If you’re an entrepreneur looking for a lucrative business opportunity, starting a mobile dry-cleaning business is just what the doctor ordered.
It fills a specific need, doesn’t cost a lot to launch as a business, and saves consumers time and money. Its growing popularity comes from the need for people to get more things done in less time.
Let’s face it. It’s often a mad scramble for people to get things. Many have little time for themselves and their families, and for doing the things they like to do, like skiing, traveling, and/or dining out.
These conditions make mobile dry-cleaning services attractive. Plus, dry cleaning is a $9+ billion business, says Racked, and it’s not going away anytime soon. No matter what happens in the future, people will still need their clothes cleaned.
Keep Things Simple and Costs Low
Below is a simple 9-step process for launching a mobile dry cleaning business. The key to successfully starting this type of business is to keep things simple and costs low:
Create a one-page business plan
Write a one-page document that provides a high-level overview of your new business. Define your vision, mission, objectives, and basic strategies plan. Also, create a simple action plan. Make the written plan short and sweet.
Define a budget
Create a budget to launch your business. Determine how much you can spend initially and stick to it. If you’re using your own money be realistic about how much you can spend. Then tack on another 20%. Determine how much you can spend monthly as well.
Determine your type of business
Do an online search to find out what paperwork you’ll need to fill out, what fees you’ll have to pay, and what licenses you need to get for each legal entity. These needs vary from state to state. Starting as a sole proprietor saves time and costs but puts you at risk personally. Talk with an attorney before doing anything.
Create a Website
You’ll need a website no matter what type of legal entity you decide on or how you’re going to operate—online only or storefront. You can use popular platforms, like Weebly, to a site quickly. If you’re starting an online service, tie your domain to a shopping cart and storefront like Shopify for a low monthly fee.
Develop a marketing plan
Marketing your business is critical to your survival, so you’ll need to create a marketing plan. Include things like joining your local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter. Also, include Facebook Ads with capped budgets and an AdWords account with funding limits in your marketing efforts.
Choose a locale
If you’re opening a storefront, choose an area that’s easy to get to, has parking, and features a lot of traffic, such as a shopping mall, apartment building, or business park. You’ll need about 1200 square feet of space. You also have to buy the right equipment, including a POS software system with a mobile app and routing and delivery feature.
Set your hours
Keep in mind the most convenient hours for your customers. That may include staying open late at night. It also may include how you long you want your van or vans to be on the road during the day and at night. Also, determine how quickly you want to return items. Put your customers’ convenience first.
Set your prices
You’ll want to have a variety of prices tailored to your customers’ needs and budgets. Offer discounts to employees and groups interested in weekly services. That’s where you pick up everyone’s dry cleaning at one location. Ask for a set amount for the service, like $12, or charge a set fee, like $7, if customers fail to meet a minimum.
Purchase a vehicle
While it’s the last item on our list, this step is critical. Buy an eight-passenger utility van or shuttle. That should be big enough to start. You can always add more vehicles. Have your business name, telephone number, and Website URL printed on the van. Also, purchase auto insurance. That protects both your business and your drivers.
Mobile Dry Cleaning Makes Sense
Starting a mobile dry-cleaning business makes sense for enterprising entrepreneurs. Mobile dry cleaning simplifies people’s lives and makes things easier. It also helps them get more things done, which many consumers appreciate. So there’s a market for these services.
Plus, you must determine if you’ll offer additional or specialized services like alterations, repairs, and cleaning wedding gowns. These things can make a difference. If you’re subcontracting out the actual cleaning of the clothes, make sure you choose the right partner.
Dry cleaning is a competitive industry. How well your business does depends on finding ways to make your customer’s lives easier, conducting on-target marketing campaigns, and providing customer service at the right prices. Do these things well and your business will thrive.