The Atlantic reported that the number of laundry and dry cleaning facilities in the U.S. has declined by almost 20 percent since 2005. But Coin Laundry Association data also shows that the nation’s laundromats earn a collective $5 billion each year, which is a huge sum. This conflicting data may lead laundromat owners to ask, “Are laundromats a dying business?” Read on to find out why the laundry industry may actually be stronger than ever.
Are Laundromats a Dying Business?
The Claim: Laundromats Are Dying
Recent articles from Marketplace and The Atlantic cast laundromats as one of America’s “fastest-dying businesses.” But if you look into justification for the claim, you’ll find that laundromats aren’t dying – they’re just changing to keep up with a rapidly transforming market. The Atlantic reports that as developers transform urban neighborhoods across the country, renters and buyers are opting for apartments and condos with in-unit washers and dryers. This phenomenon, combined with price-cutting competition, rising rents, and costly utility bills can all pose threats to independently-owned laundry businesses. However, laundromats remain an essential community service, and laundromat owners are stepping up to make their businesses even more indispensible.
The Reality: Laundromats Aren’t Going Anywhere
Despite a challenging marketplace, laundromats remain one of the safest investments for new entrepreneurs. Laundromats are proven to have a high success rate, with 95 percent of laundromats succeeding over a five-year period. In fact, as the public remains concerned about health and hygiene, laundromats may be a stronger investment than ever before. As essential businesses, laundromats are key resources during the fight to defeat COVID-19.
Avoiding Common Laundromat Pitfalls
While it’s clear that laundromats aren’t going anywhere, there are several business pitfalls you’ll want to avoid to make sure your business stays ahead of the pack:
- Passive Management: While laundromats are flexible businesses that can be run part-time, absentee management is a common trap that sends many laundromats into disarray. As the owner of a laundromat, you are responsible for ensuring that your laundromat’s equipment functions properly – and that customers are satisfied with their service.
- Ignoring Competitors: Laundromats are pretty straightforward operations, but laundromat owners do need to take measures to stay competitive. For example, many new laundromats offer shiny new equipment, Wi-Fi, TVs and other entertainment sources. The best way to stake your claim in the laundromat world? Keep your laundromat in tip-top shape, and make sure to research your competitors.
- Sticking to the Status Quo: Some laundromat owners choose to go above and beyond standard amenities, providing high-tech machines, tasty food and beverage menus, and upscale coffee options for customers. If you’re concerned about the future of your laundromat, it might be time to think outside the box. Ask yourself: What can I do to make a customer want to spend an hour or two at my facility?
So, are laundromats a dying business? Not in the slightest. Not only are laundromats crucial parts of tightly-knit urban communities, but also they serve as essential businesses during this uncertain time. And while laundromats continue to be a safe, often lucrative investment, smart business practices are a must. When in doubt, do a little research to see how you can take your laundromat to the next level.
Finally, if you own or manage a laundromat, be sure to check out Laundry Solutions Company, a full-service provider of premium vended, on-premises, and multi-housing commercial laundry equipment. Our leasing program provides no mileage fees, no service fees, and no parts fees. You will be able to use high-quality Speed Queen equipment while enjoying a flexible lease and predictable payments. To learn more about our products and services, please give us a call at 800-383-9274 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!