Dry Cleaning and Laundry Business is one of the most lucrative businesses any Nigerian can run without the need to go through rigorous training.
In Nigeria, most people do not have the time to do their washing, so they often employ the service of a dry cleaner, as often called, for the job. This business has proven to be profitable due to the low cost normally used to discharge the service.
While the words, “Dry Cleaning and Laundry Services” may be used frequently by people without any thought of what they actually mean, they do not actually mean the same. They are both methods normally used to remove dirt or stains on clothes or fabrics.
Dry cleaning as its name suggests does not adopt water as the main component, instead depends on chemical substances to get rid of stubborn dirt on any form of fabric. The business of dry cleaning is rarely carried out by most washers as it entails a deep understanding of the right solvent to use.
Laundry on the other hand is the most common in Nigeria today. Most people do not need any technical knowledge to wash, dry and iron clothes as it is a normal habit for most people during the weekend. Therefore, Laundry can be said to be the use of water, soap, or detergent to remove stains on clothes, garments, or any fabric. Bleach at times can also be used on stubborn stains or to ease the washing on some white clothes.
We have only been able to pinpoint the key difference between offering laundry and dry cleaning services in Nigeria, there is still much to know about this business, and we will be more than happy to work you through the details.
What to consider before investing in a Laundry Business In Nigeria
Although you can easily start with almost nothing, capital will go a long way in at least accelerating your progress. For instance, a permanent place to provide the laundry business, a washing machine, dryer, iron, etc are all very important.
It does not matter how small your capital is, money is very important for a successful delivery. Even if you do not have the required amount of capital, you can still resort to washing with hands until you are able to get a washing machine to make the job easy.
2. The environment
Like most businesses in Nigeria, it is important to do a proper investigation to have an idea of the location where a dry cleaning and laundry business can be most successful.
Starting a laundry service in a residential area with substandard housing may not be advisable due to the reason that most people in such areas will rather do their washing themselves.
If you are unable to secure the funds for a good location, you can still try to target places you are most likely to get clients. Still, aside from selling yourself short, you might be surprised that most of your potential customers will prefer a service close to their location. Therefore, it is recommended to set up the dry cleaning and laundry business in a location easily accessible to your potential customers.
3. Your working hours and availability
The average workers who may happen to be the majority of your customer close by 5 to 6 pm. Working hours is one of the things to consider. If you will always close very early, ensure you make arrangements with your customers to avoid losing them to another outlet.
To avoid running a dysfunctional service, you can hire an assistant which will be very useful for the proper running of your dry cleaning and laundry business. One of the keys to keeping customers is to be available whenever they need you.
Here comes the big part of any business which is creating awareness for your business. Marketing is like food to any business especially if you are just positioning yourself in the market.
What kind of marketing do you want to adopt to ensure that your business gets to the right people?
Whatever strategy you wish to use, will no doubt help your business but we will be encouraging you to also adopt online marketing which has proven to be the most positive in this new era.
Must-Have Equipment for a Laundry Business In Nigeria
To start a fully functioning dry cleaning business, below are the requirements aside from securing a place for your business:
1. Washing Machine
A washing machine should be on top of your list if you want to appear as a professional dry cleaner. It is easy for anyone passing along to notice what kind of service you offer immediately they spot the machine.
Instead of using your hands to wash, a washing machine will help speed things up and you will be surprised how much you can cover within a short time. A Single Tub Washing Machine is sold at just N45,000 while an Automatic Front Load Washing Machine With Smart Control costs around N150,000.
For a start, you can start with a single tub washing machine until you have enough to upgrade the equipment. If you are in an urban location where demands can potentially rise, you should go for the Automatic Front Load Washing Machine.
2. Steam pressing iron
For best output, it is advisable to go for steam iron due to its effectiveness in removing wrinkles from clothing. A dry iron may not perform to the level you want it to perform, but can still work some wonders if you know your way around.
Having wrinkle-free clothes delivered to your client is very important. This only shows you are professional to the core. The cost of a steam pressing iron is N5000 and could also go as high as N80,000. You do not need to spend much on that, just look for a good brand.
We are not strangers to the issue in Nigeria. Most businesses like dry cleaning services require a generator on days when Power Holding Company decides to hold light or when faulty.
It is also important to go for a generator that will carry your equipment. For a 1000w rated dry iron, a 2KVA generator should be able to carry it comfortably.
The cost of a generator set depends on the KVA. For a 1.8KVA, you should get it around N60,000, 2KVA cost at N1245,000, and 4.5KVA at the rate of N100,00.
4. Ironing Board
Ironing board may not be a priority if you have a good alternative. However, if you want to go all the way to have your ideal laundry space, then you should consider getting one.
Ironing board does not need a lot of space and can even be folded if you need more space. With at least N8,000, you should be able to get one for your dry cleaning business.
With the various equipment, you will be using for your laundry business, you are going to need fans. Fans will be needed to keep the temperature of the room cool a bit.
You can invest in standing and wall fans if you have the means. Alternatively, you can just install an Air Conditioner (AC) to keep the room temperature even cooler.
The cost of a standing and wall fan is around N7,000. A rechargeable fan with an 18 inches blade cost N30,000. And if you decide to get AC, then you should be having at least N110,000.
6. Dryer / Drying Machine
Although most people that provide laundering services in Nigeria do not own a drying machine as they depend on nature to take care of the drying aspect.
A dryer would make your work faster and even very easy to you than having to go through the stress of having the clothes dried outside. A dryer can be very expensive and should not be a priority. However, you can introduce it as you gain more customers. The cost of a Drying Machine in Nigeria is N100,000 and could go as high as N400,000 depending on the brand and capacity.
7. Clothes Drying Rack
Even if you own a Dryer, you will still need to acquire Clothes Drying Rack. Sometimes, there may be a power failure or any form of disruption, the clothes drying rack should be like a backup plan.
Aside from that, the thick texture does not do well in the dryer, more reason why getting a drying rack is a wise move. An Adjustable Hanger Clothes Dryer is sold at just N10,000
Sink is one of those pieces of equipment you can’t afford to leave out if you are leaning towards a standard set up. Having a sink installed in your workplace makes it easy for you to work.
Another benefit is that it allows you to handle dirt and water easily thereby leading to a cleaner environment.
Even without mentioning, everyone knows that detergents would be needed. While there are many brands out there, always go for a quality detergent for even greater results.
In Nigeria, we have been exposed to many of them who have done good, however, we will be recommending Ariel, So Klin, Omo, and Waw.
Detergent is very affordable and with just N800, you can get a family size that should last you for a while depending on the work at hand.
10. Stubborn stain removers
Stain remover will be needed for stubborn stains. As a professional dry cleaner, your client will need you to do a thorough job on their favourite fabric which they are not yet ready to let go of.
There are quite a good number of stain removers and among them, we have Vanish Powder, Astonish Fabric Stain Remover, and Mr. Sheen Stain Guard Fabric And Upholstery Protector.
11. Baking soda
Baking soda activities is not limited to just cooking, but also works wonder when it comes to removing stubborn dirt, and neutralizing odour on any kind of fabric.
Ensure to keep baking soda around to help when everything has failed. Baking soda is inexpensive.
12. Sewing kit
Sometimes your customers may not realize that their buttons are hanging by just a thread before giving them out to you for laundry. At times, you may also need to sew torn clothes, but it is always advisable to let your customers know they brought a torn cloth to avoid any misunderstanding that may arise.
Ensure the stitching or fixing is done before putting them out for wash and ironing. Getting a sewing kit is not that expensive.
13. Laundry Additives
Laundry Additives should also be among what you need to start a dry cleaning and laundry business in Nigeria. Baking soda, bleach, and vinegar are examples of Additives used in Laundry.
Laundry Additives are known to be very effective in removing odours that may come from urine, vomit, feces, etc. It can also work wonders for dirt as well.
14. Waste Bin
Dry cleaners are known to accumulate lots of waste which makes a Wastebin another required tool worth keeping around for the laundry business.
The availability of waste bins will make your working space even tidy and thereby make your space attractive for clients. Remember, the impression does matter a lot in business and since you are into cleaning service, this is one of the ways to show you that cleanliness is your motto.
15. Mop or towel
Given the nature of the service you render, you should have a mop or towel that you can use to clean whenever water or dirt split on the floor.
Sometimes, your customers may drop in and you do not want them to have an impression that you are messy.
How to start a laundry business in Nigeria
Use the guide below to invest in a dry cleaning business in Nigeria:
1. Secure funds for the business
Money will be required if you want to give the vibe of being a professional Washman. Therefore, you need to secure your sources of finance before you start making plans to put other things together.
To start offering a laundry or dry cleaning service, you should have at least N300,000 at hand which may not be enough to get all the required equipment, but should be for must-have ones.
For someone whose capital is low, a washing machine and steam iron are very important for the business. Then the space for your business plus other few items including Clothes Drying Rack, and Fans to help you get started. As you move up the ladder, you can improve your dry cleaning business.
2. Get a good location for your laundry business
Now that you have the funds to start your business. The next step will be getting a better location for your business. This is a very important step that you do not need to rush. You must pay attention to details, and go all the way to know if the location holds promises.
If the place is already full of people that offer such service, then you might need to up your game if ever you want to hold a considerable share in the market which can be done through aggressive marketing and quality delivery of service.
Notwithstanding, always choose a place where there is a low competition to grow at your own pace. When looking for a place, you should try looking for a location where people with significant income do turn up. Also, if you can get a location that has a path to Estate and Business area, then you may have hit the jackpot.
3. Choose an identity
Your business name is your identity. This is something you should not rush as your business name may stay for years. You need a name that is easily stuck and easier to pronounce.
When choosing your business name, ensure it is giving a brief account of what your business is. For instance, choosing to use “Owoloja Washers” as your business name may not speak well of your business. You need a name that describes your service. Whereas *Sparkling Cleaners”, “A Plus Cleaners”, and “Express Cleaners” are examples of a good business name.
4. Register your business
The next step to attend to when attempting to set up a laundry business is Business Registration. By registering your business, you can enjoy certain benefits such as protecting your business name, getting loans from banks, access to grants, and continuity.
Once you can come up with a name and secure a nice location for your business, you can register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The cost of registering a business in Nigeria will depend on the agent you use, you can register your business yourself on the CAC website.
5. Get Permits and Licenses
You need permits and licenses for most businesses in Nigeria. The condition for running a business will depend on the state. For instance, if you will be running your business in Lagos or Abuja, you will need to secure permits.
Take your time to make findings to avoid any form of interference while running your laundry business in Nigeria. Some shops and businesses are usually locked up due to the owners not adhering to the rules and regulations guiding the affairs of businesses in the state.
6. Acquire the equipment for your dry cleaning and laundry business
We have already listed the equipment you need and their respective prices. There are some equipment you can’t afford to leave out. Notwithstanding, you can start investing in the must-have ones while you grow the scale later.
Most businesses in Nigeria do not demand a huge amount of capital before you can start them. There is always a chance to expand your horizon. However, you still need even a small amount of capital to get things running.
Since you are just starting, you probably do not want to leave things to chance. You need extra effort since you are yet to be a force in your place of business.
How do you do that? You can start by putting in place advertising materials in your place of business. These include signposts, banners, and roll-up banners. Additionally, you can also use word of mouth and other forms of traditional marketing to influence the decisions of your potential customers.
Also, lately, online marketing has taken over and business owners have been tapping into it. The icing on the cake is you can get to advertise your business for free using social media platforms. And if you have the funds, you can also engage in paid ads to boost sales.
Most importantly, get your business on Google my Business if you have not done so. Through this, you will be surprised how much free traffic you will be getting when people use keywords such as “Dry cleaning services near me”