Before opening a business of any kind, it is important to understand the particulars of that specific business. This is particularly true of opening a laundry and dry cleaning business. You have to know the business, including potential responsibilities, services you plan to offer, how you plan to raise opening capital and more. Many dry cleaning businesses are also asked to do alterations, so you must be sure you are prepared to offer this service. Research and planning is essential to fully understand the needs of your customer as well as the legal aspects of running a business.
Purchase the proper equipment (see resource box). You will need to use equipment for dry cleaning clothes, washing and drying clothes and pressing clothes. You will need a revolving garment conveyor for hanging finished clothes. You will also need a tagging system and at least one cash register. Along with the equipment, you will need cleaning solutions such as a commercial laundry soap and fabric softener. Which solutions you use will depend on your budget and equipment.
Choose a location for your business. Opt for locations in the busier sections of your town to ensure a natural flow of traffic. You might also try to pinpoint areas around hotels, as travellers would increase the flow of your business. The point of choosing a busy area has to do with the convenience of getting both natural foot and drive-through traffic.
Get some previous experience. Before opening your own laundry business, work for a few months (six, at least) in a reputable, established laundry/dry cleaners. The hands-on experience will enrich your knowledge of the business while also helping you set realistic goals about your specific venture. There are so many things that you need to know about cleaning clothes and it does not come naturally. By gaining some experience, you will get valuable insight into what you really need to learn in order to be successful.
Make a plan for the services your business will offer. Will you offer a drive up window and a pick up and delivery service? Can you offer 24 hr service? What about one hour service for smaller jobs? You must have a game plan in place in terms of the services you plan to offer through your laundry and dry cleaning business. Customer service should always be your first priority.
Check regulations and licensing requirements for your particular area. This is just as important as planning the business. You must know what you need to do to open a laundry and dry cleaners business. For instance, in Wisconsin, you must apply for a dry cleaning license with the state.You may also have to pay a fee for this license. You should check your individual state government web site for a dry cleaning business to see if you need a special license to open a dry cleaning company.
Choose whether you want to be a franchise or work as an independent. This is important. Read about one franchise and what they offer and what is expected of you (see resource box).