December 6, 2016 | Category : Business tips, |


Laundromats enjoyed a boom during the 1950s and 60s, when washing machines were still too expensive for most households. From the 1970s onwards, however, most people were able to afford a washing machine: it became a feature in every home. Some families even have a dedicated room for washing clothes: a utility room, not to be confused with a laundry, the term generally used in professional circles.

Does this mean that laundromats are now on the decline? Not really, because actually they continue to do quite nicely!

What exactly is a laundromat?

A laundromat is a place where people do their washing. Sometimes, they are open to the general public, in which case we call them laundromats or self-service laundries, or else they can be owned by firms specializing in laundry, when they are known as laundries, a place where laundry may also be bleached and ironed. If the laundry is located inside a hospital or a hotel, we refer to it as a laundry room. Laundry room also refers to the dedicated space in a household set aside for washing. This is the difference between laundry and laundry room.

Whether we are talking of a laundromat, a laundry room or a self-service laundry, these facilities will all be equipped with industrial cleaning units (washing machines) and professional drying units (dryers) with varying degrees of capacity. In fact, the load capacity is one of the things that distinguishes them from ordinary, household products: whilst a domestic washing machine can handle loads of between 5 and 7 kg, a professional machine can take up to 25 kg of washing.

What is the secret of the success of present-day laundromats?

Firstly, not every household has both the space and the financial means for a washing machine. Laundry users are principally people who don’t have a washing machine. There are also those who need to wash very large items, such as furnishings which cannot be washed in a domestic washing machine: quilts, curtains etc.

Then, some people make a deliberate choice not to invest in a domestic washing machine, for two main reasons:

ARTICLE +  Premises location: No. 1 success factor for a self-service laundry

To save money: in a single load, you can wash 18 kg of clothing in a laundromat, compared to only 5 to 7 kg in a domestic machine.

To save time: in just one hour, your washing is professionally cleaned, including drying.

All the above explain the success of laundromats, and mean the clientele is not exclusively composed of students; quite the contrary: when you go into a self-service laundry you will find people of all ages and backgrounds there.

Modern laundries don’t only provide washing and drying services, they are also a welcoming meeting place with a role to place in the social life of the area where they are located.

New approaches to laundries

Just like the wash-houses of long ago, laundries today play an important role in society, as meeting places. Laundry-bars and laundry-bookshops are concepts with a growing appeal to the public.  Concerts are organized in laundromats, harking back to the singing washerwomen of the wash-houses.

This new concept is another reason for the proliferation of laundromats at national and international level.

Opening a laundromat with a franchise

Speed Queen French Laundromat

In France today, franchising has a heavier economic “footprint” than in any other European country. And at global level, it ranks third. Franchising offers the benefits of a tried and tested commercial concept and management tools.

Laundromats are a viable part of this concept, for two reasons:

  • The customer base is varied and reliable, for the reasons outlined above
  • Franchising represents a reasonable and profitable investment*

*Naturally, the laundromat’s location is crucial. Most clients visit the laundromat on foot and come from the local area.  Therefore, it is important to choose a busy street with many other shops and services. .

At a time when entrepreneurship is encouraged and everyone (or almost everyone) dreams of opening their own business, laundromats have earned a prime place amongst successful small businesses, keeping pace with food trucks and concept stores.

Join the Speed Queen Success!