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Some are even picking up laundry from customers' homes and delivering it back to them clean and folded.In addition, owners have realized that they can maximize their profits by providing customers with access to multiple services.Other social phenomena, like the prevalence of two-income families, suggest that convenient services such as wash-and-fold will continue to grow in popularity as working parents have less time to attend to household chores like laundry.
"It's by far the number-one extra service for laundries," said Partyka.
"It's doing well." Partyka also notes that even people with washers and dryers at home are using self-service laundries for the sake of convenience.
Some also find that they can build a new laundry in an area with competing laundries and thrive by offering a bigger store, more services and better customer relations.
Another way to get into the business is to locate your store where there is the best potential need for a new laundry: in an area that's experiencing population growth.
"I have a big space, 6,000 square feet," she said, "and this will help pay for it."Paul Partyka, who edited American Coin-Op, a magazine devoted to self-service laundries, said Patel's approach is the norm.
Segmented Essays - Business Plan For Laundry
"Trying to generate additional revenue per square foot has always been an issue," he said.In other words, although the majority of laundromat customers are low- to middle-income renters, some laundries are tapping into higher-income markets by offering convenience: wash-and-fold service and large machines.In addition, office dress codes are growing increasingly less formal.Looking for an extra service that will work is always on their mind."Another trend laundry owners have recognized is that customers prefer to visit laundromats with a more pleasant atmosphere.Many laundry owners are building kids' centers, holding music concerts, giving away coffee and hiring attendants who are friendly and helpful.Since they're paying a set amount of rent on their commercial space, they might as well use that space to its fullest potential.Many owners around the country are serving food, renting mailboxes and offering free internet access.Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 1, 2008, and has been updated.It was excerpted from our Coin-Operated Laundry start-up guide, available from Entrepreneur Bookstore.The industry is what experts describe as a "mature market." Save for areas that are seeing high population growth, pretty much every neighborhood that needs a laundry has one -- or two or three -- that are competing vigorously.In some areas of the country, there are too many laundromats already. Many get into the business by purchasing an existing laundry and renovating it.