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Buying a laundromat: should your laundromat be open 24/7?

laundry

We live in a 24/7 world. Consumers have come to expect their gyms, convenience stores, big box stores and laundromats to keep their doors open all night long.

But for those who want to buy a laundromat, what is the advantage in keeping your washers and dryers running at all hours?

Consider your Customers

It’s no secret that people do their laundry during their downtime. For some, like college students, this can be off hours during the middle of the night. Workers such as nurses, police officers, firefighters, and many others also have schedules that keep them up around the clock.

These people may prefer to get tasks like laundry done before or after their non-traditional shifts. You will never have to turn customers away if your doors are always open. 

Spread the Wealth

By being open 24/7, it’s more likely your business will be distributed more evenly. If a customer knows your laundromat is open all of the time, they may utilize it when they will be less likely to fight the crowds during peak times.

That will allow you to accommodate more customers during those busy times, especially on the weekends, which will in turn affect your bottom line. 

Staffed or Unattended?

If you decide to be open 24/7, you will have to choose to have your location attended by an employee or left unattended. 

Having a staff member on site definitely will improve security. There’s less likely chance someone will break in if there is an attendant on duty. Your employee can also spend the early morning hours, which are typically slower than late nights, doing deep cleaning that is easier to do when the facility is empty. It’s a great time to catch up on chores and administrative tasks that might have been missed during a busy day. 

Many laundromat owners feel the cost of labor needed to staff the business 24/7 far outweighs the risks associated with leaving a building unattended. However, keep in mind that you may have to pay a higher wage for overnight work and it could be more difficult to fill those positions. 

An attendant can also help reduce the problem of homelessness, which is one challenge many 24/7 business owners complain of. If you don’t have an attendant on duty, install security cameras and call the police when someone who isn’t doing laundry is camping out in your building. 

Membership Options

Another idea is to allow a small number of regular customers to have a key to your business so that they can let themselves in and lock themselves in for security. This would obviously have to be a trusted group and you should collect personal information in case of any issues.

Also, be sure nothing can be stolen from inside the laundromat. This is one way to have your store open 24/7 without an attendant. 

Insurance & Leases

The cost of doing business 24/7 could affect your insurance premiums, so be sure to check with your carrier as to whether there are increased costs for longer hours. 

Also, some buildings limit the hours that businesses can be open, so check your lease to see if there are restrictions that could affect your decision. 

Sorry, We’re Closed

If you decide not to stay open 24/7, your business will still need to be open long hours in order to accommodate customers who work both regular and odd hours. The most common hours are 6am – 10pm seven days a week. Count on weekends being the busiest days, so some business owners choose to extend their hours, or even be open 24/7 only on these days. 

Some laundromat owners also choose to select their hours of operation based on surrounding businesses. If the gas station around the corner is open 5:30am – 10:30pm, you may choose to keep the same hours in order to prevent the possibility of vandalism. 

Give it a Try Before Folding

There is no right or wrong way to setting your business hours of operation, so determine what works best for your specific business model and location. If you are trying a new set of hours, give it at least three months and advertise your laundromat’s hours through store signage, flyers and direct mail.

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