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Sign ’Em Up: Laundry Subscriptions & Memberships (Part 1)

Service model offers convenience on customer’s terms, plus maybe some special benefits

CHICAGO — In the world of personal laundry, absent having a washer and dryer at home, the self-service laundromat represents the do-it-yourself option. For those who enjoy doing their own laundry (especially several loads at once), are on a tight budget, or generally have limited access to laundry services, a trip to the laundromat is where it’s at.

Meanwhile, there are a wide variety of laundry services vying for the wash/dry/fold (WDF) business of those uninterested in doing their own laundry, either in home or at a laundromat. These services promote convenience, time savings and quality.

Plenty of WDF customers, whether of the drop-off variety or the pickup-and-delivery crowd, choose to pay as they go. In other words, service is rendered and the bill is paid, and the process is repeated each time the customer chooses to use the service. Their commitment extends only as far as when their clean clothes are received.

A laundry services subscription enables a customer to pay a fee (usually monthly) in exchange for receiving the service continually during the time period of their choosing. As long as they continue to pay the charge when due, they can take advantage of the service.

Sometimes, these service arrangements are called membership plans. And they are a growth sector within the laundry industry.


Typically, a customer can choose from subscription options that are best-suited to meet their unique needs and budget. Plans often are segmented by household size (singles, couples and families). Still others are intended for college students living away from home. And by leaving a credit card on file with the laundry service, subscriptions can be renewed automatically.

Here are some subscription plan examples:

  • The Wash Club offered by Minnesota’s Pilgrim Cleaners & Launderers is a monthly subscription wash-and-fold service that comes with unlimited pickup and delivery. Customers can choose from three service levels based on the number of bags laundered each month. “Small” is two standard-sized bags for $110, “Medium” is four bags for $160, and “Large” is eight bags for $260; each additional bag received beyond plan limits costs another $35.
  • Deluxe Laundry Service of Evans, Colorado, offers Gold Level and Platinum Level membership plans. For $159 per month, Gold includes 14 loads of WDF laundry (four loads per week) with free pickup and drop-off and two deluxe laundry bags. Platinum costs $219 per month for 32 loads (eight loads per week) with four bags.
  • Wash U Wash of St. Louis offers in-store or pickup-and-delivery WDF services for students and faculty on or off campus on a half-year or full-year basis. Half-year with in-store pickup starts at $370 for up to 200 pounds during the service period. Full-year with in-store pickup starts at $600 for up to 400 pounds. For delivery, the half-year plan starts at $500 for up to 200 pounds during the service period, and the full-year plan is from $875 for up to 400 pounds.

Subscriptions are a mutually beneficial, continuous relationship between customer and laundry service. Some people prefer pay-as-you-go to a commitment, so subs aren’t for everyone.

But a laundry’s ability to entice customers to sign up for a service plan presents benefits that can help generate revenue, improve customer retention, and streamline operations.

Successful subscription models help produce a predictable and steady revenue stream, encourage customers to stick with the service over time, and buffer the impact of seasonality or economic downturn.

Coming in Tuesday’s conclusion: Unlocking membership perks

Laundry Subscriptions & Memberships

(Images: © Toxitz/Depositphotos and © FR_Design/Depositphotos)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].