Short Answer: You can open a laundromat business with little to no money down either by getting a business grant or by starting a laundry business from your home and growing your profits for investment and expansion. Below, we explain how to find different types of business grants, as well as how to start an at-home laundry business or join an existing home laundry service company.
How to Open a Laundromat With No Money Down
A laundromat can be a relatively simple business to run since most functions of a laundromat are self-service. However, to start a laundromat, there are usually startup costs involved. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can get a laundromat business started for little or no money down. Your options include business grants or starting a laundromat business from home.
How to Start a Laundromat With a Business Grant
Unlike loans, grants are funds given for a certain purpose that you don’t have to pay back. It may be possible to start a laundromat for free by applying for grants, though you will likely have to secure more than one grant. We researched several different types of business grants you may be able to get to start your laundromat, and we’ve listed them below:
Small Business Grants
The United States Small Business Administration (SBA) provides grants to businesses, though it sometimes requires applicants to come up with part of the funds. In most cases, the SBA gives grants to nonprofit, educational, or government businesses, but you can still apply for a grant from the SBA if your business does not fit into one of these categories. If the SBA is unable to approve a grant, it can provide other small business resources that may help. You can also search for other possible government grants at grants.gov.
Some city, county, and state programs, as well as some banks and credit unions, offer grant programs for small businesses. As an example, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation gives out several hundred million dollars in grants each year to support community development activities, including small business startups. You can contact your local bank to find out about any grants it offers, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce to find out more about city, county, or state government grants.
Grants for the Disabled
Some government offices and private organizations offer grants for people with disabilities. Some programs, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ VR&E Self-Employment Track, are specifically offered for disabled veterans.
Grants for Women
There are some grants available exclusively for women entrepreneurs, which can fund the startup costs of a business such as a laundromat. Examples include the SBA’s Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) and the Amber Grant.
While it can take time to find and apply for appropriate grants, some of these programs may provide at least some of the funds needed to open a laundromat.
How to Start a Laundromat From Home
Another option for opening a laundromat with no initial investment is to start a laundry service from your home and use the profits from your home-based business as a down payment on a small business loan or laundromat franchise loan. If you already have a washer and dryer, you can start a laundry business from home with no investment and save your earnings to build or buy a laundromat facility.
There are a few ways to start your own laundry business from home. One way is to set everything up yourself, including establishing yourself as a business and landing clients through marketing. You’ll need to make sure that your home has an easily accessible place for customers to drop off and pick up laundry, such as a garage. You may also consider starting a laundry delivery service from home, which involves picking up and dropping off clothes for customers in addition to washing them. You can advertise to your friends, family, and neighbors, and you can even post ads on sites like Facebook and Craigslist.
Working With a Home Laundry Service
Another option is to work with an existing home laundry company to offer laundry services from your home. Laundry Care is one such service — it is a national network of home laundry service providers. Note that you must provide pickup and delivery when working with Laundry Care, so you’ll need a vehicle in addition to a washer and dryer. There is also a fee of $39.99 for a startup kit to join this specific network. However, working with Laundry Care eliminates the need to find customers yourself, as the service provides clients for you. There are several other companies like this, but most only operate regionally — you can start with a quick Google search to find home laundry service companies in your area.
Buying/Building a Laundromat Facility
If you have sufficient savings from your home laundry service and you want to expand your business, you can rent or buy a space near you to start a commercial laundromat. You will also need to buy the commercial washers and dryers — most of which are coin- and/or card-operated — and you will need to pay for machine maintenance. You can find coin-operated commercial washers and dryers at several appliance and warehouse stores, and you can even find them on Amazon. Since most laundromats have self-service machines, you will not need to hire many employees — you can even run the facility with just yourself or your family.
Keep your facility’s location in mind; you are more likely to find customers in need of laundry services in more urban, populous locations with lots of renters. These people are less likely to have in-unit laundry facilities, and they often turn to laundromats.
Looking for more ways to start a business for free? Check out our list of work-from-home jobs with no startup costs.