How We Started A Laundry And Dry Cleaning Franchise Business In India
Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?
I am an engineering graduate and have done my bachelor of Technology from Amity University. Before starting Pick My laundry I was working in Randox Laboratory a diagnostic MNC. Me and my lads were facing laundry issues very much. There were no regular services for laundry and dry cleaning and sometimes we had to wait up to 15 days for our laundry. There were around 200 Hostels and PG which were facing the same problem.
After a lot of research and survey, we found that it’s a huge problem not only for us but for all. So, we have started our Pick my Laundry in May 2015. We have developed a mobile application and website for maximum reach to the people and made several laundry partners who had full set up of machines but did not have customers.
We signed around 100 third-party laundry service providers on revenue sharing models. With help of our mobile app and website, customers can easily place an order and our rider collects clothes from the customer’s doorstep and delivers them back after washing from our laundry partners.
We served almost 50 thousand customers in the first year. After that, we got funding from GHV Accelerator and 3 PM ventures. We acquired five of our existing laundry vendors set up.
At the end of 2017, we were washing around 8 thousand clothes on daily basis. After that, we got funding from Mr.Kedar Lele (MD of Unilever Bangladesh). But with this model we were facing difficulties to scale in other cities so, we started awarding franchises. These franchises will be having our technology and we are installing machines and full set up and can wash up to 1500 clothes on daily basis. A single franchise will cover a 3 km radius or a 6 km diameter. We get orders at mobile application and forward them to our existing franchise.
Currently, we have more than 50 franchises in more than 15 cities across India. We are processing 1000 orders daily with the help of franchisees. Now, we are providing IoT enabled machines on rent to franchisees.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
We came up with this idea when we were studying in college. We were facing a laundry issue very much and there were no washing shops or vendors and we did not have any idea where we should go for washing our clothes. We needed to carry two weeks of laundry to home for washing only.
Whatever you are doing just believe in yourself and give your 100% into it.
At that time we both have decided to resolve this issue after completion of graduation. For reaching everyone, we developed a mobile application and website. And we developed the efficient tech for real-time tracking of cloths as well. We did not have prior laundry experience. We have learned over time.
To scale, we are providing laundry franchisees and installing IOT enabled machines for lower initial capital
Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.
Customers can place orders through the website. Everything includes pricing of washing, dry-cleaning, shoe cleaning, etc. Customers can book a time slot and our rider will be at the customer’s doorstep in a selected time slot.
We have developed a mobile application that works on Android and iOS that has been downloaded over 100K times. With the help of a mobile application, customers can place orders through a single tap and track their orders easily. They get notifications to be informed when their clothes status is updated.
Pick-up and delivery riders that pick and drop the clothes at the customer's doorstep have a specific mobile application where they can read all the information about the orders. Thanks to this app, we can offer customers real-time tracking.
Every franchise partner has a unique CRM Dashboard to manage orders and track the payment status. They got to know about everything from this dashboard. It’s very user-friendly and descriptive.
We thought doing laundry is easy but it was not that easy because we were getting thousands of clothes daily due to which losing clothes and color bleeding were very common. To resolve this issue we developed bar code technology that can be printed with a taffeta printer and these barcodes are wash proof. Once we started tagging clothes 95% of the issues were solved.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Initially, we launched the website only because we didn't have funds at that time. We promoted this by word of mouth and visited several colleges and universities and after rigorous hard work of six months, we got a good amount of customers from those.
After that, we launched a mobile application on Android only and developed a dashboard in which customers can get real-time updates on their clothes. We have started this from Noida (UP) only and slowly scaled it to two more cities.
We raised funds from GHV accelerator (a Singapore-based accelerator) and after that VCs from the UK).
From this venture, we have learned that we need to focus on making our product useful to customers rather than focusing on raising investment initially. If your product is good then you will be funded much easily.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Our good-looking website and app have attracted more customers. Apart from it, we are the only laundry company in the Indian market which gives real-time updates of customers' clothes so customers don’t need to call our customer support very much.
We have a good team of marketing which always posts on FB and we also run some Google AdWords campaigns which are also a key player to bring in new customers.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
We are profitable today and have a presence in 15 cities of India. We are focused now on the franchise model. We charge a 10-15% commission from them. Currently, we have 50+ franchises and expecting to open 100 more this year.
The laundry and dry cleaning market is growing very fast. It’s a billion-dollar market and we are looking to capitalize it as much as we can.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
When we started this venture we did not know much about this segment. Initially, we did not focus on unit economics like how much is the cost of logistics, customer acquisition due to which our expenses were huge and we were burning a lot.
We were having problems mixing clothes, color bleeding of clothes, and mismanagement of the timing of delivery guys.
But with time we found solutions and implemented them in our software to minimize these problems. We developed a battery module in which we can track the clothes count on deliver guys bags. Similarly, we developed a bar code module in which a single person can print thousands of barcodes in a single minute and can easily tag thousands of clothes in one hour.
You need to identify customers like which customers can be gotten very easily and hit them first. We knew that college-going students or working bachelors are very much in need of laundry services since they are app users as well so we developed a mobile app as well. So, we got a huge amount of business with minimum marketing expense.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
We have in-house tech, but still, we are using Vtiger CRM. We have developed our own dashboard which is linked with Vtiger CRM.
For marketing Google Adwords, FB and Messages are very useful tools.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I am not a good reader. As we said necessity is the mother of invention. So we followed this proverb.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting?
I will suggest to them whatever you are doing just believe in yourself and give your 100% into it. Everyone gets an opportunity in their life so you should be ready for that.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Yes, We are looking for franchise expansion. So, we are looking for a marketing agency who can get us leads or help with our franchise expansion.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
Get our 5-minute email newsletter packed with business ideas and money-making opportunities, backed by real-life case studies.