Self Development

How to open a dry cleaner

Dry cleaning is an effective way to remove dirt from outerwear and any home textiles or furniture. It helps to remove stains that cannot be removed at home with washes, stain removers, or washing in a conventional washing machine.

Today, many people need more time to wash and boil clothes, but there are more and more effective methods of cleaning and cleaning. Specialists offer a wide range of services: for example, an exit dry-cleaner will put your carpets and sofas in order. You can take car covers or children’s toys for cleaning. 

In the article, we will tell you in more detail about what types of dry cleaning exist, their distinguishing features, and how to open your dry cleaning so that it becomes in demand and brings good income. 

Business features, pros, and cons

A few dozen ago, when not everyone had a washing machine, they mostly handed over clothes to dry cleaning: suits, coats, and dresses. Today in the store, you can buy washing powder or stain remover for any occasion, and washing machines are installed even in hostels and rented apartments. 

Nevertheless, dry cleaning services are still in demand, but the main focus has shifted from individuals to legal entities, from washing clothes to cleaning furniture and carpets. Today, dry cleaning clients are more often hotels and restaurants, hostels and owners of suburban housing. Dry cleaning is still needed, but not so much for textiles as for overall items, furniture, and home textiles.

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This business has other features that are worth considering before investing in opening a dry cleaner:

  • The size of the settlement and the availability of solvent demand. If the town is small, then the business there may not pay for itself due to low demand for services;
  • Seasonality. The greatest demand is in autumn and spring because during these periods, people take out or put away seasonal items for storage. In winter and summer, demand may fall. This must be taken into account when planning a business;
  • Pursuit of quality. The slightest error can lead to negative reviews, negatively affecting the dry cleaning revenue. 

Types of dry cleaners. Choosing a business format

All customers expect that dry cleaning of clothes will help to cope even with old dirt and stains. But today, other types of dry cleaning have become in demand. For example, offices and mini-hotels often order furniture dry cleaning services. This is an onsite service which is very convenient. Another type is car cleaning. It can also be onsite and carried out at a car service or car wash as an additional service. 

Regardless of which cleaning service you choose: onsite or in-salon, there are only two main types of dry cleaning:

  1. Dry – no water is used during its implementation. Usually, during the procedure, a special substance is used – perchloroethylene. It is quite aggressive and is only suitable for coarse fabrics and heavy soiling. If the fabric is delicate, and the stain has not eaten in, then more gentle cleaners are used, for example, based on alcohol or silicone. They gently clean the fabric and remove dirt. Dry cleaning is suitable for home textiles, car interiors, and upholstered furniture.
  2. Aqua – this type of cleaning is impossible without the use of water. However, this is not quite a wash in our usual sense. Before wet cleaning, the item is treated with a special compound that gently removes dirt from the fabric. It is well suited for overall outerwear, for example, sheepskin coats. With the help of wet cleaning, wedding and evening dresses, ceremonial costumes with an abundance of decor, rhinestones, and beads are put in order.

The main types of dry cleaning services:

  • cleaning of textiles;
  • cleaning of leather, fur, and suede things;
  • cleaning carpets, blankets, bedspreads, and pillows;
  • cleaning soft toys;
  • dry cleaning of overalls;
  • sofa cleaning services;
  • car interior cleaning. 

Likely business format:

  • Visiting – a specialist comes to the client’s house and cleans on the spot. This is how home textiles, upholstered furniture, and children’s toys are cleaned;
  • Full cycle – includes a point of acceptance of orders and a room where cleaning is carried out. This format requires serious financial investments;
  • A pick-up point is a place where cleaning orders will be taken. However, you will have to find a contractor who will carry out the cleaning process and organize the delivery of clothes back and forth. 
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What it takes to open a dry cleaner – start-up plan

To open a dry cleaner, you need to go through several stages: 

  • Conduct a market analysis – how many competitors are on the market, what services they offer, and what is their price;
  • Draw up a business plan – you can order it from specialists who will calculate the profitability of a business in a particular city or make it yourself. The business plan describes all stages of the project launch, including the purchase of everything necessary, registration, financial calculations, marketing, risk analysis;
  • Draw up a financial budget. Determine the amount and find the starting capital; determine whether it will be borrowed funds or personal savings. Calculate monthly investments, average bill, planned revenue, net income, profitability, payback period, and other financial indicators;
  • Develop a marketing strategy – how you will promote your business, what strategy you choose. Start with free ways to promote on blogs and social networks, but consider paid promotion options.

Room

There are several key requirements for a room suitable for dry cleaning according to the legislation:

  • Location at a distance of 80 m from residential buildings – this can be a room in a business center or a separate building. You can open a collection point in a residential building. It is advisable to make a bright advertisement informing potential customers that this shopping center has a dry cleaner;
  • The room must be on the first or ground floor;
  • The building where it is planned to open a dry cleaner should be heated, with industrial-type ventilation and a ceiling height of 3+ m. 

Full cycle dry cleaning should have areas for receiving and issuing, sorting linen, washing, ironing, and cleaning. In addition, there is a place for storing household chemicals and consumables, a staff room, and a toilet.

The optimal area will be 70-100 sq.m. When choosing a place, consider the location of competitors. The price on the periphery is often more affordable than in the center.

Staff

Consider how many people you need to hire to open a dry cleaner. If you have a small full-cycle business, then it will be enough:

  • technologists = 2 people;
  • workers = 2 people;
  • ironer = 1 person;
  • receptionist = 2 people.
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If the collection points are located separately, then 1-2 more drivers will be required to deliver the laundry to the place of washing and back. An accountant can be outsourced to save the budget. 

Advertising and promotion

A successful business involves advertising. There are many paid and free promotion options. They can and should be used in combination. For example, use SEO and social media targeting with elevator advertising and flyer distribution. 

You can help promote the following:

  • bright sign;
  • e-mail distribution to corporate clients;
  • outdoor advertising;
  • advertising on transport and in public. 

Conclusions

Opening a dry cleaner, like any other business, requires the registration of an individual entrepreneur or LLC. Finding a room that meets all norms and requirements and purchasing equipment and cleaners is also necessary. The next step will be hiring and training staff. 

This is not a cheap enterprise, but with a reasonable approach, the business will pay for itself in the next year. 

Take a serious approach to organize a business: study about dry cleaners, analyze the market in your region and choose the best business format. The full cycle may not be suitable if you are a beginner businessman. This form requires a lot of investment and experience. If you’re on a tight budget, consider starting with an on-site upholstery cleaning service or running an interior dry cleaning service in your garage. You can also open a point for receiving and issuing orders: the profit will be small, but the start-up costs are minimal. 

When promoting your services, do not hesitate to use free methods, and ask satisfied customers to leave feedback on the quality of work in social networks or services like 2GIS.

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