How to Start a Profitable Laundry Business in Nigeria

How to Start and Run a Successful Laundry Business in Nigeria

How to start laundry business in Nigeria

Laundry (sometimes called dry cleaning) business is a very popular and common business in Nigeria. But it is not just popular but equally very lucrative. Unfortunately many young people especially graduates tend to despise it. They consider it a menial job and would rather go in pursuit of white collar jobs. I however consider this as unfortunate seeing the high rate of graduate unemployment in Nigeria. In today’s blog post I will show you how to start a laundry business in Nigeria and make at least N300,000 monthly. I will equally give you details of the equipment needed, the startup cost and the possible revenue from the business. Finally you will learn how to start a laundry  business in Nigeria with little or no money.

What is a Laundry Business?

Laundry basically refers to the art of washing clothes with the use of water, soaps or detergents. But more broadly speaking laundry also refers to the process of washing, drying, ironing and packaging dresses. So laundry business is about washing other peoples clothes for a fee.

Difference Between laundry and Dry Cleaning

The fundamental difference between dry cleaning and laundry is the use of water. As the name implies ‘dry-cleaning’ does not involve the use water while laundry uses water. So, that word ‘dry’ is where the difference lies. Most dry cleaners use chemical solvents like perchloroethylene (PERC) to get rid of stains. But beyond this, there are other differences between laundry and dry cleaning.

Difference between Laundry and Dry Cleaning
Difference between Laundry and Dry Cleaning

What are the Services of a Laundry Business?

Most laundry outlets offer both dry cleaning and laundry services simultaneously. In fact it will be naive to offer one and leave the other. In addition, there are other quick services you can offer as a laundry man or woman. Here are the top on my list.

  • General Dry Cleaning
  • Laundry Services
  • Express Ironing Service
  • Home/ Office cleaning Items
  • Folding of dresses
  • Repairs and Alteration
  • Carpet & Upholstery cleaning

How Much Does It Cost To Set Up a Laundry Business?

If you are talking about how to start a laundry business in Nigeria one key factor you need to check is cost. You must sit down to count the cost of starting a laundry before you venture into it. Though I will be dealing with this in detail when we get into the section of “the steps by step guide of how to start a laundry business in Nigeria” but for now let me just say that with a budget of 500,000 naira to 2 million naira you can start a decent laundry/dry cleaning business depending on your location.

Is laundry Business a Profitable Venture?

In this article, how to start a profitable laundry business in Nigeria a pertinent question to ask is “how profitable is it?’ Well, my answer would be, “very profitable”. Laundry business is such a profitable venture no matter your location in Nigeria. First of all it does not involve so much operating cost. As a matter of fact, once you have set up the business all you need as your recurrent cost is basically the purchase of soap/detergent and/or chemicals. An average laundry in Nigeria makes a gross profit of N100,000 per month. This could easily be scaled by engaging more workers. And if you operate from you house you can be sure of N60,000 monthly.

Why People Choose to Use Laundry Services

If you are here to learn how to start laundry business in Nigeria you may as well be asking if people will be willing to patronise the service. So why will people choose to give you their dresses rather than wash it themselves?

  1. Many families are simply too busy to wash their clothes by themselves
  2. Most women are now working class and won’t be available for domestic chores like laundry
  3. It is faster to use a laundry service
  4. A professional laundry adds a professional touch to dresses
  5. It helps individuals and families keep up with their personal hygiene
  6. Using professional cleaners helps retain the quality of dresses longer

Why you should Start a Laundry Business

I will give you 7 good reasons you should seriously consider laundry if you are looking for a business to start in Nigeria:

  1. It is one of the businesses you can start without an initial capital
  2. You can have customers from day one
  3. Even if you need to setup a standard laundry the cost is still moderate
  4. It is very profitable – gives more than 300% return on investment
  5. You can run it on part time basis if you have other job or business
  6. It does not require any specialty skill – anybody can start it
  7. Like every other entrepreneurial venture you gain control of your time

Equipment for Laundry Business

If you are thinking of how to start a laundry business in Nigeria then it is important you check for the equipment you may need. We have stated earlier on that it is possible to start from your house. If it is possible to run home services. And finally you can decide to operate a standard laundry outlet. So the type of laundry/dry cleaning service you choose to run will determine the equipment you will need.

But basically these are some of the non-exhaustive list of equipment/items for a regular dry cleaning/laundry business:

  1. Washing Machine
  2. Electric Iron
  3. Generator
  4. Bowls
  5. Drums
  6. Buckets
  7. Baskets
  8. Hangers
  9. Packaging nylons
  10. Tables or ironing boards for ironing
  11. Table clothes
  12. Starch

Steps of How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

Below are 9 simple steps of how to start a laundry business in Nigeria:

Step 1: Get The Skill – How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

You don’t need to be told this, do you? It will be an error of the highest order to try and go into a business that you don’t have the necessary core skills to manage. And for a laundry/dry cleaning business the core skills are washing, ironing and folding. These are the three most important skills. Some people naturally have these skills either that they picked it unconsciously as they grow or something. Others need to be more deliberate in their efforts to learn it.

If you don’t have these skills it will be important you sort them out before you move further. And even if you want someone to manage the business for you (which is okay) but sometimes you still need to learn it in case of an emergency. You don’t want to close your shop because a staff resign. Neither would you want to be held to ransom for any reason since you can’t do without a staff.

Step 2: Visit Nearby Laundry Outlets – How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

Even though you can wash, you can iron and you can fold, but before you take any step on how to start a laundry business in Nigeria I will recommend that you pay an on-site visit to at least 2 laundry outlets in the city where you want to start. This is actually a step I always recommend no matter the business one wants to venture into. It does not matter how much theoretical knowledge you may have about the business. For instance I am going to be as detailed as possible here. But it still doesn’t and shouldn’t take the place of physical site visit.

I recommend you book a formal appointment with the owner or manager of the laundry where possible. Try to visit all the departments from the washing department to the ironing department, to the packaging department. Don’t forget to also visit the admin and accounts departments. Ask as many question as possible.

Another great hack for this is to get a job in a laundry company. Apply as if you really need a job. As a staff you will have an unrestricted access to almost all the departments and even the business secrets they will not disclose to outsiders. Remember that all businesses have their own trade secrets no matter how simple it may appear from the outside.

How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria - Garment Care
How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria – Garment Care

Step 3: Prepare a Business Plan – How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

Well, if you have followed my how to start a business series you will know that this is a MUST. You need to prepare a business plan on how to start a laundry business in Nigeria before you start committing your money. Any business you start without a plan is tantamount to failure. Just as the saying goes “if you fail to plan then you have already planned to fail”.

Your business plan should be able to specify the following information in details:

  • Your vision and mission
  • The equipment you will require
  • Your business/revenue model
  • The amount you need to start
  • The number of staff you need (if any)
  • Your expected monthly running cost
  • The projected monthly revenue
  • Your marketing strategies
  • Your competitors and competitive advantage

It is the business plan that will tell whether you are ready for the business or not. Business plan is like the biblical “counting the cost”. It will show you if you have the necessary resources for take off and also for sustenance. And in a situation where it shows you don’t have enough resources to start it is equally the business plan that you can use to source for funding.

No matter the amount you require to start or scale any business with a bankable business plan you can raise that amount and more. In fact if investors or funding institutions can see your financial forecasts and ti makes sense to you, then money will not be the problem.

FYI: A bankable business plan is a detailed and reliable document that indicates that a business is healthy enough to receive interest from lenders or investors. It is a basic indicator of a company’s success or prospects.

Step 4: Register Your Business with CAC – How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

This is not compulsory. But I will still recommend it if you have a long term plan for the business and if you have the big picture in mind. As you already know, registering your business with CAC makes people to take you more seriously and also gives a feel of legitimacy. In fact there are certain activities you are not likely to carry out without a formal CAC registration.

Step 5: Get a Good Location  – How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

With your business plan in your hand you can now go out and secure an outlet based on the criteria defined in your business plan. Let me state that in this topic of how to start a laundry business in Nigeria location is critical. Location will determine several other factors like the quality of customers you can attract, how much you can change and the number of customers you can have. So i will advise you take time and think it through before making a decision.

It will also be important for you to factor in the security report of an area before you start. You don’t want to start only to come one morning and discover that your generator or peoples’ clothes are missing.

Step 6: Prepare a Price list – How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

On how to start a laundry business in Nigeria you equally need a standard price list to work with. Prepare it ahead of time and paste it where customers will see it when they walk into your office. This will save you from unnecessary bargaining and argument about price. In preparing your price list ensure that you consider how much your competitors charge. You don’t want to scare your customers using exorbitant prices.

Step 7: Set Up Your Accounting System – How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

You can start with a simple spreadsheet and later upgrade to more advanced software. But by al means let there be a formal account records of all transactions from day one. Your income and expenditure should be well documented from start. This is one of the documents tat helps you in decision making about the business.

Step 8: Do proper branding -How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

Your business is gradually setting. But people need to know you are here. They need to be able to identify you in the midst of several other businesses around the neighbourhood. So get some good designs displaying your business name, your services and your contacts. Produce it in as many formats as your budget can carry and as your environment might demand. You can print it as flex banners and hang in strategic locations, you can print as fliers and share around. And you can even do a sign post and put in front of your office if the necessary agencies allows it.

Step 9: Advertise Your Laundry -How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

This is a follow up to step 7 above. Use every available means to promote your laundry business. You can’t just wait for people to come and meet you in your shop. You need to do extensive marketing through every means available to you. I also recommend the use social media or even create a website for your laundry.

Challenges/Risk of a Laundry Business in Nigeria

Business and risk go hand in hand. If you are an entrepreneur you should already know that venturing is about risking. So before you think of starting any business in Nigeria one of the things you need to check carefully are the likely challenges you could face and think of how to handle them. For this topic of how to start a laundry business in Nigeria below are the likely challenges:

  1. Low patronage
  2. Poor profit margin especially where the patronage is low
  3. Competition; this is common because there is a low entry barrier into the industry
  4. Lack of regular power supply; this will inevitably increase your operating cost
  5. Damage and loss of customers clothes
  6. Complaints from dissatisfied customers

Top 7 Laundry Businesses in Nigeria

A recent report by a Lagos-based consultancy firm Nabioet Eagle Limited revealed some of the top laundry and dry cleaning businesses in Lagos. Here are the top 7 of them:

  1. Garment Care Limited
  2. Clean Ace Fabricare
  3. Snow Flake
  4. Laundry by Time Signature Limited
  5. West Man Quest Limited
  6. Nathans Superior Dry Cleaners
  7. The Laundry Box Limited
Top 7 Laundry and Dry Cleaning Businesses in Lagos
Top 7 Laundry and Dry Cleaning Businesses in Lagos

How to Start a Laundry or Dry Cleaning Business Without Money

Laundry or dry cleaning business is one of the businesses that one can start without any major startup capital. And I want to share with you practically how you can start a laundry business in Nigeria without money.

FYI: What I am about to share now is on the assumption that you already have the basic skills for laundry like washing, ironing and folding of clothes perfectly.

Simply go out there and tell people that you can help them to wash their clothes for a fee. At first some of them might be reluctant, but you will need to start from friends and family members. Talk to members of your church or social clubs that you know patronage professional dry cleaners. Go to their houses and collect the clothes. Wash it and return it to them.

There is a high chance that you already have an electric iron for your personal use. You are likely to have basins, bowls or buckets for washing too. So all you have to do is buy detergent and starch. Pay attention to every detail of the job. Don’t give any room for your work to be criticized. If you package the clothes well, no one will know that it was washed at home.

You don’t necessarily need to buy a generator for this. Just target when there is public electricity supply and plan along with that. If you have to stay awake in the night to iron those clothes do. Of course, since you don’t have so much money you should be ready to work some extra hours and make some sacrifice too.

Finally, it will take some humility to do this and I think I should let you know ahead of time.

How Much Can One Make From This Model?

My survey shows that at the lowest price of N200 per shirt or trousers that you can wash and iron 20 pieces of clothing in a day. And that is approximately N4,000 daily. All things been equal, the materials you use on that is not likely to be more than N1,000. Meaning you can make as much as N3,00 profit in a day.

Conclusion of How to Start a Laundry Business in Nigeria

As you can see how to start a laundry business is a business in Nigeria is not such a difficult thing. it is something that almost anyone that has interest in it can do. With a budget of 500,000 to 2,000,000 naira you can start a standard small scale laundry business and grow from there.

It is even possible to start from your house and make as much as N60,000 profit working only 20 days in a month.

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