Small Business

Enter the Laundry Delivery Fold: Route Planning Tech Makes It Easy For Entrepreneurs

Zach Blank

Straightaway

June 14, 2021

Some of us are busier than others. We just don’t have the extra time to spend folding. Others can go our whole adult lives without ever separating darks from lights. And many of us would rather do any other chore—dishes, sweeping, taking out the trash—before facing those never-ending piles of laundry!

Then there’s you, who never seems to have a coffee stain in the center of your shirt. You know the difference between permanent press and delicate cycles. You fold the stack and press the shirts as soon as you pull a load from the dryer, and your piles look like something straight off a department store floor. Your house smells like fresh rain and soft jasmine petals. You might want to consider starting your own laundry delivery service—seriously my friend—because you are in demand.

The go-go-go of today’s world keeps us from our piles of laundry, and people want help with their chores. Not only that—they want their dirty work delivered.  We are in the age of having everything delivered—shopping, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, food, flowers, and even entire homes stuffed in pods. It’s no wonder Verified Market Research projects the growing on-demand laundry service industry to grow by 35.9 percent, and $113 billion by 2027!

The report found the growing trend of having their laundry delivered is all about saving time. An increased demand for eco-friendly, natural and organic laundry detergents are also a high commodity, as consumers look for a safe and healthy lifestyle.

Ready for the full cycle? Let’s take a look at five steps to start your own laundry delivery business. Read on to learn what questions you must ask yourself, how to optimize the customer experience, and how to be successful when entering into this new and exciting business venture.

How Do I Start Delivering Laundry? 

Starting your own delivery service can be as easy as dropping three quarters into the slot, if you follow these five steps. Since you already run a tight ship (you know how to do laundry right) we know you can do it.

Figuring out if you are the right person to start a laundry delivery service is simple. Just be true to yourself. When husband and wife team John and Katie MacKrell began HappyNest four years ago, their laundry delivery service grew from a little family operation (with lots of kids and lots of stinky socks) to a start-to-finish, pickup and drop-off laundry service for 25 states! And all this began with John MacKrell wishing he could have someone else deal with that massive laundry pile.

Step 1: Ask yourself if this is the right fit

You already know that laundry delivery is an up-and-coming business venture. Yet are you the one to deliver? Knowing what kind of person you are will help you decide if your business can be successful.

Ask yourself if you like to organize and plan. Do you own a bottle of spray starch? Is your laundry shelf as clean as a fine jewelry display? Do you have a special trick you use to make your sweaters fold flat? Has anyone ever thanked you for going the extra mile to make them happy? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of those questions, this may be your thing.

You are going to need to study the market and the rules and regulations of your city. Luckily you don’t have to plan the routes, as today’s technology has brought us apps like Straightaway for route optimization And bookkeeping and accounting apps like QuickBooks and Freshbooks have made it easy to track and file your earnings, expenses, and other financial data.

Image Courtesy of Unsplash/Charles Deluvio

Step 2: Become legit

If you have asked yourself the important questions and decided this is the right business venture for you, know that starting a business always begins with some homework. You need to research delivery businesses similar to your vision. Learn the best way to make a profit. Become a master on self-employment tax. You need to research which laundry products will work best with your customers and budget. And you’ll need to research the latest apps and computer programs that can support your goals. Decide how your business will be different and better than the competition. This is your selling point.

You will also need to know the laws of the land. Regulations governing delivery businesses vary greatly by state and region. You need to set yourself up as a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company, so check with your local county clerk or revenue commissioner’s office to follow the steps to obtaining a business license.

Call your auto insurance company to see what you need as far as your business is concerned, and speak to an insurance agent regarding possible liability insurance. Better to be safe, than sorry, as mom always says.

Be sure to create a secure digital ‘paper trail’ and filing system for each client as well as every aspect of your business, and a computer program for communications with your customers. Find a template that you like and start building folders.

Where will your office space be? It’s time to make it work for you. Clear the clutter. Pare down to the basics. Treat your work space like you would a clean, starched white work shirt.

Decide on the name of your business and your job title. This is your moment. Are you the Founder and Static Cling Destroyer of Laundry Light Workers? Time to own it.
 

Step 3: Make a business plan

Now that you know the limitations and framework of the local law, it’s time for the foundation. If you do good laundry, you already know how to sort. Don’t leave out the fitted sheet just because it’s annoying. The business plan will be your masterpiece. You can either read a book on making a business plan, or find a template online. The business plan will cover funding and strategy, but it will also address details such as how many employees you’d like to hire, price of the services (flat-rate or by pound), and who you will serve—residential or business clients. Time to plan how to start this baby up!

Unless you are going to take on the entire tri-state area, start-up costs for launching your own laundry delivery business should be on the lower side. Perhaps a few grand is all you need, depending on the size of your operation and the services you provide.

Of course, working out of your home would require the most minimal of expenses: cell phones, office supplies, laundry supplies, vehicle expenses/insurance and upkeep, business license fee, website cost, and bookkeeping and route optimization apps. But if you expand, you may want to invest in more washers and dryers, and perhaps take on more vehicles, and more employees. All these questions will be addressed in your plan.

Step 4: Invest in the best routing software

Now that the business plan is set, you are going to need to explore right route optimization software. Technology has brought us apps like Straightaway to take us into the 21st century. Having the right route optimization is the key to the delivery part of the equation. Being the preferred route planner in the delivery industry, your laundry business can save time on pick-ups and deliveries, which will help you outperform your competition.

  • Instant Scheduling: Forget manual entry. With this state-of-the-art tech, you simply take a snapshot of your list of addresses and Straightaway maps the fastest route between those locations.
  • Obstacle Forcefield: Straightaway’s algorithms use the force of advanced tech. In a matter of seconds, the system optimizes the fastest order of stops on the routes—even if you have to make a last minute change. Straightaway’s advanced optimization algorithm will also take into account speed limits, traffic patterns, weather, road conditions, construction, and hundreds of other variables, all in real time!
  • Safe Navigation: Straightaway incorporates hands-free, turn-by-turn navigation so you can find the fastest route, which keeps you from switching app screens while on the road.

According to research, the average delivery driver who utilizes Straightaway shortens their route by more than an hour. Saving time will mean saving money on mileage and increasing the volume of stops per day. Most of all, it makes your customers love you.

Step 5: Get the word out

Now that you have the right route optimization to take care of the delivery side of things, it’s time to advertise your services. There are so many ways to do it. You may want to consult with your local business associations on the most effective strategies for your area.

Let Straightaway Lead the Way

The laundry delivery business is booming on all fronts, and once you get the word out, you can become a leader in your local delivery market. To achieve this success, remember to ask yourself if this is the right fit, become legit by going about your new business like a pro, make a business plan, invest in the best routing software, and get the word out that you’re the new laundry delivery outfit in town. Remember, the best technology and the easiest to work with is the Straightaway route planner.

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Straightaway

Zach Blank

Zach is the co-founder and CEO of Straightaway.

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