How to Start a Laundry | Dry Cleaning Business in Nigeria

How to Start a Laundry | Dry Cleaning Business in Nigeria

Owing a dry cleaning business in Nigeria may sound as a “ no brainer “ to some. However, it could become a rocket science if it is jumped into without due and proper consultations. Laundry or dry cleaning business as it is popularly called in Nigeria is one that is very profitable if it is properly set up and managed.

The current population of Nigeria stands at 191, 836, 000 as of 2017. More than 20%  of this population (over 30, 000 000) falls under the working class category. This therefore gives you an idea about the working class population in Nigeria, because a larger percent of clients that seek the services of dry cleaners come from the working class. People love to look neatly and smartly dressed, especially when they receive nice recommendations for doing so. However, a lot of them, especially the working class cannot afford the time for this chore, as they are too busy working to earn, or they are spending their free time in a quality way and will not be bothered nor burdened with the responsibility of dry cleaning. This group of people are those that makes up the larger client base of people that seek dry cleaning services.

Dry cleaning goes beyond the usual wash, dry and iron. If that was the case, there wouldn’t be many people who have made their millions from this business. Though it involves mainly the aforementioned processes, however, how far you go in the business, how much clients you get and how much you make will be determined by how much you can package and present your services, like the popular saying goes, “ITS  ALL ABOUT PACKAGING “. In this business, professionalism is Paramount at all times and it can be done either by the traditional means of washing (washing with hands) or using washing machine or a combination of both. There are different types of dry cleaning business, but the most popular in Africa, especially Nigeria is the wash, dry and fold service.

This article therefore will provide more details on what you need to know and do when setting up a dry cleaning business in Nigeria.

  • Find a good location: This is one of the first things to consider when setting up any business. A good location will determine how well and how fast your business will grow. A highly populated area is certain to give you more clients. The standard of living in the locality should be considered also. An area where the standard of living is average or above average is a good starting point.
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Also, having your business close to the road and having a huge sign post to display your business can attract more customers to you as motorists and commuters gets to see your business.

 

  • Conduct a market research: A good market research will assist you in finding the right location for your business. It will also help you understand the price of services, how much competition you are expecting to put up if there are already existing dry cleaning businesses in your choice location and importantly, the power/electricity supply that area gets, which happens to be the backbone of the dry cleaning business in Nigeria.

 

  • Draw a business plan: Your business plan should have your long and short term goals listed. A business plans helps you know your budget, which is crucial to starting up. In a case where you need financial assistance in form of a loan, a business plan will be able to guide you on how much is needed to finance your business.

 

  • Prepare your equipments and resources: It is advisable that you do not get carried away at this point, as equipments required for this business can sometimes be overwhelming, in terms of their prices. Some equipments will be listed here, but you do not need to acquire them all at once. The most important ones should be bought, and as the business expands and grows, other equipments can be added. If you plan to run or manage the business by yourself, then you may need just an extra hand. This employee should have some formal education, smart, pays attention to detail, able to keep records and able to put up a friendly and professional attitude at all times. The gender of the employee should not matter. If there arises the need for a washer, it is better to get one on contract of pay as you wash, rather than keep them permanently employed.

 

  • Generator: This is very important if you want to constantly be in business, owing to the lack of regular power supply in the country. The generator should be able to power a steam and dry pressing iron, water pumping machine, washing machine, at least one industrial fan. The generator does not have to carry all these at once, but should be able to one at a time. The generator could be powered by diesel or fuel. However, diesel is more economical, due to its slow consumption rate.
  • Big washing basins and buckets: If you are starting off using traditional means of dry cleaning with plans to get a washing machine later on, or using washing machines from the onset, then you need these big washing basins. It is used for washing and soaking materials and clothing of different colours.
  • Washing machines: Washing machines are useful in saving time and energy. When using washing machines, be sure to wash clothes of similar colours or materials together. For instance, towels give off lint, washing it together with clothes will leave lint on the clothes.
  • Hangers and hanging line: Be careful when getting hangers as those with metal parts after some time will wear off and start to leave rust on clothes. Aluminum rods or wood, with rope can be used to construct the line for hanging clothes. Be careful to create enough room for hanging to avoid stuffing of clothes which can cause clothes to get stained when they come in contact with others that the colours are washing off.
  • Starch: You can get cold or hot water starch. Starch with fragrance is advisable as it leaves a nice smell on clothes.
  • Shelf: This is for keeping and displaying finished clothes. It can be wooden or glass.
  • Ironing table: It should be wide enough to avoid inconveniences during ironing.
  • Tagging gun, pin and paper: This little machine comes in handy. This helps to keep clients name or any other detail on clothes which helps in the recognition of clients clothes, preventing mix ups.
  • Liquids soaps/detergents: These will be needed in large quantities. Be sure to get those of high quality.
  • Stain removing chemicals: Be sure to get the right kind of stain removing chemicals for the right kind of clothing. Different fabrics and colours of clothes require different stain removing chemicals.
  • Water storage tank.
  • Laundry nylon.
  • Clothespin (pegs).
  • Adequate drying space.
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  • Register your business: Registering your business gives you the license to operate legally, and if you have to refer to the law for any reason, you will do so without fear or guilt.

 

  • Be ready to advertise your business: You could advertise on billboards, use flyers, use business cards, partake in sponsorship of programmes like street carnivals, advertise on radio, television, e.t.c. Advertisements does not have to wait till when you start your business, you can start to advertise as coming soon, and when you finally launch the business, you do so with an opening ceremony to announce your arrival, and kick off by offering your first promotion, for instance, first five people get one free laundry. This will certainly get the word out about your business.

 

Challenges of dry cleaning business.

  • Poor electricity supply which could coincide with when your generator is faulty.
  • Difficulty during rainy season: A tumble dryer can be purchased to help with drying of clothes, however, it is expensive and needs a high voltage to power it.
  • Access to clean water.
  • Clothes washing off into other clothes.
  • Short notice or delivery time. Be sure to always take work you can complete on time, and if you have to offer express services, then an extra charge should be added.
  • Clothes getting burnt while ironing.
  • Lack of skilled or qualified staffs.

In concluding, it is worthy of note that the dry cleaning business is one of the businesses in Nigeria that is very lucrative because of the large customer base, can be set up with small capital and can quickly grow if properly managed. A business that has evolved from “ something to do to keep busy “ to one that is a “ real time investment “.

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Extra tips to note

  • Never argue with a customer. Be polite when pointing out mistakes made by them.
  • Apologise even if the customer is at fault.
  • Never under price or over price your services.
  • Keep to delivery time even if it means working extra hours.
  • Customers appreciate home delivery. This can be an added advantage.
  • Act professionally and friendly at all times, and see to it your employees do so too.
  • Take responsibility for any mistake your or your employee failed to observe.
  • Encourage feedbacks and referral.
  • Offer discounts and promotions from time to time.
  • Wash clothes inside out.
  • Check clothes tag for washing instructions.

 

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