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How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

by Chosen Caleb
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The laundry business is one of the most popular businesses in Nigeria. Most Nigerian professionals are occupied with work, projects, and other engagements that leave them no time for laundry chores. As a basic rule in Economics, demand creates supply, creating a need for the services of a laundry business. 

Have you been thinking about how to start a laundry business? Are you looking for a comprehensive guide to help you understand what is required? Maybe you want to know the financial cost of starting a laundry business. Well, I can assure you that you are in the right place. We wrote this article after careful deliberation and research to answer all your questions. Alright, let us explore the potential of the laundry industry in Nigeria.

Overview of the Laundry Business

Nigeria’s laundry care service industry was valued at $8.4 million in 2019. It is projected to reach a high of $8.94 million in the next ten years with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.4%. In May 2023, the Fabricare Professionals and Drycleaners Association (FPDA) was formed to protect the rights of laundry workers nationwide. We believe the laundry industry is an increasing market because as society advances, people will outsource most of their chores. However, laundry businesses need to monitor their data closely because of the risk that laundry technology might pose.

Lagos State, for instance, is the country’s most populated state, making it the best place to start a laundry business. Major laundry businesses in Lagos include Garment Care Ltd, owned by Nana Otedola, and Alpha Cleaning Services. Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, is also populated with many laundry businesses such as Amerigo Laundromat and Ghamdi Elegant Laundry and  Service.

Why should you consider starting a laundry business? To begin with, it is an easy business to start with little or no capital. It is also the kind of business you can operate from home if you don’t have the means to rent an office space. It can also be a side hustle that you earn from. An unemployed person can easily start a laundry business that grows into a full-time business.

Why We Think You Can Make 300K Monthly From the Laundry Business in Nigeria

Let us look at a hypothetical example. If you charge ₦400 to wash and iron a dress, and you wash 20 dresses in a day, you would have earned ₦8,000 per day. Then, if you charge ₦1,200 for washing suits, and you wash 12 suits in a day, you would have earned ₦14,400. This means you would have earned a total of ₦22,400 in a single day. 

Multiply that by 7 days in a week, and you would have earned ₦156,800 in a week. In a month, you would have earned more than ₦620,000. If you decide to take weekends off, you will still earn a significant amount. If you put in half the effort, you can conveniently earn ₦300,000 monthly for your laundry business.

Your profitability in the laundry business can also increase if you are in high-income areas with customers who earn more. You can decide to charge more to increase profits. However, renting a workspace in high-income areas also means your rental fee would be more than in low-income neighborhoods.

How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

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

One can earn well in Nigeria’s laundry industry, depending on location, amount charged, frequency of clients, etc.  These factors make the laundry business one of the most lucrative businesses in Nigeria. Operating a small-scale laundry business is inexpensive, which makes the risk of running the business very minimal. However, you need a business plan with a financial forecast, to estimate the profitability of the 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 you should do before you begin your laundry business. It involves finding and understanding your target market or location, finding capital, drawing up a business plan or model, etc. If you have the means, you can hire professionals to perform this market research. Otherwise, you can carry out market research yourself by visiting laundry businesses around you and speaking to them. This can also give you a good idea of what to expect in the laundry business industry.

Determine the Business Model for Your Laundry Business

This is the first step of your market research. How do you want your laundry business to be modeled? Drafting an excellent business plan and determining a business strategy will go a long way in shaping this. Do 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.

Look for a Source of Capital

As mentioned earlier, the laundry business in Nigeria operates with low expenses. However, whether small or large scale, your business still needs a source of capital. The amount required to set up a laundry business depends on its size, whether large-scale or small-scale. 
A small-scale laundry business, for instance, requires little equipment to operate. At that level, personal savings and donations from family and friends are enough capital. You can use as little as ₦30,000 to begin a small-scale laundry operation because you only need a few pieces of equipment to do your work. 

On a much larger scale, however, savings and donations might not bring enough capital. You would need as much as ₦1,000,000 to ₦5,000,000 to buy the required equipment for a standard service. Sources like angel investors, grants, crowdfunding, or bank loans can help raise money to start the laundry business.

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 business location is set according to the business plan. 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 the rent paid for your location, the prices you will charge, and how you will brand your business. This is another reason why business market surveys are important.

As stated above, Lagos and Abuja are great locations for a laundry business. Other states that have a large population include Kano, located in the northern part of Nigeria, and Enugu, a thriving state located in the southeastern region of Nigeria. Due to its high population density, Kano has a steady demand for services in the area. You can choose from many reputable businesses in Kano, including Flex Kleen Laundry and Services, EasyWash Laundry and General Cleaning Services, LaundryHouse, etc. Enugu state also provides an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs to establish a successful laundry and venture. With advanced infrastructure and facilities, it is a perfect city for investing. The state has several well-established laundry businesses such as Fendale and Laundry Services, 727 Laundry and Home Cleaning Service, and Spark’l Laundry Service.

2. Registration and Permits for Your Laundry Business

Registering a laundry business might be optional for small-scale businesses, but it is non-negotiable if you want to operate on a large scale. As mentioned earlier, the Laundry Association (FPDA) caters to the needs of and acts as a regulatory body for businesses all over Nigeria. When you register your laundry business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), it guarantees you a place in that association alongside other benefits. Although this registration only matters in some parts of the country, you should still register your business to be safe. To further establish your business as a legal entity, you should register for a Tax Identification Number(TIN) and Value Added Tax(VAT) with the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS).

3. Equipment/Materials Needed

Now that you have found a location and registered your laundry business, it is time to get the necessary equipment and materials. If you’re operating on a small-scale, you don’t need much. For a large-scale business, however, you would need to spend a certain amount of money to furnish your new laundry business. You would need the following materials and equipment to start your small or large-scale laundry business:

Washing Bucket/Basin

A washing bucket or basin is essential. You use it to soak clothes for some time before washing them with your hands(small scale) or a machine(large scale). The size of the buckets/basins to soak clothes depends on the number of clothes you will clean and how they are sorted out.

Laundry Detergent/Bleach

Laundry detergent and bleach are also necessary for any laundry business. All-purpose detergents ensure that the fabric quality of clothes is not lost. However, they are not enough to remove tough stains. In instances like this, you can use bleaches alongside detergents to whiten, brighten, and remove tough stains on fabrics. You can find some of these detergents and bleaches on Jumia.

Starch

Starch, another needed material in any laundry business, adds crispness and structure to one’s clothing. It also prevents stains and makes them easier to remove. Not all customers will request for starch to be added to their clothing. Still, it is necessary in both small and large-scale laundry business. Laundry starch comes in different types such as synthetic starch, corn starch, and wheat starch. You can soak the clothes in starch after washing or spray starch on them while ironing.

Water

Water is the most essential material in running a laundry business. Without water, a laundry business cannot function. Laundry businesses need a steady source of water supply, used for washing and rinsing 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 that can affect the quality of the fabric. This makes soft water the best for laundry.

Washing Machine

The washing machine is a vital piece of equipment in any standard laundry business. You might not need one if you run your business on a much smaller scale. There are different types of washing machines available to you as a laundry business owner. Your choice depends on your needs and your budget. The most common types of washing machines are top-load (automatic and semi-automatic) and front-load washing machines. They both have different methods of cleaning clothes, and it is more cost-effective to go for one that is budget-friendly and energy-efficient. You can find a list of some of them here.

Pressing Iron

Another piece of equipment your laundry business needs is a pressing iron. Ironing removes wrinkles from the washing and drying stage, which makes the clothes look presentable. A pressing iron is an essential piece of equipment in a standard laundry business. Just like washing machines, there are two different types of pressing irons: Dry and Steam irons. You can decide to have both types 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 customizable features for different materials.

Generator

Due to the country’s inconsistent power supply, 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 washing machines, press irons, or pump some water. A 5 KW generator or more would be able to supply the needed power to run your laundry business equipment. However, for a small-scale business with less equipment, a 1.5KVA generator should be enough.

Cloth Drying Rack/Garment Conveyor

After washing, you can hang clothes on a drying rack or garment conveyor that allows them to 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.

Ironing Board

An ironing board is another essential piece of equipment every laundry business should have. 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.

Packaging Nylon and Tags

Finally, a laundry business must have a packaging nylon and a tag. After ironing and folding, you should pack the clothes neatly in nylon and tag them to prevent mix-ups before they are delivered to the customer. You can also brand the tags with your business logo to market your business and increase brand awareness.

As your business grows, you can add more equipment that suits your taste.

4. Brand and Market Your Business

The laundry business is saturated. This begs the question: how do you distinguish yourself from other dry cleaners? This is where marketing comes in. 

Your business should be focused on meeting customers’ needs. This involves regular interactions with and feedback from your customers. This is why, as a laundry business, you need to be able to retain and build relationships with old customers and market to newer ones. With the help of technology and social media, marketing a laundry business has become so much easier.

Your first step is defining your brand, from the logo to brand colors and business style/tone. This ensures that your marketing across all platforms is consistent. Advertisements on social media and other traditional media such as TV or Radio are also an option if you have the budget. If not, you can create a free business profile on Google that makes it easy for people searching for laundry services in your area to find you. 

Offline marketing strategies can also help build your business. For instance, referrals and reviews from previous clients go a long way in getting customers for your business. You can also create banners at your business location and give out flyers to potential customers. As a relatively new business, you can offer your services at discounted prices to build their trust in your services and get a customer base.

With time, your laundry business will begin to grow a customer base. Your customers are important, so you must build solid relationships with them. For instance, you can check on them when they haven’t patronized you in a while. You can also offer discounts to long-term customers and ensure complaints are handled swiftly.

Conclusion

Even with the economic challenges, starting a laundry venture in Nigeria can be profitable. Your business 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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