Laundry Business in India Slated to be the Big Bet

This US-based company aims to become a major player by offering franchisees in Indian laundry space

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Hectic daily routines with stressful jobs have brought a big change in people's lifestyle. They have adjusted their habits to keep pace with the fastness of everyday life.

Entrepreneur India

Automation has made daily domestic chores very easy, saving time for other important works. Such is the advancement of technology that a tap on your smartphone can bring a cab at your door step or even spare you the hassles of washing your laundry.

Now, more and more people are relying on app-based services to get their laundry done.

According to Euromonitor International, India's laundry market is expected to grow to $76 billion by next year. Unlike start-ups in almost all other sectors witnessing slump, the app-based laundry businesses are basking in prosperity with even global players joining hands with them.

With increasing number of entrepreneurs entering the domain to explore and exhaust opportunities in the current market scenario, the competition has become aggressive.

Recently, global manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment Alliance Laundry Systems sealed a deal of INR 35 crore with an Indian start-up, UClean. The company is aiming to usher in the "do-it-yourself' (DIY) laundromat culture in the country.

In a candid chat with Entrepreneur India, Michael D Schoeb, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Alliance Laundry Systems, talked about the immense scope of growth of the Indian laundry space and key factors responsible for the boom in the segment.

Key Drivers of Indian Laundry Market

Schoeb pointed out that the key growth stimulators are increasing population, better incomes compared to the earlier times and high optimism in the country's current business atmosphere. These forces acting together are putting Indian laundry equipment market on the high growth trajectory.

"India is offering perfect conditions for business in the current scenario," Schoeb said.

Why Global Players are Interested in Indian Laundry Space?

On what is attracting global alliances in Indian market, Schoeb said, "India is rich in resources. Laundry is an everyday need and people are investing in it. They have started looking for laundry solutions on their smartphones and there is a huge need of the commercial laundry equipment. In a labour-intensive market like India, all what we need is the right kind of system to make people engaged and retain customers to sustain business."

Alliance Laundry Systems is wedded to the mantra of using less energy, less water for washing and drying clothes without compromising with hygiene.

The company is expanding business in India by investing in early ventures working on promising and innovative ideas.

Start-up UClean had also secured seed funding of $ 1 million from Franchise India and Mumbai-based angel investor Rajiv Jalan, besides Alliance Laundry Systems.

How to Bring Advancement in Indian Market

On what is so unique about India now to set up an online laundry business here, which was not there 10 years ago, Schoeb said, "The model is now in trend. If we had launched it 10 years ago, it wouldn't have worked."

The US-based company aims to become a major player here by offering franchisees to players in the space.

"It's not unusual that we could be talking about thousands of franchisees in India in the coming years. We want people to be independent. So, we offer franchises to ventures and it is relatively modest compared to that of other companies," said Schoeb.

"Our aspiration is to continue to expand in leadership," he added.

"The market is certainly growing fast. It's not just about starting operations here, but it's also about retaining people and surviving the competition. It's much more than just equipment," he stressed.

Laundry is Also a Part of Modi's "Clean India' Drive

When asked about any communication with the government of India regarding the supply of laundry equipment in country, Schoeb said he did not have any interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi yet, but was keenly looking forward to it.

Schoeb asserted that he supported, "Clean India' initiative and the laundry industry made an important contribution to it.

"Cleaning dry is an efficient and a revolutionary idea to promote as it offers solution to a basic problem to a lot of people. The idea could add a large value to Modi's cleanliness initiatives," he said.

(Interview by Aashika Jain)