Author Topic: Anybody familiar with laundromats?  (Read 1653 times)

AZfamilyof4

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Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« on: June 02, 2017, 12:41:18 AM »
Hi there,
Trying to learn a bit more about laundromats. Does anyone here own one? Know someone who does?  Good experiences? Bad ones?  I have been looking for another rental property to purchase but the numbers on laundromats seem like a better ROI at first glance. I'm definitely looking to be as absentee as possible and would likely purchase an existing store. Any insight would be great. Thank you in advance for the help!

Goldielocks

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2017, 10:06:46 PM »
The ones near me are never absentee, unless they service just a dedicated apartment block, where the maintenance manager takes care of all issues on call as they arise.

There must be a reason why laundromats here are always staffed....

AZfamilyof4

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2017, 11:34:25 PM »
Hmmm I suppose I should've been more clear. Most have an employee or two but I really was referring to my part in the business being absentee. There are also a few I have come across that are truly absentee where the locks, lights, and cash machine are all automated and suppliers routinely check and restock things like the soap or perform cleaning duties. I'll confess I don't know much about it, which is why I posted my question here. I am simply looking for a good way to invest a modest sum of money I have saved from other rentals and was looking at businesses that are semi absentee or completely absentee that bring in good returns.

Thinkum

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2017, 12:11:56 AM »
I have done some research into this myself. You cannot really be an absolute absentee owner without paying for someone to be there and deal with the issues that come up. You can have the doors on timers and cameras, but that does not cover it all. I'll give you an example of an owner I had a lengthy conversation with.

He had owned the place for the last 5 years. In that time he did a lot of upgrades and learned to fix his own machines. He said it's better than paying the repair guy $95/hour and I agreed. He installed cameras to look over the place and keep records in case something happened. He told me about a recent trouble maker who was naked in the place causing all kinds of problems. He called the cops and they took him away. He then told me this happens enough that the police know who he (owner) is. This can be somewhat avoided by finding a "good" neighborhood, but it's something to think about. He would come in around 8-9am and leave by 1pm then had a guy come in at night to clean up and lock up. I'm guessing he would drop off any money at the bank after he left. He did not take any days off really. Said it was a 7 days a week kind of business.

Another guy I met years ago that got me first thinking about laundromats said pretty much the same thing. He also said that you get phone calls when machines start leaking or do not work, etc. He had bought it to supplement his SS income and did it all himself. He'd come in early to open up, go home during the day, then come in at night to clean the lint traps, clean up, and change out the money.

I think with some good planning and good systems in place it could be efficient and a good side income.

Around here good laundromats are expensive and the ROI is not the greatest.


SC93

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2017, 12:19:15 AM »
Location - Location - Location

I have a friend that is always wanting to buy a laundromat or a self serve car wash and I always talk him out of it. If you can find the perfect one in the perfect location you can make a nice profit but if it's not perfect you can lose a lot of money. This does NOT mean one that YOU    THINK    is in a perfect location. It needs to be proven. And, you need to know what the maintenance fee's have been over the last 10 years and especially over the last 2 years. Just because the machines might be old doesn't really matter though. I say go for ice cream... always money in ice cream :)

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2017, 07:55:36 AM »
I love laundromats and have long daydreamed of owning one.
The very best one I ever used was a great case study, I think.

Always well-used.
Had a machine to convert bills to coins.
Sold soap to those of us who forgot theirs again.
Great prices.
Beautiful esthetic: lovely paint job, local art work.
Coffee shop! Coffee, comfy sitting area, wifi, TV, toys for kids.
Huge machines (very efficient for user).
Plenty of large tables for folding.
Bright, clean.
Friendly patrons.
Washrooms.

The catches:
Unstaffed on weekends. This was a nightmare, as many things needed attending in any given hour (coin machine, etc).
Coin machine broken into multiple times over short period.
No way to reach any staff/owner when things were going poorly.
Frequently ran out of coins in the machine, or of soap.
No unscented soaps for sale.

I think those catches are easily remedied: staff person, unscented soap.

Goldielocks

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2017, 10:11:54 AM »
Hmm,

WRT staffing -- my primary reason for returning to a laundromat (I have 5 within a very short drive), is that it is exceptionally clean.   Therefore I choose the one a little further from my home, with slightly older and worn equipment / building, that has a person constantly sweeping and tidying up.

MandalayVA

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2017, 10:18:24 AM »
I don't know how I ran across this, but this is a great blog for those considering buying a laundromat:

http://laundromats101.com/
Follow my road to semi-FIRE here:  The Road To Mandalay

Post-corporate life blog: Mandalay At Play  Latest entry: Riders On The Storm

Thinkum

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2017, 10:56:06 AM »
I don't know how I ran across this, but this is a great blog for those considering buying a laundromat:

http://laundromats101.com/

I agree, this blog helped me do a lot of my online research.

AZfamilyof4

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2017, 04:03:58 PM »
Thinkum, did your research lead you to purchasing a laundromat?

Thank you all for the replies.  I am simply looking to expand our business portfolio as we move towards the FI lifestyle. We've cut debt, consolidated our crap, and are finally going to sell our Chevrolet Tahoe on our quest to retire early.

I can purchase a home where I live with cash right now but rents are low so I would likely bring in $600/month. It seems like quite a bit to tie up 75k in cash to bring in a modest amount each month. But I wonder if that's better since I would be more local, consider myself handy, and have experience with buying and renting out houses? Thoughts?

Thinkum

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2017, 04:45:00 PM »
No, I have not purchased a laundromat. I am still researching all types of businesses. It is still an option, but the buy-in price and ROI are not that great for most that I have found.

Polish_Hammer

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2017, 11:43:08 AM »
I was going to open a laundromat 15 years ago with a bar in the back and call it Sudz.  Never could get the liquor license but I saw someone had the same idea a few years ago

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2017, 11:47:47 AM »
^ SMART!!!!

HipGnosis

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Re: Anybody familiar with laundromats?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2017, 07:12:11 PM »
I was going to open a laundromat 15 years ago with a bar in the back and call it Sudz.  Never could get the liquor license but I saw someone had the same idea a few years ago
Reminds me of an idea I had many years ago; a barber shop connected/next to an oil change place.

I keep looking for complimentary businesses.