How to start a laundry business in Malaysia

How to start a laundry business in Malaysia

Laundry is a household chore that’s often viewed unfavourably. Despite the perpetual need for clean clothes (read: EVERY DAY), this rather simple job is daunting to many because, (1) it’s time-consuming (wash, dry, fold, iron, repeat) and (2) lack of space (for those living in high-rise buildings). With the upsurge of self-service laundry outlets in Malaysia, dirty laundry is indeed a lucrative business. You don’t necessarily need tertiary skills to become a laundry entrepreneur, but you need solid strategies to start your own self-service laundry business.

Write a Business Plan

A firm business plan provides clarity on your goals while keeping you organised and on track. Hence, you need to cover all the bases from the start. Do you want to run a coin-operated laundry, or self-service laundromat? An important decision you have to make is whether you want to start a laundry business entirely from scratch, or become a laundry franchisee. Other aspects to consider include your target market, operation hours (24-hour laundry or extended business hours), and types of specialised laundry services to offer (e.g. ironing, dry cleaning, pick-up and delivery).

Draft a Feasible Budget

How much do you need to start a laundry business? It depends on whether you are planning to purchase an existing laundry business, or build a self-service laundromat venture from the ground up. Attributes such as laundry equipment (washing machines, dryers, detergents, hangers, etc.), shop rental, licencing costs, renovations, marketing, and staffing have to be factored into your budget. In addition, you need to set aside some budget for a preventive maintenance plan (e.g. repairs, security system, utilities, insurances) to ensure your laundry business runs smoothly.

Pick a Prime Location

The suburbs or the big city? A strategic location will not only get your laundry business up and running – it helps in boosting revenue and visibility. Ideally, coin-operated laundry shop should be easily accessible. Ample car park is a bonus as it facilitates laundry pick-up and drop-off processes. More importantly, conduct thorough research on other laundry shops around your potential business areas. Having too many laundry shops operating within proximity of each other may not work in your favour.

Market Your Laundry Business

Once your self-service laundry is ready for business, it’s time to spread the word! Map out your target market (busy urbanites, college/university students, housewives, residents of high-rise buildings) to determine the best marketing strategies to reach your potential customers. From placing flyers and ads in high-traffic areas to relying on the power of social media, get your creative juices flowing and start promoting your laundry venture.

Make Your Business Stand Out

Coin-operated laundry is a booming business in Malaysia. How do you distinguish your laundry venture from other competitors, when they provide dedicated laundry services and competitive rates too? Extras like detergent supplies, snack and drink vending machines, and complimentary WiFi are common. If your budget permits, consider decorating your laundry shop interior with unique Insta-worthy themes (retro, minimalist, futuristic – the possibilities are endless!) to add a cool spin to your laundry. In short, creating a welcoming atmosphere could keep your customers coming back.

All in all, dirty laundry can be good business if you play your cards right. Starting self-service laundry is not merely about generating revenue from washing clothes. To ensure your venture succeeds, be someone your customers can rely on. Treat each laundry with the same standard of care you would give your own, as this builds trust and leads to the foundation of customer loyalty.

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