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I live in a very small community, about 4600 people. It is more like a sleeping community with a lot of elderly and a lot of skilled workers, truck drivers.

I have this crazy idea of starting a laundry service, not a laundromat but a service that washes clothes, fold/irons and delivers once a day, much like the 'Dorm Mom' concept. I like to get started small, just offering the service to friends and see what comes from it. Honestly, I haven't run a business myself. I did help out others so I'm not unfamiliar with the concept. Should I just get started and see what comes from it? Anyone comments, ideas, input?
 

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It should have low overhead (I'm assuming you'd start out just using your own laundry facilities). Why not just start out small and see how it goes? If it takes off, you can look at expanding. You can put up a webpage to advertise it for almost nothing, hang fliers in your local grocery stores, and go from there.
 

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I actually really love laundry and have idly thought about offering a laundry service. I do know that many of my friends use a "by the pound" laundry service that picks up their dirty clothes and returns them washed, folded and repaired as necessary. I assume the charge is literally "by the pound" but I don't know what the charge would be.

Would you offer particular services (i.e., replace missing buttons or re-sew loose buttons? line-drying? no-additives detergent? handwashing? ironing, with or without starch?)

Are you aiming for the busy person who doesn't really care about niceties like "additive-free detergent" but just wants their laundry done cheaply, or are you aiming for the (presumably also busy) person who wants a luxury service? I'm sure there's a way to test both - advertise both separately and see which one gives you a call back. :)
 

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That's a good business idea.The only problem is your market:small community,elderly,skilled workers,truck drivers.I don't see your services being a big draw for your market.You need the exact opposite:Large community,young,white collar(disposiable income),fasion foward,busy singeltons.I could be wrong but your services and the people your going to be selling to seem like a bad mismatch(if you want something more than a causal "side" business)Go for it thou-you got nothing to lose-maybe think of taking your idea further outside your community.
 

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My friend moved to Costa Rica and set up a laundry service ,it has worked out well for him people drop their laundry off.He has laundry bags that he charges $10 fee for and the bag numbers have his client names on them.The way he explained to me the bag is a shape of a laundry basket and it has become a big hit there.
 

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The only problem is your market:small community,elderly...
I'm sure some of those elderly have more income than they need and would like to have someone doing their laundry for them, say if they have a bad back or something. We all know that the every day tasks get more difficult as you age.

I agree though that it's not a big place for OP to find customers. Perhaps she could look beyond everyday people and start talking to businesses. I've never worked in a restaurant... who washes the cooks' clothes? I was going to suggest some commercial/industrial businesses (like mechanic's shops and the like, my father's employer, a manufacturing company, has a laundry service for coveralls) but I don't know if you'd want to clean oily clothes in your residential washer/dryer all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It should have low overhead (I'm assuming you'd start out just using your own laundry facilities). Why not just start out small and see how it goes? If it takes off, you can look at expanding. You can put up a webpage to advertise it for almost nothing, hang fliers in your local grocery stores, and go from there.
This is exactly what I had in mind. In my house I have two hook ups for washers and dryers. I do know some people that could spread the word.

That's a good business idea.The only problem is your market:small community,elderly,skilled workers,truck drivers.I don't see your services being a big draw for your market.You need the exact opposite:Large community,young,white collar(disposiable income),fasion foward,busy singeltons.I could be wrong but your services and the people your going to be selling to seem like a bad mismatch(if you want something more than a causal "side" business)Go for it thou-you got nothing to lose-maybe think of taking your idea further outside your community.
Yes, that is something that I was concerned about. The thing is, there is a Laundromat but that’s just a Laundromat. Truck drivers go there every Sunday, dump all their clothes and even shoes in the machines and come back later. I could all that for them.
There is no large white collar community but we do have a lot – A LOT – of elderly people and that was also a group I was aiming for. Thanks for your input!


I agree though that it's not a big place for OP to find customers. Perhaps she could look beyond everyday people and start talking to businesses. I've never worked in a restaurant... who washes the cooks' clothes? I was going to suggest some commercial/industrial businesses (like mechanic's shops and the like, my father's employer, a manufacturing company, has a laundry service for coveralls) but I don't know if you'd want to clean oily clothes in your residential washer/dryer all the time.
Oooh that is a good idea! Outside of the village is industrial development, I could market my ‘business’ there!


Thanks for the great input!!
 

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Zoning laws are you allowed to run the business from home?

The good thing about what your thinking of doing is it wont cost much & if Iam right & the bottom of the Kwave is not in place the creative distruction that comes with it will put a lot of companies out business.
 

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It seems like the startup costs are very small, so I would just go ahead and get started asap. Figure out the details later.

Seems like a good idea - now you just need to test it.
 

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What is your business plan? What services will you offer, at what price, and at what cost to you (time, materials, utilities, etc.)?

You should try to hammer these things out to see what you would need to charge to make the exercise worthwhile.
 

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I've been thinking over your plan, especially since I'm also always looking for business ideas. Here are some of the problems I see with it. First if you are starting with your own single machine, it will be fairly slow going. Suppose someone hands you two laundry baskets full of clothes. You will likely have to separate colors from whites, etc. We usually also separate towels as they seem to cause other clothes to pill. After separating, you may have as many as 3 washes and smaller loads than are efficient. Can you charge enough to justify your time and expenses? The efficiency question could be solved by combining several people's clothes but you may then have trouble with mix-ups or a time consuming identification system. And of course, you always have the potential hassle of someone saying that you ruined a piece of their clothing. Buying more machines would increase efficiency but would add to your capital costs.

It could work, but as I say, I don't know if you can charge enough for such a service to make it very profitable.
 

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It's not that there is'nt a market for the elderly but what stands out is that it is ''blue collar'' and a small community,most small communities have a sense of thirft way more than city folks(would they pay for it?,you think cmfers are cheap,rural ''farmers are pretty ''tight"lol and couple that with the vaule structure in a small community-Mr smith who has lived there for 50 yrs and his wife died- im sure has ''meals" and laundry being done for free from his peers in church ect-that is what i was thinking.

I'd set-up around a campus or uni in a bigger market and try to spread out that way with word of mouth,or like others have said maybe go the commercial route(maybe even get into linens)-see if you can undercut(intial start)a seniors home for example(there service provider)?maybe you can even use there facilities.(esp-private owned business where you can clearly show the owner or gm the cost benefits)
 
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