How to Start and Grow a Profitable Dry Cleaning Business
When starting any type of new business, it is important to keep in mind that there is a great deal of competition in the marketplace.
This is especially the case if you are considering a dry cleaning business. However, if you follow a few simple steps, you can make your business truly stand out from the rest,
becoming profitable within a much shorter period of time.
Franchise or Traditional
There are certain advantages and drawbacks to each model.
For instance, on the plus side, franchising offers you a ready-made business model that provides you with all that you need to get started, including training, marketing, and support.
Oftentimes, the franchisor will even provide access to the financing you may need for the purchase of your initial equipment and supplies.
On the downside, buying into a franchise does cost money. It typically requires a down payment to the franchisor, along with ongoing payments as a percentage of your profits.
In addition, you give up a fair amount of control over the business when you own a franchise, as versus when you own the company yourself.
As the business owner, you also have access to a much larger share of the company’s profits.
Getting Things in Order
Prior to actually opening your dry cleaning business, there are several things that you must first have in place in order to move forward. These include:
Create a Business Plan.
A business plan is an essential part of any successful company. It will help you in outlining everything you need to do in terms of marketing, financing, and growing the company. It will also provide you with a step-by-step plan of action for the company in reaching its goals. If you do need to apply for financing through a lender, the bank or financial institution will typically require a copy of your business plan to review prior to approving your company for a loan.
Obtain Your Business License / Permit / Insurance.
You will want to make sure that you obtain any of the required licensing, permitting, and insurance that is required for your business to operate as well prior to opening your new cleaning business. If you have opted for a dry cleaning franchise, the franchisor can typically assist you with this. If you are opening your own business, you should be able to find out the information that you need by checking with your local Chamber of Commerce.
Locate a Site.
As a dry cleaner, the location that you choose will be extremely important. Your location should be easy for customers to find, and should provide ample parking. The interior should be large enough for all of your dry cleaning equipment, while at the same time providing enough space for a reception area in front for customers to drop off and pick up their items. Here again, if you go with a franchise, the franchisor will likely have already chosen a site for you.
Obtain Your Equipment and Supplies.
In order to get started, you will need to have the proper dry cleaning machinery. These include items such as laundry hot leads, conveyors, shirt finishers, foam finishes, and others machines that are needed that can accommodate the items that customers will be bringing you. Likewise, you will also need soap, foam, and other types of cleaners.
Hire the Staff.
Depending on how large your dry cleaning business will be, you will need to hire your staff members. In addition, based upon their experience, you may also need to train these individuals once they are hired. If you have purchased a franchise, it is likely that you will have access to a pre-set training model. Although it is not always required, you may want to run your potential hires through background checks and drug testing in order to ensure there are no issues going forward. If you are keeping your company a small family run business, you may not need to hire any additional outside staff at this time.
Advertise Your Dry Cleaning Services.
Once you are set up, you will need to start marketing and advertising your services. There are numerous ways that you can do this, including running ads in the local newspaper and radio stations, as well as offering coupons. You may also opt to put up a website in order to market your business online, as well as place an ad in the Yellow Pages.
As your dry cleaning business grows, you may decide to provide additional services, such as tailoring and clothing alterations.
You may also set yourself apart from other dry cleaners in the area by providing pick-up and delivery services, making it convenient for busy customers to do business with you.
Remember, there is a lot of competition out there, so anything that you can do to set your dry cleaning business apart will help you to stand out in the eyes of potential customers.