Plenty of competition High real estate costs/rents High water/sewage costs (you pay for the water you take in, then again for sewage when it goes out). Many landlords don’t want laundries/dry cleaners in their buildings Insurance Labor
And so on,
Look in the Sunday Papers under Laundries/Dry Cleaners for sale to get an idea for the market.
Drop stores can work but if the guy down the street (and there will always be at least one if not several others in a block radius), does the work in his own on site plant, customers might prefer him.
The name of the game is volume, volume. You can only charge but so much for an item, so the only way to keep margins up is to do enough business to cover your monthly expenses and hopefully make some money.
Yes, you will have to work your tail off to make it, the laundry/DC business is *NOT* easy. And just because you own a drop store does not mean everything will arrive back from your wholesaler in perfect ready to deliver condition. You will need to learn how to touch up press and possibly sew/alter.
Remember the more you send out to a wholesaler the tighter your margins will be. On the reverse the more you can do in house the more money you can keep for yourself.
Do a business plan costing shirts/laundry to be sent out, versus doing it yourself besides the other factors needed in your plan.
Consider the demographics and competition within the area you are considering opening your store/purchasing an existing store.
In the case of opening a new store, what is your competition? There are only X amount of customers in a certian area, so what are you going to do different to bring customers from existing stores to yours? Are you sure enough will switch to make it worthwhile?
If purchasing an existing store find out why the owner is selling. What are the financials? Can you make an substantial increase in business with only a little bit of improvements? Most important how in both cases how long will your lease be? The longer the better, but many landlords don’t like anything longer than 4 years or so.
Look in the Yellow Pages for wholesale laundries, and start calling to get rates and contract information. The problem with drop stores is you are only as good whatever wholesaler you use. If quality is not up to your customers standards they will hold you responsible and vote with their feet.
Finally have a realistic talk with yourself about how committed you are to this. You will probably not be able to afford help for awhile, so your going to have to be at your store 6 days a week. Remember if your not open and your competitors are, customers are likely to go straight to them, not wait for you.
What I’ve noticed even in many small stores, they have been installing “homestyle” commercial equipment to do the laundry in house and cutting out the middleman. Check out the chain “All Washed Up”, they are all over Manhattan.
Check out coinwash.com too. Although founded for coin laundry owners, there is quite allot of information for store owners and those in general seeking to enter the laundry business.
Best of luck,