How to Start a Laundromat

If you’re thinking about opening a Laundromat but don’t know where to begin, you’re not alone. We get it — and we want to help. 

Making an educated investment decision is crucial, and we hope to share valuable insights into the costs, challenges, and opportunities involved with starting a Laundromat. Our aim is to support and guide you on your journey towards a successful and rewarding investment.   

In this article, we’ll cover :


You may be wondering who we are and why you should trust us to give you advice about starting a Laundromat. With more than 55 years of experience in the commercial laundry industry, we take pride in our extensive knowledge and proven expertise. 

During the past five decades, the team at Metropolitan Laundry Machinery Sales Inc. has developed more than 2,000 laundries across the Northeast. Along the way, we’ve gained invaluable insights into what factors contribute to a store’s success and what pitfalls to avoid. It is this wealth of experience that allows us to help aspiring entrepreneurs like you make informed decisions when entering the world of Laundromat ownership.

Starting a Laundromat business can be very rewarding financially. But, before you

embark on your investment journey, it is essential to understand what your investment would look like. So, are you ready to get started?

Purchase An Existing Laundromat vs Building a Laundromat

When considering starting a Laundromat, one of the first things you want to think about is your path to Laundromat ownership. Are you interested in buying an existing laundry business or building one from the ground up? Both options have their advantages and challenges, and it is essential you understand both in order to make an educated decision. 

It may come as a surprise, but at times we do encourage those looking to invest in a

Laundromat to look for laundries for sale in their neighborhoods. It has been our

experience, especially with first-time investors, that buying an existing store affords you an opportunity to get your feet wet without taking a dip in the pool, so to speak. 

Maybe a store owner is looking to retire; maybe they are relocating; maybe the store needs new management to help it grow. It is important to remember investing in an existing business can be less risky than starting from scratch.  

Jeremy Leiss, Operations Manager at Metropolitan Laundry Machinery Sales Inc., is always upfront and honest with first-time investors.  

“There is no one size fits all answer,” he said. “The costs associated with opening a new store vary greatly and finding a location can be challenging. Whereas if a new investor can locate and secure a store for sale with a long term lease, they are already a step closer to embarking on their Laundromat investment.”

With that said, both options yield impressive returns on investment — about 25-35%. And both options can offer a flexible work-life balance, low labor costs, and much more. 

Either way, if you choose to build a new store or buy an existing Laundromat and replace the equipment, our team is here to outfit your store with best-in-class machinery.

“Ultimately, the decision between buying an existing Laundromat or building one from the ground up will depend on your individual goals, financial situation, risk tolerance, and what path you are committed to,” Jeremy said. 

Here are a few ideas to explore when considering buying an existing store versus investing in building one:

Existing Laundromat 

  • Your initial investment can be significantly less. 
  • Length of lease on building 
  • You have immediate cash flow. 
  • Financial performance is known/proven. 
  • You have a built-in staff and customer base.
  • You can usually jump right into operating your business without an extensive construction phase. 
  • You will need to adapt to the layout of your store and the mix of commercial laundry equipment already there.

Building A Store

  • Initial investment can be substantial with large upfront costs.
  • Financing is available for equipment costs. 
  • There are long-term financial benefits from a store you created and outfitted with state-of-the-art machinery.
  • Creating your dream Laundromat requires creativity, time, effort, and strategic planning.

Find the Right Laundromat Location

Conducting a thorough analysis of the area for competition and identifying target demographics is crucial in determining the viability of starting a Laundromat business. At Metropolitan Laundry Machinery Sales Inc., we look for gaps in the market that your store can fill and design your laundry around those ideas.  

Areas with high concentrations of people who do not have laundry machines in their homes or apartment buildings are great areas to target.  

Stores located on a main road with great visibility and plenty of parking are prime real estate and excellent locations for a Laundromat.  

With an increase in vacation retail properties, we are also seeing an increased demand for Laundromats in those surrounding areas. This is an opportunity for laundries to cater to both travelers and property owners.   

Whether you are looking for an existing Laundromat to buy or a building for sale to establish a store, we can help you determine the overall viability of that space. Some of the factors we thoroughly look into are:

  • Location
  • Age and quality of the commercial laundry equipment
  • Square footage of the store
  • Layout of equipment
  • Structure of the sale
  • Monthly expenses

Based on our findings, we provide honest feedback with recommendations and follow-through to help you make the right decision.  

How Much Does It Cost to Open A Laundromat?

This is a question we get a lot from first-time or potential Laundromat investors once they’ve found a potential space. It’s not always an easy one to answer upfront because it depends so much on your space and the current market. 

Cliff Ross, Vice President of Sales at Metropolitan Laundry Machinery Sales Inc., has some great talking points for customers wondering about investment costs. 

“The costs to set up a new Laundromat largely depend upon the following: the condition of the building and current utility infrastructure, construction costs, and the size of the space to determine how many machines are appropriate for the square footage,” he said. “These costs affect the scope of work to be done.” 

There is also the question of utilities and permits. It is important to factor in what the utility connection costs could be, zoning permits, and more. 

Laundromat Equipment and Ancillary Products

You can’t open a Laundromat without washers, dryers, and other ancillary products and equipment. At Metropolitan Laundry Machinery Sales Inc., commercial laundry equipment is our specialty.  “Customers rely on our knowledge and expertise to guide them as to which products will yield a profitable Laundromat,” Cliff said. There are many different models of washer extractors and tumble dryers that one might want to consider with varying capacities and technology. 

Once we have a clear understanding of the size of your store, the number of machines you can fit, the different types of energy efficiencies, and the type of technology you want to use, we can start to estimate a price for your machinery.  

We encourage the use of high-quality, energy-efficient machinery, with convenient payment options — such as mobile or cards — to enhance the customer experience.  

Speaking of customer experience, “your options for additional ancillary products, such as payment systems, vending machines, folding tables, comfortable furniture, laundry carts, and bill breakers, are important and should be considered as part of the laundry experience”, Jeremy said.  

Choose A Laundry Equipment Distributor

By following these tips and leveraging our 55 years of experience in the commercial laundry industry, you can set yourself up for a rewarding and profitable Laundromat. We are here to support and guide you through every step.  

Without a distributor who can provide you with peace of mind when investing in the laundry industry, your journey may look a lot different. As an award-winning distributor of both Huebsch and Speed Queen vended laundry equipment, we are confident in our ability to help you.  

Let our team be your distributor of best-in-class commercial laundry equipment, parts, and services. Contact our Laundromat experts today!

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