OSHKOSH, Wis. — There are many variables to consider when hunting a location to develop a new laundry. Making a good choice will set your business up for success. Above all, a good location is key to bringing customers in the door.
I’ve created a list of eight location musts:
1. Connect with Your Local Laundry Equipment Distributor
Whether you have a location in mind, or need help finding one, your first step is to contact your distributor. Not only does your distributor know your market and understand the characteristics of a great location, they hunt potential laundry sites every day. Plus, they will work alongside you to develop your laundry from start to finish.
2. Look for Anchor Stores
It’s always a plus to locate a laundry near an anchor store, such as a major grocery store, or in a shopping center. Obviously, these anchor stores draw customers.
3. High Traffic Density
Seek a location on a street with dense traffic for greater visibility and more potential customers. A lower speed limit or traffic light slows down passersby so they have more time to notice your store. A lower speed limit also makes it easy for customers to enter and exit the facility.
4. Adequate Parking
Ample and accessible parking is critical. It’s important to make access easier for people who do not live nearby or who use vehicles to get to or near your location. An easy entrance and exit are critical. Remember, if a person is going to load up a week’s worth of laundry in the car, and you don’t have proper parking, they will drive on to the next laundry.
5. Safe and Visible
While it may seem obvious, it is essential your vended laundry location is safe and visible. Attendants, bright lighting and security systems help customers feel safe while inside the laundry. Be sure its location is also safe where visibility is good. Positioning your laundry to maximize its visibility is important. Consider locating it on a corner between two streets and maximizing window frontage to allow passersby to see inside.
6. Competitive Analysis
Look around your location for competitors. Determine how far away they are, how they are equipped, the services they offer, and how much they charge. A good distributor will put together a competitive analysis to see if a selected location remains viable.
7. Dense Population and Rental-Rich
An area with dense population and a high percentage of renters is a positive. There are more people to draw from, and renters in apartment complexes don’t typically have laundries in their apartments. Remember, homeowners can also add to the success of your laundry location if you’re offering wash/dry/fold and have large-capacity machines.
Your distributor will run a demographic analysis; it will show a population’s age range, socioeconomic circumstances, whether they rent or own, and languages spoken. All of these play into the services you’ll provide, and how you’ll ultimately equip and market your laundry.
8. Location Cost
Depending on the town or city, the costs of goods, real estate, rent and utilities vary. If you’re renting a building to house your laundry, your distributor can help you with lease negotiation to ensure your laundry metrics will fall into place. There are no guarantees, but a well-established distributor should have plenty of references to back up what they project. A viability study, conducted by your distributor, will help determine when you might recover your investment.