Benefits of owning a Vended Laundry
- It’s an all cash business with no accounts receivable or inventory.
- Washing laundry is a weekly repetitive necessity like food, clothing and shelter.
- Labor is minimal. An attendant keeps the store clean and provides the wash/dry/fold service.
- No special skills are needed to own and operate a coin laundry.
- The customer provides his own labor and pays up-front for the use of the machine, cutting labor costs and making this an ideal business for you to operate multiple stores.
The Right Location And The Right Mix Of Washers & Dryers Are Keys To Your Success.
The key to a profitable laundry is a good location with a good lease. Of next importance is the right mix of washers and dryers, based on location and demographics. A logical layout, attractive design, and popular sizes of front-loading washers will keep your customers satisfied and loyal, maximizing your income and business growth.
Curtis Equipment Co. Can:
- Find the right location
- Assist in negotiating a good lease
- Select the correct equipment mix
- Arrange financing
- Layout, design, and build your store
- Show you how to promote your laundry and market your service
- Provide a turn-key coin laundry installation
10 Factors to Consider
There is no “perfect” Laundromat location, but compare each available location to these 10 checkpoints to determine which location is the best for you . (Only Bo Derek was a perfect 10).
1. Determine the demographics (the kind of people who live in the area) within a range of 1/4 to 2 miles of the location. Summarize the typical age group, occupation, income, ethnic makeup & family size, stability, crime, market size (density of population) and type of housing. Lower/middle income large families are ideal.
2. Look at the growth pattern of the area. Contact local planning boards to see if the area is gaining or losing population, and if any major traffic “interchanges or major shopping centers are planned. A growing area will bring in more prospective customers.
3. Vehicle traffic is important in many areas, especially suburban. Approximate the amount of cars passing each day. (Approximately 15,000 cars is ideal – 30,000 is too many) . Look at the “flow” of traffic – morning commuting traffic passing the location is important. Is the location on the way from the residential areas to major shopping areas? How difficult is it to get into the location – consider road dividers, traffic signals and speed limits (35 MPH or less is ideal, but 50 MPH is too fast).
4. Vehicle parking is important in suburban areas. Is there adequate parking for 5 customers plus employees? Free parking in front or on the side of the location is important. Two entrances/exits into the parking area makes it easy to reach your location. Warning! Watch out for neighboring businesses that use up your available parking, especially during peak hours.
5. Is the location situated close to or on the way to “destination” businesses (supermarkets, banks, post offices, pharmacies, diners or other places people go to often)? Is so, your customers will see your store often and use it more frequently.
6. Is the store visible? Is the storefront visible to passing traffic? Check the signage available for size, placement and restrictions. The best signs are readable from 500 feet away. Can the sign be lighted and can the sign be a different appearance than the signs of the neighboring businesses?
7. Check the appearance of the neighboring businesses – especially at night and on the weekends.
8. What about the store itself? Is it big enough for adequate equipment and customer comfort? More equipment makes more money, and more comfort attracts more customers. Also, look at the shape of the space. A long narrow hallway looks cramped even if the total space is large. A wider storefront is more visible from the street. Be creative – could a “drive-up” window be incorporated into the design of your store?
9. The lease may become the most important factor in your success:
- Length: 10 years (or 5 years plus a 5 year option) is the minimum. Ask for double that to start negotiations. You won’t always get it, but you may get 12-15 years.
- Rent: Laundromats make money, but they make it a quarter at a time. Unless the location warrants it, $2000 to $2500 per month may be your limit in maintaining a healthy profitability.
- Increases: Reasonable rent increases are acceptable and expected, but they must be limited and spelled out. The best increase indexes are tied to rental or real estate increases rather than food or wage increases. Be sure to calculate in dollars what the monthly rent will be near the end of the lease – you may be in for a surprise.
- Assign ability: The lease must be fully assignable to permit the extension of credit and for future sale of the business.
- Useable space: Calculate the rent bases upon the useable interior space to get a true cost per square foot. Be sure to measure it yourself. Unusable space won’t make monty.
- Improvements: Try to negotiate improvements to be made by the landlord, even if it increases the rent. Ceilings, lighting fixtures, storefronts, wall decor, floors, alarms and utilities all require a cash outlay.
- Utilities: A Laundromat can’t operate without adequate water, gas and electricity. You’ll REQUIRE 220 volt 3 phase electric service. Gas and water need to be 2 inches or bigger for most stores. Is the water service already metered for the store – it will be before you open for business, and it can be expensive.
- Charge backs: These “extras” can really add to the rent. Check for “common area” charges, management fees, charges for parking spaces, snow removal, landscaping, taxes or tax increases and other charges. Add them in.
- Releases: You don’t want to pay rent if the building is unusable due to fire, floods or major repairs. How long does the landlord have to make major repairs? Good advice – use an attorney.
- Start date: Time is money. It will take time to build a store. It may take time for the major anchor store to open and create the traffic for a shopping center. Many times the first several months can be rent free, or better yet, the lease effective start date will be postponed.
10. Don’t forget the competition. Evaluate the closest competition’s location by these same considerations, and then evaluate their store operation and condition. They may be able to improve their operation and condition – but they can’t improve their location.
There are many factors that can effect the success of a Laundromat. Location and lease are two of them. Many times a small item can have a big impact on success. That’s where Super Laundry stands head and shoulders above their competition – we have the experience and successful track record to help you avoid the many pitfalls.
Ask your Curtis Equipment Co. representative to give you his professional opinion. It won’t cost you a thing, but it can sure save you a lot.