If you’re looking for a fairly solid business venture that’s almost certain to deliver an easy paycheck, you might want to consider the benefits to be gained by purchasing an established coin laundry facility. Of course, like any professional undertaking, you want to invest wisely. And although owning and operating a laundromat may be easier than, say, running a restaurant or manufacturing company, you still need to be careful. This means doing appropriate research and finding a business that is most likely to be successful in the future. Here are a few factors to consider before you take out a business loan and take ownership.
- Location. This is immensely important in any business undertaking. But what makes for a good location for a laundromat? Like most businesses, you want to make sure the location offers easy access, plenty of parking, and a safe neighborhood that people feel comfortable visiting. You don’t necessarily need to be at a busy intersection since it’s unlikely that you’ll rely on foot traffic for business, but you should look for a location that is near a college campus, apartment buildings, or other structures where it is unlikely that residents will have personal washing machines and dryers in their units. This is where most of your customers will come from, especially if the buildings don’t offer dedicated laundry services on-site.
- Existing equipment. The washers and dryers used in your laundromat are your earners, and if they are subpar, outdated, and in need of constant repair you’re going to lose money. So before you buy an existing facility, you need to see records concerning the models in use, the age of the equipment, and maintenance records. And you should check them to make sure they’re all in good working order. You also need to find out if they’re traditional, coin-operated machines or if the current owners have upgraded to modern machinery that allows users to swipe payment cards rather than using coins.
- Monthly bills. Knowing how much it’s going to cost to operate a laundromat is an important part of determining how much you should pay for the business. Unfortunately, owners may not be keen to share their books with you. Or they might not keep very good records. But if they allow you to take a look at their water and electricity bills, at the very least, you should be able to crunch some numbers. Don’t forget to estimate costs for labor (i.e. attendants) and machine maintenance, repair, and replacement.
- Earnings. As with expenses, you might have a hard time figuring out what a laundromat is bringing in annually. You can certainly ask to see tax returns from past years, but coin laundromats are a cash business, so there’s no real way to know for sure. Luckily, most owners are likely honest or they’re underestimating earnings, which bodes well for your ability to earn. It may just make it difficult to secure a loan for the business if they’ve been shorting their income on tax returns.
- Upgrades. The laundry business hasn’t changed much since electric machines entered the picture, but when you start looking at laundromats for sale you’ll likely find facilities that offer extras like card readers on machines (and refillable cards), pick-up and delivery, fluff and fold service, comfortable seating areas, a snack or coffee bar, WiFi, and entertainment (TV, video games, etc.). The idea is to create a welcoming environment and additional services that make your laundromat a more desirable option than old-school competitors.