A dry cleaner is one of those businesses for which there will always be a market. Virtually everyone has at least one garment in their wardrobe that requires dry cleaning or a special process for grooming.
Therefore, it is common for many people to want to learn about how to set up a dry cleaning business.
According to experts, competition has increased with the emergence of franchises. This threatens the permanence of the traditional dry cleaners, as the generational change makes artisan work less important. With the renewed model of the franchises, clothes are processed faster and the reduced spaces are better used to work.
So the entrepreneur will have to choose between having a franchise as a business model or taking on the risk of a traditional dry cleaner. As we proceed, we will expose to you the steps to follow in case you choose the latter option.
What is a dry cleaner and how does it work?
The business model of a dry cleaner consists of offering services such as dry cleaning, deep cleaning through the application of chemical solvents, and the use of a suitable temperature that does not damage the fabrics. This makes the texture and color of the clothes last longer.
From these, other additional services such as wet washing, artisan ironing and spotting of fabrics are derived.
Are dry cleaners profitable?
Dry cleaners have shown less dynamism than laundries, due to the higher investment, especially in the high cost of machinery. However, it is also true that the sector continues to register constant demand and sustained growth over the years.
Thanks to this, companies such as the 5àsec franchise or Mr. Jeff have emerged that have achieved worldwide recognition for offering these services with guaranteed quality.
How much does it cost to set up a dry cleaner?
The investment for a dry cleaner varies depending on the region you are in, but you can determine the cost of each necessary item and, based on this, establish an approximate budget. This can also vary depending on the inflation of each country and the value of its currency.
As we proceed, we’d be showing you the elements that make up a dry cleaner so that you have a guide when preparing your budget:
Electricity, water and steam
Leather cleaning workshop
Dyeing workshop and other services
Steps to start a dry cleaning business
If you prefer to open a traditional dry cleaner, you must follow the following steps to establish a business with growth potential and, therefore, profitability.
Prepare the project
This step of the guide on how to set up a dry cleaner consists of presenting the technical project to the region where the premises will be located. The locality to which you belong (town hall, municipality, region …) has regulations and necessary requirements to set up your business. For this reason, it is convenient to find out about the minimum requirements that will be required for the presentation of your project and thus, it is accepted
Choose the location
Dry cleaning is an ideal business to settle in residential areas, from condominiums to areas near schools and offices. It can also be located on busy avenues to ensure its visibility. If it is mounted in a sector dedicated to commerce, it is best to be outside a square with easy access.
Different studies have concluded that the area of influence for a dry cleaner to start working, with certain guarantees, must have around 10,000 registered inhabitants.
Choose the right place
The minimum area necessary for the installation of a dry cleaner is 40 m2. It is important that you verify beforehand if you can carry out the activity of domestic laundry and dry cleaning. Why? Because the characteristics of the floor of the premises are important since the dry cleaning machine requires anchors.
If the floor offers a resistance of 750 kg / m2 there is no problem. If the resistance of the floor is less than 750 kg / m2, reinforcement must be made in the area where the machine will be anchored. The resistance may be lower than that value, if there is a parking lot or basement under the premises, and it also depends on the type of construction of the same.
In an old room, it is possible that under the tiles you will find dirt immediately. In this case, a bench must be made to reinforce and secure the anchoring of the machine. In addition, the following factors should be taken into account:
For the comfort of the operators, it is important that the premises have natural ventilation. In some municipalities, periodic renewal of the air of the establishment is required.
In addition, the dryer needs a steam outlet to the outside. If the dryer is electric, not flue gases are expelled, but air with humidity. In this case, there are no odor problems or contamination. This exit should be as short as possible and with as few elbows as possible.
The electricity must be 30 KW of power at 380 volts three-phase. The electrical power to be contracted with the local supply company will depend on the type and number of machines installed in the dry cleaner. It is important to have a good earth connection to avoid risks and breakdowns.
Water and drain
Paying attention to the water supply is one of the most important factors when learning how to set up a dry cleaner. This must have a pressure regulator to be able to work at a pressure of 3-5 bar.
If the water contains a lot of calcium and magnesium, it is advisable to install a water softener. Thus, the amount of detergents used can be reduced. As a result, it will represent a saving in the maintenance of machinery, since the problems that lime produces in the machines are avoided.
Dry cleaning machine and water washing machine need to drain. A suitable system must be in place for this.
In a dry cleaner, some machines need compressed air. This requires a compressor. In some places a maximum value of audible decibels is required, both inside and outside the premises. According to the regulations, you can install a normal compressor or a soundproof compressor.
Look for suppliers that can supply you with everything you need for your business. From machinery to staplers, marking paper, soaps, reinforcers, and solvents for the dry machine, hangers, plastic bagging and colorants.
Among the dyes that currently exist are azo, acid, disperse, basic, direct dyes, vat dyes, and reagents.
Buy the machines
How to set up a successful dry cleaner? Buy all the machines you need to offer a quality service. We tell you what they are and what models can serve you:
Dry cleaning machine
One of the most recognized is the Realstar. It has:
- Capacity: 10Kg, 12Kg, 15Kg, 18Kg, 20Kg, 25Kg, 32Kg, 40Kg.
- 1, 2 and 3 tanks.
- Programmable microprocessor.
- Ecological filter and a dry control
- bleaching filter, for automatic drying.
- A soap dispenser pump.
Washer and dryer
Some experts located in Barcelona, Spain, recommend the high-speed front-loading Inteli washing machine. This machine has:
- Capacity: 8Kg, 13Kg, 18Kg, 23Kg, 55Kg, 110Kg.
- Electric heating, steam or no heating.
- It can be programmable and non-programmable.
With this washing machine, you can wash very delicate items that are normally dry cleaned in water. In addition, it does not need anchors to the ground. Its capacity allows you to wash duvets and blankets without problem, making it highly profitable for the laundry-dry cleaner.
The S-17 rotary dryer is one of the best investments you can make when setting up a dry cleaner. It has the following characteristics:
- Capacity: 8Kg, 14Kg, 23Kg, 34Kg, 54Kg, 77Kg.
- Electric, gas or steam heating.
- With reverser (industrial models).
There are different types of baggers that can be adjusted to your needs and the distribution of your premises. The most popular are:
- Wall bagging machines of the ORA and Artmecc brands.
- Wall units with and without a frame.
- Tabletop and counter baggers.
- Guillotine-shaped sealers.
- Bagging machines for welding in «L» and for bagging quilts.
If you are reading this guide, you surely want to know how to set up a quality dry cleaner. Buying a proper spotting table can set you apart from other businesses similar to yours. There are different types of table:
- With suction work plate, with or without compressor.
- Compact desktop stain remover.
There are various kinds of ironing equipment for dry cleaning and laundry. Its selection will depend, again, on the space of your premises and the services you offer. You can choose between:
- Hand irons.
- Generators and folding ironing tables with and without boiler.
- Suction, blowing and steaming tables.
- Automatic charging generators.
- Mannequins, toppers, presses and booths.
Train your staff
The trade of a dry cleaner requires basic knowledge and practical training in your own dry cleaner, and with the machines that you will use when you start your activity. Qualified staff is very important for the correct training and updating of workers. For this reason, it is convenient to go to meetings and update forums, to avoid your business becoming obsolete in terms of innovations that appear in the market.
For the business to prosper, it is also necessary that the staff are trained to:
- Know how to recognize if a garment requires washing in water and / or dry. This can prevent accidents such as shrinkage or discoloration of clothing. Even when there are no stains to remove, the knowledge not to allow steam and temperature to damage clothes are fundamental elements in this business.
- The stain remover, washer, and ironer should all be adept at using chemicals, fabric classes, and stain removal. They have to know the methods to identify each fiber (wool, cotton, polyester, silk, etc.) and its respective treatment.
- You should also know the supplies that are suitable for each type of stain (food, blood, ink, rust, sweat, makeup, etc.), and for dirt from use, such as shoe grease that accumulates in Valencian shoes. of the pants.
Marketing and market research
According to specialists, to stand out in a market full of competitors you must invest in the design of a marketing plan and in generating brand value. This can be done independently, or by joining other similar businesses, to strengthen your presence.
The best strategy to compete against large companies and franchises are differentiation and specialization. To achieve this, the first thing that must be done is to know the market in which you will establish yourself. Analyze the existing dry cleaners within 1 kilometer to study what they are doing and the customers who come to them.
To stand out from other similar businesses you can:
- Manage the home dry cleaning option.
- Specialize in the treatments of party garments, such as tuxedos, or in the encapsulation of ceremony dresses. People are willing to pay a high cost for these exclusive services.
- You can become a craftsman dyer, which means charging even more for your work. You can become a specialist in leather jackets, wool garments, dresses with applications and rhinestones, or in dry cleaning of ties, which involves a very delicate manual process.
- Offer your services to restaurants, schools and corporations.
- Establish synergies with neighboring businesses to provide discounts to its employees and customers.
- Attract customers at specific times with promotions or discounts.
- Express service is highly appreciated also for clients who lack time for these tasks.
Prepare the necessary documentation
Even if you are the most experienced dry cleaner, it is impossible for you to offer your services if you do not comply with the required regulations. So it is necessary to take into account the following points:
- When investing, it is best to buy new equipment because it allows you to recover a greater amount of the solvent to reuse it in washing more clothes. These washers are ecological, as they work through a closed circuit that prevents perchlorethylene from releasing emissions into the atmosphere that damage the environment. They also come equipped with a tray that prevents spillage, which in turn serves to contain waste. In addition to lowering input costs, this type of machine allows compliance with the regulation regarding the treatment of sludge originated by dry cleaning.
- Consider that you must hire a hazardous waste collection company to take care of its final disposal.
- Another benefit of buying modern equipment is that boilers and compressors have pressure gauges and safety valves that exceed the standards. However, they require strict supervision and careful handling to avoid accidents. By having the support of experienced providers, you will obtain guarantee policies, which also reduces maintenance costs.
- Having your machines perfectly calibrated will help you keep the operating log required by the civil protection authority in order. This is the most important regulation.
- Prepare an internal program and vulnerability and risk analysis, carried out by a qualified advisor.
- Consider the possibility of contracting a comprehensive coverage insurance to be protected in case of accidents.
According to experts, this sector is currently in a purification stage. They assure that traditional dry cleaners will have to renew their concepts and equipment, or they will become obsolete due to modernization.
Perhaps the dry cleaner will become a luxury sector. But, given the lack of certainty about the future, you have to know how to adapt to the times and, above all, work hard and prepare continuously. This will be a great determining factor if your business would be successful and profitable.