I remember when I was a lot younger, my aunt never allow me to wash or even iron press her office shirts and trousers and she would prefer I send them to the laundry guy. The dry cleaning [laundry] business in Nigeria is among those business that are looked down upon and widely underestimated, no wonder there are few laundry stores around and those few can be found in some wealthy neighbourhoods.
Starting a laundry business is one profitable business to either start by yourself or invest in as an investor –as there are many ways to tap into this business.
In this article, I will discussed two ways which one can make profit from this business and they are:
- Being the sole proprietor
- Being an investor
Most individuals will always like their shirts, trousers, bedspreads and jeans, towels in fact any difficult cloth or piece of material that is not convenience to wash or iron to be washed and ironed by someone else and they are willing to pay for it either because they don’t have the time to do the job by themselves or they prefer a professional hand to do the job for them.
Being the Sole Proprietor
You can be the sole proprietor of the business that is be the owner, especially if you have the skills and experience. As the white collar job keep increase in Nigeria, a lot of workers (corporate workers) have to look sharp and clean to still remain relevant and attractive in their offices. As such, they barely have the time to be washing their cloths and be ironing it themselves, even if they do have the time by their side, they don’t have the skills and experiences to make it wrinkle free like how the laundry guys do it.
In starting this business as a sole proprietor, you need to have the skills as you do not want peoples cloth to get burnt due to hot iron or get stained from washing it with other cloths and the experiences to help know which cloths belong to which client –you don’t want to get people cloths mixed up as it can cause serious problem.
Things to Consider When Starting This Business
There are several things one will consider when starting this business, as you don’t want to be caught unprepared and unaware. The following point listed below should be taken serious as a sole proprietor of this business as they determine how long you will last and how well your business will stand aside from others.
The first thing to consider is where you want to rent your shop. You need a shop, where your business will operate from, you would agree with me that not all places are good for some kinds of business. In this case, getting a shop for a laundry business you would need a place where there are lots of residence (because these people are the ones that will come to patronize you), the situation of power supply in that area (you need electricity to power your washing machine and irons) and availability of clean water (you would need water to wash people cloths and you will need lots of water).
If an area has a low power supply it can be of advantage or disadvantage. It will be of disadvantage if there are few residential home because you will have to burn money on patrol to power the generators which will power the pressing iron and washing machine –as few residential homes means few customers that will patronize you would end up spending more, but if there is enough residential homes then it means you will get lots of customers and in turn enough profits to cover the cost of patrol for the generator.
Getting the Right Equipment
For a start you can decide to hand wash the cloths, so as to minimize expenses but there are things you have to get for your business to move smoothly. Things such as
- Dry and steam irons
- Hand racks
- Shelves (optional)
- Ironing table
- damping bottle(spray gun)
- washing machine
And other things such as:
- Detergent and soup
- Stain remover
As I had said, you can remove washing machine from the list so as to minimize your expenditure for a start but I consider the rest as of high priority, as you cannot have a successful laundry service rendered without them.
When getting a generator, I would advise a bigger one that can carry the washing machine along with multiple irons. As there may be times when you would have lots of jobs on your neck and need to finish them on time and that will force you to get more hands on deck, so you need a generator that can carry multiple irons without breaking down.
Marketing Your Business
You need to create some market awareness, so that people will know you and the kinds of services you render. There is no better way than to market your services either online (digital) or physical (offline).
There are two ways to do this, which are:
- Online (Digital) Marketing
- Offline (physical) Marketing
Online (Digital) Marketing
The digital marketing involve using social media such as Facebook and google online presence to create enough awareness of your business to people around your area or districts –thanks to Facebook advertising. This can be a bit expensive depending on your budget and financial status but are worth every penny.
Offline (physical) Marketing
The offline marketing is the most popular and famous among small scale businesses. Using this method to market your services is also good as it requires physical efforts from you. This method involves printing flyers, banners and business cards to share to your proposed clients, you can offer your services to hotels and banks as well as any cooperate firms around you still using the flyers.
CHECK OUT: How to Start a Footwear Business in Nigeria
The above points are what you need in order to get your business up and running, as time goes by the business will gain popularity, which will bring in more customers and more money and you can start to implement things on a larger scale like getting a good washing machine, but knowing the price at which you will charge your customers is essential.
This is a little picky especially if you have any competitor within.
The normal price for washing some cloths such as shirts, tee-shirts, trouser (jean and plain) can be fixed at N100 depending on the quality and can go as low as N50 if they are much.
Native attire can at between N150 to N200 and again depending on the quality and business relationship you have with the clients.
Towels, bedsheets and other larger piece of clothing can be washed for N200
Suits, robes and other delicate cloth can go for N200
It is good to note that the above include starching expect said other-wise by the clients
Ironing of any cloths can be peg at N100 except the come in large bulk then they can be subsidized.
Being an investor
Investing in a laundry business is another way to profit from this business without putting it much time but just finance. This is usually done by people who don’t the skills, experience and time.
Opening the business under your name, you can become the legitimate owner while having someone work under you and for the company.
In order you to run this business successfully, you would need to follow the points highlighted above that is sorting out a good location, gets the required equipments and the right marketing to make your business more appealing. But since you are not the one doing the jobs, you would need someone. If probably you would have found a person before now, it would be great, if not you can put a sign in front of the shop (if you have already rented it) or use local forums such as nairaland –make sure the person has the skills and experience need for this kind of business.
If you have done the above, you need a way to be able to checkmate your worker so he doesn’t over spend and one way to do that is by using a register.
Using a Register
There are different ways you can decide to use this but keep in mind that the general purpose of this register is to keep records of how many cloths comes in and leaves the laundry. Usually 3 lines are drawn. One for the name of the clients who comes to give the cloths, the second line for the total number of cloths that comes into the laundry each day along with the expected amount and the third line for the total number of cloths that goes out along with the price and any debt if there is, you may decide to add a space for signature for authentication that’s of you wish to do so.
Every week you can analyse and find out if the money realized for that week can cover the expenses accrued for that week. Expenses like soup, detergent, starch, electric bill and other bills, while monthly you can see if there was a loss or profit after deducting major expenses such as the shop rent and other bills maybe water bills or any related to the place your shop is located like security bills.
Depending on the agreements you had with the worker you may pay based on percentage from the profit after all expenses have been deducted maybe 40% of total profit.
As the CEO, you should have the responsibility of having a good saving, which you can use in investing in bonds for the business in order to expand in the future.
In summary, having a laundry business is very profitable when well planned out. In order to reduce mismanagement of funds there should be a proper journal or cash book in use. You mustn’t be an accountant before you use them, for a start they should be use for proper documentation of all expenses and income (cash flow in and out) of the company.
Also keep good records of how materials are used in the laundry, especially if you are the investor.
Having a proper saving or investment plan can mean a lot, as you would be able to save for a rainy day and for expansion in the future.
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