Location ! Location ! Location ! Location ! Location ! Location ! Location ! Location !
As with all retail operations, the proper location is of prime determinate for the success of the Laundromat. The wrong location will always create a failure; the right location will be a goldmine!
The advent of the car and unlimited mobility has made the consumer extremely subjective in her selection of places to shop and trade. No longer are they tied to the neighborhood stores; they will thinks nothing of getting in the car and driving miles to accomplish their shopping chores. The consumer will travel to the best coin-operated laundry which is clean, and provides them with a sense of security, as well as a superior wash in a pleasant environment. (See the HK Video on “Characteristics of the Best Laundromat”)
The lower social economic areas have proven extremely good markets for Laundromats. Look for the neighborhoods with 3 or 4 family homes in it. Usually only one family will have access to the basement and to the laundry facilities. This means that the other 3 families in the building have to go elsewhere for their laundering. In addition to numerous renters, these areas also have very attractive rent rates which increase profitability.
Apartment buildings offer a large concentration of population, but remember that each building (and sometimes each floor) will have its own laundry room. On the other hand, many apartment buildings will not have an adequate number of washing machines and dryers. Of the older apartment buildings that do have laundry rooms the equipment is frequently inadequate, broken down and unsafe. Many women won't go down into the basement laundry rooms alone. Research your competition (including apartment laundries) and determine what type of laundry facility they operate!
It is far easier to take the weekly laundry to a HK equipped Laundromat and wash it all at once, than to haul laundry baskets up and down stairs of an apartment building while potentially wait in line for an available machine. Many of the apartment laundries are still using the old top-loading washers and have no big front load washers to handle larger loads. The emerging trend is for the working family to visit the Laundromat once a week to get the laundry "chore" done along with some shopping.
Your coin-operated laundromat location should be chosen with an eye to security (for you and your customers). People only will wash in Laundromats in which they feel safe and secure. The locations situated on the fringes of an inner city area have proved excellent and relatively trouble-free. In some of these areas a Laundromat attendant can provide the additional level of comfort and security that an un-attended store cannot provide. Some municipalities require all Laundromats to be fully attended. Such is the case in New York City.
Laundromats in middle to upper income areas have also done quite well, but keep in mind the needs of people they attract. Additional services such as a “Full Service Laundromat” which would include `Wash, Dry and Fold' services and even drop-off 'Dry Cleaning' are recommended, fulfilling the concept of the one-stop Fabric Care Center.
Do not overlook the potential of purchasing an existing laundromat. Frequently the rundown, neglected store doing a marginal volume of business can be quickly and economically retooled and renovated to become an extremely profitable store. Often the rent is low, utilities and plumbing already exist, and the volume of business can only increase after the change of management and renovation. An additional benefit is that the store already has loyal customers so you don't need as many new faces. HK Laundry can assist you with store renovations and equipment up-grades.
Remember to focus on the fundamentals of a good location:
Of all the possible Laundromat locations, the best sites are in busy, well-frequented shopping centers. Ideally, the center will have a major supermarket and satellite stores such as a liquor store, beauty parlor, deli, etc. Big traffic draws such as McDonalds will not help your business but, simply take up more than their allotted parking spaces.
Ideally, your Laundromat location should be close to other businesses that are frequently visited during the weekly shopping. Free standing stores also work quite well as long as they are on main roads (or close to shopping) and have plenty of parking. Supermarket shopping centers are ideal Laundromat locations because of their ability to combine two different weekly repetitive tasks (buying food & doing the laundry) at the same location. The only downside to shopping centers is the higher rental costs.
Enclosed shopping malls should be avoided because their customers are doing major buying purchases rather than their weekly repetitive shopping. In other words, they will be there to buy appliances, furniture, or shoes; not to buy groceries and do their laundry.
HK Laundry is a local based company serving the New York metropolitan area and the entire state of Connecticut. HK has close to 50 years of experience in Laundromat site selection. We would love to provide you a FREE site survey if your location is within our territory. The Free Site Survey includes looking at the Laundromat location, local demographics, determining equipment layout, and identifying potential hidden costs in constructing the Laundromat at that location. In addition HK Laundry equipment can provide equipment layout, design, and installation services, to assist you in obtaining financing, provide pointers in negotiating a satisfactory lease, and help you build your own HK equipped Laundromat.