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Identifying the “Perfect” Laundromat Location

Location, Location, Location: Identifying the “Perfect” Laundromat Location

“The three most important things in retail are location, location and location.”
— Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon

First, a bit of honesty; there is no “perfect” laundromat location, but anyone who’s stayed up all night watching house-hunting shows knows how important location is.

Whether it’s a house or a business, making sure you’ve got your whereabouts right is one of the most important things you can do, and a laundromat is no different.  So just what should you be looking for when it comes to finding that perfect place?

The Big 3

One of the first things to consider regardless of the business you have in mind is the local demographic.

1.  Neighborhood Demographics

Of course, all sorts are bound to use a laundromat at some point, but the “typical” customer for any laundromat is a renter in a middle-to-low income bracket, in a medium-to-high density area.

Population density of 10,000 people in a one mile radius is decent, 20,000 people is considered very good, while a population density of anything 35,000 or greater is excellent.

Also, the population should consist of a minimum of 25% renters, with anything over 50% being excellent. Older, blue-collar neighborhoods are good candidates.

You can order demographic reports online for a small fee, or find the information yourself online using Google or a website called City-Data.com.

2.  Know Your Competition

It’s easy to consider business rivalries to be purely a thing of the silver screen. And while it’s unlikely that you’ll be engaging in any prank wars with the laundromat across town, the matter of competition is still a very real thing. It’s important to visit other laundromats in the area as well as nearby apartment laundries to get a better idea of what amenities are locally provided as well as the condition of the store.

There are a number of things to keep in mind.  First, if there’s an upscale, modern laundromat with plenty of machines and amenities three doors down from your desired location, it might be best to keep looking.  On the other hand, if you find an area where there are competitors but they are rundown and unkept, it might be a good opportunity to stand out.

Especially if you can provide a service that none of the stores in the proximity offer – wash-dry-fold, for example, or even just an amenity like free coffee or wireless internet – you’re much more likely to be successful.

While checking out the competition can seem intimidating, use this experience not just for informational purposes, but as an opportunity to find new ways to distinguish your store from those nearby.

Ideally, you want no more than two competitors within a 1-mile radius of your target store, unless it is a high-density urban area.

3.  Visibility and Access

While storefront appearances aren’t everything, it’s also important to mind that your appearance from the street is vital.  You could be running the world’s best laundromat, but if it’s tucked away where no one can see it, the customer flow is bound to suffer.

Try to also avoid heavily congested areas with low accessibility; while there’s much to be said for a store’s presentation, if it’s nearly impossible to get to, customers will go elsewhere.  Sure, a laundromat on the top floor of a skyscraper might have a stellar view, but is that location logical for people trekking laundry back and forth?  Not really.

Final Thoughts

If your research brings you to an ideal area, and there is already a laundromat there, then you might want to reach out to the owner and determine if they’d consider selling.  If there is no laundromat nearby, then you may have found a great spot to build new!

Either way, as you do your research, don’t forget the old mantra: location, location, location.

 

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About Laura Dobbins

Laura is the founder and co-creator of Laundromats101.com, and owner of two laundromats in the Sacramento area.  She’s a math geek (Calculus III was a breeze), and currently works as an Analytics Manager in the Healthcare Finance sector.  When she’s not busy analyzing something, she loves cooking French food and blogging.

 

3d_book_cover_bundleFor more in-depth information, we’ve created The Laundromats 101 Complete Coin Laundry Coaching Package, which includes an eBook with an entire chapter devoted to area demographics and identifying the right location.

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