If you are considering investing in a franchise for dry cleaning, the first question is: how much do you know about dry cleaning?
Traditional dry cleaning is a method of cleaning clothes without water. Despite the name, it actually uses liquids in the form of solvents to remove dirt, grease and stains. Evidence of dry cleaning goes back to Roman times.
The first dry cleaner in the U.S. dates to the 1820s. Thomas Jennings, the first Black man to be granted a U.S. patent, ran a successful tailoring and dry cleaning operation in New York City. But it didn’t become widely used until over 100 years later.
Fast forward to today. There are about 35,000 dry cleaners, but with clothes becoming more casual the industry is in contraction. (See IbisWorld research.) However, many communities still have a need for dry cleaners, especially innovative ones. New entrants such as the Tide brand is offering franchise cleaners and reinventing the industry with technology and service.
Environmental concerns have led to safer cleaning methods, such as using a small amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) instead of the chemical PERC. As a result, “green dry cleaners” are growing in popularity because consumers can get their clothes professionally cleaned and feel they are not harming the environment.
Then there’s the growth of “full-service laundry” businesses. These are businesses that use high-tech, water-based methods for cleaning laundry.
10 Dry Cleaning Franchise Opportunities
Take a look at these dry cleaning and full-service laundry franchising opportunities:
1. Tide Cleaners
Tide is one of the biggest names in the laundry industry. The company offers a variety of models for those interested in laundry franchising. Stores offer dry cleaning, wash and fold laundry, alterations, and even cleaning of household items. Previous experience with franchises is preferred but not required. And the company is open to those looking for multiple stores. The initial fee for their dry cleaning franchises is $20,000. And the initial startup costs range from $682,100 to $1,586,700. Franchisees must start with a full-plant store, but smaller types of locations are available for those looking to develop multiple units as part of their franchising investments.
2. Dryclean USA
Dryclean USA is a dry cleaners franchise that has been around for decades. The company has a standard procedure to guide franchisees through the entire setup process. Then they provide ongoing support for things like marketing and supplies. The company is currently seeking new cleaning franchises around the country. The fee for the franchises is $30,000. And the upfront investment for new stores starts at $261,500.
The Martinizing franchise is one of the most recognizable names in the industry. The company is known for providing fast and upscale service. They also use green cleaning methods for cleaning laundry. And traditional stores and mobile opportunities are available. The fee for the franchises is $69,500. And the total initial costs to get this company’s franchising venture going is around $450,000.
4. One Click Cleaners
One Click Cleaners uses tech to provide a straightforward experience for customers. In addition to traditional dry cleaning, they also provide pickup and delivery service, lockers, and smartphone signup and scheduling. The company provides a variety of franchise opportunities, including traditional storefronts, mobile units, and automated kiosks. The general fee for the franchises is $38,000, but two cleaning franchises per month receive discounted rates of $9,500.
Lapels is known for providing an eco-friendly dry cleaning solution. The company has been around for 20 years. And the team has more than 70 years of industry experience. Traditional retail stores are available, along with mobile units and satellite locations. For full storefronts, the fee for the franchises is $50,000. And the total investment ranges from $391,031 to $731,122. For satellite and mobile units, the fee for the franchises is $25,000. And the total investment ranges from $91,502 to $211,212.
6. ZIPS Dry Cleaners
ZIPS cleaners is a big name in the dry cleaning industry. The company provides a turnkey model and boasts a zero percent failure rate. Franchisees also get exclusive rights to their own territory. The fee for the franchises ranges from $30,000 to $60,000. And the total initial investment ranges from $1 million to $1.5 million.
7. Oxxo Care Cleaners
Oxxo is one of the leaders in the eco-friendly dry cleaning laundry industry. Multiple models are available. Traditional stores start at $475,500. And owners of ATM units can get started for $119,000. Multi-unit opportunities and drop stores are also available. The initial fee for the franchises is $36,000.
8. CD One Price Cleaners
CD One Price Cleaners is known for its simple pricing model and streamlined customer experience. This makes it popular with customers who want straightforward service. The company currently has more than 30 locations throughout the Midwest. Franchisees go through a five-week training program and then receive ongoing support. The fee for the cleaning franchises is $20,000. And the initial investment ranges from $615,000 to $830,000.
9. Comet Cleaners
The Comet Cleaners brand has been around for 60 years. The company provides support with location selection, layout, training, and marketing. And it’s an SBA-approved franchise opportunity. The franchises this company offers are available in several options, including plant stores and pickup stores. The fee for plant store franchises is $30,000. And for cleaning franchises with a pickup store, it’s $15,000. For those who want to open multiple locations, including one plant and two pickup stores, the initial fee is $50,000.
Pressed4Time is a mobile dry cleaning laundry franchise that offers both home and office delivery service. They also provide shoe repair and wash and fold laundry services. Since it’s primarily a mobile business, the startup costs and time requirements are fairly low. This can also be a very in-demand segment in areas with a high population of busy professionals. The initial fee for the franchises is $29,900. And franchisees must have a net worth of at least $50,000.
FAQs About Dry Cleaning Laundry Businesses
Here are frequently asked questions about dry cleaning and full-service laundry businesses:
How Much Does it Cost to Open a Dry Cleaning Business?
The amount you need to start dry cleaning laundry franchises depends on the model you choose. Traditional storefront models require anywhere from about $300,000 to $1.5 million. Smaller drop off stores or mobile businesses can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $300,000. Exact costs depend on your location, the cleaning franchises, and the model you choose.
Is it a Profitable Business?
The average profit margin in the industry is 150 percent. Depending on your franchises’ model, you can expect to earn about $1 in profit per garment. When it comes to businesses that offer laundry services, the ongoing costs are fairly low. You pay upfront for things like equipment. Then your supplies and labor costs stay fairly steady. And laundry services are constantly in demand in markets around the country.
What is a Wash and Fold Laundry Business?
A wash and fold laundry business is one that accepts customers’ laundry and delivers it back to them ready to wear. This is different from a laundromat, which is a self-service model aimed at customers who are more price-conscious. A full-service laundry cleaning model is where the consumer simply delivers dirty clothes and they come back clean. The consumer has different expectations and is willing to pay for service. Hence the term, wash and fold laundry.
Read more: How to Start a Laundry Business.
Can You Have Both a Dry Cleaning and Full Service Laundry Business?
Yes. Many cleaners today do multiple methods of cleaning. They do traditional wash and fold laundry services along with dry cleaning. The focus is on the consumer who wants garment care — and being able to deliver the right method for the right item. These businesses also tend to focus on service — providing home pickup and drop off services, stores, apps and pickup lockers are becoming standard in the cleaning industry.