CHICAGO — Whether it be a franchise, licensing, or a partnership, investor interest in ready-made laundry services solutions appears to be on the rise.
For a business model already generally seen as being recession-resistant, the labeling of laundry services as “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic has only served to ratchet up the attraction of investors looking for solid business opportunities.
And it doesn’t hurt that younger consumers—dare I say, millennials—who value time and are willing to pay more for convenience are embracing app-based laundry pickup and delivery.
In this article divided into three parts, American Coin-Op unboxes a random handful of these ready-made solutions to examine what they provide to investors or partners and illustrate why there is a place for such offerings in the laundry industry. Let’s conclude:
Having operated a group of company stores for six years, Speed Queen Laundry is now offering franchise stores, according to Dan Bowe, general manager of franchise and retail operations at Alliance Laundry Systems. This past year, the brand built a Chicago flagship store that “showcases to new investors the exceptional quality and aesthetics that are part of this model.” The facility exceeding 12,000 square feet opened in July.
Quite simply, there are not enough hours in the day for owners to manage everything from marketing to customer acquisition, according to Bowe.
“Speed Queen Laundry franchises combine the company’s 14 stores and six years of learnings from corporate stores with its equipment, systems and processes to create a truly differentiated laundry business product for investors seeking a more hands-off turnkey solution,” he says. “Franchisees benefit from ongoing support and training from franchise success staff, as well as from the learnings of other franchisees.”
The length of time for project completion can vary depending on site location.
“Often, we have secured locations in our pipeline for prospective investors,” Bowe says. “If that is the case, we can go from signed franchise agreement to opening quite quickly. If we must identify and secure a location, the process is roughly 10 months from start to grand opening.”
Total investment can range from $500,000 to $1.5 million, depending on buildout costs.
Franchisees receive support and assistance in real estate (market planning, site location, site approval and development), construction (prototype assistance, store design/layout, equipment layout, furniture and fixtures), marketing (online portal, store promotions, brand guidelines, commercial account strategies), operations (equipment manuals, employee training, policies and procedures), and training (new-store opening, retail selling, customer service, equipment maintenance).
About having a level of independence, Bowe says Speed Queen continues “to adapt our offering based on the learnings from the group. So, if the service isn’t a distraction from the core service Speed Queen Laundry, it can be integrated. We want to stay focused on providing the best customer experience in the laundromat industry.”
Ultimately, investors have full control over their business, he says: “We give them the tools to secure a path to success. It’s important to note that a franchisee is not ‘buying a job.’ The franchise product is for investors who want to tap into our knowledge and formula for success. For investors who want a more independent model, we offer that product, too.”
Franchising meets a growing need in the laundry industry, Bowe believes.
“Many new investors want to get into the laundromat business and reap the financial returns without creating a significant amount of work... It’s another product that we offer. Just as in the restaurant industry, where there’s room for franchises and independent restaurants, our industry can accommodate a variety of models.”
Miss any earlier parts? You can read them here: Part 1 – Part 2
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].