How to set up a self-service laundry | Guaranteed success
Career Advice

How to set up a self-service laundry | Guaranteed success

In the United States, the use of self-service laundries has always been traditional. And in countries like Spain and Italy, they are gaining more and more spaces that they did not have before. Its use is made daily among university students, tourists, retirees, and people who do not have time to do it at home. This is largely due to demographic change, the arrival of migrants, tourism, and globalization that have caused a change in trend and have led many to wonder how to set up a self-service laundry.

Currently, this sector experiences an annual growth of 20% since 2015. If you want to be part of it and its development, below we explain step by step how to do it successfully.

How does self-service laundry work?

If you are reading this article, you surely want to know how to set up a self-service laundry and how to manage it. Well, we tell you that since it is based on self-service, it is an easy-to-use business, with telematic control, and where it is not necessary to be present in the establishment to carry out the activity. Customers tend to manage well on their own since they are in charge of washing their own clothes, they put it in the washing machine, pay, and then leave, except for an occasional breakdown or incident.

Self-service laundries are generally open every day of the year, from morning to night. The presence of personnel is not essential, since a camera can be installed to monitor the business.

Is a self-service laundry profitable?

If the estimated service is between 25 and 30 washes a day, the annual sales forecast is usually 30,000 euros per year. Thus, it is calculated that the return on investment is 2 years or so, taking into account that the frequency of use of the machinery is medium-high level. But, if the daily washes are below 16 or 17, the business is not profitable and a lot of money can be lost.

Steps to set up a self-service laundry

You already know what this business is and how profitable it is, now we tell you how to set up a self-service laundry step by step:

Gather the budget

You are surely wondering: how much money do I need to put up a laundry? The total estimated budget is about €36,500 euros or $40,800 USD. Next, we discuss each of the aspects that you should consider when undertaking in this business:

Project and permits

Activity project: € 700
Planning and electrical project (may not be necessary): € 850
Licenses: These costs are usually fixed and can vary from one council to another, both in terms of amount and other added concepts. These are:
Municipal works permit: the municipal tax rate can be € 250. However, it is important to consider that taxes and work and activity rates vary from one location to another. For example, in Spain, the amount is around € 200 in Seville, but it reaches € 2,000 in Barcelona.

Works, machines and installation

Reform works: It ranges around € 4,000. It will depend on the initial conditions in which the premises are located. They are usually, along with the purchase of machines, the highest investment when setting up a self-service laundry.
Installation: the necessary facilities to operate a laundry can cost around 8,500 euros, divided into the following aspects:
Plumbing: the installation of hot and cold sanitary water and drains can cost approximately € 1,200.
Electrical and lighting installation: around 12 circuits and LED lighting, they can cost € 4,000.
Steam extraction: normally the budget is around € 1,400. Unless it should be done on the roof of the building, which would make everything more expensive.
Gas installation: it is usually done for the boiler (unless it is electric) and the dryers have a cost of € 900.
Ventilation: a couple of grilles on the facade and a small extractor can cost around € 250.
Air conditioning: a split is usually placed for the entire premises that can cost about € 650.
Fire protection: can amount to € 100.
Machines: if you are looking for how to set up a self-service laundry, you should know that you need to buy washers and dryers. The estimated budget is usually € 20,000.

Additional expenditure

Signage, decoration, and furniture: it can range around € 2,000.

Choose the location

Where to set up a self-service laundry? The success or ruin of your business will depend, in many cases, on where it is located. Therefore, you must carry out a market study that indicates the neighborhood most in need of this service, its purchasing power (cost of rentals in the area), shopping centers, coastal towns, urban neighborhoods, the city center, among others. This will help you select the ideal place to set up your new business.

Select the location

The distribution of machinery in space is essential. To start with, a room of about 50-60 m2 will suffice. The cost of the rentals depends a lot on the location. It will be necessary to assess what conditioning works have to be done, how is the electrical and water installation in the premises, if it has noise insulation, among other aspects. The architecture of the premises is also important so that everything fits perfectly and makes good use of the space.

Choose your target

The services you offer will depend on the selection of your target audience:
Regular customers: students, singles who rent rooms, tourists, immigrants just settling down.
One-off customers: people of all kinds who need industrial washers and dryers to wash blankets, duvets, curtains, or carpets.

Buy the machines

How to set up a successful self-service laundry? Buy the necessary machines and make sure they are of good quality:

Professional washing machines

With hard supports:

These washing machines require that their hard supports be fixed to the floor, by means of a concrete slab and special screws. The fixation must be solid to absorb the movements of the wash cycles. Hard mounts are cheaper than suspension mounts.

With suspended supports:

Suspension washers have squeegees made of stainless steel that can absorb extraction forces of 400 G. That is, their coil springs allow very fast and more powerful turns than hard mounts.

Professional dryers

Acquire non-domestic dryers, whose energy consumption is low as an ecological measure. Industrial machines can instantly reach the ideal drying temperature and airflow, so the average drying cycle is fast, around 30 minutes.

Annex equipment

It tries to offer a payment center that allows users to pay for their washing and drying cycles in cash, with a credit or debit card.

To complete the offer, consider installing snack and beverage dispensers. The laundry will have to be equipped with a waiting room that has WiFi and a television.

Define your marketing strategy

This step is essential to set up a self-service laundry, as it will help you attract customers. To achieve this, it is necessary to carry out different polls and surveys. These will help you to protect your business and offer the most appropriate services or products to your customers. For example, you can offer:
Café Laundry: vending machines for coffee, soft drinks and snacks.
Bookstore laundry: where the client can read while the service lasts, with the option to take it with him and bring it for the next wash (with data registration as is done in libraries).
Sale of products: you can also diversify your service and sell everything from detergents to cleaning supplies.

Self-service franchises

You already know how to set up a self-service laundry. But, if instead of this, you prefer to acquire a franchise from an already established company, there are several options in the market for you. The cost of the franchises is around € 40,000 and € 50,000. Its cost will always depend on the city, the size of the premises and the number of washing machines, among other aspects.

These are some of the best options:

Speedy Wash

Speedy Wash is a self-service laundry franchise that has a large number of branches around the world. In this company, they offer you advice with all the minimum requirements such as electricity and water installations, decoration and posters, the installation of washing machines, the conditioning of the premises and the viability of the project at no additional cost.

•    Investment: Between € 28,000 - € 50,000.
•   Entry fee: Does not have.
•   Royalty (or royalty): Does not have.
•   Duration of the contract: Indefinite.
•   Minimum space: 30m2.
•   Minimum population: 10,000 inhabitants.

Clean Master

Its laundries are open every day of the year and they have a training program for all those interested in setting up this business. They also have their own personal branding and marketing plan. The benefits of acquiring a Clean Master franchise are between € 40,000 and € 60,000 per year in the first 3 years.

  • Investment: From € 40,000.
  • Entry fee: Does not have.
  • Royalty: It depends.
  • Duration of the contract: 10 years.
  • Minimum space: 40m2.
  • Minimum population: 10,000 inhabitants.


Investing in Fresh is a bit more expensive than other self-service laundry franchises, but it is well worth it because their equipment is among the best on the market. Everything is practically computerized with a modern look and they are very easy to use.

This franchise offers several options to set up the laundry such as the Fresh Box that can be installed in shopping centers, parking lots, or gas stations due to their easy adaptation. They also help you manage absolutely everything (even the location search) so that you can be successful with your business.

  • Investment: From € 60,000.
  • Entry fee: Does not have.
  • Royalty: Does not have.
  • Duration of the contract: 10 years.
  • Minimum space: 50m2.
  • Minimum population: 15,000 inhabitants.

Mr Jeff

Do you want to set up a self-service laundry with certified quality? Mr. Jeff is a technology company that has combined the online and offline world. They are specialists in laundry, dry cleaning, and home ironing. It has connected with small businesses, creating a total impact. Its stores are designed to maximize productivity and offer the best service in a pleasant environment. Their methodology is simple: with just a few clicks on their app, they take care of collecting, washing, ironing and delivering the clothes where the customer is in a maximum of 48 hours.

  • Initial investment: € 62,000.
  • Entrance fee: € 12,000.
  • Royalty: € 300.
  • Monthly Advertising Fee: € 200.
  • Minimum space: 50 m2.
  • Minimum population: 30,000 inhabitants.

I’m conclusion

Setting up a self-service laundry is one of the businesses that most attracts entrepreneurs, as it is one of the most established. And the fact that you do not need employees to care for the establishment, open from morning to night, is undoubtedly a great advantage.

But keep in mind that the actual time you spend in starting a business and making it work really depends on other variables. So, the best alternative in many cases if you do not know the sector is to have an experienced franchisee that will provide you with the machinery, help you with the installation, the conditioning of the premises, market study, training and its operation will be supported by a consolidated brand.