How To Start a Laundromat Business With No Money

By Nikolina Cveticanin

June 19, 2023

You’ve come to this page because you want to learn how to start a laundromat business with no money. It won’t be easy, but we’ve got some pointers to help get you going.

Starting a laundromat business can be a great way to earn a decent, steady income without having to make a huge initial investment. The growing demand for self-service laundry facilities allows laundromats to generate healthy profits, sometimes even outside standard working hours.

To attract customers, laundromat owners may offer extras such as WiFi, TVs, and vending machines. Some even have coffee bars or gaming areas to keep customers entertained while they wait for their laundry.

There’s a lot to think about before you get to this stage, so continue reading to learn how you can open a laundromat business from scratch.  

How Likely Are Laundromats To Generate High Profits?

Laundromats can be very profitable, with some owners running successful businesses that generate up to $300,000 per year in cash flow according to the Coin Laundry Association. Of course, making that much is far from certain; the location of your business, the size of your laundromat, and the services you offer will all affect this.

There are also several unavoidable business costs, such as utility bills and salaries for full- or part-time employees, although it’s worth noting that some laundromats are unstaffed. 

So, let’s see what you need to take into account and do before starting earning.

Key Things To Consider Before Starting a Laundromat Business

You must take into account quite a few things to build a laundromat startup that succeeds, since seven out of 10 startups don’t make it to their 10th birthday. Below are some of the most important factors.

Location of Your Laundry Business

The location of your laundromat is one of the most critical factors in determining your success. It’s best to look for a high-traffic area, preferably with a mix of residential and commercial businesses and perhaps near a major intersection.

Before you start a laundromat business, consider the competition in the area. If there are already several laundromats around, you’ll have difficulty making yours stand out from the crowd. 

Another vital factor to consider is the demographics of the area. The median income and age group of residents can give you a good estimate of whether this is the right target market for your services. 

As a general rule, you should aim for residential areas inhabited by young people living in rental properties as opposed to upscale neighborhoods. After all, lower-income people living in smaller apartments are less likely to have their own machines, and the closer you are to your target market, the better. 

Laundromat Services

Laundry washing and drying are the core of laundromat businesses. While most laundromats only offer these services, some may also provide laundry folding and ironing.

Some also provide pick-up and delivery services for an additional fee to maximize their laundromat business profit. Such a strategy can be a great way to attract customers who are short on time and are willing to pay more for convenience. 

Of course, to do this, you’d need to hire part-time or even full-time workers, whereas you might be able to run a standard laundromat without any day-to-day staff. If you’re considering this, perform a cost-benefit analysis to estimate whether the earning potential of this service is worthwhile.

Marketing Strategy

A marketing strategy that works is another essential step in owning a laundromat. You can use various channels to build awareness, including social media, billboards, or TV commercials.

The most important part is to ensure that your marketing strategy is in line with the overall branding of your business so that potential customers can easily recognize and remember you.

Of course, word of mouth will also play a significant role in promoting your laundromat. The best way to get people talking about your business is to provide a top-notch service, which we’re sure you’ll do anyway!

Choose Channels for Advertising Purposes Carefully

You’ll need a steady income stream to pay off your loan and ensure overall profitability if you start or buy a laundromat with no money. That’s why it’s especially important to pay attention to the media channels your target audience uses. 

For example, you’ll likely find younger and middle-aged people on social media, while older people are more likely to get information from watching TV. Building a professional-looking website for your business can be a worthwhile investment; it makes you look more legitimate and may help you rank better on search engines.

Cost Structure (Bills, Rental Space, and Employees’ Wages)

To estimate an approximate cost to start a laundromat, you must consider various expenses.

First of all, electricity and water bills will be among your most significant monthly expenses. You’ll need to secure highly efficient, energy-saving washers and dryers to lower these. However, buying these machines requires a hefty initial investment, so it might be better to lease them.

You must also factor in the costs of detergent, fabric softener, and other laundry essentials. The price of these can quickly add up, so it’s essential to find a wholesale supplier who can give you a discount for buying in bulk. Of course, don’t forget the costs of renting or purchasing a commercial space.

Last but not least, you’ll have to consider workers’ salaries if you’re planning to offer additional services like laundry folding or pick-up and delivery. If you start a coin laundry business, you’ll need to decide which extra services are worth it.  


You should also research nearby competitors and learn what services they offer, how much they charge, and what marketing strategies they use. Understanding your competition helps you set your business apart and find the appropriate target market for your laundromat. 

Of course, finding a location with few or no nearby competitors would be great, although that can be difficult in high-potential areas.

Opening a Laundromat With No Money: Estimated Costs

Various factors affect the cost of setting up a laundromat, including the location, required permits, and investments like sewerage connections. 

Note that you can potentially save money if you buy an existing laundromat rather than starting from scratch. That way, you can spare up to $8,000 per sewer connection per washer and up to $300,000 for laundry equipment in total. 

Of course, you might still want to know how to start a laundromat business with no money from scratch. If so, you should evaluate different loans offered by banks financing small businesses to find the one that best caters to your needs. Once you make a choice, you’ll have to open a business bank account.

Refer to the following table for a quick breakdown of the relevant starting expenses:

Expense typeEstimated cost
Sewer connection per washer$200–$8,000
Top-load washer$500–$700
Front-load washer$3,500–$20,000
Soap machine$500 and over
Water-heating system$15,000–$40,000
Optional card system$40,000–$80,000
Laundry cart for clothes$50–$75
Cleaning supplies$750–$1,000

As you can see, there can be a lot of variability in the cost of opening a laundromat, so evaluate every option thoroughly before making a decision. 

Rough estimates suggest that you’ll need to spend between $200,000 and $500,000 to get your business up and running – and that’s just for the basics! You’ll also need to factor in the cost of hiring some help to run or maintain the place, which will undoubtedly push the price up even higher. Still, as long as you’re aware of all the potential expenses beforehand, you should be able to plan and budget effectively.

Devising a Laundromat Business Plan

As the owner of a laundromat, you’ll need a detailed action plan. By having a clear vision for your business and developing a roadmap to bring that vision to life, you’ll increase the chances of success for your startup.

A good business plan is made up of many parts. We’ve explained the process below.

Executive Summary

An executive summary is a short, clear overview of the business plan. It should highlight the plan’s key points in an easy-to-read manner and get investors and executives interested in your offer. Ideally, the executive summary should be no longer than two pages.

Company Summary

You specify the owner, your goals, and how you start the business here.

A company summary presents your business to potential investors. It should contain:

  • Missions and goals
  • Products and services
  • Facts that make your business stand out from competitors
  • How should the company’s presence will benefit the target market


If you’re comfortable that you know how to start a laundromat business with no money, it’s time to start budgeting. This process should include researching the cost of buying or leasing equipment, licenses required, your commercial space, workers’ salaries, and insurance. There’s much more to running a successful business than simply budgeting, but without a solid idea of your costs and expected profits, you won’t know where to start.

To minimize risk and reduce your initial outlay, opening a laundromat franchise might be a better idea. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of franchises later on in the article, but for now, here’s what you’ll need if you want to go it alone.

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan will help you raise awareness about your laundromat and promote it to the target audience. The approach you should take depends on who your customers will be. For instance, if you’re targeting young people, social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram can be helpful. 

If you’re unsure how to proceed with this, you might want to consult a marketing expert, although that could be expensive.

Power Structure

You only need to create a power structure to define the business’s hierarchy if you have employees working in your laundromat. Include job descriptions and specific tasks for every employee to avoid miscommunication and boost efficiency in the workplace. 

If you work independently, skip this part of the business plan.

Business Objective

Before starting or buying a laundromat, you need to have a vision of where you want to take it. Do you want to build a laundromat empire, or are you happy with one location, at least at first? What services would you like to offer? 

Once you answer these and other questions, explaining your business objectives over several paragraphs will be easier.

Target Market Identification

You can’t truly begin to prepare your business until you know who your market is. Owners need to analyze their services and predict how the market will respond once they open laundromats. You’ll also need to set prices for your services once you’ve researched the market to avoid charging too much or too little. With this in mind, you can identify your target market demographic, including age, gender, career type, and location. 

Competitor Analysis

Analyzing your competition will help you differentiate your laundry business from others that are out there. You can proceed to this step once you’ve defined your target market.

Financial Goals and Objectives

Next, you need to decide on your short- and long-term plans. This will include any expansions you might want to make to the business. 

To do this, you’ll need to research the untapped population in your target market and decide what percentage of that you think you can reach. Note that you’ll need some statistical knowledge or help from an expert to complete this. 

Types of Services

To estimate laundromat startup costs, you need to decide what services you’ll offer. In this section, you should outline whether or not you’ll provide folding, delivery, entertainment, and other relevant services.

Marketing Analysis

Consider factors like market segments, target households, inbound visitors, and product pricing to develop a clear marketing strategy for customer satisfaction and increase your chances of success.


You have to specify how you plan your business to succeed, especially if the competition is fierce. Outlining your strategies for breaking into the market, building your reputation, and maintaining a stable business for years to come is crucial.

Financial Plan

You should use this section to project your business’s gains and losses, monthly and annual earnings, and break-even margins. As you can imagine, crunching the numbers is one of the most important  

Common Ways To Raise Funds for a Laundromat Business

You came to this page wondering: “how much does it cost to buy a laundromat?” We hope that by this stage, we’ve given you a fairly comprehensive answer to that question. But knowing how much you need and actually getting that money are two very different propositions. In this section, we’ll give you some ideas for raising the funds you need.

Attract Investors

Reaching out to investors is one of the best ways to secure funds for your new laundromat business. But it’s not just about money; experienced investors can give you advice that could be critical to growing and maintaining a successful business. That’s why you should do your homework and present a detailed business plan to convince the right people to invest in your startup.

Of course, nothing in life comes for free; you’ll have to give up some percentage of your profits and/or control of your business to get investors on board. But if it helps you get started and avoids the risk that comes with taking out a business loan, then it might be worth it.

Take Out a Loan

If you prefer to start independently, there are several types of loans to open a laundromat. These include:

  • Term loans, which come with fixed monthly payments and pre-defined terms. 
  • Equipment loans, which are suitable for financing substantial equipment purchases, with the equipment you buy serving as collateral.
  • SBA (Small Business Administration) loans; government-backed loans with low-interest rates and long terms. The downside is that approval for these loans usually takes months. 

There’s always an element of risk to taking out a loan. Make sure you crunch the numbers beforehand, otherwise you might end up biting off more than you can chew. 

Open a Franchise Laundromat

Opening a franchise may be the best solution if you don’t know how to start a laundromat business with no money.

That way, you get help, resources, equipment, and training. Moreover, the franchisor will provide you with a proven business model and help you open quickly. Before you join, however, you should reach out to several franchisors and compare their offers to ensure you’re making the best choice. It’s also worth speaking to other franchisees to see if they’re happy with how the business is run.

The main advantage of this option is that you’ll get brand recognition and support from the franchisor. Also, many customers trust franchises more than independent businesses. The biggest downsides are that you’ll have to pay upfront royalties and fees, you’ll have to give a percentage of your revenue to the franchisor, and you’ll never have full control over the business.

Final Tips To Open a Laundromat

Once you get your laundry business going, you might do better overall and increase your revenue if you take the following steps:

  • Start a loyalty program to retain customers.
  • Offer free products, like detergents, with every wash.
  • Sell detergents, fabric softeners, or other related products.
  • Open a small cafe so customers can enjoy a coffee while they wait.
  • Install TV screens and gaming consoles to make the wait more pleasant for customers.
  • Offer extra services, such as laundry pick-up, delivery, dry cleaning, ironing, stain removal, and folding.


You have plenty of laundromat business ideas and you now know your options, so there’s never been a better time to start planning your business. Remember that a laundromat is a significant investment, so do your homework and develop a detailed business plan before taking the plunge. 


Do laundromats make money?

Yes, laundromats can be very successful financially. According to some estimates, laundromats can generate revenue of up to $300,000 annually. Finding the perfect location, sourcing efficient equipment, and keeping your customers satisfied are the best ways to achieve success.

What permits do I need to open a laundromat?

Many people wondering how to start a laundromat business with no money ask this question. You may need to obtain a permit from the fire department, a sign permit, a permit for air and water pollution, and a business license. You’ll also need to pay sewer and wastewater fees, impact fees, and public improvement fees.

Do you need a license to open a laundromat?

Yes, you need a business license to open a laundromat. You may also need other permits, such as a sign permit or air and water pollution permits.

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