The Secret Business I am Dying to Open Up

I have been giving a lot of thought lately about a very specific type of business to open.  While I have had some businesses in my past (some I am not proud of, and some like this blog that I am very proud of), I have never run a brick and mortar business so the thought is very scary to me.  I am just going to put it out there and I would love to hear some thoughts from everyone out there:

I want to own a Coin Operated Laundromat

Positives of Buying a Laundromat Business

  • Paid in Cash – Nice not to have to worry about credit cards or account receivables
  • Can be set up to run itself – no where near passive income, but less time intensive than other types of B&M business
  • Recession Proof – People need to wash their clothes regardless of whether it is tough out there
  • As opposed to building one myself the property is already outfitted to handle the load of a Laundromat (pun intended)
  • There are a lot of other synergistic businesses can be spun off (candy machines, games, etc. all in the Laundromat)

Negatives of Buying a Laundromat Business

  • Capital Intensive – The nice thing about running online businesses is that I don’t have to worry about shutting down shop I can just shut down my server lol
  • Paid in Cash – Need to have partners I can really trust as it would be very easy for anyone of us to screw the other on pick ups
  • Paid in Cash – Can EASILY be mugged at any time
  • Landlord – I am now going to be dealing with a landlord who can jack my rate up at any time
  • Environmental Issues – I will have to be up on the code for dealing with all that water waste
  • Repair Issues – I don’t know ANYTHING about repairing one of these machines and that might be a very expensive lesson to learn
  • Learning the Business on my dime

Will I ever open one? I have no idea but I can’t shake the thoughts I have been having this be my next income stream.

 

Has anyone owned or know someone that has owned a Laundromat? Does anyone know why Firefox keeps making me capitalize Laundromat?

25 Responses to The Secret Business I am Dying to Open Up

  1. Just my two cents, because I have been there and done that.

    Greatest expenses in a laundry – employees (if you have them) and utilities. My employees cost roughly a 1/3 of every dollar that came in to this small town laundry.

    To eliminate cash transport issues – install system where customers get cards and fill cards, the cards swipe in the machines for use. They can make deposits to their cards using credit, atm card, or cash (you can’t get 100% away from cash). Cash is nice though – just saying.

    Repairs – if you are mechanically inclined, you can handle them. There are relatively few pieces to these machines and the right tools mean you can make all repairs. The one more expensive item is the computers that are now in the machines – these burn out and they are expensive. I used to ship the boards and have them repaired and returned.

    Liability insurance is big too, so if you don’t have around the clock employees – install cameras and emergency button/phone. You don’t want to be liable because someone got murdered on the property that was left unattended. Cameras also help with theft and other crimes.

    We didn’t have partners and I would never suggest partners in a cash business. I would suggest hiring a manager of sorts to watch over things – possibly an older handy man type. We could never take vacations because someone always had to be done.

    Good Luck!

    • Thank you so much for your insights! Do you still own the business? What happened? How much was insurance?

      Great idea about the cards!

      • No, we sold the business about 5 years ago. We have other business ventures and the laundry took too much of our time – not because laundry’s are so time consuming, because they don’t have to be – but because we are in a small town where we are known and it was important to keep our level of personal perfection above others.

        Insurance back then ran about $3300 a year. Which at $2 a wash, takes a lot of washes.

        I would definitely advise adding non-laundry services to your income streams. The vending was a good cashflow, because even non-customers would buy snacks and drinks from our machines. Kids in the summer would spend there quarters with us. :)

        One more thing – no drycleaning. Drycleaning businesses have made the most millionaires in America, so it would be a good business. However if you want to avoid those EPA checks stick with a laundry. Laundry’s don’t get checked because there are no toxic chemicals.

  2. I have thought about this business too. But the coin-op business here is pretty saturated and the ones that are for sale are in sketchy areas with high crime and tend to be broken into a lot. So I’m not sure how I would feel leaving at night with bags full of coins. My brother-in-law had to deal with this while he worked as a salesman for a coin-op locker company.

    As far as synergies, we have a lot of “Laundry and Tan” facilities here. I always thought it was kind of a silly combination, but they seem to be doing great.

    • I have been checking out sites like BizBuySell but they don’t provide the location of the business for sale.

      That does seem like a silly synergy but whatever works right?!

  3. This is something I’ve thought about before, and it’s not altogether a bad idea. Especially if, when you spend your time there holding down the fort, you can spend some time making money online, too. Double whammy!

  4. My grandparents used to own several coin laundries (this was before I was born so I don’t have a ton of details) and I know they were insanely profitable after the first few years. Like krantcents said, if you choose great areas, I think you could do very well.

  5. A very long time ago, I worked for a company that had laundry equipment in apartment buildings and built/sold “laundromats”. Location is extremely important! Most are financed at higher than normal interest rates. It is considered equipment financing. You need to be handy to repair the equipment. Vandalism is common. Despite all that, you can make a lot of money if you have a good location.

    • What do you think about buying it from someone – then I could inspect their records and tax returns knowing their stated income? I think that may limit my risk a bit

  6. A long time ago I knew a guy that said he wanted to run a car wash, largely for the same types of reasons. He ended up getting sick and passing away before he could ever realize that dream, but I always wondered what would have happened had he been able to move forward. Keep us posted as I think it would largely answer that question!

  7. Hunh, that’s definitely an interesting idea for a business to run. Personally, I can’t see myself doing something like that (I’m not mechanically inclined enough to keep the machines in order without LOTS of outside help, for one), but you do raise some good points. It is nearly recession-proof and could pretty well run itself with limited input from you. Here’s hoping you keep us posted, and have luck with this in the future.

    • As an ancillary business or instead of this? I had buddy who was VERY into the vending business for 10 or so years. It is absolutely not a part-time gig

  8. That’s an interesting idea.

    The big issue, other than crooks, would be keeping the equipment running. Maybe you could hire a handyman on some sort of contingency basis?

    For quite some time I’ve thought a cambio — a check-cashing outfit — could be pretty profitable. Or loan sharking, in the form of payday loans. Cambios are likely to be around for awhile, but eventually this country will have an ethical awakening and regulate the payday lenders out of business.

    There’s a guy in the neighborhood who has a gaming machine business. He lives in a very, very nice house…

    • I like the idea of a check cashing business but I would absolutely need to hire at least a few employees that can be trusted. Combine that with a payday loan business and you have a VERY profitable operation lol but I agree that they are on the way out.

      The problem? If they are gone due to regulation where are people going to get short term loans…unintended consequences I guess

Leave a reply


8 + = 16