Today is your lucky day...I happen to own several niche laundry pick-up services, one being Georgia Laundry: http://www.georgialaundry.com
Your dilemma is an easy one to solve.
As the user above suggested, call or go in and speak with the owner. Look in the phone book under (I`m assuming you`re only offering laundry services and Not Dry Cleaning). Look under: Laundries and you specifically want to look for the ones that mention Wash & Fold Services. Here`s what you tell them.
First, find out what their rates are for washing your clothes. They`ll give you their retail rate, which in my area is like $1.50 per pound (more in the city). Ask if they offer a `wholesale rate` for commercial accounts. If the owner doesn`t answer they phone, the person will likely tell you no.
But ask to speak to the owner or tell them that you anticipate dropping off 1,500 pounds of clothes per week to start and that`ll usually get their attention and they`ll pass you onto the owner or will give you the owners name and cell number. (the owners are hardly there).
Just to give you an idea, my wholesale rate runs about .45 cents per pound. And the rate is always negotiable. Tell them what you do. And they`re more likely to try and give you the best rate.
Talk to them from the angle that you`re already working with another launderer and that you`re simply trying to find someone "closer" instead of having to go way into `town`. That way, if you really don`t have a thousand pounds, you can tell them you`ll test the services with a partial load and will eventually move your entire operation their over a 3 month time frame. This way, you won`t be expected to show up with 1,500 pounds the first few months.
Make sure you have a web site because the college students today are all internet savy and most likely won`t be calling you on the phone.
Get laundry bags with your company name on it, something like College Laundry, with your web site and phone number screenprinted on the bags. I wouldn`t charge to give them the bags like some people do, after they use your services the first time, they keep the bag (this way they know how to contact you).
You can get your laundry bags from this company name Cleaners Supply at wholesale prices. I think the bags are like $1.50/ea and for an extra $1.50 you can get your company name, web site and phone number screen printed onto the bags.
You can also get the receipts you give your customers customized from the same company too....as well as ID Badges that clip onto the bags too..
Heres the link:
This biz could be huge..after you lock down the collegiate schools in your area, then you can break into other niches....such as dry cleaning ---offer the same service to Attorneys and u may direct them to a site called: Attorney Laundry.com
Or if you want to go after spas and tanning salons to pick-up their sheets, towels, and linens....route them to SpaLaundry.com or whatever...make the web site and company name specific to your group of prospects...
Unfortunately, CollegeLaundry.com is already taken, as well as CollegiateLaundry.com, but I`m sure you get my idea.
I wrote a manual where by I taught people how to start their own laundry pick-up & delivery service, but I don`t know where I put it, i never got the chance to put it online to sell....but if I come across it, and I`ll look tonight, I`ll email you a copy to keep.
Hope this helps. If you still have questions, let me know. I`m glad to help.
Why don`t you try to use a web host service like godaddy.com or one of the other million hosts? If all you want to do is collect payments on your website, then you do not need to do any SEO or fancy design. The traffic will happen through passing-out business cards and through current customers.
I would be careful how you approach payment collections. If you bill irresponsible college students, you might get burned. Also, if you are sending bills to students for them to pay online, then that adds another wrinkle into the equation (including another cost with postage). I would just recommend managing your billing through Excel. If you would like help/advice with that, please let me know as I have a lot of experience. Also, just FYI, if you do billings, you need to be prepared to send people to collections. I would recommend taking the credit card number of a customerand automatically charging them after each use of your service based on the actual costs incurred. This should alleviate a lot of headache...kind of like automated bill payment. Since the provider of your cleaning services will most
With only having one base/campus, I find it hard to believe that if you just look at a city map and mark your pick-up/drop-off locations, then it won`t be that hard. However, I am not familiar with the base, so you may need some type management system. If so, look into mapquest. I believe they have a product that you can pay for monthly/annually that could help you out. It might be a little more than you are willing to spend though.
Question/Concern (if I may):
Are you prepared to do what could be a rather large reconciliation between your billings and the bill you receive from the provider of the laundry service? To ensure you are billed correctly by the launderer and that you captured all the charges that you billed to your customers, you will have to go through this process. Again, I would be more than happy to assist you in organizing this!
BTW, website looks good...very professional. Best of Luck!
First let me start off by saying OOOOOOORRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!
Secondly, it`s funny you should mention oscommerce. Vstore.ca (I`m the Liasion Manager for this ecommerce provider offers a platform based off of the oscommerce software.
We have free accounts which would be perfect for you to get the website up and going with little involvement. As your business grows, you can upgrade to premium which makes your website more customizeable.
Also, outstanding job on your logo and business cards. I like seeing someone who likes to take matters into their own hands and gets things done.
By the by, if you are interested in providing a military laundry bag, contact me for wholesale pricing. The olive drab is good to go and with the imprinted logo would be an awesome way to communicate your intentions to your customer. Plus it would fit in with the military theme.
Good to go my friend.
Talk to you soon.
I like the company name --- I probably would of went with MilitaryLaundry.com, which would be easier to `brand` with the local military base. Plus, it`ll be hard for them to forget the name, even the branch name would probably work - marinelaundry, armylaundry, navylaundry, airforcelaundry.
I like the 2nd website. I wish I could provide more advice but I found the manual and I think it`ll serve you better reading it than hearing from me.
I`ll send it to you provided you make me a copy and send it to me...I just don`t have time to go copy it myself
If that`s feasible, send me a private message with your mailing address.
Great topic and idea, i`ve been watching this topic for sometime as im very intrested in bringing this sort of idea to my area in the u.k! following an idea i am currrently working on... Nice to see you are really going for this idea i hope it works out...B.t.w cartess is this manual electronic i would be very intrested in taking a look if possible?