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By The Wyoming LLC Attorney Team

Mar 13, 2024

What It Costs to Start a Laundromat

How to Start an LLC

In the world of diverse business opportunities, laundromats have stood the test of time as reliable and steady sources of income. They provide a fundamental service that is always in demand, regardless of the economy's status. A laundromat can be a remarkable investment, given its fairly stable operation and consistent patronage. However, like any venture, opening a laundromat entails a detailed understanding of the financial requirements involved.

This article aims to shed light on the various costs that aspiring laundromat owners need to consider. From acquiring the perfect location to installing the right machines and maintaining the business, we delve into the financial nitty-gritty of starting a laundromat business. Whether you're an entrepreneurial novice or a seasoned business person, the following sections will help you understand what it truly costs to open a laundromat, providing a valuable roadmap to your potential venture in the laundry industry.

Understanding the Laundromat Business

Before diving into the specifics of the costs involved, it's crucial to understand how a laundromat business operates, as it is quite different from other retail or service businesses.

A laundromat, also known as a coin laundry or washateria, is a self-service operation where customers pay to use washing and drying machines. The business model is based on providing a basic but essential service: clean laundry. This makes it a need-based business that often thrives in dense urban areas or places where access to personal washing machines or dryers is limited.

The profitability of a laundromat is largely determined by its location and the density of its target customer base. A well-placed laundromat in a high-traffic area with many apartment dwellers or college students can often expect a steady stream of business. Additionally, because the service is essential, the business is relatively resistant to economic downturns.

Another unique aspect of the laundromat business is that it's predominantly a cash-based business, and it's largely self-serve. This can reduce some typical business expenses like labor costs, but it also means that your revenue is largely dependent on the number of machines and their usage rates.

The cost of utilities, particularly water, and electricity, is another significant factor. The efficiency of the machines you choose will have a direct impact on these costs. While investing in high-efficiency machines may cost more upfront, they can reduce your long-term operating costs.

It's also worth noting that many laundromats offer additional services to increase their revenue. These can include drop-off laundry services, dry cleaning, or even selling laundry-related products. Offering these services can increase your startup and operating costs but may also lead to higher revenues.

While the laundromat business has the potential for steady income, it also requires careful planning and management. In the following sections, we'll delve into the various costs you need to consider to make your laundromat a profitable venture.

Laundromat Equipment Checklist and Associated Costs

Once you have a clear understanding of how a laundromat operates, the next step is to consider the equipment needed to run the business. The bulk of your initial investment will be in commercial-grade laundry equipment. The quantity, quality, and efficiency of the machines you choose will directly impact both your startup costs and your ongoing operating expenses.

Here's a checklist of the basic equipment required and the estimated cost as of 2023:

EquipmentEstimated Cost (per unit)
Commercial Front Load Washer$3,500 - $7,000
Commercial Top Load Washer$1,500 - $3,000
Commercial Dryer$2,500 - $6,000
Change Machine$1,000 - $3,000
Laundry Carts$100 - $150
Folding Tables$200 - $400
Seating$50 - $200
Vending Machines (optional)$3,000 - $6,000
Soap Dispenser (optional)$500 - $1,000
Laundry Scale (for drop-off service)$100 - $200

Keep in mind that these costs can vary significantly depending on the capacity and efficiency of the machines, the brand, the number of units you purchase, and where you purchase them from. These prices do not include installation costs, which can also be significant.

It's worth mentioning that many laundromat owners choose to lease their laundry equipment instead of buying it outright. Leasing can lower your initial investment and also includes maintenance and repairs, which can simplify your operating costs.

Another major consideration is the renovation costs to ensure the premises are suitable for a laundromat operation, including plumbing, electrical work, flooring, and accessibility. Depending on the current state of the building, renovation costs can range from a few thousand dollars to over $100,000.

In the next section, we will discuss these and other startup costs in more detail.

Setting Up Your Laundromat Business Structure

While securing the right equipment is a crucial part of opening a laundromat, it's just as important to establish the correct business structure. This will affect your tax obligations, legal liabilities, and overall business management. There are several business structures to choose from, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.

Sole Proprietorship: This is the simplest business structure, where the business and the owner are essentially the same entity for tax and legal purposes. While this simplicity is appealing, it also means the owner has personal liability for any business debts or legal issues. For a laundromat, given the potential for damages or injuries, this may not provide enough protection.

Partnership: This structure is similar to a sole proprietorship but involves two or more people. It can be a good option if you're planning to start the business with someone else. However, like a sole proprietorship, it leaves partners personally liable for business debts and legal issues.

Limited Liability Company (LLC): An LLC provides the liability protection of a corporation while maintaining the tax simplicity of a sole proprietorship or partnership. It means that your personal assets are protected in case of business debts or lawsuits. This is a popular choice for small businesses, including laundromats.

Corporation (C or S): Corporations offer the highest level of protection for owners, but they are also the most complex and costly to set up and maintain. For most laundromats, a corporation would be more structured than necessary.

Once you have selected the type of business organization that best suits your needs, it's time to register your business with the state and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Depending on your location and the services you offer, you may also need to secure various permits and licenses.

Costs associated with forming a business entity can range from $50 for a basic sole proprietorship to over $1,000 for a corporation, not including any legal advice you might seek. Obtaining necessary licenses and permits will also incur charges, which can vary widely based on your location and the specific nature of your business.

In the next section, we'll discuss operating costs, an ongoing factor that plays a critical role in the success of your laundromat.

Operating Your Laundromat: Understanding Ongoing Costs

With the upfront costs considered, it's essential to turn our attention to the recurring expenses, the lifeblood of your day-to-day operations. Understanding these will allow you to set appropriate pricing and plan for profitability.

  1. Utilities: As a laundromat owner, utilities will be one of your most significant recurring expenses. This includes water, electricity, gas (for heating water and running dryers), sewage, and waste disposal. The cost can range from $1,500 to $5,000 per month, depending on your location, the size of your laundromat, the efficiency of your machines, and the volume of business.
  2. Lease/Mortgage Payments: Depending on whether you lease or own the property, you'll have monthly lease payments or mortgage installments. Location and size are significant factors influencing this cost.
  3. Maintenance and Repairs: Commercial laundry equipment can require regular maintenance and occasional repairs. Depending on whether you own or lease your machines, and whether your lease includes maintenance, expect to set aside $200 to $500 per month for this.
  4. Insurance: Business insurance, including liability, property, and workers' compensation (if you have employees), is another important ongoing cost. Insurance costs can vary widely based on many factors but expect to budget around $200 to $400 per month.
  5. Labor: If you choose to hire staff—for instance, to provide wash-and-fold services, maintain the premises, or manage the business—this will be another significant expense. The cost will vary depending on local wage rates and the number of hours worked.
  6. Supplies: If you're offering wash-and-fold services or selling laundry supplies, you'll need to regularly replenish your inventory.
  7. Marketing and Advertising: Getting the word out about your new laundromat will likely require some spending on marketing and advertising, especially in the early days. The cost can range from very little (for word-of-mouth or social media marketing) to several hundred dollars per month for more traditional advertising methods.
  8. Miscellaneous Expenses: These include business taxes, accounting or bookkeeping services, bank fees, professional licenses, and any other routine costs associated with running a business.

In our next section, we will delve into the strategies to optimize these costs, increase revenue, and make your laundromat a successful venture.

Driving Success: Cost Optimization and Revenue Enhancement Strategies

While understanding the costs involved in setting up and running a laundromat is essential, equally important is figuring out how to maximize your returns. Here are some strategies to help optimize costs and enhance revenues in your laundromat business.

Energy-Efficient Equipment

As utility costs are a major recurring expense, investing in high-efficiency washers and dryers can bring significant savings over time. These machines may cost more initially, but they use less water and electricity, leading to lower utility bills.

Regular Maintenance

A preventative maintenance schedule can help minimize costly repairs and machine downtime. Simple actions like regularly cleaning lint screens and inspecting machines for worn parts can extend the life of your equipment and ensure it runs efficiently.

Leasing Equipment

Leasing your laundry equipment can not only lower your initial investment but also simplify your maintenance costs, as many lease agreements include service and repairs.

Ancillary Services

Offering additional services, such as wash-and-fold, dry cleaning, or selling laundry supplies, can provide extra sources of income. Consider your target demographic and what additional services they might value.

Effective Marketing

Utilize cost-effective marketing strategies to attract and retain customers. These could include social media advertising, loyalty programs, discounts during off-peak hours, and partnerships with local businesses.

Exceptional Customer Service

Providing a clean, safe, and comfortable environment, along with top-notch customer service, can help attract repeat customers and encourage word-of-mouth referrals.

Automated Systems

Utilizing technology for coinless payment systems or providing 24/7 access can enhance the customer experience and potentially increase the usage of your laundromat.

Diversify Peak Hours

Offering discounted rates during typically non-peak hours can help maintain a steady flow of customers throughout the day, increasing overall machine usage and revenue.

The key to success in the laundromat business is more than just managing costs. It's essential to cultivate a loyal customer base while ensuring reliability and quality with each service you provide. Achieving profitability requires careful cost management, strategic planning, and most importantly - delivering outstanding customer satisfaction. With these tools at your disposal, you'll have all that it takes to make your laundromat thrive!

Selecting the Ideal Spot for Your Laundromat

Selecting the right location for your laundromat is paramount. The location can significantly influence the volume of your business, the types of services you may want to offer, and even the hours of operation. Here are some critical factors to consider when choosing your laundromat location:


Your location should be in a densely populated area, preferably with many renters who are less likely to own their washing machines and dryers. Urban areas, university towns, and neighborhoods with multi-family apartment complexes are typically great choices.

Foot Traffic and Visibility

Ideally, your laundromat should be in a high-traffic area and easily visible. Locations near grocery stores, shopping centers, or public transportation stops are desirable as they allow customers to run errands while their laundry is being done.


Look at the competition in your proposed area. If there are several laundromats already, it might be challenging to establish a new business. However, if those laundromats are not well-maintained or lack good customer service, you might be able to differentiate yours and capture market share.


Accessibility is essential for laundromats. Locations with ample, easy parking are desirable. Customers will often have heavy laundry loads, so being able to park near the entrance is a significant advantage.

Size and Layout

The space needs to be large enough to house your machines comfortably, along with folding areas, seating, and possibly ancillary service areas. The layout should allow for a smooth flow of customers and laundry carts.


Keep in mind that laundromats require specific utilities and infrastructure, including ample water supply, drainage, and electricity. Renovating a space that doesn't already have these can add significantly to your start-up costs.

Lease Terms and Zoning Regulations

The terms of your lease can significantly impact your bottom line, so be sure to understand them fully. Also, verify that zoning laws allow for a laundromat in your chosen location.

When choosing a location, the mantra remains 'patience and research'. It might be tempting to rush into a lease for a location that seems good enough, but holding out for the ideal spot could make the difference between a struggling business and a thriving one.

In the next section, we'll talk about the final steps in launching your laundromat and making it a part of your local community.

Securing Funding for Your Laundromat Business

Once you've determined the cost of setting up and operating your laundromat, and you've chosen your location, it's time to consider how you will fund your business. Here are some of the common ways to secure financing for your laundromat venture:

Personal Savings

If you've been able to accumulate savings, this can be an excellent way to fund your business without incurring debt or interest payments.

Bank Loans

Traditional bank loans are a common way to fund small businesses. They usually offer lower interest rates than other lending sources but require a robust business plan and strong personal credit.

SBA Loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loans to small businesses that might not qualify for traditional bank loans. While the application process can be lengthy, SBA loans often have lower down payments and longer repayment terms.

Equipment Leasing

As mentioned earlier, leasing equipment can significantly lower your initial costs. Many equipment leasing companies also offer financing options for other startup costs.


If you're willing to share ownership in your business, finding investors might be a viable option. This could be anything from a silent partner to a more formal venture capital investment.


Websites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe allow you to raise small amounts of money from a large number of people. This method can be particularly successful if your business has a unique angle or serves a specific community need.


While less common, grants for small businesses do exist. These are funds that you don't have to repay, so they're worth looking into. Check with local business development organizations or government agencies.

Regardless of the method you choose, securing financing will require a thorough business plan. This plan should detail your costs, projected earnings, marketing strategy, competitor analysis, and other key details about your business. It's your chance to convince lenders, investors, or others that your laundromat is a sound investment

In the final section, we will discuss how to navigate the grand opening of your laundromat and cultivate a strong customer base from day one.

Launching With a Splash: Navigating the Grand Opening of Your Laundromat

After meticulously planning, securing funding, and setting up your laundromat, it's time for the exciting part: the grand opening. This is your opportunity to introduce your laundromat to the community, attract potential customers, and start building relationships. Here's a step-by-step guide to successfully launching your laundromat:

Plan a Grand Opening Event

Consider organizing a special event to celebrate your laundromat's opening. This could involve special discounts, free services, live music, local food, or even a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The goal is to create a buzz and encourage people to visit.

Promote Your Opening

Use both traditional and digital marketing methods to get the word out. Local newspapers, flyers, and direct mail can reach people in your area. Social media, Google ads, and email marketing can also be effective, especially if you're targeting a younger demographic.

Collaborate With Local Businesses

Partnering with other local businesses can be a win-win situation. For instance, a local pizza place could provide discounted pizza for your opening event, potentially gaining new customers.

Offer Exceptional Service

From the very first day, provide the best customer service possible. Make sure your laundromat is clean, the machines are in good working order, and you or your staff are available to help or answer questions.

Solicit Feedback

Ask for feedback from your initial customers. What do they like about your laundromat? What could be improved? This feedback is invaluable for fine-tuning your business.

Continue Marketing

Don't stop marketing after the grand opening. Consistent marketing helps attract new customers and keep your laundromat top-of-mind for existing ones. This could involve regular promotions, a loyalty program, or community events.

Monitor and Adapt

In the early days of operation, keep a close eye on your business. Are there peak times when you need more machines? Are customers asking for a service you don't offer? Be ready to adapt your business based on what you observe.

Bottom Line

Opening a laundromat requires careful planning, significant investment, and hard work, but it can also be a rewarding and profitable venture. With its stable demand, recession-resistant nature, and growth potential, a laundromat might be just the business opportunity you've been looking for.

Begin your business journey with our support. Wyoming LLC Attorney provides business formation services, ensuring a seamless and efficient setup process. For guidance, please fill out our contact form to connect with an experienced paralegal from our team. Here's wishing you every success on your laundromat journey!