Investing in a Laundromat header image

Also known as coin laundries, vended laundries, or self-service laundries, laundromats are an attractive business for many savvy investors. The laundromat business industry has always attracted aspiring entrepreneurs who not only want to be their own boss and make their own hours, but who also enjoy working with the public and being active members of their communities. According to industry experts, there are some 35,000 coin laundromats in North America, generating over $8 billion in sales and serving around 30 million people. 

Is a Laundromat a Good Business?

With proper research regarding location, layout, commercial laundry equipment, and more, owning a laundromat is typically considered a good investment.

While some people may wonder whether laundromats are a dying business, the opposite is true. As we learned during the recent pandemic, laundromats are classified as essential businesses. Not only does that mean that these businesses receive special permission to remain open and operational in times of crisis, but it may also enable them to thrive during tumultuous times like economic downturns.Regardless of outside factors, people will always need clean laundry. 

Not only are laundromat businesses resilient, but the demand for the services they provide remains steady. Out of necessity or a desire for convenience, many people find themselves frequent users of off-site laundry facilities. And some laundromats also offer additional services, like fluff and fold service or laundry pickup/delivery, that are particularly appealing to growing demographics.

As technology has advanced significantly over the past few decades, so, too, have laundromats. If you haven’t visited a self-service laundry business in a while, you might be imagining a dingy, crowded space filled with outdated equipment, all reliant on coins to operate. However, modern laundromats are quite the opposite. Most successful laundromats feature bright and airy decor, modern stainless steel appliances, and integrated technology, like smartphone applications, to operate and manage the equipment. Manufacturers like Dexter Laundry have led the way in modernizing laundromat equipment and integrating user-friendly technology. In fact, the name “coin laundry” is a bit of a misnomer as many laundromats are making the switch to coinless (or coin-optional) washers and dryers to accommodate customer demand. 

How To Start a Laundromat Business

Despite its persistent demand and inherent resilience, the laundromat industry is much more complex than many people realize. Advances in technology and digital communications, along with an ever-evolving customer base, have changed the face of the industry in recent years, making it much more competitive than in the past. Even with a higher-than-average rate of success, you’ll want to take special care to set yourself up for success

Steps to Starting a Vended Laundry Business:

  1. Assess Your Strengths and Abilities. Consider whether you have the necessary skills and traits to be a successful laundromat owner, including the right mindset, experience, and resilience. 
  2. Decide Between Building or Buying. Depending on the business opportunity, both options have pros and cons, and both can be effective ways to start a laundromat business.
  3. Create a Laundromat Business Plan. A business plan is like a roadmap for creating your new business and addresses topics like your business goals, a competitive analysis, customer analysis, marketing plan, cash flow statement, and more. While it is always a good idea to create a business plan before opening a business, this step is crucial if you will be applying for a loan to help finance your laundromat business, as most banks and lenders will require one. Some leading laundromat equipment providers, like Western State Design, offer assistance developing your business plan, so be sure to choose the right provider and ask for help instead of trying to go it alone.
  4. Apply for a Loan. Between building renovations, equipment costs, initial marketing expenses, and more, most investors apply for a loan to help fund their laundromat business investment. Shop around for the best terms, considering options like banks, government loans, angel investors, private lenders, and manufacturer equipment financing programs
  5. Build, Brand, and Promote Your New Business. From selecting the right location and equipment mix to naming your laundromat, developing an online presence, marketing your business, and more, it takes work to create a successful laundromat that earns repeat business. 

How to Succeed in the Coin-Operated Laundry Business

These days, commercial laundromats must be closely managed to ensure the best possible return on investment. “Clean, bright, and safe” isn’t enough—an optimal location and modern amenities are necessary to attract customers to maximize revenues, while state-of-the-art, energy-efficient commercial laundry equipment is key to minimizing utility costs and water usage to reduce operating costs.

Before you get started, consult with an experienced, qualified equipment distributor who knows your market and represents the leading coin laundry equipment manufacturers. Read online reviews and ask for references from other customers before choosing a distributor. The right distributor will have the expertise and experience to help with everything from selecting a location to developing a business plan, securing financing, designing your space, outfitting it with the right equipment mix, and assessing your business’s performance. 

Western State has been helping laundromat customers acquire, develop and operate profitable laundromats since 1974. Our nearly half-century of experience in coin operated and commercial/industrial laundry operations has allowed us to develop a level of expertise that is unmatched by others in the industry. Contact us today to learn how we can help you with your new coin laundry business or improve the bottom line of your existing store.