How I Bought A Laundromat & Doubled Revenue in 12 Months

Published: January 17th, 2023
Jono Santamaria
Nina's Laundrette
from Northcote VIC, Australia
started June 2021
market size
avg revenue (monthly)
starting costs
gross margin
time to build
270 days
growth channels
best tools
Canva, Bitly, Zapier
time investment
Side project
pros & cons
24 Pros & Cons
1 Tips
Discover what tools Jono recommends to grow your business!
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

I’m Jono Santamaria, the director of Nina’s Laundrette, a laundromat located in Northcote, Australia. I purchased the coin laundry in July 2021; an older gentleman had run the laundromat then, and the shop was dated and only accepted coins.

As a digital marketer, I saw an enormous opportunity to use my digital marketing and automation skills to bring the laundromat into the 21st century. Within 12 months, I had doubled the previous owner’s revenue, and in FY23 we are on target to double our revenue again.

The most significant impacts that led to this dramatic increase have been investing in our digital presence, upgrading the store’s machines, and creating a new and modern brand. We also added a commercial laundry service which brings in an additional AUD24K per year.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Find a business that aligns with your long-term goals and where you can add immediate value using your existing skillset and network.

My biggest inspiration for purchasing a laundromat came from my investing goal; by the time I’m 40, I want to choose how much of my time I give to others for money.

This goal led to creating a set of criteria for a small business I’d like to purchase, an important one being that I’d need to be able to do my full-time job still.

The final piece of inspiration came when I was scrolling through TikTok and saw a video on private equity. At the time, we were in lockdown, and I knew there would be solid businesses out there that didn’t have the digital know-how to thrive in a post-COVID world. After a few more minutes of scrolling, I saw a video from a laundromat owner, and that was it. Within 2 weeks, I found a laundromat for sale and put down a deposit.

I didn’t have any experience running laundromats, but I was able to stumble through the diligence process by leaning on my network. I had friends who had run unattended businesses before and was able to reach out to a local supplier to learn more about the coin laundry equipment that the store had.

Once I was confident that the business was solid, it convinced me that my digital marketing skills would improve the business beyond the goodwill it already had.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.



When I first took over the laundromat, I set a principle to identify which improvements I’d make first. The principal was that I wanted to increase the total spend per customer per visit. From there, I set about slowly making improvements to the business that would contribute towards this goal. One example was purchasing a vending machine, this enabled me to sell laundry detergent, drinks, and snacks to customers using the laundromat potentially adding 10%-20% to customers' spend.

Enabling cashless payments was also a game changer. Having a cashless payment system linked with my machines made it so much easier for my customers to pay for their laundry. It also enabled me to adopt multiple vend prices, allowing me to offer an express and premium wash which further contributed to my goal in increase total spend per customer per visit.

Other initiatives included:

  • Creating a brand
  • Building a website
  • Put up new signage
  • Installing solar power
  • Purchasing larger washing machines and dryers
  • Investing in digital marketing (Google Ads and SEO)

Most of these improvements were paid for by the business’s cash flow.

Describe the process of buying the business



As I purchased an existing business, we didn't have a launch. The store had a loyal customer base, but they only knew about the laundromat because they had passed by.

After putting down a deposit for the laundromat I engaged with a lawyer (convayencer) who facilitated the rest of the purchase. We had a 3-month settlement period and towards the end of the 3 months, I met with the previous owner to get a tour of the store and learn the day-to-day operations.

There wasn’t much to it, besides general upkeep and maintenance, he also provided a list of local suppliers and contractors that I could reach out to if I needed to get a machine fixed.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

To increase the laundromat’s reach, we created a website and started building our web presence immediately.

The most successful initiative we have taken to build our customer base is to invest in local SEO. This included working on creating a blog with useful content relating to laundry, working with our suppliers and local businesses to build strong authentic backlinks, and ensuring our Google Business Profile was complete and up to date.

After making initial improvements to the store and equipment, I worked with an agency to help improve our ranking on Google so that we became the number 1 ranked laundromat in our area. This process took about 7 months but it has been one of the single best investments I have made for the business.


Blue = Position

Black = Impressions

Orange = Clicks

I also chose to clean the laundromat myself. Doing this allowed me to visit the store regularly, engage with customers, and ultimately build our reputation. This strategy enabled me to get over 70 five-star Google Reviews in 12 months, putting us well ahead of other local laundromats.

As more customers started using the store, we saw the store used as a community space. People who come to the laundromat to study while they do their laundry or just hang out. They would also educate each other on how to use the machines and pay using our kiosk.

I still meet customers today who only use the laundromat once or twice and year (to wash their doonas etc) and they always comment on how much that place has improved.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?


In the future, I’m looking to upgrade the last few top loaders we have in the laundromat to larger capacity machines. This will include rearranging the format of the laundry to accommodate the appliances and may also include other dryers.

Furthermore, a space at the back of the store can be sub-leased to someone, and I’d like to explore that. I’ve also got a left-field idea to work with creators looking to shoot in a laundromat.

In the long term, I’d like to obtain a second location near the existing Northcote Laundromat to take advantage of our brand and local SEO.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

My biggest lesson has been that you need to leverage your networks to help you succeed. You should tell everyone you know about your plans to start a business. Many people will tell you why your idea won’t work. Most of them have never run or owned a business before. Use their concerns to pressure test your opinion, find solutions for any roadblocks, and find someone in your network who can if you can’t do it yourself.

If your business is a side hustle, ensure your full-time gig supports your interest. I’m lucky to work at an organization that sees my side hustle as a benefit and encourages me to bring my learnings from the laundromat into our daily lives.

If your employer doesn’t like you have an alternative source of income, you should probably find a new employer.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Our website is built on WordPress, and I work with an agency to improve our SEO consistently. We also have Dexter laundry equipment in the store and use Bubble Pay to handle our cashless payments.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Books that have inspired me to create a great business include Good to Great, Atomic Habits, and Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Books that have helped me to become a better business owner include The Resilience Project, Humankind, and the Laundromat Podcast.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Find a business that aligns with your long-term goals and where you can add immediate value using your existing skillset and network.

Where can we go to learn more?

To learn more about Nina’s Laundrette visit;

You can also connect with me on Linkedin

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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