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How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

by Chosen Caleb
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The laundry (or dry cleaning) business is one of the most popular businesses in Nigeria today. With the busy lifestyle of many Nigerians today, many people need more time to do the laundry themselves, hence the need to employ the services of a dry cleaner. In May 2023, the Fabricare Professionals and Drycleaners Association (FPDA) was formed to protect the rights of dry cleaners nationwide.

Caleb has written a wonderful article to guide you on starting your laundry and dry cleaning business. Many would-be entrepreneurs and graduates look at some of these businesses as menial businesses. This attitude influences their reception to these business. However, the laundry business is a growing business, with a growing market trend. To capitalize on this trend and build a sustainable laundry business, you should have a package plan for people that work in business environments that constrain t their time.

Expert opinion by our Business Analyst

How Profitable is the Laundry Business in Nigeria?

Nigeria’s laundry care service industry was valued at $8.9 million in 2019 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4% in the next ten years. The expenses required to operate a laundry and dry cleaning business are low, which makes the risk of running the business very minimal. With the right business plan, one can make between ₦150,000 and ₦300,000 in a week, and that is without considering the expenses. These factors make the laundry business one of the most lucrative business in Nigeria.

How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

As with any other business, one needs to carefully map out a strategy or a business plan in order to start a successful laundry business. Biztraction provides you with a knowledge of the basic processes you need for these below.

1. Market Research

Performing market research is the first thing to do before you begin your laundry business. It involves looking out for the target market, demography, geography, income of the target market, and so on. If you have the money, you can hire professionals to help perform market research. Otherwise, you can carry out this market research yourself by visiting laundry businesses around you. This can also give you a good idea of what to expect in the laundry business market. You can do this several times until you feel you have enough information and are ready to start your business.

2. Determine the Business Model for Your Laundry Business

After conducting market research, consider how you would want your laundry business to be modeled. Drafting an excellent business plan and determining a business strategy will go a long way in determining how your laundry business will be modeled. Would you want your business to be home service-based, individually run, or modeled after a standard laundry company? What amount of money have you set aside for the operation? Do you want the laundry done on a small or large scale? These and many more are questions to bear in mind to help you model your laundry business in the right direction.

3.    Look for a Source of Capital

Whether small or large scale, your laundry business still needs a source of capital. A small-scale laundry business, for instance, requires little equipment to operate. At that level, personal savings and donations from family and friends would be enough sources of capital. However, on a much larger scale, savings and donations might not bring enough capital. Sources like angel investors, grants, crowdfunding, or bank loans would be needed to help raise money to start the laundry business.

4.    Secure a Location for the Laundry Business

After you have capital, the next thing to do is secure a location for your laundry business. The location is set according to the business plan drafted for the business. When scouting for a location, you need to consider an essential factor: the standard of living of the people in that area. This will determine how much you will charge for your laundry services and how you will brand your business. This is another reason why you should take business market surveys seriously.

5.    Register Your Laundry Business

The next step is registering your laundry business, which might be optional for small-scale companies. Still, it is non-negotiable if you are going on a large scale. As mentioned earlier, the Laundry Association (FPDA) caters to the needs of dry cleaning businesses. It acts as a regulatory body for dry cleaning businesses all over Nigeria. Registering your laundry business will guarantee a place in that association and also grant you some permits. The Corporate Affairs Commission (C.A.C.) is the body to register your laundry business with. This registration only matters in some parts of the country, however, but to be safe, this should be carried out.

6.    Get the Equipment/Materials Needed

Now that a location has been found and the business registered, it is time to get the necessary equipment and materials for the laundry business. For the small-scale laundry business, you won’t need much. For the large-scale laundry business, however, spending a certain amount of money would be required to furnish the new laundry business. The types of equipment and materials needed have been mentioned above.

7.    Create a Price List for the Laundry

Creating a price list for your services is the next step on the agenda. The prices for clothes always vary depending on the fabric and texture of that cloth. T-shirts, for instance, are charged ₦350 to wash, starch, and iron. For trousers, it is a different price. Suits and traditional wear are more expensive than shirts and trousers because of the kind of material used to sew them. Location can also affect prices , but as a business, you should also bear in mind the financial capabilities of your customers. As a relatively new business, it is advised to do the laundry at discounted prices for people, which is a strategy to build their trust in your services and get a customer base.

8.    Brand and Market Your Business

The last part is to brand and market your laundry business. This part deals with customizing your business and making it stand out from other laundry businesses. This step is crucial as it determines how large and profitable your business will become in the long run. You can implement strategies from this article that will give tips on customer acquisition. With the help of technology and social media, marketing your laundry business has become so much easier. You can also use offline strategies to help build the brand of your laundry business.

How Much Do You Need to Start A Laundry Business In Nigeria?

As mentioned earlier, the laundry business in Nigeria operates with low expenses. However, the cost needed to start largely depends on the business plan. You would need as little as ₦10,000 to begin on a small scale operation because you would not need any equipment to do your dry cleaning work. On a much larger scale, you would need as much as ₦1,000,000 to ₦5,000,000 to begin. This significant capital enables you to buy the required equipment for a standard dry cleaning service.

Materials and Equipment Required for a Laundry Business

1.  Washing Bucket/Basin

Whether you are starting your laundry business on a small or large scale, you need a washing bucket or basin because it is essential to soak clothes for some time before washing them (with your hands or a machine). The size of the buckets/basins to soak clothes depends on the number of clothes to be cleaned and how they are sorted out.

2. Laundry Detergent/Bleach

Laundry detergent and bleach are also necessary materials for a laundry business. All-purpose detergents are used in dry cleaning clothes to ensure that the quality of the fabric is not lost. However, detergents are not enough to remove tough stains, so bleaches are sometimes used alongside detergents to whiten, brighten, and remove tough stains on fabrics. Some of these detergents and bleaches can be found on Jumia.

3. Starch

Starch is another material needed in a laundry business. Starch makes clothes stiff and adds crispness and structure to one’s clothing. It also prevents stains or makes stains easier to remove. However, only some customers will request that starch be added to their clothing. Still, it is necessary in a small or large laundry business. The laundry starch comes in different types, which include synthetic starch, corn starch, and wheat starch. You can soak the clothes in starch after washing or spray the starch on the cloth while ironing.

4.  Water

Water is also an essential material when it comes to running a laundry business. In fact, without water, a laundry business cannot function. There has to be a steady source of water supply, which will be used for washing and rinsing the clothes. A standard washing machine uses about 20 gallons of water per load or approximately 75.7 liters. It must be noted, however, that water quality is an essential factor affecting the quality of the fabric, making soft water the best for laundry.

5. Washing Machine (Optional)

The washing machine is a vital equipment needed to run a standard laundry business. However, you might not need one to run your dry cleaning business on a much smaller scale. There are different types of washing machines available to do the job of dry cleaning for you. It is all dependent on the budget allocated. The common types of washing machines are top-load (automatic and semi-automatic) and front-load washing machines. Front-load washing machines are the best kinds of washing machines because they use less energy to heat water. It is advised to go for the budget-friendly and still energy-efficient one. You can find a list of some of them here.

6. Pressing Iron

Another piece of equipment needed for your laundry business is a pressing iron. After washing and drying, some clothes need to be properly ironed. A pressing iron is an essential piece of equipment in a standard laundry business. Just like the washing machines, different types of pressing irons can be used. They include dry irons and steam irons. You can decide to have all these irons or just one. However, there are a few factors to consider before making this decision. For fabrics prone to wrinkling easily, it is better to use a steam iron. It is preferable to use a dry iron for clothes that are prone to water damage. However, most dry cleaners in Nigeria prefer the steam iron because it has different customizable features for different materials.

7. Generator

Due to the inconsistent power supply in the nation, a generator is a must-have piece of equipment for laundry businesses (small or large). Laundry businesses use power in one form or another, whether to power the fans for drying clothes, the washing machine, the pressing iron, or the like. A 5 KW generator or more would be enough to supply the needed power to run the equipment in your laundry business. However, if that is too much, a 1.5KVA generator or more would be enough (for a small scale business).

8. Cloth Drying Rack/Garment Conveyor

After washing, clothes are hung on a cloth drying rack or garment conveyor that allows clothes dry properly before ironing. You can buy a garment conveyor or instruct a carpenter to make a wooden one for your laundry business. You can also purchase cloth drying racks from Jumia.

9. Ironing Board

An ironing board is another essential piece of equipment every laundry business should have to make ironing way easier. It can safely absorb heat while one is pressing out wrinkles. Ironing large items – typical of laundry businesses – becomes a breeze because of the large surface area ironing boards offer.

10. Packaging Nylon and Tags

Finally, last on the list, a laundry business must have a packaging nylon and a tag. After ironing and folding, the clothes must be neatly packaged in nylon and tagged to prevent mix-ups before they are delivered to the customer.

As your laundry business grows, you can add more equipment that suits your taste. But the ones mentioned above are must-have equipment in a laundry business (small or large).

Five States in Nigeria Where Laundry Business Thrives

1.    Lagos

Lagos is the country’s most populated state, making it the best place to start a dry cleaning business. With the busy lifestyle of Lagos inhabitants, washing clothes will be the last thing they want to do. All over Lagos, there are extensive brand dry cleaning services. Garment Care Ltd. and Alpha Cleaning Services are two of these that stand out for me. You can check the price list of Alpha Cleaning Services here.

2.    Abuja

Abuja is another city in Nigeria where your laundry and dry cleaning venture can thrive. It is Nigeria’s state capital, making it a good market for your services. Many residents of Abuja are well-to-do and, just like Lagos residents, are too busy to engage in chores like laundry. There are dry cleaning businesses littered over Abuja and its environs. Two dry cleaning businesses are Amerigo Laundromat and Ghamdi Elegant Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service. Amerigo charges are based on a self-service or drop-off service basis.

3.    Port-Harcourt

Port-Harcourt, or P.H., is another big city in Nigeria. It is an oil-producing state in Nigeria. Due to the illegal refining of the oil, the state residents have been plagued with black soot. As bad as it sounds, laundry will be a prominent issue with state residents, making it a viable opportunity to start a laundry and dry cleaning business there. You can find many laundry businesses in Port-Harcourt. Some examples are 360 Lucent Wash, PrimeWash Ltd., etc. You can check the price list of 360 Lucent Wash here to give you an idea of laundry prices in Port-Harcourt.

4.    Kano

Located in the northern part of Nigeria, Kano is a bustling city that offers an excellent opportunity to start a laundry and dry cleaning business. Due to its high population density, there is a steady demand for dry cleaning services in the area. You can choose from many reputable dry cleaning businesses in Kano, including Flexikleen Laundry and Dry Cleaning services, EasyWash Laundry and General Cleaning Services, LaundryHouse, and many others.

5.    Enugu

Enugu is a thriving state located in the southeastern region of Nigeria. It provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to establish a successful laundry and dry cleaning venture. The state is known for its affluent and influential Igbo community, making it an ideal location to start a dry cleaning venture. Enugu boasts advanced infrastructure and facilities, making it a city perfect for investing. In addition to the readily available resources, several well-established laundry businesses in the state, such as Fendale Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services, 727 Laundry and Home Cleaning Service, and Spark’l Laundry Service.

Conclusion

Even with the economic challenges, starting a laundry and dry cleaning venture in Nigeria can be profitable. The company can become even more lucrative by incorporating technology and organic products. Whether you plan to start small or go big, following the guidelines in this article can lead to exceptional results. 

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