Are Laundromats Profitable? How Much Do Laundromats Make?

Are laundromats profitable? Or, are laundromats a dying business? Learn how much laundromats make and if laundromats are a good investment.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: April 16, 2024

Are Laundromats Profitable

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Are laundromats profitable? Is buying a laundromat a good investment?

Ever wondered if owning a laundromat is as profitable as people say?

I’ve been seeing a lot of videos on social media lately talking about how much money laundromats make (seems like it’s a popular small business idea right now!). So, I wanted to do my own research and learn as much as I could on the topic of laundromat businesses to see why it’s trending so much.

Whether you are looking to make extra income or if you plan on opening several laundromat businesses, there are some things to think about before you get started.

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about:

  • How profitable a laundromat can be
  • The pros and cons of owning a laundromat
  • Why a laundromat may be a smart investment
  • Tips on how to find a laundromat to buy

And more.

Quick summary: Yes, laundromats can be a way to make money (and even passive income!) due to people needing to wash their clothes and low costs to run. However, the amount of money that you can make is based on factors such as location and maintenance costs (new machines can be expensive!). High-quality laundromats with lots of amenities are in, and the old days of dirty and hot laundromats are not.

Are Laundromats Profitable?

Is owning a laundromat a good investment? Is owning a laundromat a good way to make money?

According to the Coin Laundry Association, there are around 35,000 laundromat businesses in the United States and nearly 95% of laundromats succeed.

That is a pretty good success rate.

It’s important to understand that, like with any other business, laundromats require an investment of money—both initial and ongoing. You’ve got your rent, machines (you will need more expensive commercial laundry equipment), utilities, and insurance.

The good news is, your income would hopefully be higher than these costs, making you a profit at the end of the month. Some people are able to run a laundromat as their full-time income, and for others it may simply be one of their side hustles.

The amount of money that you can make from a laundromat depends on your management skills, the location of your business (the average laundromat user lives within 1 mile of the laundromat that they use, so you want to be close to your customers!), and more.

Related content:

Is a Laundromat A Smart Investment? Do Laundromats Make Money?

This is a hard question to answer, as everyone is different!

For some people, a laundromat can be a smart investment, for others it may not be. The good thing, though, is that you are reading this article so that you can figure out if owning a laundromat is for you or not.

Yes, many laundromats make money. On average, a laundromat can earn a profit of around 20% to 30%.

Note: Before making a decision, I highly recommend reaching out to a financial advisor before making any decisions.

Factors Impacting A Laundromat’s Net Income

There are numerous things that can impact how much money a laundromat can make such as:

  • Location– The location of a laundromat is important in how much money you can make. This is because a laundromat located in a populated area often makes more money than one in a less populated area. The reason is, that when there are more people, there are more people likely to use laundromats.
  • Competition– If there are other laundromat businesses nearby, this could impact your profit because you now have competition. This is because too much competition may mean that there are less customers coming to your business.
  • Demographics– The demographics of people living around the area of your laundromat are important. For example, laundromats tend to do better in areas with a lot of renters, college students, or households without a washing machine or dryer (of course).

We recently stopped to use a laundromat while we were traveling in our RV. One thing we noticed was that this laundromat had a ton of amenities. Now that I’m thinking about it, this laundromat business owner was smart. They knew what their potential customer needed. They opened a laundromat right next to a popular cross-country trail, and added great amenities such as snacks and even a pay-to-use shower. These factors helped this laundromat stand apart from its competition and probably led to more people using it because it was a one-stop shop.

Some laundromats can earn profits as high as 35% or more! These are usually high-volume operations in urban areas with lots of people living nearby and they tend to offer a wider range of services such as wash-and-fold or dry-cleaning.

Owning a laundromat can be a smart investment for some people because they can possibly have a stable flow of income.

However, you will want to keep in mind that success in this type of business still depends on careful planning, an understanding of your local market, and more. Not everyone will succeed, of course.

How To Find Laundromats For Sale

Jumping into the laundromat business begins with finding a laundromat business that is for sale, or starting your own business from the ground up.

If you are looking for a laundromat business that already exists and is for sale, here are some tips and strategies for locating a laundromat for sale.

Online platforms– Many websites list laundromat businesses for sale. Examples include BizBuySell and LoopNet. These platforms can be your first stop so that you can easily look at laundromat listings. I was able to find many laundromats for sale, ranging from around $100,000 to over $1,000,000. These sites will give you a lot of information too, such as the revenue, monthly rent that the laundromat pays, the year it was started, and some background on the business.

Broker assistance– There are commercial real estate brokers with experience in the industry that can be invaluable resources. These individuals often have connections and insights that you may not have as an individual buyer. You may want to search for commercial real estate brokers in your local area and see who can help you find a laundromat business for sale.

Local advertisements– Sometimes laundromats are listed for sale in your local newspaper. You can see if there is a business for sale section in your local paper to get started.

Important Things To Think About When Purchasing A Laundromat

When you come across a potential laundromat to buy, here are some things to think about:

  • Location– As mentioned in the earlier sections, the location of a laundromat plays a very important role in if the laundromat will be successful or not.
  • Condition of equipment– Commercial laundry machines are expensive. These are not the washer and dryers that you have in the home you live in. These are meant to take a lot of loads and be running nearly all the time. Due to this, you will want to inspect the machines thoroughly and, if possible, have a professional technician check them. This is because broken or old machines could result in costly repair or replacement costs.
  • Business finances– If you find a laundromat that you are interested in, then you should ask to see their financial records and carefully review them.
  • Lease agreement– Many laundromats do not own the building that they are doing business from. Due to this, you will want to look at the terms of the lease. A laundromat with a long-term lease allows for longer operations without the risk of eviction or a sudden rent increase.
  • Demographics and competition As you read in an earlier section, knowing more about the demographics of the local area, as well as about your laundromat competition, is important too.

Remember to approach this process with patience. Investing in a profitable laundromat is a journey that requires careful planning, research, and due diligence.

Picture of person putting coin in washer and dryer machine. Are laundromats profitable?

Owning A Laundromat

Operating a laundromat is more than just collecting coins from machines. There are maintenance needs, customer concerns, and potential unexpected issues that you may come across.

Below, I take you through the typical day-to-day operations of a laundromat.

Day-to-Day Operations Of A Laundromat

Opening up– Regular, reliable hours are important in the laundromat industry. Therefore, opening up the store in the early morning is always a good idea as many people like to get their laundry done first thing. Plus, many of your customers will be repeat clients, so making sure that you open up at the same time each day is required.

Machine maintenance and cleanlinessWhen running a laundromat, you will need to check on the washers and dryers, perform required maintenance, and make sure that your business is clean. You will also want to make sure you are well-stocked with detergents and fabric softener.

Customer service– While the average laundromat only has 2 employees or less, you will want to have good customer service. After all, a happy customer is far more likely to return and recommend your services to others.

Financial management– Collecting payments and record-keeping is something that is done every single day.

Tips on Managing a Profitable Laundromat

  • Sell extra services– Successful laundromats tend to sell many more services other than just self-service laundry. Due to this, you may want to also try diversifying your income streams so that you can make more money from your laundromat. You can sell other services such as wash-and-fold services, dry-cleaning, dog washing stations, showers, or even have vending machines.
  • Maintain your machines– Regularly maintaining your washer and dryer machines minimizes downtime and expensive repair costs, so that your laundromat can run smoothly.
  • Promote your business– Word of mouth is so important in this type of business, but don’t shy away from using social media or local advertising to draw in potential customers.

Running a money-making laundromat is much more than keeping the machines running. It involves good customer service, finding more services to sell, and marketing your laundromat business.

Frequently Asked Questions About Laundromats

Here are common questions about owning a laundromat.

How much profit can you make from a laundromat? How much do laundromat business owners make?

The profits from laundromats vary depending on location, operation expenses, size of the laundromat, the amenities you sell, and more. The average laundromat business sees a profit margin of around 20% and 30%.

The national average income for self-serve laundromats ranges between $15,000 to $200,000 per year. As you can see, that is a wide range and that is because it just depends on so many different things.

What are the pros and cons of owning a laundromat?

Like with any business, there are positives and negatives. Owning a laundromat isn’t for everyone.

Owning a self-service laundromat can earn you money and can be a stable, low-risk investment with low operating costs. It can be a fairly passive income stream as well, as you don’t need many employees (the average laundromat has 2 or fewer employees). However, running a laundromat isn’t all easy, there are challenges such as high start-up costs, machines braking, and more.

The challenges of running a laundromat include that high-quality commercial laundry machines can be quite expensive and purchasing or leasing a location with enough space for machines and customers can be a significant portion of startup costs. Also, wear and tear is going to happen in a laundromat as machines get constant use, and the cost of repairing or replacing machines can add up.

Is owning a laundromat a smart investment? Is owning a laundromat worth it?

Owning a laundromat can be a smart investment, and it can be worth it for some people. But, it will cost you money.

It costs around $100,000 to $300,000 to start a laundromat. Starting or buying a laundromat can be high, but it can also earn you a steady income. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s a smart investment for everyone. There are many factors that go into running a successful laundromat.

How to find laundromats for sale?

You can find laundromats for sale through websites, commercial real estate agents, or business brokers. You can also network with existing laundromat owners or associations who can provide insights into potential sale opportunities.

Are laundromats a dying business?

The laundromat business has changed over the years, but they are still very much needed. People use laundry facilities all the time, including myself such as when I am traveling in my RV or boat. Everyone needs to wash their clothes.

There are ways to keep your business up to date, such as having a laundromat that accepts different methods (such as credit card and cash), having a drop-off service, and making your facility comfortable (such as with WI-FI, TV, beverages, etc.).

What are the key success factors for running a laundromat?

Successfully running a laundromat depends on many factors like the location, maintaining clean and well-functioning machines, providing good customer service, having amenities (such as air conditioning or head depending on the temperature, TVs, etc.), and more.

Are Laundromats Profitable? – Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article on whether buying a laundromat is a good investment or not.

Here’s a quick summary of what we learned above about this business venture:

  • Running a laundromat can be a way to make money, but it depends on many different factors.
  • Laundry businesses typically have low labor costs (they are fairly passive businesses with a lot amount of workers needed) and can be recession-proof.
  • Owning a laundromat does have cons and challenges, such as the fact that commercial laundry machines can be quite expensive if they need to be repaired or replaced.
  • There are many laundromats for sale and you can start your search online.
  • Running a successful laundromat business in today’s world will likely mean running a higher-quality business and selling amenities for additional fees.

In all, the profitability of owning a laundromat may make the challenges worth tackling. The average laundromat is changing and improving, and there can be room to make money with this small business.

So, what do you think? Are laundromats profitable? Are you interested in owning one?

*Statistics from Coin Laundry Association

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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