Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No
Here's the problem: You've got half a dozen good suits to wear to the office. Five are lying dirty at the bottom of your laundry hamper, and you've just dribbled mustard all down the front of the sixth. If only there were time to run out to the dry cleaner and then more time to pick up the suits afterward. The solution: a dry-cleaning pickup and delivery service. If you've got good organizational skills, you like being on the run and hope to earn good money, then this might be just the business for you. You'll contract with dry-cleaning establishments to service your customers' clothes. Then you'll pick up the dirties from homes and offices, take them in for cleaning, pick them up after servicing and return them to their rightful owners. You can arrange regular biweekly stops, picking up fresh dirties as you drop off your last visit's load of now-clean garments, and you can have customers call for emergency pickups. The advantages to this business are that you can work from home, and you're always on the go, so you're not sitting around waiting for activity. You'll need organizational and logistical skills as well as good sales and marketing techniques to convince dry cleaners and customers to use your company.
Your customers will be busy business and residential people who don't want to spend their time trotting to and from the cleaners. Businesses make excellent targets because people at work are generally on-site (or their secretaries or other employees are) and easily accessible. You might also target military bases if there are any in your area--people in the uniformed services always need clean, pressed clothes and are a good source of revenue. Be sure to check with base authorities first to make sure you'll be granted access. Direct mail brochures to prospects in the neighborhoods you plan to service--target middle- and upper-income areas where people can afford your service. Deliver your brochures to businesses--particularly large office complexes where you can hit a lot of customers in one stop--and explain the advantages of using your company. Stop in often, even if you don't get requests for business right away. Sooner or later, people will start piling on the clothes.
A van equipped to carry hanging garments without squashing them or slinging them onto the floor is a must. You'll also need a cellular phone or pager so customers can quickly contact you. Invest in cotton, vinyl or canvas laundry bags imprinted with your logo to leave with customers--it gives them the cachet of having 'their own service' and encourages them to put in garments for you to pick up.