What to consider when starting a laundromat

Factors that can make or break your business

Investment Opportunity >> Key Considerations

Several key considerations can make a significant impact when you invest in, purchase or manage a laundromat. We recommend you pay close attention to each of these factors:

Location

Perhaps the most important consideration is location. Where you choose to open your laundry can make or break your business. Find out as much as you can about the demographics within a 5km radius of your potential premises. Analyse the population, predominant type of dwelling and income level.

  • Make sure the site you choose is highly visible to passing road and foot traffic. Main roads and busy high streets are ideal, but do consider the speed limits and traffic flow.
  • Easy access to sufficient customer parking or public transport is essential because laundry baskets are heavy. This is why you rarely see laundromats in multi-story shopping centres.
  • Look for densely populated areas and a high proportion of rental properties or holiday accommodation options. Self-service laundromat models suit low-income areas with lots of apartments and large families. Fully serviced laundromats offering washing and ironing services are more successful in higher-income areas and holiday destinations where there is demand from local businesses.
  • Ideally your site should be close to other businesses so your customers can run multiple errands in one go. Supermarkets, medical centres, restaurants, cafes, bottle shops and professional service providers are ideal neighbours for a laundromat.

Serviced laundromat considerations

If you intend to provide a serviced laundromat (as opposed to a self-service business model), keep in mind that fit-out costs will apply and consult a laundry workflow expert. Make sure there’s sufficient demand from local businesses in your area when considering this option.

You’ll need to lease premises large enough to house a lockable service area at the rear of your store, with room for incoming loads and outgoing laundry baskets. An ironing station and specialty equipment for sheets and towels will be required.

Leasing and utility infrastructure

Long-term store leases (typically 8-15 years) and projected utility costs will need to be estimated in advance. While laundromats are low-maintenance overall, power, gas, water, sewage and plumbing costs can be high due to long opening hours and an abundance of electrical equipment on site.

Pay close attention to the brand of laundromat equipment you select and seek professional advice. Energy efficient, water-wise models are recommended to keep utility costs to a minimum.

An important consideration for any laundromat owner is utility infrastructure.

Keep in mind that:

  • The appropriate electricals will need to be installed for all laundry equipment, as well as gas plumbing for dryers.
  • You’ll need to organise plumbing for all washers, and your laundromat may also require a hot water system.
  • Ventilation (fluing) for dryers will need to be installed and run to the outside of the shop.
  • Installing a cooling pit is recommended to cool all water extracted during the washer spin cycle.

Machinery selection & financing

Coin-op or cashless? Stacked or side-by-side machines? Gas or electric dryers? With so many options available, it’s best to seek professional advice when designing your workflow. Energy efficient, water-wise models that don’t compromise on performance or durability are your best bet.

Many laundromat owners choose to equip their machines with detergent dispensers that automatically inject the correct amount for each cycle. The benefit of automatic dispensing is no waste, no mess and optimised wash performance. Alternatively, some laundromats are equipped with a wall-mounted detergent vending machine.

The next thing to think about is how you’re going to finance your laundromat equipment, which is an expensive outlay in the beginning. Consider whether you want to buy your machinery outright, rent or get third-party funding.

Machinery selection for your laundromat will depend on the size of your store. As a general guide, an average sized laundromat is equipped with:

  • 8-12 x front-loading washing machines
    Most washers have a 9-10kg capacity + 1-2 x 15-20kg washing machines for larger loads, bedding and soft furnishings.
  • 8-12 x dryers
    Most dryers are 8 x 9-10kg capacity, plus 1-2 larger 25kg dryers.

Big, bold signage

  • Your exterior sign is the the No.1 traffic builder for your business. Make sure your exterior signage is highly visible to cars and pedestrians. You want people to take notice of your laundromat and remember where you are.
  • A range of internal signage will also need to be designed and installed, as well as clear instructional signage on your self-serve equipment.

Advertising & digital

  • Consider setting up a simple website and social media presence, as well as investing in a Google Ads campaign. Google Reviews will be crucial to building your customer base so make sure your Google My Business listing is clear and up to date. Investigate local advertising options such as community newspapers or noticeboards.

Laundromat look and feel

Think about what type of atmosphere you want to create in your laundromat. Get creative with colour, décor and furniture selection to make your laundromat stand out.

The backbone of any business is repeat business. You may have the best location but if you don’t offer a positive experience, your customers won’t be back.

What matters to customers

A recent survey asked laundromat visitors what they most value in a location.

  • Quality machinery in excellent condition
  • Clean and hygienic premises
  • Friendly attendants
  • A bright, light-filled store with good visibility from the outside in
  • Cashless payment systems
  • Easy-to-follow instructions