Ever wonder if venturing into the laundry service business will be profitable? The statistics are there for you.
Africa’s urban population has been growing at 3.5 percent every year and more than 500 million Africans will be living in the city by 2030. At the current urbanization rate of 40 percent, Africa is already more urbanized than India (30 percent) and a little less than China (45 percent).
Hence, more Africans now live in the city causing a rising demand for convenience services like laundry.
In this article, you will learn how to start a profitable laundry service business in Africa.
What is Laundry Service?
Laundry service involves the process of washing, drying, ironing, and folding clothes and other textiles. It is a business that cater for the clothes washing needs of individuals, households, hotels, hospitals, and other institutions.
The African laundry industry has undergone technological transformation over the years, from traditional hand washing to the use of modern technologies like washing machines, drying machines, electric iron, etc.
Therefore, it is essential to get your equipment and other materials ready before starting your laundry service business.
Essential Materials for Your Laundry Service Business
Here are essential materials that can get you started.
1. Industrial laundry detergent
Every laundry room requires a good detergent and It should be budget-friendly too. Some clothes requires you to choose a quality laundry detergent. However, you may also need an all-purpose detergent because it’s always a necessity in the laundry room.
2. Washing machines
The washing machine is a very important piece of laundry equipment. Go for a machine that can handle the laundry you intend to do.
If you cannot afford to buy many washing machines, you can start with one but ensure it is good.
3. Washing basins
A washing basin is perfect for presoaking clothes before washing. It also provides a convenient space to hand-wash delicate items and rinse clothes of chlorine, sand, and salty water before putting them in the washing machine.
Before you wash the clothes, you need to soak different types of fabrics in separate washing basins. To avoid paying for damaged clothing, be careful enough when handling people’s clothes. You might need to soak jeans separately from other fabrics. The same applies to white color clothes. And remember not to mix colors! when washing customers’ clothes.
4. Pressing iron
A Pressing Iron is generally used in laundry service to perfectly smoothen clothes and makes an excellent crease. Invest in a high-quality pressing iron that suits ironing different materials.
5. Wide ironing table
A properly constructed iron board or an ironing table is very important. It speeds up the ironing process and keeps your clothes safe. The best ironing surface allows you to iron your clothes flat on a large, smooth, supportive, and easily adjustable surface.
6. Garment conveyor or hanger
Garment conveyor is used for hanging washed clothes. You can reach a local carpenter or furniture maker to make a wooden hanging stand. It will cost less than buying a ready-made garment conveyor for hanging the clothes. Remember that it should be wide enough, otherwise, the finished clothes will be stuffed.
7. Power generator
In some African nations, electricity supply is not always reliable, you might need a good power generator. The generator must have enough starting and running watts to operate the washing machine.
For example, 1,600 starting watts and 800 running watts are required to operate a washing machine in a residential setting. A larger generator is required to operate multiple electrical items at the same time.
A crisp and clean shirt conveys a sense of professionalism and is a staple for any laundry service. While some people love starch for the look it gives their shirts, others feel uncomfortable wearing such clothes.
Some clients may ask you to starch their clothes. So, you need to research on the best starch that will suit their garments.
9. Clean water
Possessing a source of water is very essential for running a successful laundry business. Washing machines requires a full supply of water to run effectively. Also, a good drainage system will be needed to keep the space clean.
10. Record book
In a laundry house, proper sorting and recording is one of the most functional aspects of the business. Proper recording saves you from miscalculation and mismanagement.
Generally, you don’t have to purchase these things in a day. You can start from the most essential equipment and scale up.
How to Start a Laundry Service Business
Here are important steps to start your profitable laundry service anywhere in Africa.
Step 1: Know your budget
You should think about how much you are willing to invest in this business. This amount can range from $100 up to $500, it all depends on the scale of the business.
Step 2: Have a business plan
The next step is to have a written business plan. This business plan helps you to set business goals, establish strategies, and allocate resources effectively.
A business plan also helps you to identify, describe, and analyze complementary business opportunities with an eye on its technological, economic, and financial feasibility. It could also be used when seeking collaboration or financial support.
Step 3: Have a workspace
When you think about having a good laundry service business in Africa, you think of your customers first, and the location they come from.
You may start small from the comfort of your home. However, you will eventually need to find a space for yourself because you might be having a chunk of clothes, especially during weekends. So, a convenient space is what matters.
Step 4: Know your potential clients
Reach out to the right people who will patronize and help promote your laundry business. Here is the list of people you should reach out to:
- People who need to wash in bulk
- People who need to wash their expensive clothes
- People who need to wash extremely dirty clothes
- People who need delicate items washed
- People who have no time to wash clothes themselves
- People without a washing machine at home
- Businesses that need laundry services (Hotels, Restaurants, Hospitals, etc)
Step 5: Offer bespoke services
One of the best ways to get more clients and make yourself visible is to give customized services. Hence, you might need to tailor your services to the needs of your customers.
Step 6: Have a customer care service contact
Customer service is about supporting the customers who patronize you. Your customer service contact can be a business email, phone number, or a WhatsApp line. Whichever way, make sure you attend quickly to the needs of your customers.
Step 7: Leverage social media
If you’re looking for cheaper ways to connect with customers and promote your laundry business, using social media is a great place to start. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer opportunities to share photos and information about your services, or upcoming events.
You can also use social media to respond to customer inquiries or complaints. But also a nice display of your brand will be important so people close to your business can be aware of your laundry service.
Launching a profitable laundry service business in Africa presents a promising opportunity for entrepreneurs willing to tap into the growing demand for convenient and reliable laundry solutions. Remember, dedication, customer satisfaction, and a commitment to quality service will be key to not only establishing your business but also ensuring its long-term success in this thriving market. So, take that first step, embark on your entrepreneurial journey, and watch your laundry service business thrive in the dynamic and ever-evolving African business landscape.