Owning a laundromat can be a lucrative business venture, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. Considering the advantages and downsides of owning a vended laundry business is an important step in the research and planning process. No entrepreneurial endeavor is without risk: Start by exploring these pros and cons before making any steps to start your own laundromat.

Pros of Owning a Laundromat

A laundromat offers a number of appealing advantages for business owners looking for a new opportunity. Consider common pros associated with owning your own laundry business.

  •  Hands-off Management: Operating a laundromat is a hands-off entrepreneurial opportunity. Once your business is up and running, you can set it up to fit the involvement level you desire. Hire experienced attendants to handle the day-to-day operations, or opt for a self-service model that allows customers to mostly do it themselves. With the innovative DexterLive management system, you can monitor and control your machines remotely, so you don’t always need to be on the premises to respond to problems, complaints, or requests for service.
  • Steady Demand: Clean laundry remains an essential service even in the face of economic downturns or periods of growth. Laundromats have earned a reputation as a recession-resistant business. Especially if you’ve asked the right questions before opening your laundromat and used those insights to choose a strategic, relatively low-competition location, you can expect to experience fairly consistent demand.
  • Simple Business Model: No inventory to manage, no orders to fulfill, and minimal employees to supervise—when it comes to the responsibilities of running a business, those associated with a laundromat are fairly straightforward. Keeping up with preventative maintenance, ensuring your facilities stay clean, and providing customer service are the primary day-to-day responsibilities of a laundromat owner.
  • Opportunities for Expansion: A successful laundromat presents plenty of opportunities to expand the services you offer, whether that’s opening a new location or providing new services at an existing site—think wash-and-fold, on-site food or drink offerings, or even just vending machines that offer new revenue streams for increased profits.
  • Flexibility: Small business owners are able to set their own schedules, and the same is true for those who start a laundromat. While operating hours are ultimately dependent on the needs of your customers, as a laundromat owner, you can decide which of those hours to work and which to staff with employees. This relative flexibility frees up time for improving your work-life balance, spending quality time with family, or even working a second job for additional income.
  • Industry Support: Laundromat owners have a wealth of professional colleagues to learn from, whether through industry organizations, online forums, or social media. Western State Design is also an important resource for laundromat owners: Our experts are available to advise on every stage of the process, from choosing a location and deciding on the best equipment to performing service and upgrading outdated washers and dryers.

Cons of Owning a Laundromat

As with any business, there are some downsides to owning a laundromat. These are some of the cons you may face if you choose to open a vended laundry business:

  • High Start-Up Costs: While laundromats are frequently profitable and offer an appealing return on investment, they do require a significant amount of startup capital. Initial costs may include renovations to make your location machine-ready, the coin-op washers and dryers themselves, training for employees, point-of-sale software, utility hookup costs, and permitting and license fees. 
  • Competitive Industry: Laundromats can be competitive, especially in saturated markets. Coin-op and vended laundry businesses also face competition from in-home machines, apartment complex facilities, and delivery wash-and-fold services, so doing substantial research into the existing businesses in your area is imperative.
  • Finicky Customers: Customer loyalty does not typically extend to laundromats, so your patrons may adjust where they do business if a competitor offers lower prices or opens at a more convenient location. 
  • Disorderly or Inconsiderate Patrons: In any service industry, rude customers are a concern. Laundromat customers may be intentionally challenging to deal with or inconsiderately leave a mess behind. It’s important to have a plan in place for when problems related to unruly customers do arise.
  • Cost of Capital Improvements: Laundry equipment that’s used day in and day out will inevitably experience downtime due to required repairs or maintenance. The costs of replacing parts, making repairs, or purchasing new equipment can add up—as can costs associated with owning (rather than leasing) your location, such as updating HVAC systems or making necessary renovations to the store.

A Western State Design laundry equipment expert can help you evaluate all the pros and cons of opening a laundromat. Contact us today to take the first step and choose the best path forward.