Laundromat Business Plan

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These days most experts will advise you to create a business plan before you decide to take the risks that are associated with starting a business. A laundromat is typically a little more complicated than other small business models so the need for research, planning and a clear direction are even more essential for entrepreneurs entering the coin operated laundry industry.

A laundromat business plan will help you to prove to yourself that your ideas are viable. With a plan in place you will be able to set clear goals and map out a path towards achieving them in an organized manner. A sound business plan may become essential if you have to show it to financiers or investors prior to getting the startup funds that you need. Lastly it will help you to be more realistic and to ask yourself some tough questions about your ideas.

In this article we have set out a sample laundromat business plan layout. We have set out some examples of titles and content that you might consider using. Feel free to use it as a template as you proceed to put your own plan together.

Cover Letter

Your plan should be set out neatly in a folder with a cover that outlines what the report is about and who contributed to it. It is likely that many different parties will read your plan so you may consider attaching a cover letter to each one that addresses the reader specifically, highlighting the concerns that they will have.

Contents Page

If the plan is any longer than a couple of pages you should include a table of contents. This includes a list of all headings and sub-headings together with a page reference so that the information can be located quickly by the reader.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a simple introduction to the report. Give the reader a brief introduction to your business plan and summarize each of the sections in the plan.

Mission Statement

While not essential, some businesses like to set out a mission statement which outlines their purpose or business philosophy. It usually covers non-financial motives. For a laundromat you might say that you strive to provide the best service to your customers or that you want to provide a clean, safe and efficient way for them to do their laundry. Your mission should be to do your best for the customer and to be better than your competitors.

Background

Provide readers with some background information on yourself and any other individuals who are involved with the proposed laundromat. Readers may want to know what your qualifications are and if you have had any experience in business or in the coin laundry industry.

Provide a background on the local coin laundry industry so that readers get a better understanding of the opportunities that are available.

If your planning has been in progress for a while then you might want to update the reader on what stage you are at. If you are considering purchasing an existing laundromat then you will want to outline the history of the business in this section too.

Business Description

Offer readers a basic description of the proposed coin laundry business. When will your new unit open for business? Where will it be located? Will you have an attendant on-site at the laundromat all day or only part-time?

Goals and Targets

Set out a list of realistic targets that you want to achieve with the business in the first year or two. Such targets could be financial and relate to gross or net profits on a monthly basis. They could also be related to other metrics such as membership numbers or customer satisfaction rates. Thinking longer term you may also set goals to expand into new locations.

Startup Requirements

Before you can launch your new laundromat business you must know exactly what you are going to need and how much it will cost. Costs will include everything from equipment purchases, renovations and marketing along with professional fees and compliance costs.

Once you have listed everything out you can then work out the total startup cost. From here you can mention some of the options that you have for funding the laundromat. Mention how much you will be able to contribute yourself and how much external funding you will require.

Products and Services

Go through the services that you plan on offering to customers. As well as a basic machine laundry service with washers and dryers you may also offer more upmarket services like ironing or dry cleaning. Make a note of the products that will be vended onsite. Obviously you will sell washing related products like soap powder and fabric softener but you may also offer non-related products like coffee and soda.

Market Analysis

As a prerequisite to writing a plan you should have done at least a little market research around the area where you propose to open your coin laundry. You can present your findings in this section of the plan.

In your research you should attempt to discover if there is sufficient demand for a laundromat in the area in question and if so, exactly what kind of services the people within this target market want.

You also need to consider the competition that you have in the local area. Produce a map that shows your customer catchment area bearing in mind that customers will usually go to the laundromat that is more convenient for them to get to. Look at the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Is it going to be possible to pull customers from the catchment area of competing laundromats? Can you make your service that much more attractive than theirs?

Marketing Plan

Set out a plan to bring new customers into your laundromat and to convert them into regulars. The marketing component of your plan should cover everything from the development of your brand, pricing, advertising, other marketing methods and customer service.

Remember that in the laundromat business you will be relying on building long term relationships with regular customers. You not only need to focus on bringing in new customers but you also have to focus on satisfying and ‘over delivering’ to your existing customer base. If you retain your customers and please them then you will also benefit by referrals and ‘word of mouth’.

Business Operations

Set out a plan for the daily operation of your laundromat. Make a note of the equipment that you will have in place and how the demands for water and energy will be met. Mention how you plan on maintaining the machines.

Discuss your daily staff requirements. What role will you, as the owner take in the daily running of the laundromat? How many employees will you need and what will their responsibilities be?

What other systems will you have in place to ensure that the laundromat runs smoothly on a daily basis and that you can control and manage the business efficiently. Will you have a computer system to keep track of stock and cash flows? What about a security system?

Financial Analysis

Lastly, but most importantly, a sound business plan will include detailed financial forecasts over a period of two to three years. This data is best displayed in spreadsheets so that you can set up a column for each month. Some businesses include more than one spreadsheet to allow for different situations. You may consider including one as a best case scenario and others that show revenue growing at a slower rate than is expected.

Try to identify a break even point where the business would basically be running without making a profit, but without losing money at the same time. Then you will have an idea of the customer volume that you will have to aim for. To calculate break even point you need to assume an average customer spend per visit and then calculate the number of customer visits needed on a monthly basis.

If you are borrowing money to start the business you should also include a repayment schedule to show how fast the loan will be paid back.

Appendix

Many assumptions are made in business plans so it is important to be able to give reasons as to why you made such assumptions. Rather than guessing you should try to include data that backs up your theories. Include an appendix at the end of your plan that includes all supporting materials that don’t fit conveniently into the pages of the report. These could include maps, pictures, spreadsheets, tables and lists of references and sources to name just a few examples.

Plan for Your Home Business

Are you writing a business plan for you home business? Do you really need one?

Why writing a business plan for a home business? A home business like any other needs a road map to a new destination. If you do not use one, you will end up lost before you get to your destination.

Every business no matter how small it is, must a have a business plan. You may not need a “formal” business plan document but you definitely need a “business plan” for you home business.

A formal business plan is a very long detail document with about 80-100 pages. A home business may not need this kind of elaborate plan, but writing a business plan is not an option. It is critical for your business.

Writing a business plan for your home business plan is just your “strategic planning.” You want to cover at least four major elements: 1) Your home business description and elements, 2) Your marketing plan, 3) Your financial plan, 4)) Your operations plan

1) Your Home Business Description and Elements: This element covers what kind of business you are doing. Regardless of your home business of choice, at the very minimum, you need to have the following:

  • Why: What is your main purpose of having home business? If it is just money, you may want to reconsider. Any business has to be driven by some sort of desire besides the financial rewards. This desire will give you the self-motivation that you need to do it; otherwise, you are setting yourself up to fail.
  • What: What is your home business? What is your product or service? What is your focus?
  • When: When do you plan to do it? Do you plan to work every day for 2-3 hours or 10 hours a day? Did you notice I said every day?
  • Where: The location is probably your home, but where in your home. Do you have a designated space for it? Can you have everything you need available in this space?
  • How: how you are going to execute? Is your business a one-person show? Do you need an assistant or a particular tool? Who is involved in your business?

2) Your Home Business-Marketing Plan: When writing a business plan, marketing is crucial. At the beginning, you can do many things. In addition, there are many that you do not know and you are not familiar with, however, at the very least, plan what you know.

  • Do you need a website or a blog?
  • How do you plan to get clients? Do you need word of mouth referrals? Do you need friend’s referrals or other local business referrals?
  • What is your market? Who is your target audience? Age, gender, and location, are important elements.
  • What are you customer needs? What problem are you trying to solve for them?
  • Who is your competition? How can you be better than they can?

3) Your Financial Plan: Although there are many home businesses that do not need a lot of money to start, you do need some capital to start and some to maintain. Do you know how much that is? Can you afford to start a business? Are you banking in your business to produce and maintain itself right away? If the latter is the case, you may want to reconsider. It will be a shame to put many hours of work and count in income you are not sure is going to come.

4) Your Operations Plan: This is your initial description on you plan of action

  • List your priorities
  • List your short-term items and have a dateline
  • List your long-term items and have a dateline
  • List your daily actions
  • Schedule your daily actions and your priorities

Although many home businesses have started with nothing in place, most have fail for not having something in place from the start. Writing a business plan does not guarantee success but it does guarantee you clarity in what you want to do and how to accomplish it.

This plan is necessary to utilize during your road trip. You adjust as you go. You correct and continue. It may be in just 5 pieces of paper, but if you did your homework, may be that is all you need to start and become successful.

Business Planning for Women

An increasing number of women are starting small businesses.

The number of small businesses that are starting up with women at the helm is growing and 30% of business owners in the UK are women (Labour Force Survey 2003). The reasons women decide to start their own business vary, with most reporting that they want to be their own boss, choose their working hours and enjoy better work life balance.

However for many of these women the reality of running a small business does not live up to their expectations; it is difficult to fulfill their dreams for their business and they become disillusioned and overwhelmed with the ongoing struggle of running a small business alongside their other roles in life – mother, partner, friend, daughter, chef, chauffeur, socialite – the list goes on!

One area that has been identified as a significant factor limiting the success of women in business is a lack of business planning.

Many women entrepreneurs and small business owners fail to set aside the time to develop (and regularly re-visit) their business vision and strategy. As the old quote goes, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. It is generally agreed that if you want your small business to succeed, you have a much greater chance if you have a clear vision and an action plan for bringing that vision about.

So what stops women who are starting a small business from developing an inspired and effective business plan?

After all, we know that we should have a business plan but despite the best of intentions to succeed in our business, many of us don’t! Why is this? What is it that stops us sitting down and writing a clear plan and strategy for our business, especially when we know that we are more likely to succeed if we do it?

We believe it is partly because writing a business plan is boring! Let’s face it, it feels like a chore so we don’t do it. We may get the resources together that we need, we may even get part of the way through writing it, but it is the rare few that actually complete a comprehensive business plan outlining a clear vision, strategy and action plan for their business. Often, we are chomping at the bit to get our product or service out into the world and figure we can simply skip the boring planning bit altogether right? We can certainly relate to this feeling because we struggled with business planning in the early days – we gave it a try but never seemed to get further than a few pages in!

It is our view that traditional models of business planning do not cater for women in business!

We believe that traditional models of business planning and strategizing don’t recognise that women in business have a life outside of work – that they have a partner, friends and family to think about and are not prepared to compromise on health and relationships to have a successful and profitable business. Women today want the best of both worlds; we think it is possible and that they deserve to have it!

Conventional business planning and management approaches are grounded in the belief that work and personal life should be kept separate, a task impossible for most women today. This makes it very difficult for them to create and sustain a business that acknowledges their business ambition AND empowers them to bring about great relationships and a healthy and balanced lifestyle for themselves and their loved ones.

So how can business planning be tailored to meet the needs of women in business?

Whether you are starting out in business or you are well-established, we encourage you to prioritise business planning in order to ensure a strategic approach to business growth and success.

  • Set aside the time and space to make this happen in your business now.
  • Acknowledge that traditional models of business planning may be a great starting point, but that they may not address your needs as a business woman who also values health, relationships and having a life outside of work.
  • Think outside the square and discover ways to plan your business that relieve stress rather than increase it. Look for tools that empower you to bring all aspects of yourself to the planning process – personal and professional – because the reality is that for women in business the two are intertwined and to be successful in one you must pay attention and care for the other!
  • Get creative in your approach – both to the process of business planning and also to the way you can incorporate the other aspects of your life into your successful business strategy.
  • Take action to implement your strategy so that it comes to life for you.
  • Commit to re-visiting with your business plan on an ongoing basis to ensure.

Business planning is vital to the success of your business, and can also encompass all the aspects of your life.

You do not have to sacrifice your health and relationships to be a successful business owner and entrepreneur. Take action now and plan for your success in business and in life.

Part 1 of Your Business Plan

Remember when you were a kid and your allowance was just never enough for all the hockey cards or bubble gum that you wanted? So like any normal kid, you came up with creative ways to make more money. Maybe you tried selling an old broken toy to your little brother, or perhaps you decided to take on a venture like the iconic lemonade stand. Perhaps, you would try poaching supplies from the kitchen, only to be run off by a parent. Or maybe, you had a more organized approach. Maybe some of you knew you would have to have a plan before the parents would let us get into something so involved. You would make a list of what was needed, what you would charge per serving and how you split up the money. It would have been your first business plan – albeit a little undeveloped.

No matter the size, age or purpose of a business – it needs a plan. Even if you started your business years ago with the intention of just running it out of your garage, you still need a plan. So what is a business plan, aside from a list of supplies and prices? It is a formal statement of goals for your business, the reasons they are attainable and a plan for reaching them. Some business plans are hundreds of pages long, others begin as notes on a scrap piece of paper. No matter how it begins, the end result will bring your business closer to success. Below is an outline of the main components to your business plan.

Executive Summary

The executive summary summarizes your business plan. The most important component of it is your mission statement. It will sum up the purpose of your business, what you will tell your clients to make them understand what it is you do. The executive summary will not contain any technical language, highlighting the most important components of the business and how you plan to make it succeed. Basically, if your reader does not wish to go over every detail of the entire plan at that particular time, they will be able to read the executive summary and still have a good grasp of your venture. If you are drawing up a plan for an existing business, include how many years in operation, the existing legal and financial structures. The document will make recommendations on how you plan to meet your goals, but the step by step details will be in the body of the business plan. If there are multiple sections in your business plan, the executive summary will summarize them. If you are seeking financial assistance, this where you would sum up your needs, the reasons you need the money and how you plan to pay it back. The document will end with a conclusion summarizing the overall executive summary. The executive summary should be located at the front of your business plan, but it is best to write it after you have written the rest of the plan first. When all the research is done and you have thought about every little detail of the past, present and future of your venture, the executive summary will be much easier to write.

Business Description

Here is where you describe your business in more detail. Some very small businesses do not include this section because the information is already adequately listed in the executive summary. For mid to large ventures, this section is very important as it gives the reader a much clearer idea of the day to day operations. If you are an existing business, list the details on your corporate structure, the size of your work force, key product lines, physical locations of assets (such as real estate and large equipment) and the annual sales figures. If you are a brand new business, your business description will be more simple. List employees you expect to hire, projected sales figures, the products you expect to push the most revenue, location of facilities (where you plan to do business), at what stage of development you are in and your corporate structure (if you have one). The management team is also outlined in this section, as well as their responsibilities.

For larger more comprehensive ventures, there will be sections on business environment analysis, industry background and competitor analysis. These are very important issues to cover, especially when asking for financial assistance. Any one defect in the above assessments could mean the failure of the venture, so be realistic in your research and conclusions. For smaller businesses, old or new, these sections may not need to be covered at all. If you feel they are relevant to your plan but do not require their own section, simply include them with the business description portion of the business plan.

The business description will probably be the first and easiest part of the business plan to write. It is a great way to begin, as it gets you thinking about all the details you may not have considered before. If we continued to use the lemonade stand as our example business for drawing up a business plan, then the business description would probably be very simple. We would describe whose house our table would be in front of, if a parent was supervising the operations and what we have already done in preparation to open. In part two of this series, we will look at the core of our business and how to document it.