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What should you know about starting the laundry business in Nigeria?

Close-up of a dressing room with various shades of blue and gray classic suits in a business laundry in Nigeria
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In Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country. The dry-cleaning business is one of the most flexible and lucrative businesses. However, to succeed in this profitable venture. You must know how to start and successfully operate a laundry business in Nigeria.

People often underestimate the logistics and cost of starting a laundry business in Nigeria.

Due to the lack of reliable information on the subject matter

We have developed an all-inclusive solution to this problem.

How to start a laundry business in Nigeria

To successfully start a laundry business in Nigeria, several things need to put in place.

You do not go into the country and establish a business without performing some initial analysis of its business environment.

Step 1: Study of local dry-cleaning businesses

To start a laundry business, you need to take out the time to study existing laundry businesses properly.

This could mean visiting any excellent laundry business within your vicinity and see how their business is operating.

It would be best if you adequately watched their daily operations to see how they stand out.

Apart from the general tips on this article, it is proper that you see how one operates before you start a laundry business.

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It is recommend that you visit the place on two separate occasions.

Day 1:

You could visit the dry cleaning business on certain days of a high traffic flow like on a Saturday.

You could visit every department on the premises.

There is the washing area, the drying department, the ironing section,

the customer service, the marketing department the accounting section, and other business departments.

In the case that such a trip is not allowed, you could tip somebody to give you a guided VIP tour around the facility.

The moment you get a trip around the facility, note down all the equipment used in its daily operations.

Day 2:

On the second day, you may want to visit the laundry business facility on a low traffic day.

For instance, you could visit the premises on Tuesday.

While there, you should keep an eye on how they treat their customers and take orders.

When you do this, you know how the standard dry cleaning and laundry business is operating in Nigeria.

Step 2: List all the materials, logistics, and equipment needed to start the laundry business

The next line of action for your laundry business is to note down all the things you need to begin your dry-cleaning business.

You will need to reference the note of the needed equipment that you created.

So, during a tour of the local laundry business, you visited earlier.

Alternatively, you could create one based on research or prior knowledge of the business.

Depending on the magnitude of your business, your equipment and materials will is plan according to the size of the company.

Most people always begin by buying a few types of equipment.

So, that they can afford before taking out a loan from a Nigerian commercial bank to expand their business.

At this point, you may not have all the capital needed to buy all that your laundry business requires.

If you do not have the money to buy a washing machine.

Also, it is better to wash with the hand manually.

You may purchase soaps, iron, as well as other affordable items.

Requirements needed to start a laundry and dry-cleaning business in Nigeria Capital requirement:

  • Cash (Between ₦10,000 and ₦500,000 or more).
  • An office, a house, or a rented apartment.

Informational Requirements

  • Tips and tricks on the laundry business marketing strategy
  • Technical knowledge about the different types of Nigerian fabrics and their water. ( you shall need this to avoid damaging your customer’s clothes).
  • Technical analysis of the various available methods of washing (regular washing, dry cleaning).
  • The technological know-how of how to iron all the types of available fabrics in Nigeria. (both professional and native).
  • The best ideas for folding clothes, packaging laundered clothes.
  • And the entire laundry process to create the best customer experience.

Equipment and material requirement:

  • Power Generator: The country does not have a stable power system. Therefore, you will need a backup power generator to help you in times of power outages.
  • Source of Water: You should get a source of water. If you are unable to get a constant water supply, you could purchase large tanks and store some water.
  • Washing/dry-cleaning machines: For now, start with the affordable brands depending on your capital.
  • Washing Basins: You shall need these in your washing operations.
  • The Ironing table: You need a convenient platform to iron out all washed laundry.
  • Pressing Iron: You need a high-end iron with professional settings to safely used on a wide range of materials.
  • Garment Conveyor: A local carpenter can create one of these for you. It is generally to hang and convey clothes.
  • A set of clothes hangers: You would need this to hang clothes every time. So be sure to purchase a generous amount.
  • Professional laundry detergent: Ensure that you get exclusive detergents that are suitable for dry cleaners. It would be best if you had detergents tom wash and clean a wide range of fabrics.
  • Starch: In the Nigerian dry cleaning sector, starch gets highly recommended to add a touch of professionalism to the customers’ clothes (They will thank you for it).
  • Packaging nylon and clothes tags: The packaging nylon is to package and store the clothes after ironing for the customer to pick them up. You would need a clothes tag also to avoid mixing up customer’s clothes.
  • Shelves: Shelves are to store packaged clothes awaiting pick up by the customer.

Step 3: Developing the budget for your laundry business in Nigeria

Due to your dry cleaning business’ magnitude and nature, the equipment mentioned above may be all that you will need to start the laundry business in the country.

Furthermore, there are also some hidden expenses that you would still have to make.

It would be best if you considered the price of a suitable location.

If you cannot afford this, you may want to start from your home.

The thing here to do is not to turn the whole house into a laundry business.

Instead, create some valuable space for the business.

Sometimes, this means that you have to rewire your home to create spaces to dry out the clothes and other things.

Note down all of these expenses, map down the budget you need to make.

The moment you get this right, you then get the perfect idea of the capital you need for the business.

Step 4: Get a proper location for your laundry and dry-cleaning business

If you prefer not to have your dry cleaning business in your home, it is better.

In Nigeria, a strategic location for your dry-cleaning business will massively improve your revenue.

Therefore, location is everything to a laundry business in the West African country.

The location of your business can tremendously help your business.

At this point, you will want to get a location where there are few or no competitors.

A location where you do not have much bigger laundry and dry-cleaning businesses will be preferable.

But, staying away from competitors should not be your primary aim, as the opposite scenario can be beneficial.

You could earn unsatisfied customers from these bigger businesses with your excellent services.

It would be best if you looked to locate your dry cleaning business in open locations.

This move is imperative because 75% of your customers will be professional workers.

You could also try locating your laundry company within a residential place, where lots of people live.

This could be in an estate, where lots of people live and pass through frequently.

Also, note that the geographical location can influence how much you charge.

If your location is in a high-income neighborhood, then you will charge more money.

However, your rent will be higher.

In Nigeria, before you choose a location, you need to consider three factors seriously:

  • The number of people that would see your business,
  • The price of an office/store in that location, as well as
  • The living standard of the people in that location.

All of these factors should be taken into consideration before you proceed to locate your company.

Unless you are an established dry-cleaning company, you may not worry about these factors.

Otherwise, these three prime factors are equally important.

In a country like Nigeria, all three factors are essential.

If this little problem gets sorted, you are closer to building your multi-million-naira dry cleaning business empire.

Step 5: Getting your company registered

To start a laundry business in Nigeria means that you have to register the business.

If you are duly registered, you get the necessary permits to run your business legally in the country.

You want to ensure that you duly register the dry cleaning business to avoid any problems you should try to expand.

Contrary to what happens in western countries, dry cleaning businesses get poorly regulated in Nigeria.

However, to be on the safer side of the law, you should get all the necessary permits.

Most foreign-owned businesses get regulated according to strict standards.

Therefore, whether you are a foreigner or a citizen of the country, you should get the proper approvals for your dry cleaning business.

Depending on the location you choose for your business operations, you may be required to pay specific fees.

You could have to pay some community development and local government fees.

Furthermore, these fees are different from your regular tax charges.

It is important to note that failure to pay some fees could lead to interference of your business operations by the locals within the vicinity.

While registering your dry cleaning business, you should get an easy and unique name for the company.

It would be best if you avoided complicated first and last names.

Instead, you should go for easy names like Just In Time Laundry Services or BestClean Laundry Services Nigeria Limited.

The moment you have decided on a unique and easy name.

You can head over to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to get your business duly registered.

Getting your company properly registered takes a minimum of 1 day and a maximum of 2 days.

Furthermore, some agents claim to register businesses in the country.

They are recommended but trying to get a genuine agent can be quite an uphill task.

Need to avoid any potential problem of defrauding, it is better to approach a lawyer or the CAC.

Lastly, do not forget to get a business bank account for your business.

Step 6: Creating your pricing list

Like our first visit to the dry cleaning facility, you should try to get an idea of all the prices of the entire services of your competitors.

This idea will help you to fix the price of your services.

As a great way to get into the business, you should try pegging your process several notches below that of your more established competitors.

It would be best if you did not price yourself out of business by charging too low.

Neither should you charge too high as to chase potential customers away.

In the Nigerian dry cleaning industry, clothes are charged depending on several factors like sensitivity, dirtiness, and thickness.

The amount charged to dry clean a jean trouser would be different from that of a plain trouser.

Additionally, the price of washing and steaming of suits is very different from that of washing native Nigerian clothes.

Furthermore, if you offer the services, you should set your prices for washing curtains and bedsheets.

However, the prices vary greatly; all you have to do is to find an average amount.

It would be best for your business if you brought down your price to get customers.

Everyone likes an excellent service at a giveaway price – even rich people like this too.

Step 7: Launching your laundry business

In Nigeria, most people launch out their businesses by having a large public display of entertainment.

They get a bunch of dancers or other attention-seeking troupes to perform some exciting and alluring activities amid people or in a busy area.

They play pretty loud music and sensitize the people within the vicinity of their emergence in the neighborhood.

This is the best way to get the initial publicity in a country where people do not come looking for you.

You look for people.

Therefore, you open up your business operation while ensuring that you extensively market and promote your business on the first day.

On this day, you should try to distribute fliers and meet potential customers.

Step 8: Keep tabs on your dry cleaning business

Finally, your dry cleaning business is now a reality, and you are happy to be the boss.

However, do not bring out the champagne glasses yet!

You can save that until you plan to open up a new branch of your business.

For now, your focus should be to run a successful dry cleaning business.

Apart from putting together a solid laundry business plan in Nigeria, you should also know how to run a successful dry-cleaning business in Nigeria.

Like every business, the point here is always to have a record of everything regarding your business.

You should record all customer items, transactions, down payments, as well as the expenses that you make.

If you do this, you will be able to monitor your business and block out all potential loopholes.

The account you keep shows you the direction of your business.

It will be an indicator of whether the business is sinking or sailing.

Furthermore, the accounts of your business activities, which you record will help you get an investor for the laundry business since you need to show evidence about the affairs of the business.

You should remember that no commercial bank in Nigeria will give you a loan if you do not keep accounts of your business dealings.

Step 9: Begin Branding your dry cleaning business

To successfully operate your business and attract the right demographics (white-collar workers and other professionals), you need to brand your business.

Besides total customer satisfaction, business branding also helps in expanding the customer base of a business.

Now business branding includes everything from your unique selling proposition (USP), the entire laundry set-up.

Also, the company logo, the manner you package and deliver finished clothes to customers.

Branding means everything that has to do with your dry cleaning business in Nigeria.

One right way to properly brand your dry cleaning business in Nigeria is to create a catchy logo.

You could visit any local graphic designer to do this effectively.

Step 10: Promoting your laundry business in Nigeria

After completing your company branding, the next part involves marketing your laundry business through advertising and promotion.

At this point, it pays to use every available channel of promotion.

You just set up a business in an area, so you need to get the word out.

People should be aware of your presence in the neighborhood.

You should perform researches to locate your target audience and see what form of promotion is most likely to get to them.

It could be a radio jingle or an advert in the classified ads section in the local newspaper.

Some ideas on promoting your dry cleaning business:

  • You could get a massive banner with both your business name and logo represented with bold and colorful images. Then place this banner outside the office or the home to attract the attention of passers-by.
  • You could also get printed fliers showing that early customers get discounts. Try to hire people to hand out these fliers.
  • Your dry cleaning business needs to be online. It is the age of the internet, and it is not uncommon to get new customers from the internet. Therefore, you should create an official website for your dry cleaning business. Furthermore, it would be best if you tried to open social media accounts for your business. such as Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, as well as others. You could then hire local social media influencers to promote your business using many local followers’ platforms. This is how you get the locals’ attention within your neighborhood – by promoting your dry cleaning business through somebody they can relate to.
  • Furthermore, if you have an extra van or bus or a private car. So you may want to brand this too according to the colors of your business.

Some more tips:

  • Remember to organize bonanzas and discounts. The people of Nigeria like discounts and giveaways. Such as Black Friday sales in November, you could have your own “Black wash day” where you offer ridiculously low prices for your services. Nigerians will thank you for this.
  • You should continuously get fliers printed and distribute this around the neighborhood.
  • Also, use word of mouth to promote your dry-cleaning business. Tell someone to tell a friend and so on.
  • You could decide to offer home pickup and delivery services with your branded van. Get the customers to call you to get their clothes. You go pick them up, wash them, dry them. And promptly return the clothes to the customer when it gets done.
  • You should go from the office to the next, letting the workers know about your dry cleaning business.
  • The last stage of business promotion is with your prices. Offer a reasonable price, and you keep your customers. Offer a ridiculously high price and watch how quickly they disappear never to return.

Step 11: Reinvesting your profits back into your business

At some point in your dry cleaning business life cycle, you should begin making lots of money.

RELATED: HOW TO MAKE MONEY IN NIGERIA?

Now is the time to consider reinvesting in the business all by yourself.

It would be best to get your revenue to take out the mandatory fees and get the rest amount reinvested back to your business.

By reinvesting back into your laundry business in Nigeria, you need to get some of that equipment you never had at the beginning due to limited funds.

You may want to purchase a delivery bike or van to help with the delivery of finished clothes fabric.

Step 12: Expanding your dry cleaning business

Finally, still, on the life cycle of your laundry business.

You get to a point where you will undoubtedly want to expand the business and branch out.

Now in terms of branching out, there are several ways that you can do this.

Getting new branches open

With this type of expansion, you get to increase the total number of outlets you have.

This makes your business easily accessible and increasing your customer base.

When you do this, you are bound to increase your income on the business.

In expanding your dry cleaning business, you should try opening up branches in densely populated areas.

Keep in mind that some of your most loyal customers will be young professionals, businessmen, and other high net worth individuals.

Therefore, you would want to stay insight to ensure that these groups of people can locate any one of your branches.

However, before you get to open other branches.

You should be sure that you have the necessary funds to back this up.

Typical dry cleaning business in Nigeria gets capital from the back to expand their operations.

Other businesses can choose to get investors to invest in their businesses.

Hire more staff

One of the best ways to expand your operations is to get more staff.

Getting more staff means that you now offer more services than before.

While in the country, you have access to cheap labor based on the number of youths clamoring to get jobs.

By now, you can then decide to streamline your dry cleaning business by having different departments.

Purchase more equipment

To effectively expand your operations, purchasing more equipment is one of the significant options you have.

It would be best if you thought of purchasing electrical and automatic washing machines, a branded company van.

And more dry cleaning equipment, and an officially branded car for marketing.

Offer additional services

As a fledgling business, you could start the laundry business by washing your clothes initially.

Subsequently, you can then branch out to render other complimentary services.

Like washing curtains, washing bedsheets, rug carpets, cars.

And other related items to increase your revenue and maximize.

Some common challenges of dry cleaning businesses in Nigeria

  1. Water Supply: You are going to be using large amounts of water daily. The country has great challenges when it comes to the supply of water. Thus, most businesses and homes provide their water supply. This means that you would need to provide water storage tanks for your business should you wish to buy water.
  2. Power Supply: As discussed earlier, one of the challenges you will be facing when you start your dry cleaning business is the issue of power supply. The country has an inadequate power supply system. Therefore, as a fledgling laundry business, you should ensure that you purchase your power systems.
  3. Customers: In Nigeria, the level of literacy is relatively low. Therefore do not expect to get customers only by putting your business on the internet alone. To get your customers, you have to carry out extensive marketing. This means physical marketing to increase your visibility.
  4. Handling of customers’ clothes: Most dry cleaning businesses have ended up paying for damaged customer’s clothes due to lack of information on handling certain clothes. Especially traditional Nigerian clothes that can be quite costly. Knowledge of handling traditional Nigerian clothes should be a priority when you begin your laundry business.

Conclusion

In Nigeria, whether you are a local or a foreigner, you can quickly start the laundry business.

And also follow the processes outlined in this post.