Should My Laundromat Be 24-Hours?
In our years working in the laundry industry, a lot of people have asked us about hours of operation for their laundromats. It’s an interesting topic and figuring out the best hours of operation for your laundry business isn’t something to take lightly. One thing that always comes up is whether or not to keep your laundromat open 24 hours a day. While 24-hour laundromats can be profitable, there are a lot of facts to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons to help determine if you should extend your laundromat hours.
Pros of 24-Hour Laundromats
- Additional profit opportunities. Extended hours may mean more customers using your laundromat and extra profits for your business. If the overnight hours prove to be popular among your customer base, it could have a real impact on your bottom line.
- Reach new customers. Staying open later allows you to reach a whole new group of customers — such as students, medical professionals, factory workers, and other 2nd shifters — who may find it inconvenient to do laundry during normal business hours. Building a steady stream of loyal customers is crucial for your laundromat’s long-term success.
- Brand distinction for marketing efforts. Not many businesses are 24-hours, so that angle can be attractive when used across marketing and advertising. It’s a great way to set your laundromat apart from others in the area that may have more limited hours.
Cons of 24-Hour Laundromats
- More downtime. Since most people are sleeping in the late evening/early morning hours, chances are your laundromat will have less foot traffic during these non-peak times. It may be a challenge to draw in a large enough customer base that makes staying open 24/7 worth your while.
- Higher costs. Longer hours mean you’re keeping the lights, heating/air conditioning, and your commercial laundry equipment running more frequently. Plus, you’ll likely have to pay additional staff to operate your business during these non-peak hours. All of these expenses will increase your overhead and operating costs significantly.
- Insurance costs. Some insurance companies may charge you more or reject coverage when you’re open all day due to increased risk for them.
Other Factors to Consider
- Does the laundromat break even or turn a profit during non-peak business hours? As noted above, you’ll see higher overhead costs and potentially fewer customers during the overnight hours. You’ll want to take a look at the numbers to determine whether or not you’re making a profit and if operating 24/7 is smart from a financial standpoint.
- Is this something your main customer base is asking for or needs? Take a look at your customer base. If this is something a lot of customers have been asking about or you have a lot of customers coming in toward the end of the day already, it may be worth it to extend your business hours 24/7. A survey via email, social media, or in-person can also be helpful to help you determine whether later hours would draw in additional customers.
- Do you have the staff necessary to keep operating during these times? Opening 24/7 likely means hiring additional staff. You have to weigh whether or not that’s something you can afford from both a financial and time perspective. Employees require wages, benefits, training, and ongoing mentoring and support.
- What are the crime patterns in the area? We recommend checking with law enforcement and nearby businesses to see what the crime is like in the area and, most importantly, what time these crimes occur. If issues tend to be higher in the overnight hours, you may want to adjust your hours or security measures accordingly.
- Will your lease agreement allow 24/7 operation? If you lease your laundromat facility, take a look at your agreement. Some leases limit the hours you can be open or have other restrictions that may impact your new hours. If necessary, check with the property owner and update or create a new lease before moving forward.
- Do other businesses nearby operate during the same hours? Having other businesses open during non-peak provides more of a draw for customers. It also provides an additional air of safety, since there are more employees and customers around the area to deter potential theft and vandalism.
Deciding whether or not to open a 24-hour laundromat is a big decision. The experts at Martin-Ray Laundry Systems are here to help. Contact our coin-laundry experts for the most advanced commercial laundry equipment and ongoing business support.