When you think of laundry services, you might think of your neighborhood laundromat with rows of washers and dryers.
But did you know that you can start your own laundry and folded laundry business – and that you don’t have to invest in dozens of washing machines and dryers?
This is how it works: Your customers leave their laundry at the door for the scheduled pick-up. They pick up the laundry and take it home to wash, dry and fold. Then you give the laundry back to the customer and leave the clean, folded clothes packed in front of the door.
All of this can be done without face-to-face contact, making it a safe option for making money during the pandemic.
How to start your own laundry business
Some cities – New York City in particular – have their own wash-and-fold ecosystems. However, if you live outside of these cities, you can start using platforms like your own laundry service TaskRabbit, Care.com and Laundry care. This can make it easy to find customers in your area.
You will need some basic equipment before you can start washing and folding:
- Your own washer and dryer. You won’t make much profit by taking your client’s laundry to the coin operated machine.
- One way of transporting laundry from your customer to your home. In many places this requires access to a vehicle. In densely populated areas, you may be able to use a cart or bicycle.
- A dedicated space for folding and preparing laundry. This is especially important during the pandemic as you need to clean up this area for both your health and the health of your customers.
In addition to the basics, you may also want to invest in these items:
- Laundry bags or baskets. These are used to transport the laundry. It can be helpful to make these available to your customers before their first visit.
- Garment covers. There are times when you wash an item of clothing that is on a hanger and is not folded. In these cases you want to have some clothes on hand.
- Bag charms. Labeling each load with the customer’s name will save you a lot of headaches once you have multiple customers.
- Hanging scales. Laundry services traditionally charge customers per pound. Having a hanging scale to measure every load of laundry can ensure that your prices stay competitive in case you opt for a fee in pounds.
If you use a platform like TaskRabbit or Care.com to build your business, you can choose to bill by the hour instead of pounds, eliminating the need for a scale. When you join a company like Laundry Care, you are usually provided with scales and other items for a fee.
Finally, you need to develop clear guidelines so that your customers know what to expect. This is especially important to ensure safety and social distancing during the pandemic. Some things you want to clarify might include:
- How contactless collection and delivery work.
- Which items will you wash and which will not.
- How to ensure safety when processing each customer’s order.
What You Can Make In A Laundry Business
Typically, this sideline can earn you anywhere from $ 15 to $ 20 an hour. You can ask more on platforms like TaskRabbit and Care.com as you get more positive reviews and your reputation on the platform grows.
On platforms like Laundry Care, customers see a laundry service that is billed by the pound rather than the hour. When you use a platform with this pricing model, the platform will set the fee and process your payout, with the average being in the $ 15-20 / hour range.
If you want to use a price-per-pound model but don’t want to use an online platform, you can find out how to set your prices by examining the current prices for your area. A 13 gallon bag generally weighs between 10 and 15 pounds, and prices can range from $ 1 / pound to $ 3 / pound depending on the region.
Estimate how much your new business will increase your utility bills. You won’t notice a difference with your first few customers, but as your business grows, so will your heat and water bills.
You can make more than $ 20 an hour by attracting commercial customers who have more regular and extensive needs. If you go down this route, you’ll want to invest in more than one washer and dryer for your home, and you also need to consider how much additional energy bills will affect your bottom line. However, if you can do twice the laundry in half the time for larger volume customers, your income will skyrocket.
Safety precautions during the pandemic
Laundry itself is not considered a high risk activity. In the course of the pandemic, we have learned that most person-to-person transmissions occur through the respiratory tract rather than through touching surfaces.
The CDC Says it is safe to wash the clothes of the sick with the clothes of the healthy, as long as certain hygiene measures – such as wearing gloves and washing hands – are in place. Additionally, you should treat each customer as if they were asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19.
How to Safely Do Business During the Pandemic
If you want to play it safe and protect yourself from COVID-19 and other potential diseases, you can take steps that meet or exceed the recommendations of the CDC.
Lyndsee Campbell, Director of Marketing at Laundry Care, shares some of the pandemic security measures that their vendors are encouraged to adhere to:
Wear a mask when handling laundry
Wearing a mask protects your customers’ laundry from possible germs. Also, be aware that you can transmit germs from laundry to yourself. This doesn’t happen often, but to avoid the possibility, the CDC recommends not shaking out dirty laundry before washing. Wearing a mask while handling can serve as an extra layer of protection – just in case.
Wipe down any surfaces where you are folding or prepping clothing with disinfectant wipes. You will want that too Disinfect your washing machine and dryerincluding the drums inside. Finally, make sure to wash laundry bags and deep cleaning baskets between each customer.
Keep laundry separate from the customer
When it comes to laundry care, providers must separate each customer’s laundry from one another. In light of the pandemic, it is also recommended to prepare or sort laundry in a different area than folding it after washing. Two separate areas reduce any cross-contamination.
Use the warmest setting possible
Use the warmest setting when washing your clothes to fight off any remnants of the virus. However, be sure to read the care labels on each item of laundry to ensure that you are not using excessively high water temperatures, which can damage the product.
Should you start a laundry business?
Not everyone should start their own laundry service. Obviously, if you hate doing laundry and the extra cash isn’t enough to endure the job, then of course you want to count yourself.
Suppose the task doesn’t put you off. You still need the right equipment for washing, drying and transporting laundry. With these basics covered, starting your own wash-and-fold service can be a good socially remote sideline to help you make ends meet during the pandemic.
If you decide to invest in business equipment like additional washers and dryers, it can even grow into a self-sustaining business that will last through the pandemic and beyond.
Brynne Conroy is an employee of The Penny Hoarder.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com