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New laundry business idea - Why wouldn't it work?

ahl

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Nov 19, 2018
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Hi

Me and my wife are really bouncing the idea of a different concept of laundry services. The idea became after talking with a someone who complained about local drop stores because of the finishing, sometimes damaging/loosing his garments..and he has some quite expensive pieces.

This would be a "like-at-home" laundry service where garments are cared for manually, using traditional tables and hand irons. Our product would be oriented to clients who look for a higher level of service and care and appreciate the use of better quality supplies (hangers, wrappers, etc) in accordance to the type of garment.
More specialized services like Dry Cleaning would be outsourced in the beginning, making sure to pick the best quality provider we can, not focusing in price as the main driver.
We are thinking in a non-retail location(lower rent) and bring in the majority of our business via advertising and referral, servicing mainly by courtesy pickup and delivery. This will help us not have to be open 12 hrs a day reducing payroll cost.

Our prices will be set in correspondence to this type of service, so significantly higher than a typical drop store.

What I need is you guys to poke holes into my idea and tell me why you think it won't work.

Thank you all very much in advance.
 

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Bhanu

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Hi

Me and my wife are really bouncing the idea of a different concept of laundry services. The idea became after talking with a someone who complained about local drop stores because of the finishing, sometimes damaging/loosing his garments..and he has some quite expensive pieces.

This would be a "like-at-home" laundry service where garments are cared for manually, using traditional tables and hand irons. Our product would be oriented to clients who look for a higher level of service and care and appreciate the use of better quality supplies (hangers, wrappers, etc) in accordance to the type of garment.
More specialized services like Dry Cleaning would be outsourced in the beginning, making sure to pick the best quality provider we can, not focusing in price as the main driver.
We are thinking in a non-retail location(lower rent) and bring in the majority of our business via advertising and referral, servicing mainly by courtesy pickup and delivery. This will help us not have to be open 12 hrs a day reducing payroll cost.

Our prices will be set in correspondence to this type of service, so significantly higher than a typical drop store.

What I need is you guys to poke holes into my idea and tell me why you think it won't work.

Thank you all very much in advance.
Hi Ahl ,
Here are my views on your business .(Based on CENTS commandment from TMF):
Pros:
1.You are fulfilling a need or a pain point with your service .It is a good start.
2. Entering into your business is not easy. Also I feel competitor will not be tech-savy which you can leverage to your advantage.
3. Your business follows commandment of Control too.
Cons:
1. Time:I feel the idea is more like a job than a business as for every client you have to put in a lot of work. You will also have to keep a staff which again will eat away your time.Untill you have a plan in place to automate your business I would advise against entering it .
2. Scale: Your business also failing Commandment of Scale. How many people you can possibly serve ? What is the upper limit ? Maximum money you can charge for your services ? Think about it .
Think of ways to automate this work so that your business can function without you being present.Also think about serving more and more people.
 

Real Deal Denver

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Better for find this out now, rather than later.

Hate the idea. You are picking one of two things that are super easy to do. One is heating something up in a microwave. Push a few buttons and you're done. The other is using a washing machine. Push a few buttons and you're done.

Maybe incorporate it into a much bigger package - like 2 hours of cleaning house AND doing two loads of laundry. But not laundry by itself.
 

minivanman

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Better for find this out now, rather than later.

Hate the idea. You are picking one of two things that are super easy to do. One is heating something up in a microwave. Push a few buttons and you're done. The other is using a washing machine. Push a few buttons and you're done.

Maybe incorporate it into a much bigger package - like 2 hours of cleaning house AND doing two loads of laundry. But not laundry by itself.
We did not offer laundry when I owned my cleaning company but the lady that bought one of them does now and 2 man hours of cleaning and laundry would be $225 from her. Just sayin....
 

LeoistheSun

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I did not read your post, but I wanted to comment on your title choice:

"New Laundry Business Idea, Why It Wouldn't Work"

First off I understand your trying to get feedback, but coming from this mentality of why it wouldn't work as opposed to why it would work is going to self sabotage you.

Many businesses have been created on ideas that others thought wouldn't work out. It goes to show that your mentality plays a BIG part in your success or failure.

Its often those that think that its not going to work, give up easily, while those that do believe that it will work, try just one more time- thus leading to success.

I wanted to point this out...

Please be aware of your thoughts and language.

Its easy to see why something wont work... thats why many never try, or give up too fast.
 
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OP

ahl

New Contributor
Nov 19, 2018
5
2
13
Hi Ahl ,
Here are my views on your business .(Based on CENTS commandment from TMF):
Pros:
1.You are fulfilling a need or a pain point with your service .It is a good start.
2. Entering into your business is not easy. Also I feel competitor will not be tech-savy which you can leverage to your advantage.
3. Your business follows commandment of Control too.
Cons:
1. Time:I feel the idea is more like a job than a business as for every client you have to put in a lot of work. You will also have to keep a staff which again will eat away your time.Untill you have a plan in place to automate your business I would advise against entering it .
2. Scale: Your business also failing Commandment of Scale. How many people you can possibly serve ? What is the upper limit ? Maximum money you can charge for your services ? Think about it .
Think of ways to automate this work so that your business can function without you being present.Also think about serving more and more people.
Bhanu, thank you very much for your response. Let me add more clarity to what my plan is now that you touch some points of great value.

We both have full time jobs we cannot drop at the moment to enter a new venture that it not earning profits, like this one. Therefore our plan is to hire staff from day one, yes this will make it more difficult to get our heads out of the water but that is the reason we are doing (or trying) to do our homework the best we can. Plan is to hire one FT employee who does everything at first (and pay fairly well for it to incentive efficiency) and a PT driver two days a week for a few hrs to do the pickup and delivery on fixed dates. That way we can somehow control payroll expenses. I would not enter into a business venture to fins ourselves a new FT job. That is not what we are looking to do.
About the upper limit I am not sure. I guess I have to do my math on ironing pieces/hr and calculate how that scales. I still need to do some market analysis to make sure there is a market for this product, which I am not to sure how to do. Part of that is the reason for this post.

Again, thank you!
 
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OP

ahl

New Contributor
Nov 19, 2018
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I did not read your post, but I wanted to comment on your title choice:

"New Laundry Business Idea, Why It Wouldn't Work"

First off I understand your trying to get feedback, but coming from this mentality of why it wouldn't work as opposed to why it would work is going to self sabotage you.

Many businesses have been created on ideas that others thought wouldn't work out. It goes to show that your mentality plays a BIG part in your success or failure.

Its often those that think that its not going to work, give up easily, while those that do believe that it will work, try just one more time- thus leading to success.

I wanted to point this out...

Please be aware of your thoughts and language.

Its easy to see why something wont work... thats why many never try, or give up too fast.
Hi,

Thank you for you input. My message probably didn't get to you the way I intended to. The goal of my question is not to try to kill my own idea, on the contrary to find holes in it and ways to plug them.
I can make myself hundreds of stories of why I think it would work, so an external look on "what is wrong with my idea" will help me get a more realistic view, more if they come from experienced business people.

Thank you!
 

AgainstAllOdds

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I did not read your post, but I wanted to comment on your title choice:

"New Laundry Business Idea, Why It Wouldn't Work"

First off I understand your trying to get feedback, but coming from this mentality of why it wouldn't work as opposed to why it would work is going to self sabotage you.

Many businesses have been created on ideas that others thought wouldn't work out. It goes to show that your mentality plays a BIG part in your success or failure.

Its often those that think that its not going to work, give up easily, while those that do believe that it will work, try just one more time- thus leading to success.

I wanted to point this out...

Please be aware of your thoughts and language.

Its easy to see why something wont work... thats why many never try, or give up too fast.
This is the most misguided bullshit I've seen on here in awhile.

There is absolutely, unequivocally nothing wrong with analyzing potential risks and pitfalls.

As per the context of this thread, as @ahl mentioned, he has an idea, wants to pursue it, but also wants to be aware of the potential risks. You didn't even take time to read his post.

What he's doing is the correct approach. It's called DUE DILIGENCE. It's why people write business plans. It's why people make lists of what can go wrong. It's a part of being a successful business owner.

Every decision a business owner makes can be simplified to "Pros vs Cons". Your 'mentality' of putting no weight on cons is nothing short of idiotic. Ideally a business owner weighs each variable relative to their actual impact. It's only bad when those variables are overweighted - which using your mentality they will be in the opposite direction.

@ahl - I don't know if this is a good idea or not. I have no advice I can give. However, good job on your current approach and eagerness to identify risks.
 

JustinY

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Hey, just wanted to add that P&G just started expanding into the Laundry Service industry: article

Their value proposition includes: wash, dry, fold, dry cleaning, pick-up & drop-off in multiple locations, bar-coded laundry bags, identifying chips in dry-clean-only garments, and an app that lets people track laundry throughout the process.

Not to dissuade you, because I do think the service industries are due for some disruption, but I would think about how you could be:
  • Better
  • Faster
  • or Cheaper
Than the competition if you want to make a business out of it.

I also believe that if you or your wife are not the ones picking up laundry, dealing with customers, etc. You'll never be able to see where the opportunities are. For example, what are people complaining about as they drop off the laundry? And how would you train somebody to do something you've never done?

Other questions are: How much more could you charge than your competitor? What type of profit margin is that (dry cleaners are notoriously low margin businesses)? How big is the market? How many other competitors are there? Can you really afford courtesy pick-up/drop off?

This is a dry cleaners near my location that does something similar to what you are suggesting. They offer same day service, pick up, drop off, 100% eco-friendly, alterations, textile restoration, etc.

One podcast that I've started checking out is The Sweaty Startup. The guy oversimplifies a lot of business ideas, but there are some good nuggets for how to be successful in the service industry.

TLDR: If you're not going to start the business yourself, I would not start it at all.
 

MelB

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Oct 15, 2018
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We recently started using a laundry service. They pickup every Wed. and drop off fhe very next evening. They charge by the pound. No ironing, but they fold everything neatly.

They do not allow for us to drop off our laundry and therefore I doubt they have a commercial location. They should, but don't, offer dry cleaning.

I think additional add in services would be successful.
 

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minivanman

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We recently started using a laundry service. They pickup every Wed. and drop off fhe very next evening. They charge by the pound. No ironing, but they fold everything neatly.

They do not allow for us to drop off our laundry and therefore I doubt they have a commercial location. They should, but don't, offer dry cleaning.

I think additional add in services would be successful.
So, as a user, what add on services would you like to see?
 
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ahl

New Contributor
Nov 19, 2018
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Hey, just wanted to add that P&G just started expanding into the Laundry Service industry: article

Their value proposition includes: wash, dry, fold, dry cleaning, pick-up & drop-off in multiple locations, bar-coded laundry bags, identifying chips in dry-clean-only garments, and an app that lets people track laundry throughout the process.

Not to dissuade you, because I do think the service industries are due for some disruption, but I would think about how you could be:
  • Better
  • Faster
  • or Cheaper
Than the competition if you want to make a business out of it.

I also believe that if you or your wife are not the ones picking up laundry, dealing with customers, etc. You'll never be able to see where the opportunities are. For example, what are people complaining about as they drop off the laundry? And how would you train somebody to do something you've never done?

Other questions are: How much more could you charge than your competitor? What type of profit margin is that (dry cleaners are notoriously low margin businesses)? How big is the market? How many other competitors are there? Can you really afford courtesy pick-up/drop off?

This is a dry cleaners near my location that does something similar to what you are suggesting. They offer same day service, pick up, drop off, 100% eco-friendly, alterations, textile restoration, etc.

One podcast that I've started checking out is The Sweaty Startup. The guy oversimplifies a lot of business ideas, but there are some good nuggets for how to be successful in the service industry.

TLDR: If you're not going to start the business yourself, I would not start it at all.
Those are all good points, thank you....and for the heads up about P&G. I agree with you in that we cannot expect to enter the industry with a plain vanilla approach. We have to target a market that is not covered my most(including Tide new laundry services) and provide a different product.
I still have lots of open questions and the ones you exposed are some, i just added a couple of more. I expect to find some of the answers or at least some guidance around here.

Thank you!!
 

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So, as a user, what add on services would you like to see?
Not who this question was intended for but some ideas are obviously dry cleaning as mentioned, tailoring and mending easy stuff (buttons, zippers) starching, and being able to property wash some hard to care items specifically for women like bras and tights. Also being able to wash not only clothes but maybe larger items like quilts, bedding, and curtains could also help diversify your services.

You could also make it eco-friendly to attract an environmentally friendly crowd by using organic washing products, linen reusable bags, etc.

This is also a business where you could grow into commercial customers once you develop a streamlined service.

Just shooting out whatever comes to mind at the moment. Regardless of how easy it is to do laundry, some people hate it and will gladly pay for it to be done for them.
 
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minivanman

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Not who this question was intended for but some ideas are obviously dry cleaning as mentioned, tailoring and mending easy stuff (buttons, zippers) starching, and being able to property wash some hard to care items specifically for women like bras and tights. Also being able to wash not only clothes but maybe larger items like quilts, bedding, and curtains could also help diversify your services.

You could also make it eco-friendly to attract an environmentally friendly crowd by using organic washing products, linen reusable bags, etc.

This is also a business where you could grow into commercial customers once you develop a streamlined service.

Just shooting out whatever comes to mind at the moment. Regardless of how easy it is to do laundry, some people hate it and will gladly pay for it to be done for them.
Are these things not already covered at the local dry cleaners?
 

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