What's the Safest Way to Enter the Self-Service Laundry Business?

Robert J. Renteria |

Readers call and e-mail me frequently, asking what the safest way to get into this business with the least exposure is. Well, this is the insider’s view on how to avoid spending your entire life’s savings and still reach your goals.This is the perfect time, given the crunch of the economy, to take a serious look at run-down laundries, or even a location that’s closed due to poor management. With many of the leasehold improvements in place, you can literally re-equip an existing laundry and re-face the interior with minor costs and find yourself owning a virtually new store while saving the bulk of the build-out costs.Landlords are looking for good tenants who will remodel the old, vacant locations and promote their business in a way that will pull in customers and maintain healthy cash flow — the landlord wants his money every month. Explore these existing laundries and see if you can use your fine touch and fresh business ideas to create a model that will flourish and meet the needs and demands of today’s picky customers.You’ll find that rather than waiting several months to obtain permits for a new laundry and then another four months to complete the construction process, you can turn the rehabbed location around and be open and running as a successful laundry owner in 30-45 days. There are several locations out there if you do your homework, and now is the perfect time, because landlords are willing for the first time in decades to negotiate a lower fee on rent and longer terms with options for the lease.The self-service laundry industry is looking better and better for investors, and timing is everything. I’m happy to say that there are many owners doing very well, and business is good, especially for those who make every day a marketing day.If you re-equip your run-down laundry with good used or refurbished machines, you could be in a great position to use the additional capital where it matters most: marketing your business to help generate more customers and revenue.Don’t ever treat your store like a retail business, and make sure you know your customers and get connected with the community. Make sure you’re tireless about executing that monthly plan of attack, and you’d better get to know your competition so you can provide all the services that they don’t.Feel free to send me an e-mail or just call. I’m here to be a lifeline and help you achieve your best possible results. See you at the bank! 

About the author

Robert J. Renteria


Robert J. Renteria is a national consultant based in Chicago. He has more than 23 years of industry experience, having helped develop more than 750 coin laundries nationally and abroad. The author of three books, he was named the 2010 Chicago Latino Professional of the Year and is the sole recipient of the 2011 International Outstanding Humanitarian Award. In 2013, he received two Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Awards for his work in civil rights advocacy and educational reform. He can be reached at 312-933-5619 or [email protected].


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