What You Need to Start a Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service.
The challenge of employment in Nigeria is not unfamiliar to many Nigerians. And as a result, many Nigerians have had to look into starting a business of their own. There are so many businesses you can start and even some can be started from your phone. However, when you hear the usual discussions about starting a business, there are certain businesses that are usually recurring and others that people do not seem to consider. Sometimes, it could be that they think those businesses will be complicated to start or maybe it’s the idea that the aforementioned might not be lucrative.
Laundry and dry cleaning service is one of such businesses that people do not really seem to consider even though it is easy to start and quite lucrative. The reason is not far-fetched; many people would trust their clothes to a dry cleaner because they don’t have the time or for whatever reason. These people will always look for a good laundry and dry cleaning service around them to offer them this service. So, if you see there is no dry cleaning business around you, it might be time to consider it. And fortunately, laundry and dry cleaning service is not a capital-intensive project. Let’s show you how to properly start one.
Write a Business Plan
It is inadvisable to start any venture - much less a business - blindly. You run the risk of failing before you even begin. You don’t just go ahead to start a business without proper planning because you have decided to do that business. You need to ask yourself certain questions such as;
- What do I need to start this business?
- How do I raise capital to get what I need to start this business?
- Who are my potential customers (my target audience)?
- How do I make a profit from this business?
- Where would be a great place to situate my business?
- What can I offer as my competitive advantage?
- What are the daily or regular expenses to run a laundry service?
- How much do I charge my customers based on the expenses?
- What would be my business name?
When you have done your necessary research to answer these questions, then you can use the answers to create a business plan. Note that having a business plan could help you if you need a document to present when sourcing for funds or it could serve as a guide as you start your business. Like I said earlier, a dry cleaning business is not capital-intensive, so you can start small and expand as you grow. That means you can bootstrap your business.
The fact that the average adult knows the basics about laundry are not enough to start a laundry and dry cleaning service. No, there is so much more to it than that. So, you need to be open to learning. Read up as much as you can on different fabrics and how to dry clean or wash them, business operation tips, marketing strategies, ironing techniques and anything that will be useful to you in business.
Register Your Business
While you might not need to register at the onset - which you should if you can - you will still need to eventually register your business if you want to grow. Get a business name and go to the CAC website for more information on what you need. Or you could reach out to a lawyer to help you take care of it. Then you should open a business bank account and get all the branded materials, including logo and branded invoice so you can seem more professional to your clients.
Find a Location
This depends on what your starting capital is. If you have enough, you can do a market survey to find the best location that will be easily accessible to your target audience and strategic to get new customers. However, if you are starting really small, you should start from home until you can save enough to find a good location for your business.
Buy Your Equipment
The next thing is to buy the equipment you need. Again, you can start by hand-washing until you can afford a washing machine or you can buy a smaller washing machine until you can afford a bigger one. So, the trick is to cut cost where necessary and work towards expanding. Having said that, below are some of the things you will need for a dry cleaning business.
- Washing Machine
- Laundry Detergent
- Ironing table
- Garment Conveyor to hang clothes.
- A Source of Water
- Good Generator
- Nylon and tags to package and tag each client’s clothing.
- Shelves to keep the dry-cleaned cloth.
Market Your Business
There are two things involved; you can either hire a freelancer or an affordable digital agency or you could decide to do this yourself from the start. There are different ways to get this done;
- Through word of mouth, especially to your personal network and people.
- Through social media
- Print and share flyers
- Have a signpost or any obvious marketing material in the front of your house or your shop
- Offer promos and discounts
- Place an ad on a classified ads platform
Now, remember to offer value if you want your business to survive and grow. There might be a temptation to cut corners so as to make quick money. All that will grant is you is instant gratification and not sustainability. And I’m sure you want your business to last long, so offer quality, be patient and watch your business grow steadily.