Monday, January 6, 2014
Why America Loves and Needs Coin Laundries and Laundromats
Since the first coin-op Laundromat opened - approximately at the end of World War II - American has needed and used Laundromats. This has been good for America and good for the Laundromat business owners who have had a chance to participate in the American dream of business owership, earn money for entrepreneurs, and provided a way for families to escape traditional employment and become their own boss.
In some cases the Laundromat business has become the primary source of income for a family, in others it merely adds to their other household income. Laundromats can be managed on a part-time basis and do not require the expenditure of a great amount of time by the Laundromat operator. The better it is managed, the less time needs to be spent inside the Laundromat itself.
Some Laundromat sales persons have called them "recession proof" businesses, but this recent recession our country continues to face, has shown the best description should be "recession resistant." However, even in times of financial uncertainty, Laundromats have performed better than most other businesses. A source to wash and dry their clothes is an ongoing, repetitive, necessity of life, closely related to health and self-respect of all economic levels of our society.
There are those that argue that economic downturns can even increase Laundromat revenue, since people are less willing to spend a lot of money on home washer and dryer repairs or take the stepse to purchase new replacement washers for their homes.
While the costs for starting a Laundromat are not small, nearly anybody with a decent amount of equity in their home and some cash in the bank can afford to open a coin-op laundry center. Your primary up-front expenses will be the costs of leasing and remodeling your retail space. As for the most expensive part, the actual coin-op washers and dryers, most commercial laundry manufacturers offer attractive lease terms which will require little money up front and payments spread out up to 7 years.
One of the attractions to owning a Laundromat is that it can be a family-run business, and require as little or as much time as the owner would like to commit. As a family affair, different members of the household can take care of the different chores in operating the store. Generally, the 3 biggest time requirements of the Laundromat owner are janitorial, maintenance, and money handling. If you are envisioning a smaller, non-staffed type of laundry operation, these requirements could require as little as 10 to 15 hours per week. If you plan on opening a larger staffed store, you might spend even less time, though you’ll have to pay for an appropriate level of staffing to accomplish this (and especially at the beginning, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible “on-site” to train employees and cultivate your growing clientele).
Today's modern laundromat systems have eliminated much of the risk associated with what was previously an all-cash business that invited employee fraud, criminal theft, and IRS audits. Computerized laundromat equipment and "smart card" payment systems eliminate the need to count endless stacks of quarters and insure that all income is easily accounted for, and make your daily accounting chores a breeze.
Remember, Laundromats are unique in the business world. There is no inventory to sell. Customers pay for services up front, so you never have to chase receivables. And your customers will provide most of the labor!
A well-run Laundromat business in a good location can be a very profitable endeavor, and many a coin-op laundromat owner have gone on to open multiple locations and leave their normal 9-to-5 job far behind.