If there is one business that we are sure booms through all seasons in Nigeria, it is the laundry business. People are so busy that they sometimes don’t have time to do their laundry. People have events to attend and they want to look sweet and sharp, they need the service of a launderer. This business also has the potential to grow and become a large scale business where you have branches all around the country. In future articles, we will explore the pros and cons of having branches all over the country, also known as chain stores/outlets. So remember to subscribe to our Newsletter or get our App from Google play store.
This is a 4part blog series, and in this first article, we will be sharing with you the must have skills/knowledge when starting a laundry business in Nigeria. Our aim is to give you a step by step guide to starting a laundry business, otherwise confused as dry-cleaning in Nigeria. Firstly, we shall like to correct that before we proceed further, so that you can sound like someone who knows what he/she is doing when you eventually start this business right there in your little space.
Is Laundry the same thing as dry cleaning?
We have heard that question a lot of times, and the answer is No! It’s not like it’s impossible to run the two businesses side by side though. So, here is the difference. Dry cleaning is simply the use of chemicals otherwise known as solvents to clean fabrics without using water but specialized equipment, hence the name “DRY”. While Laundry usually is the cleaning of a piece of fabric with water, detergent/soap and then smoothing it with a flatiron or pressing iron. Laundry business is what we do majorly in Nigeria and that exactly is what we will be focusing on in this article.
Your 4 Must-have skills to Start Laundry Business
When we say ‘you’ that includes those working for/with you, should you decide to employ people to join you in the business. Here are some of the things you must know.
Sorting to get moving
As a professional launderer, it is crucial that you have the skill and knowledge of how to sort clothes for washing. The general rule is that you don’t wash clothes of different colours or shades together or white clothes with coloured clothes, that aspect is better known as colour sorting. In case you don’t know some colours are just so domineering that they destroy other clothes if you wash/soak them together. Never should you attempt to wash white clothes with coloured clothes, or your Ankara with another cloth material.
Another is fabric sorting, where you sort clothes based on their material. Meanwhile, some clothes are not meant to be washed with a machine. Please take your time to read instructions on the clothes labels if there is. You can firstly engage in learning the different types of fabrics used commonly in making clothes and then go further to find out the standard way of caring for such fabrics. Working at a laundry service for a couple of weeks or months might even be very important. Check this Wikihow article on clothes sorting for washing.
Washing with care
You must know/learn how to wash different fabrics if you haven’t already done so. The truth is, each fabric material requires different care when it comes to washing. Pay keen attention, read care instructions, research general care instructions and feel the fabric. Carry out a sample wash test, if possible using just the edges of the fabric when you are not very sure about it. In part3 of this blog series, we would share some quick wash test tips. When washing by hand, the rule of thumb is that you target parts of clothes that are easy targets for dirt e.g collar, armpit, shoulder, sleeves etc. You must also learn about water temperature. Different clothes require different temperatures of liquid or water-detergent mixtures to wash them.
If you use a washing machine, you have to learn very well about the particular machine programme, how it works, don’t just assume. Many people love to assume. Please, each washing machine comes with a manual where all the washing programmes are explained. Some even allocate the type of fabrics. Most washing machine manufacturers these days have made things easier by adding that ‘fabric type’ indicator, to select an option for the type of material to be washed. So you see it is important to know your fabrics.
We would create a blog about fabric types. If you buy a secondhand machine and there is no manual, google the machine brand and serial number to download the manual online. These are simple tips that will make your business skills better. It’s also part of your washing skill to know which detergent is best for a cloth. Ankara for instance is best washed with laundry bar soap. Regarding detergents, many have harsh chemicals that would later cause skin rashes or irritation to the client. Check our part 3 blog on this business for more tips about detergents and soap selection. Subscribe to our Newsletter to know when we release it.
Ironing for a Laundry business is different!
You must learn and even relearn how to use pressing iron. We are not saying you don’t know how to press clothes with iron. Of course, you have been ironing your own clothes, but you know what, it is business now and there’s no such thing as a mistake. I am sure you don’t want somebody embarrassing/insulting you for burning their expensive piece with pressing iron (you don’t wanna see crazy!). You must learn to know the suitable temperature for different fabrics. Our tip here is to work with a steam iron. If you’ve noticed many tailors use steam iron because you can hardly burn clothes with steam irons.
Packaging to make a statement
You must also learn how to fold clothes and package them. This is key! They call it the finishing touch. There are techniques on how to fold shirts, skirts, trousers, dresses and so on. Google, read, practice and learn! Create a good statement about your laundry business service at this stage. This is when you might want to add a refreshing spray if the detergent smells too harsh or unpleasant. Lemon sprays (Naturally made) always do magic. It smells “freshness”. This is also an opportunity to flaunt the brand of your business. A thank you note can do a great job. If you deliver on Sundays, a simple card saying either “Happy Sunday” or “Blessed Sunday” Or “Wishing you a great start in the week”, transforms the relationship between you and the client, trust us!
Did you just ask “Is there really money in laundry business?” What if we told you that you can make as high as N1,800,000 in a month from laundry business, yes! Okay, we will show you how you can achieve that in the subsequent parts of this blog series. Stay with us at Joadre and follow our Business Start-up Series by signing up to our newsletter as we share practical steps and processes on how to start dozens of businesses. We will explore cost and financing opportunities in future parts of this blog series.
On our Joadre App, we would publish practical videos and podcasts relating to starting a laundry business in Nigeria and how investors can get on board. We have been working on launching our in-house content streaming and data analytic app where you will have it all in one place. It is our Joadre app that combines our educational content with data intelligence. It will help you build your business in Nigeria and connect with potential partners from Europe and beyond. We will be releasing it soon. You can download the beta version now on Google play store for android users to be one of our first test users. Thank you for reading to the end. Stay motivated and share your comments, suggestions or experience beneath.
Joadre Editorial Team