I Have A Location, Now What?
So you have a location for your laundromat but what are the next steps?
I’ll skip over the distributor in this article as we have covered that previously or you can send me an email and we can get things set up. Ken@WashinCoinLaundry.com
There are a few items that you can look into. You should check on cost, time to implement and application forms.
– Business Name- Personally I set mine up with a Generic Brand that I can use in different locations. All of my stores are “Washin __________ Coin Laundry” I add the location and use separate LLC’s. This is part of a long term strategy of building a chain and being able to sell in part or as a whole. In the past many laundries were named as the street or “Bob’s Laundry” or had no name at all. Branding is part of business so think about it early.
– LLC – Name and Doing Business As (DBA)- Talk to a local Attorney about the corporate stucture and set it up early so you can get the bank accounts in place.
Accountant- You may not need one right away but if you have the time it’s good to get things setup and understand the costs involved.
-Building Permits and Zoning-
This is normally my first stop once I have a location.- Confirm the zoning is approved for this use.- Check requirements and cost for Building Permit. Also any requirements for restrooms, exit lights, etc.- Check on what inspections will be required. Normally the contractors will contact the Building Inspector when they are ready but it’s good to know so nothing gets overlooked.
– Business License- Cost
-Confirm size of water supply and sewer lines and determine if cahnges need to be made. The Engineering Department will need to review and approve any changes so the time required for approval needs to be understood.
– Some areas will have an Impact Fee that is charged for each machine that will be connected to the sewer. This can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands or dollars per machine. This amount may change in neighboring communities.
Deposits- Check if a deposit will be required. Some require a couple of months use as a deposit and other cities are more. Usually a Bond can be used to cover this. I used my insurance company but there are other companies as well. For one of my stores I was required to provide a $1,000 cash deposit that they hold as long as the business is running.
– Check on requirements to install a larger line and meter if needed. I have not had to pay for this but it may be different in your area. Laundries are a year round consumer so gas companies tend to be happy to hook them up. There is also a High Pressure and Low Pressure setup. Low Pressure requires larger piping in the store but is a dirrect connection. High Pressure has smaller piping but requires a regulator on each piece of equipment. This can add $50- $75 to each dryer and water heater.
– Check on deposit required.
-Power- Same as above items- Check on deposits and costs of required feed if an increase is needed.
Scheduleing of the above items can have a big impact on your startup. Some areas may be able to do the work in a week or two, other may need much longer to schedule.
Cable / Internet / Phone- Price local companies and check contracts. These are optional services but make a big difference to customers. If all of the other Laundromants have internet and you don’t people will drive past your store.
Security- I used SimpliSafe on one of my stores. It’s easy to install and reasonably priced. I also have some of the large companies at my other stores. I prefer to purchase the equipment up front and avoid long term contracts. You may have local companies that offer cameras/ security etc but be careful of the contracts and monthly cost. There is the advantage of someone else setting it up and fixing any issues.
Insurance- You will need to know a lot more details before you can apply but you could determine who you are going to use. I use the CLA (Coin Laundry Association) Insurance. You may have a local agent that can provide insurance. http://www.coinlaundry.org/membership/laundry-insurance/
Contractor- If you have one already you may want to talk to them and see if they can handle everything.This will include- Electrical, Plumbing, Ductwork, Gas, plus general demolition, framing and finishing of new walls, adding intake vents for dryer air, ceiling tiles, flooring, painting etc.
And in your spare time you may want to take a load of towels and visit a few other laundromats. Run them through the wash / dry cycle and look around the store to see what you like and don’t like. It gives you a chance to talk to people and/or attendants and find out what they like.
Back at the top I made a comment about Branding. That also includes the colors in your store and some of the features. I have common colors that can be found in each store and although they are not exactly the same layouts or styles people recognize they are part of the same company.
If you have any comments please post them below.
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