The demand for laundry services is growing across Africa for a couple of interesting reasons. Since only a few people can afford washing machines, washing, which is commonly done by hand in many parts of the continent, has always been and remains a tedious and time-consuming process. A growing number of people in the city would rather pay for the convenience than engage in this activity.
Another interesting point is that more women, who traditionally do the washing in many households, are now more involved in income-generating activities like formal employment or private businesses. In addition to these, there are special clothing and garments (like suits, jackets, wedding gowns etc.) that require machines and professional attention.
The professional way to go about this – and which readily comes to mind – is a small room with several washing machines and a back office area for ironing or alterations. This is a valid concept, but may require quite a high amount of investment to get you started.
An alternative may be to set up laundry services in a big backyard or other open space where you employ people who wash the clothes by hand. This is still very common across Africa and many families with good income still employ maids or other women to regularly do the washing by hand. This will enable you to build your business without significant capital and you won‘t spend so much on electricity and water either.
Again, focus your bigger vision, not on owning one little laundry shop, but a chain of branded shops or networks that offer great service. The success in this particular concept lies probably in serving the masses of lower income families and providing great service and convenience. Find a creative way to franchise your laundry salons.
Africa doesn‘t have a self-service commercial laundry service (like Laundromat). You could start one.
Pick-up and delivery laundry service.
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Be aware that issues around prolonged power cuts, and in some countries water shortage when rains are delayed, may impact on your revenue. Consider that when choosing a location for your business; solar power may be a good investment to overcome power cuts and high electricity bills.