CLA Connect Open Forum

Owning A Laundromat

  • 1.  Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-09-2019 17:37
    Hello everyone,

    My name is Shaena and I'm from Parma Heights, OH.  I want to be an owner and operator of a laundromat but I don't know where to begin.  I have been searching for laundromats on the market without much such success as a result of laundromats not being on the market like a home.

    Can anyone here point me in the right direction of how to begin locating laundromats for sale?  Another question that I have is, does it make since to purchase an existing laundromat or build from the ground up?

    I appreciate any advice or suggestions that can be offered to me.

    Thank you,

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    Shaena Ragin
    Parma Heights OH
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  • 2.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-09-2019 17:54
    Shaena;

    Welcome.
    Question to you how far do you want to travel to own your mat? Do you want to relocate?
    It normally is not considered wise to have a mat a distance away form your residence. Even an hour away could be a problem. Yes there are a few that do this and some of them have excellent staff to accomplish this. However do you want to be a sole operator? are you going to have employees? How large of a mat are you going to have?
    Do you have resources to handle the jobs and finances?
    Are there any mats in your local area? IF not do you have the population to build and sustain one?
    Do your research and answer these questions. Too many variables to give pinpoint answers.


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    Deward Stout
    Hurricane Laundromat & Storage
    Hurricane UT
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  • 3.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-09-2019 18:04
    You have been given excellent sound advice. (And free I might add) Please pay attention to every single detail mentioned.

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    Curt Harrington
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  • 4.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-09-2019 18:14
    Hi,

    Just to answer some of your questions.  I am aware that I need to live in close proximity of my laundromat so the only way that I would be willing to relocate is if I was able to locate one and wanted to move closer to it.  Currently, everything that I need is no more than 15 minutes away and I would prefer to keep it that way.  Yes, i would like to be the sole operator of the laundromat.  There is only 1 laundromat in my area that was truly on the market from my research.  Unfortunately, it's not in the best area, it shares the parking lot with other businesses, near more homes than apartments, the list goes on for the not a good property decision. I am working with the ECDI here which helps with financing, investments, etc. Lastly, in researching the most reliable commercial equipment with the best warranties a distributor has been offering his assistance.  If I can provide an address for a building in a desirable area, he provides the demographic report for me to help me determine if I can build and sustain.

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    Shaena Ragin
    Shaena Ragin Person
    Parma Heights OH
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  • 5.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-09-2019 19:36
    See if there is a local "SCORE" organization. Or search "SCORE" and contact them. It wont cost you anything yet give you tremendous assistance.


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    Deward Stout
    Hurricane Laundromat & Storage
    Hurricane UT
    ------------------------------

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  • 6.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-09-2019 22:04
    I have been receiving coaching from SCORE since early 2017 but without much success.  Each time that I have met with a coach, they have changed and none of them have any experience or knowledge of the laundromat business.  I did ask around for a business coach and was referred two people that have been extremely helpful in these last couple of months with introducing me to a woman at ECDI (Economic & Community Development Institute) who then introduced me to a gentleman at HBC (Hispanic Business Center).  These individuals are helping me in many ways but are unable to offer any suggestions or direction when it comes to locating a laundromat for sale.

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    Shaena Ragin
    Shaena Ragin Person
    Parma Heights OH
    ------------------------------

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  • 7.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-09-2019 22:32
    Edited by Juan Vazquez 06-10-2019 02:45
    Hi Shaena,

    Patience is key.  It sounds as though you've been performing some good research & working with different types of mentors.  That's a great start.

     There should be a few related posts on this forum. You may want to stop in at some of the existing mats to see if the owner might be interested in selling.  Leave your number & keep checking back.  You never know.  Life happens. Owners die, get divorced, sell in order to be closer to or to take.care.of.afing.ladwnts, kids, new gf or bf.  All sorts of possiblities.

     Building one is very expensive & loaded with an equal amount of risk.

      I'm not surprised about the results you discovered with SCORE.  While I am sure there are some locations that have had better luck, the majority of them won't be much help.

     This has been discussed before, the mat business is a bit of an odd often misunderstood business. Many organizations such as SCORE or banks are just not very clear on this business what it takes or the details.

     That being said, it's a blessing & a curse.  Blessing because it helps filter some of the investors that will not get into the business because they don't understand if and / or underestimate or.  Of course some still do and end up either liking it or hating it.  Curse because the means that the resources are few & limited resulting in added risk & struggles.

     In the interim keep saving for your business while you learn & understand it.  Keep checking on the existing ones to see if there.might be an opportunity to purchase one local to you.

     Other option? Clist, business for sale websites, network with local owners, businesses, & the coaches that you are working with.

     Good luck.


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    Juan
    Cocoa FL
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  • 8.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 22:36
    Hi Juan,

    Thank you so much, I will continue to research as well as ask for assistance and/or direction.  I have visited several laundromats requesting to speak with the owner but now I will leave my name and number if possible and ask for a call to discuss the laundromat.  If I come across a property that interests me, I will stay on top of it and its owner.  I will continue to save as well as work with the ECDI and HBC as well.

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    Shaena Ragin
    Shaena Ragin Person
    Parma Heights OH
    ------------------------------

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  • 9.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-10-2019 00:03
    How much money do you have to put down?

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    Luigi
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  • 10.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-10-2019 01:28
    What is the SCORE organization that you're referring to? I tried Google searching and didn't find anything related to laundromats

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    Cliff Tsang
    Cliff Tsang Person
    Cupertino CA
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  • 11.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-10-2019 03:04
    SCORE = Service Corp Of Retired Executives.  These folks work with local cities and counties to assist with business & entrepreneurial guidance & assistance.

     Items such as business plan assistance, critique, Corp structure, some networking etc.

     Typically their background is based on their experience & business models which generally speaking does not regularly consist of retired mat owners.

     I know in my experience, I spent more time enlightening them with this business as opposed to them helping me with my questions /i ssues.  They were fascinated with the the idea of weighing quarters.

     They even joked about how they could not help but thanked me for enlightening them about something they knew nothing about at the end of the session. Lol.

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    Juan
    Cocoa FL
    ------------------------------

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  • 12.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-10-2019 11:51
    That's awesome, thanks for sharing and explaining to me.

    I could see how that's hit or miss with the type of expertise you'd get. Ideally, though, they could be a good source of objective wisdom as you're getting started.

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    Cliff Tsang
    Cliff Tsang Person
    Cupertino CA
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  • 13.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 22:38
    Cleveland SCORE
    1350 Euclid Ave.
    Cleveland, OH 44115

    ------------------------------
    Shaena Ragin
    Shaena Ragin Person
    Parma Heights OH
    ------------------------------

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  • 14.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 09:23
    Yet again,

    The original poster disappears.

    Now I know why brokers are willing to put so little time into tire-kickers.

    I think my question was among the most relevant:  "How big a check are you willing to write?"

    That should be an easy one to answer and give the most information about how much time to spend "mentoring".

    Also, not a big fan of SCORE, very few tangible results from those guys.

    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------

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  • 15.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 22:43
    Hi Luigi,

    I must say that you are the first unkind person that I have encountered here. I am very interested in owning a laundromat but I do have personal things going on that I do not have to explain in this forum.  I did not and will not every disappear as you mentioned.  If you don't have any advice, suggestions, or kind words for a single mother, full time employee who is chasing her dream, I ask that you please not respond to any of my posts.

    Thank you so much

    ------------------------------
    Shaena Ragin
    Shaena Ragin Person
    Parma Heights OH
    ------------------------------

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  • 16.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-10-2019 08:06
    Edited by Gail Cole 06-10-2019 13:01
    Contact the local distributors (Advantage Equipment, Balinki ect), they usually know what is available. My husband was int the repair business up there and we considered a mat but never found what we considered a good deal. I hope you realize that repair will be one of your biggest expenses. My husband has repaired so much equipment that the owner thought they knew how to fix. It is not simple, he has almost thirty years of experience. Great parterre for me:)

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    Gail Cole
    President
    Coastal Clean Laundry
    Leland NC
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  • 17.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-10-2019 22:15

    Shaena;

    Unfortunately You want another person to find you a mat for sale. You want to stay in your own area 15 minutes away from from your mat. You found the only ONE in your town; but alas it is not in a good location. You have contacted other organizations that has not helped you find a mat. Yet if they could have helped you you would be singing their praises. Perhaps what you want does not exist!!!
    Apparently there is no mats available in your town to purchase. This can lead you to move to another location or find a building to put in all the infrastructure to put in your own mat. Both of theses options are risks.
    The current mat in your town. Can it be improved to take away the negative ideals you see in it? However, on the other side, if you went ahead with the purchase of it you would have no competition in your town! That is defiantly worth something. No one would want to pay all the costs to put one in to compete with you. That there has some merit to it. That is something to think about. In my area there are more homes with washers and dryers in them than there are apartments. I still do well and am known by the "townsfolk". Sometimes you can take those so called negatives and still be successful with them after doing a little tweaking of your place.
    Have you purchased the book "Coin Laundries Road to Financial Independence" by Emerson G Higdon? I would strongly suggest to do so and read it. Then read it again with a highlighter and pen to underline what you missed the first time.
    Have you purchased the book "Today's Coin Laundry" by CLA? I also would strongly suggest you purchase it and read it twice.
    To respond to others about the so called experts in the SCORE organization. Some times we have to be the ones who educate these people about our own business.
    I have had to help educate bankers, accountants, insurance agents, and CPAs about my business. And guess what, I now have them on my team. Heck even some Plumbers, HVAC, and #@%$ Distributor and Manufacture Sales persons about my place. Some of those last 2 down talked to me implying I did not know what I was talking about. It sure is good I didn't listen completely to them. My financials have proven me correct. Oh and some of those sales persons are shocked that I am still in business!!! Huh I sure proved them wrong!

    Best wishes in your search. Remember we are still here to assist you how we all can.





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    Deward Stout
    Hurricane Laundromat & Storage
    Hurricane UT
    ------------------------------

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  • 18.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 23:20
    Hi Deward,

    No, I don't want someone else to locate a laundromat for me.  I apologize if that is what my question sounded like.  I was just asking for suggestions in addition to what I am already doing in order to locate a property.  For an example, Gail mentioned speaking with distributors because they would be in the know as they have more than likely serviced a property or several for many years.  Prior to coming to this forum I was in conversation with a distributor for Dexter who is helping me out but I will continue to seek out other distributors as well.  So many people here like yourself are already in business and I was hoping to hear where and/or if I'm something somewhere or do I just need to continue as is and be patient is all. I purchased, read and highlighted the book Laundromat Business Startup: How to Start, Run & Grow a Successful Washateria Business by Rebecca Wilson.  Thank you for the books that you have mentioned, I will be purchasing them as well.  You can never be too knowledgeable on a topic right.

    Thank you so much for your responses.

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    Shaena Ragin
    Shaena Ragin Person
    Parma Heights OH
    ------------------------------

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  • 19.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 22:48
    Hi Gail,

    Thank you for that suggestion.  I am currently working with a distributor for Dexter on locating any properties with an older owner, mismanaged, etc.  This gentleman is also helping me with demographic reports on existing laundromats and vacant properties that could possibly be renovated and/or updated to become a laundromat.  It is a bit of a slow process but I am patient and will not give up.

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    Shaena Ragin
    Shaena Ragin Person
    Parma Heights OH
    ------------------------------

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  • 20.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-10-2019 23:14
    ^^^^ very well stated.  You've illustrated my point in greater detail   my local SCORE folks were unable to do much. It was a wasted effort.

     I too have had to educate "professionals" such as accountants, bookkeepers, & bankers even.  As stated prior, this business is misunderstood, underestimated, not taken seriously, and still has a bit of a negative stigma associated with it.

     Now before some of the "purist" get their blood pressure up again, understand that the data is.out there.  For every very nice, well.designed, comfortable, well run mat out there there are about 10 others (conservatively speaking) that are unprofitable, in need of retool, better management, better owners, better service etc. All you have to do is drive around & see for yourselves if you happen to be in denial.

     Professionals, bankers, friends & neighbors see this and scoff at this business and concude it's a bust.  Think about it.  If you were to tell 10 people that you own a mat. Better than half will give you a funny look and ask is it profitable?  Or they'll say... I've always wondered about that, or they'll say they once considered it but we're talked out of it by family, the wife, or friends.  Some will ask about vandalism, business safety etc.. why do we think this is?  Because that is what they see or experience

     What's the answer?  Is there an answer?  In some ways no.  Few will admit the fact that they are okay with it because they're doing fine and perhaps prefer to stay off the radar.  Others will be so busy trying to extricate themselves from the  nightmare while others are too busy building more stores, or focusing on what they do to care one way or another.

     Ultimately the irony if you willi, is that were all in the same industry / business and work.off the same fundamental sklls.  Customer service, equipment knowledge, business acumen, marketing, making profit albeit to varying degrees depending on the owners goals & motivation.

     Yet with all of that knowledge & experience, this small group of members is and remains disproportionate to the the overall number of mats / mat owners.

    ------------------------------
    Juan
    Cocoa FL
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  • 21.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 08:38
    Edited by Larry Adamski 06-11-2019 08:54
    Juan,

    Imagine what would happen if every laundromat suddenly became well-run with good equipment and enthusiastic operators.  Suddenly there would be stiff competition EVERYWHERE.  Laundromats would begin to compete mainly on price.  Vended rates would begin to drop. Profits would become illusive.  Owners would become discouraged and perhaps sell their business.  But who would buy an unprofitable laundromat?

    Be careful what you wish for.

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    Larry Adamski
    Muskegon Laundromat
    Muskegon, Michigan
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  • 22.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-11-2019 13:09
    Hi Larry,

     To begin with, that will never happen simply because all owners are not alike. They don't all think the same about their businesses or customers for that matter.  Equal to that, I am not wishing for anything rather stating what Ive  witnessed & experiences through the years as both an owner and a customer when I'm work assignment(s).

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    Juan
    Cocoa FL
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  • 23.  RE: Owning A Laundromat

    Posted 06-13-2019 12:50
    Shaena,

    Sorry, must have missed it.

    How much money are you ready to put down for a store?

    That number will drive all other advice answers.  Nothing said on here, or by SCORE or some other mentor is going to be of use until the answer is stated, whether the number is $25,000, $190,000 or $500,000.



    ------------------------------
    Luigi
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