The first laundromats opened in the 1930s. Since then, these businesses have provided washing machines and dryers operated by coins, cards, or tokens. They’re especially popular in cities, near colleges, and anywhere else where some residents may not have access to laundry in their homes.
Generally, these businesses are fairly low cost and low maintenance. You do have to invest in the location and machines. But since customers generally do their own laundry, you can keep labor and running costs fairly low. This also makes it perfect for those who are looking to own a business without constantly working.
Additionally, laundry is something that people always need. Not everyone has washers and dryers in their home. And they still need lean clothes. So even if there’s a recession or change in other markets, laundry businesses are likely to stick around.
If you’re interested opening a laundromat, a franchise may simplify the process for you. This allows you to get started with the equipment, expertise, and brand name of a recognized entity behind you. Your business doesn’t have to start from scratch. Here are some of the most popular laundromat franchises to consider.
10 Franchise Laundromat and Laundry Opportunities
Here are the best laundromat franchise businesses for aspiring entrepreneurs to consider:
1. Speed Queen
Speed Queen has been in the laundry industry since 1908. And they offer a model that’s designed to scale. The laundromats are known for providing an open design, updated tech, and an easy user experience. The initial franchise fee is currently $15,000. And the total upfront costs range from $500,000 to $1.5 million, depending on the type and number of stores. Speed Queen estimates that nearly 95 percent of its stores are successful.
WaveMAX is a laundry business Dennis Mulgannon, who also operates Home Care Assistance, Junk King, and the Flying Locksmiths. As such, the company uses a proven franchise model to bring life back into the coin operated laundry business. They provide help with location selection, layout, and equipment. The minimum franchise fee for the first unit is $49,950. For the second unit, it’s $24,950. All units after are $15,950. The company estimates revenue at around $430,000.
3. Zoom Express
Zoom Express positions itself as a bright, clean laundry facility that garners a ton of repeat customers. They offer a la carte services. So there’s traditional self-service laundry as well as wash and dry service. This requires a bit more staffing but also diversifies revenue. The company boasts a 95 percent success rates for franchises and says cash flow ranges from $15,000 to $300,000 annually. The initial franchise fee is $39,500, with a total upfront investment between $675,000 and $1.5 million.
SuperSuds utilizes a proven five-step formula for franchises. They help with location selection, business planning, design, grand-opening plans, and day-to-day operations. The company has more than 20 years of expertise. And their 25 stores have a 100 percent success rate. They do not list any franchise fees, as each location and business model comes with different costs. Interested parties can contact the company for a specific quote.
5. Maytag Commercial Laundry
Maytag is one of the most recognizable names in laundry. This isn’t a traditional franchise opportunity. But the company provides machinery and other resources for laundromats and other businesses. In addition to providing the equipment, they can also help with store design, layout, and branding. There’s no official franchise fee. But at least $75,000 is required upfront, with additional financing available.
6. Statewide Laundry
Statewide Laundry operates mainly in the southeast, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The company provides efficient and reliable washers and dryers, along with other equipment. A laundromat owner could choose to simply purchase equipment or utilize other services like layout design and site selection. They also sell laundromats that are already up and running. Down payments range from about $80,000 to $125,000, with the total investment starting around $300,000.
Laundrylux is another supplier of laundromat equipment, working with multiple top brands. However, they also offer real estate, design, financing, and marketing assistance to those who offer laundry services. The company even provides equipment upgrades and support for existing business owners. Since it’s not a traditional franchise, there is no set fee. But startup costs can range anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million.
8. The Eco Laundry Co.
The Eco Laundry Company is known for providing earth friendly laundry services. To achieve this goal, the laundromat franchise uses efficient equipment and sustainable supplies. Though the company started in Buenos Aires, it then launched in the U.S. in NYC. Since environmental issues are so prominent for consumers, this could be a major selling point for customers. This may be especially true in trendy areas or college campuses. The franchise fee is $300. And the total upfront investment starts at around $230,000.
9. Express Laundry Centers
Express Laundry Centers provides an all-in-one laundry franchise solution, complete with site selection, design, equipment, financing, marketing, and training. The company also boasts its opportunity as free of restrictions, costs, and red tape. As such, there’s no traditional franchise fee. However, there’s a $75,000 minimum liquid cash requirement. It’s also meant to be easy to get started, since there are less restrictions involved.
Though not a traditional laundromat franchise opportunity, Huebsch offers a number of services to help entrepreneurs offer laundry services. The company specializes in selling commercial laundry equipment. But they also provide real estate assistance, financing, laundry design, and training. Since it’s not a traditional franchise program, there are no franchise fees. But the company requires investors to provide at least 30 percent of the startup costs, though you can finance the rest. They estimate the total upfront costs at about $90,000, with about $250,000 financed.
FAQs About Laundromat Businesses
Here are frequently asked questions about the pros and cons of laundromats and coin laundry businesses, and what it takes to get into one:
What Are the Benefits of a Laundromat Business?
Entrepreneurs get interested in laundromats because of their perennial appeal. While not quite the size opportunity it was 50 years ago, there are plenty of benefits to operating a laundromat, including:
- Constant consumer demand – Everybody needs clean clothes and not everyone has a washer / dryer, especially apartment dwellers. If you do your market research carefully, you can find neighborhoods where demand is highest.
- Lifestyle business – Entrepreneurs like this business because it doesn’t require a huge time commitment. You don’t need to manage a huge team or work long hours. You mainly just have to collect money and maintain the equipment.
- Low labor costs – Since customers generally do their own laundry, you don’t need a ton of staff. You may want part time help to clean up or maintain equipment. You might even have one person there to provide support during operating hours. But you shouldn’t need a large or costly team.
- Repeat customers – There’s a lot of recurring revenue with laundry businesses. People tend to find a facility they like and then keep going back. Many also pre-pay using cards. So it’s often easy to predict revenue and keep customers coming back.
- Low failure rate – With the low operating costs and high demand, laundromats don’t go out of business at the same rate as other businesses. Most of the franchises above boast success rates of at least 90 percent.
- Versatility – There are a variety of laundry services that businesses in the industry can offer. In addition to coin-operated laundry, some also offer wash and fold services or dry cleaning. This provides diversified revenue streams.
How Do You Open a Laundromat?
There are two main options for breaking into the industry. You can purchase a laundromat franchise where much of the work is laid out for you. Or you can start from scratch. Generally, steps include finding a location, designing the layout, purchasing equipment, creating a pricing list and business model, marketing, and maintaining equipment.
There are also the general business startup steps, like registering a name, branding, and applying for permits. Seasoned business owners may be able to navigate these steps quickly. But they can be arduous or confusing for new entrepreneurs. With a franchise, many of these steps are already laid out for you.
Read more: How to Start a Laundry Business.
Is Owning a Laundromat Profitable?
Coin-operated laundry businesses earn between $15,000 and $300,000 annually. Ongoing expenses mainly include utilities, equipment upkeep, part-time help, and financial services. This means that many are able to recoup their initial investment in just a couple years and start turning a profit. And the ROI can be up to 35 percent.
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Laundromat?
Franchise fees generally range between $15,000 and $50,000. But the initial startup costs range between $300,000 and $1.5 million, depending on the size and location of the unit. Much of that can be financed. Once your business is up and running, you can generally keep costs low. These mostly consist of equipment maintenance and utilities. Though you’ll have some operating costs like accounting and payroll if you plan on hiring part time help.
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