Starting up and running a launderette can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’re a coin-operated laundry novice. But by following a few simple steps – as well as advice from the experts at JLA – the process can be made much more simple than you might have thought.
To one of our customers, Peter Marks, washing was once an alien concept, but with JLA’s professional help, setting up his self service laundry was easy. Read on to discover hs secrets to success.
How to manage a laundry business
From having a clear offering to ensuring you have the right equipment for the job, there’s lots to think about when working out how to manage a laundry business. Here are Peter’s top tips for starting and running a launderette business:
1. Only work with the best suppliers
I spoke to two laundry machine providers who were unhelpful to say the least and only wanted to ‘shift boxes’ – one even admitted that they ‘didn’t care’ where I got my service support from! Luckily, JLA came along and took care of everything for me.
My consultant Andrew Scott even has his own shop, which he took me to and literally walked me through the whole set-up needed for a successful launderette. I had lots of questions, but he had all the answers, and once I made the decision to work with JLA he made sure the layout planning, delivery and installation was completely hassle-free.
Even now, I think of him as my ‘Laundry Doctor’ and just pick up the phone to him if I ever have a problem or need advice on how to run my launderette. Training was also provided, so all my staff can offer great customer service too.
Looking after your kit
Even the highest-quality, most well-maintained washer can break down, so knowing the expiry dates for any warranties can come in handy. To make sure you have peace of mind, look out for services that help if something breaks.
For example, by signing up for Total Care for Laundry, our pay-per-month scheme, you can make sure your laundry business continues to run smoothly even when your washers need a repair.
2. Think big
My JLA washers enable me to get through large loads quickly, which means I can take more revenue over the course of a day. And my stacked dryers give me up to triple the capacity that would be possible from single machine units, without taking up any extra floor space.
It all adds up capacity-wise, and means we can take on contract work as well as seasonal ‘bulk’ work for sports teams and so on. During the All Blacks’ European tour, they stayed and trained here in Aylesbury… and chose us to do their kit washes!
On one occasion, we took on 42 black sacks of laundry, which we were able to turn around in 24 hours. We also did service washes for the Saudi Arabian team during the London Paralympics.
Selling Your Vision
Whenever you improve your offering, think about how to pitch your services to your target market. If you’re selling commercial laundry solutions to a hotel chain, for example, make sure you know what hotels require and explain how you can meet demand. Showing you know how they operate and what they need can only work in your favour.
3. Become a part of the community
We sponsor a local football team, and so we’re involved in the social aspect of the local area which has a population of 70,000. It helps get our name out there, and of course we have a little extra business every weekend when the muddy kits come in.
4. Don’t underestimate publicity
Advertise online and put your business into as many web directories as possible, and make sure you offer a one-stop laundry solution. I had flyers made up to advertise the fact that we do duvets, and we’re now washing 30-40 a week!
5. Always go the extra mile
We could quite easily have installed a vending machine in the shop, but I prefer to make my customers a cup of tea or coffee and have a chat while their loads are in. I get to know people which is the main benefit, but it also means people want to come back again and again… and tell their friends about The Lost Sock too. Providing free parking is also a must, to attract more busy customers, and you should never have a minimum order – if it needs washing, wash it!
6. Become a member of NALI
JLA advised me to go to an event put on by The National Association for the Launderette Industry, which I did. I got a real feel for what I needed to look out for, which coupled with JLA’s advice ensured I had everything in place before I opened my shop.
7. Visit other launderettes
My visit to Andrew’s shop was invaluable, and I’d recommend doing the same to other prospective shop owners. My doors are always open too, for anyone who wants to see JLA’s first-class equipment.
Before you start a laundry business or make any changes to an established one, always ask an expert who can advise on equipment, layouts, workflows, regulations and maintenance. Our team can help you make informed choices, and find the best kit for your specific needs.