include your business logo and contact.
- Chemicals for dry cleaning.
- Soaps and detergents for washing.
- Cabinets or glass shelf – for storing and packaging your finished products before pickup by your customers.
- A reliable power source – You would need at least a 5 KVA power generator to power your washing machine, air conditioner, and other assessories. You can buy a good one here.
- Tagging gun, pin and papers – used for tagging the customers clothes appropriately and effectively so as to avoid unnecessary mix ups.
- As the business grows and expands, you would need a delivery van for home delivery services.
5.Get a good shop/office at a good location and funish it – The office should be strategically located within the reach of customers. Get the office properly furnished and equipped.
6. Employ competent staff – At first you might run the business yourself to save cost, but you should have a plan to recruit experienced personnel. You would need a cashier, a launderer and a delivery personnel and marketer who would carry out home delivery services.
7. Get your business open to customers and market your business – when you have done steps 1 to 6 above, it is now time to open your business doors to your customers.
Marketing is key. Put a well designed and attractive sign board or banner at your office location. Print attractive flyers, handbills and distribute to as much people as possible. You can also place them at offices, banks and secretariat and corporate organisations. Your target market should be busy workers who hardly have the time to do their laundry themselves.
It is also good to have marketers that would go to homes to ask people for their dirty clothes to wash. This way you are taking the services to the door steps of your customers.
You can also use the social media to advertise your product. You can create a Facebook page for your business and with little amount of money, you can boost your page so as to reach thousands of people and spread the word about your business to your target market. Subsequently, you can even create a website for your business. We can help you to create a business website at a very little cost. Just contact us.
How to Make Your Dry Cleaning and Laundry Business to Stand Out From Others
1. Offer your services at a moderate price.
2. Offer home pick up and delivery services.
3.Ensure you meet the delivery time you give to your customers.
4. Package the clothes properly.
5. Offer discount. You can offer to wash one clothe for free for every 5 clothes your customers bring to you.
6. Seek customers feedbacks about your services and address their concerns promptly.
7. Treat your customers with respect, listen to them and don’t argue with them. You can help them see reasons with you but don’t argue with them.
8. If for any reasons, you don’t meet the target given to your customers, appologize to them and avoid such failure next time.
9. As I said in the marketing above, it is good to have marketers that would go to homework ask for dirty clothes to wash. This way you take the services to your customers. This is one marketing step that can differentiate you from your competitors.
I hope you have learnt something about how to set up your own laundry/dry cleaning business? It’s now time to implement what you have learnt. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know using the comment section below.