Starting a Laundromat Franchise: Essential Tips & Know-How

Franchising has long been a profitable route for entrepreneurs looking for a new business venture with proven success. Numerous studies, including one by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows franchise businesses tend to have a significantly lower failure rate than independent start-ups.

While franchising is a well-known concept, there are unconventional opportunities out there you may not have considered. Traditional franchises, such as restaurants or retail outlets, may immediately come to mind when thinking about your investment options.

However, laundromat franchises provide a remarkable alternative that combines stability, profitability, and a recession-resistant nature. In fact, they’re considered a particularly good and profitable route for new franchisees for a number of compelling reasons.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or an established business mogul looking to expand your portfolio, keep reading to explore the untapped cash cow waiting for you as a laundromat franchisee. In the following sections, we’ll explore the intricacies of laundromat franchises, including revenue potential, steps to start a laundromat, potential challenges and practical solutions, and more. 

The Profit Potential of a Laundromat Franchise

Before jumping into the benefits and advantages, it's important to understand what, exactly, a laundromat franchise demands. A laundromat franchise is a business model where individuals purchase the rights to operate a laundromat under an established and recognized brand. The franchisor provides support, guidance, and a proven business system in exchange for franchise fees and ongoing royalties.

Laundromat franchises are particularly interesting because they don’t merely provide a place to clean clothes; they serve as community hubs, providing essential services for community members! As the demand for convenient laundry solutions continues to rise, investing in a laundromat franchise is a solid move that presents untapped growth potential. 

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In this guide, learn how to start laundry pickup and delivery. Hire drivers, promote your services, and choose the right technology to boost revenue.


Benefits of Investing in a Laundromat Franchise

Investing in a laundromat franchise has some serious benefits that make you wonder why everyone isn’t doing this.

  • High Revenue Potential: Laundromats have the potential for substantial revenue generation. The demand for laundry services is constant, driven by individuals, families, students, and businesses that require clean clothes and linens regularly. A well-located and well-managed laundromat can attract a significant customer base, leading to strong revenue streams.

  • Market Stability: Historically, the laundry industry remains stable because laundry needs are not heavily influenced by economic fluctuations. Regardless of economic conditions, people and businesses need clean clothes and linens. 

  • Recession-Resistance: Laundromat franchises are known for their recession-resistant nature. During economic downturns, for example, the one globally-felt by COVID-19, individuals tend to cut back on discretionary spending, but laundry is always a necessity. 

  • Established Brand and Reputation: This is one of the most important benefits. Investing in a laundromat franchise means joining an established, trusted brand with a bolstered reputation. The franchisor has already built brand recognition and loyalty among customers, which means you can jump on board and start collecting a return without putting years and significant marketing dollars into the laundry business.

  • Support and Training: Franchises are invested in your success, so they often offer support and training to franchisees. This assistance can include initial site selection, lease negotiation, staff training, marketing strategies, and operational guidance. The franchisor's expertise and resources help franchisees navigate the challenges of starting and running a laundry business effectively.

  • Stable Market: The laundry service market is stable and untapped in many areas across the US. With busy lifestyles and limited time, people and families have an increasing need for efficient laundry services. By catering to this demand as soon as possible, laundromat franchises can corner a significant market share.

  • Recurring Revenue: Laundromats generate recurring revenue streams due to the fact that customers use laundromat services on a weekly basis. You can pump this up by providing additional services like vending machines, dry cleaning, pickup and delivery, or an in-store café.

  • Scalability and Flexibility: Laundromat franchises offer opportunities for scalability and flexibility. Franchisees can expand their operations by opening multiple locations or even acquiring existing laundromats. Furthermore, laundromats can be managed with a relatively small staff, allowing franchisees to have more control over their time and work-life balance.

  • Lower Labor Costs: Laundromats typically require fewer staff members compared to other businesses, reducing labor costs. With automated systems available in modern laundromats, franchisees can optimize efficiency and reduce the need for extensive staffing costs.

If the benefits of opening a laundromat aren’t compelling enough, turn to the data! According to the Coin Laundry Association (CLA), the laundromat industry in the US generates an estimated $5 billion in revenue annually. The CLA also reports that the average laundromat owner can expect a 20-35% return on investment. Blog Frame Templates (1)-1

Costs of Starting a Laundromat Franchise

Starting a laundromat franchise requires time, financial, and energy investments. Let's go over the primary components of your start-up costs:

  • Franchise Fee: The franchise fee is an upfront payment made to the franchisor for the right to operate under their brand. The fee varies depending on the franchisor and the size and reputation of the brand. It can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The franchise fee grants franchisees access to the franchisor's established business model, support, and resources.

  • Equipment Costs: Laundromats require specialized equipment, such as washers, dryers, folding tables, and detergent dispensers. The costs associated with equipment can vary based on the size of the laundromat, the number of machines required, and their quality. On average, the initial equipment investment can range from $100,000 to $500,000 or more. Keep in mind, in addition to equipment costs, you’ll also have to take into account monthly utility costs.

  • Rent Costs: Securing a high-traffic location for a laundromat will play a major role in your success. The cost of leasing or purchasing a space will depend on factors such as location, size, and market demand. Lease terms and rental rates can vary significantly based on the region and property market. Franchisees should consider factors like foot traffic, accessibility, parking, and visibility when selecting a location. 

Financing Options for Laundromat Franchisees

As you now know, opening a laundromat takes a hearty up-front investment. Luckily, there are several financing options to cover the initial costs and get your show on the road:

  • Traditional Bank Loans: One of the most common options is to seek funding through traditional bank loans. Banks may offer business or SBA loans specifically tailored to franchise investments. These loans typically require collateral, a smart business plan, and a great credit score.

  • Equipment Leasing: Equipment leasing allows franchisees to secure the necessary laundry equipment without the upfront purchase cost. Lease agreements require monthly payments over a fixed period. This option can help reduce initial cash outlays and provide flexibility for upgrading equipment in the future.

  • Franchisor Financing Programs: Some franchisors offer financing programs to support their franchisees. These programs may include loans, equipment leasing arrangements, or deferred payments. Consider this when choosing a franchisor to partner with.

  • Investors or Partnerships: Franchisees can seek out investors or form partnerships to pool resources and share the financial burden of starting a business. This approach allows for shared investment and risk, enabling franchisees to access additional capital and expertise.

  • Cents Capital: Another option to explore is Cents Capital, a financing solution that provides fast, flexible, and affordable funding, specifically designed for laundromat business growth. With low-interest loans and customizable terms from industry experts, Cents Capital offers an accessible avenue to manage cash flows and invest in your franchise's growth. The simple application process, dedicated funding advisors, and fast funding turnaround can help you secure the capital you need to expand your business quickly.

If you’re seriously considering a laundromat franchise, one of your first steps should be thoroughly researching and evaluating your financing options, considering factors such as interest rates, repayment terms, and the impact on cash flow. Working with financial advisors and consulting with the franchisor can provide valuable guidance in selecting the most suitable financing approach.

Choosing the Right Laundromat Franchise

Choosing a laundromat franchise investment that aligns with your values and goals is a critical step toward long-term success. Here are key criteria to think about when weighing your options:

Reputation of the Franchisor

  • Track Record: Take an audit of the franchisor's track record and experience in the industry. Consider their years of operation, number of franchisees, and success stories within their network.

  • Brand Recognition: Assess the brand recognition and reputation of the franchisor. Look for franchises with a strong presence in the market and a positive perception among customers.

Level of Support

  • Training Programs: Do research on the level and quality of training provided by the franchisor. Look for comprehensive training programs that cover operational, marketing, and management aspects of running a laundromat franchise, especially if you’re brand new to the industry.

  • Ongoing Support: Take into account the ongoing support offered by the franchisor. This can include assistance with site selection, lease negotiation, marketing campaigns, operational guidance, and access to a network of experienced franchisees. You don’t want to partner with a franchisor who leaves you out to dry when you’re in need!

Business Model

  • Profitability: Evaluate the franchise's business model and financial projections. Review the average revenue, operating expenses, and profitability of existing franchise locations within the network—your success depends on it!

  • Competitive Advantage: Find and make sure you can get on board with the unique selling points and competitive advantages of the franchise. Consider factors such as innovative technology, sustainable practices, or value-add services that set the franchise apart from competitors.

Potential Market in Location

  • Market Analysis: Conduct your own analysis of the potential market in your desired location. Consider the local demographics, competition, and demand for laundry services. Don’t forget to include factors like population density, proximity to residential areas, and the presence of target customers like students, families, or professionals.

  • Franchise Territory: Make sure to understand the exclusivity and territorial rights provided by the franchisor. Determine if the franchise territory falls in line with your market research and growth plans.

When considering laundromat franchises, several well-known options include WaveMAX Laundry, LaundroLab Franchise, SuperSuds, The Eco Laundry Company, Speed Queen Franchise Ops, and Maytag Commercial Laundry Franchise. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to do your due diligence and compare many franchises based on the criteria mentioned above.25

Steps to Starting a Laundromat Franchise

Starting a laundromat franchise requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process effectively:

1. Evaluate Franchises

First, gather information about different laundromat franchises, including the ones mentioned earlier, and compare their offerings, support systems, and track records. Then request a Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) from the franchisors you’re interested in. The FDD contains essential information about the franchise, including financials, obligations, and fees. Thoroughly review the FDD, seeking legal and financial advice if needed, to make sure you understand the terms and conditions of the franchise agreement.

2. Sign a Franchise Agreement

Seek an attorney experienced in franchise law to review and guide you through the franchise agreement. Work with your attorney to negotiate specific terms of the agreement, ensuring clarity on obligations, support, territorial rights, and fees. Once you’re satisfied with the terms, sign the franchise agreement and officially become a franchisee!

3. Secure Financing

Determine the total investment required and assess your financial capability to cover the initial costs. Explore available financing options, as discussed earlier. Create a comprehensive laundry business plan outlining your financial projections, loan repayment strategy, and potential return on investment. Then, approach lenders or financial institutions with your business plan and loan applications. Provide any required documentation and collateral to support your loan request.

4. Find a Location

Analyze your target market and demographics to identify the ideal location for your laundromat franchise. As mentioned earlier, weigh factors like foot traffic, parking availability, and proximity to residential areas. Once that’s done, secure a lease or purchase a property that meets your criteria. Negotiate lease terms, rent, and other contractual obligations. Don’t forget to ensure the location meets zoning regulations, permits, and licenses required for operating a laundromat in the specific area.

5. Purchase Equipment

The next important step is to determine the specific equipment needed for your laundromat based on the projected demand and space available. Research and select reputable suppliers for laundry equipment. Consider factors such as quality, warranties, and after-sales support. Coordinate with suppliers to install the equipment and set up your laundromat facility, being sure not to overlook proper plumbing, electrical connections, and safety measures.

6. Open for Business

Make sure to give your laundry business the solid foundation it needs by hiring competent staff who will help manage and operate your laundromat efficiently. In tandem with this, start developing a marketing strategy to create awareness and attract customers. Use both online and offline channels to reach your target audience. Lastly, make yourself known by planning a grand opening event to generate buzz and excitement. Offer special promotions and incentives to attract customers during the launch phase.TLC WASH HOUSE

Potential Challenges in Laundromat Ownership

Owning a laundromat franchise is a really solid business venture with major profit potential, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. By getting ahead of these challenges and putting practical solutions in place, franchisees can gain a competitive edge above their competition.

Here are some of the most common challenges and proactive tips for laundromat ownership:

Machine Maintenance

Challenge: Laundromat machines require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and minimize downtime. Like any mechanical product, they can also break down unexpectedly.

Solution: Develop a preventative maintenance schedule and partner with reliable equipment manufacturers or service providers. Train staff on basic maintenance tasks, such as cleaning lint traps and reporting issues promptly. Regularly inspect machines and address any maintenance needs promptly to prevent costly breakdowns.

Theft and Vandalism

Challenge: In densely populated areas, there may be saturation in the laundromat market, leading to increased competition.

Solution: Don’t underestimate the power of thorough market research to identify areas with underserved laundry needs! Differentiate your laundromat by offering value-add services like pickup and delivery, loyalty programs, or amenities like Wi-Fi or comfortable seating. Always prioritize exceptional customer service and maintain a clean and inviting environment to attract and retain customers.

Market Saturation

Challenge: In densely populated areas, there may be saturation in the laundromat market, leading to increased competition.

Solution: Don’t underestimate the power of thorough market research to identify areas with underserved laundry needs! Differentiate your laundromat by offering value-add services like pickup and delivery, loyalty programs, or amenities like Wi-Fi or comfortable seating. Always prioritize exceptional customer service and maintain a clean and inviting environment to attract and retain customers.

Fluctuations in Utility Costs

Challenge: Utility costs, such as water and electricity, can fluctuate and impact the operational expenses of a laundromat.

Solution: Implement energy-efficient equipment, such as using energy-efficient washers and dryers and LED lighting. Install water-saving devices and promote water conservation practices. Regularly monitor utility usage and explore options for negotiating better utility rates with service providers.

Staff Management

Challenge: Hiring and managing reliable staff can be a challenge, especially when it comes to finding trustworthy attendants to oversee the laundromat.

Solution: Put forth a comprehensive hiring process that includes background checks and thorough interviews. Provide proper training to staff members, including customer service skills, machine operation, and maintenance procedures. Foster a positive work environment and establish clear guidelines and expectations so you can keep  high-quality employees. Regularly communicating and conducting performance evaluations can help with this and address any issues proactively.

Evolving Customer Preferences

Challenge: Customer preferences and expectations may change over time, requiring laundromats to adapt and innovate.

Solution: Keep yourself up-to-date on industry trends and customer demands. You can streamline this by regularly seeking feedback from customers to understand their needs and preferences. Embrace technology advancements, such as mobile payment options or laundry booking apps, to enhance customer convenience. Continuously improve your services to meet ever-evolving customer expectations.


Investing in a laundromat franchise offers undeniable benefits for entrepreneurs. The stability of the laundry market, high revenue potential, and recession-resistant nature make it an attractive business opportunity. With a steady demand for laundry services, you can also depend on laundromats to provide a reliable source of income for the long foreseeable future.

By leveraging an established brand, proven business model, and ongoing franchisor support, you can position yourself for success as a franchisee in this thriving industry!

In- line Blog CTA - wash and fold

In this guide, learn how to start laundry pickup and delivery. Hire drivers, promote your services, and choose the right technology to boost revenue.