Whether you’re thinking about purchasing an existing laundromat or building a brand-new store, it is essential that you carefully evaluate other local laundromats. Scoping out your competition can help you assess your location, better understand your potential customers, and determine how you can improve your services. After all, if you want to become the best laundromat around, you need to know who you’re dealing with!
How to Evaluate Other Local Laundromats
Look at Locations
First, mark all nearby laundromats on a map so that you’re clear on how near those businesses would be to your own. Are there any stores within a two-mile radius of your anticipated location? Which stores share your target customer base? What sort of traffic do they get? For example, are they near an apartment complex or college dorms? Are they located on a major road? Do they have popular stores as neighbors? In addition, consider their parking situation. Is there ample space for customers to park? Is the parking lot clean and well-lit? Consider driving by at different times of day to check out the situation.
Check the Equipment
Commercial washers and dryers are built to last a long time. Newer equipment, however, is often more efficient, better designed, and more reliable. Stop by your competitor’s laundromats and give their equipment a test run, pretending that you’re a typical customer. Are the washers and dryers easy to operate? Are all of the machines up and running? Do they have any unpleasant odors? Do they appear to be regularly maintained and repaired? How many washers and dryers are available? What washer sizes are there?
Consider the Cost
Cost isn’t everything, and most laundromats will charge similar amounts; however, we encourage you to check the cost of basic services. How much does it cost to wash and dry a load of laundry? How much do they charge for a wash-and-fold service? What are their payment options? Comparing costs can help you decide how much to charge at your own laundromat.
Assess the Environment
The general environment of a laundromat greatly affects the customer experience. So when you stop by your competitors’ laundromats, consider things like cleanliness, organization, and atmosphere. Is it chaotic and messy, or pleasant and organized? Are there enough places to sit for those who wish to relax? Is the facility properly lit? What’s the square footage?
Review the Services
Most laundromats offer self-service washers and dryers, but look beyond that. What else does the laundromat provide? Do they offer wash-and-fold services? Can they handle larger items, like comforters? Do they provide delivery? If you’ll be located near one of these competitors, consider what you might offer that they don’t already provide. Finally, look at their hours of operation. If their hours are quite limited, you might be able to snag some of their customer base by offering expanded hours.
Check Out Their Marketing
Don’t discount the importance of a strong logo and online presence. If someone wants to find a laundromat these days, they’re going to search online. When you search for other local laundromats online, is it easy to find their address, phone number, hours of operation, services, payment options, and more? Do they have positive or negative online reviews (or none at all)? By simply investing a little time in your online presence, you might be able to blow your competition out of the water.
Look at the Raw Data
Finally, remember to focus on raw demographic data as well: total population, number of households, number of renter households, number of households in your target income range, etc. Consider compiling all of this information into a spreadsheet for easy comparison.
Location is one of the most important factors for any business, so don’t rush this process. Take the time to thoroughly explore the area and all your competitors so that you know what you’re stepping into.
If you own a laundromat or are planning to purchase one soon, check out Laundry Solutions Company‘s products and services. We’re 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, please give us a call at 800-383-9274 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!