What Does the Future Hold for the Wash-Dry-Fold Business?

As I’ve been saying in this column for several years, the wash-dry-fold business continues to grow, morph and evolve into something new seemingly each time we look in a different direction. The future of wash-dry-fold could look completely different in some aspects and be an even more sophisticated product down the road.

Two perfect examples of how this segment of the laundry business is growing and changing is the recent acquisition of Laundry Locker by Mulberrys and the entrance of Procter & Gamble into the marketplace with Tide Spin a few years ago.

Mulberrys started out as a wash-dry-fold business and then grew into one of the largest drycleaners in San Francisco’s bay area, while at the same time continuing to develop a burgeoning wash-dry-fold business.

In addition, you can’t overlook the impact of Procter & Gamble entering the retail, wash-dry-fold business with the launch of Tide Spin. Since then, the company also has acquired Pressbox – partnering on a multi-city arrangement to expand its wash-dry-fold business, while at the same time promoting its new “green” drycleaning option.

These are just two high-profile, national examples of paradigm shifts in a market that is growing and attracting more players (and customers) than we’ve seen in any other segment of the vended laundry business in recent years.

What does this mean for laundry owners, as well as entrepreneurs looking to get into the industry?

It means the future of the wash-dry-fold business is very bright – and that it provides a few varying business models for those who are interested. In general, looking to the future, there are three main wash-dry-fold business options:

  1. The standard, brick-and-mortar laundromat owner. What does wash-dry-fold look like from the self-service laundry perspective? How can a store owner promote wash-dry-fold in a laundromat and grow the business? How can you make it work in a store and still cater to your important self-service customers?
  2. The more full-time, more fully engaged wash-dry-fold operator. What will this business model look like as we move forward? How do commercial accounts fit into the mix? What are the future business opportunities for these types of innovative businesspeople?
  3. The online, on-demand, pickup/delivery model. This third option has received a lot of buzz within the industry. What does it really look like? How does that fit into a standard store operation, as well as operations that are being built strictly to handle wash-dry-fold loads?

Fortunately, at this year’s Clean Show in New Orleans, you will learn all about what the future likely may hold for the wash-dry-fold business? In fact, I will be hosting a panel discussion with three leading experts – and each individual will discuss one of the different wash-dry-fold business options I’ve outlined above.

This presentation will cover how to automate and grow your wash-dry-fold business – as well as unveiling a number of best practices for how to not only process wash-dry-fold laundry, but also how to manage your growing volume of wash-dry-fold loads without sacrificing quality or lessening the customer experience.

We’re going to talk about how to partner with other operators who might be doing pickup and delivery and/or potentially teaming up with local drycleaners. We’ll explore the opportunities for those business owners who have the capacity to do that type of work.

Additionally, we’ll discuss what types of commercial accounts make the most sense for growing a wash-dry-fold business, along with why it makes sense to seek out commercial business as you look to build a profitable wash-dry-fold service.

Without a doubt, the vended laundry industry offers several great opportunities for mom-and-pop laundromat owners as well as full-service laundry operators who are looking to offer wash-dry-fold options within their communities.

Join me in New Orleans at Clean 2019 this June to find out how to maximize these opportunities.

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