This report focuses on Washing and Dry Cleaning Services and includes information on the state of the industry and new trends. There are profiles of nine companies including commercial laundries such as those housed in The Bidvest Group, which owns Boston Launderers, Montana Laundries and First Garment, as well as Combined Cleaners, trading as Spot-On Cleaners. Profiles of franchise operators include Nannucci, Levingers and Pressed In Time.
Washing and Dry Cleaning Services
The South African washing and dry cleaning industry has had mixed fortunes. Stakeholders estimate that the laundry industry is growing at between 5% and 10% per annum, but dry cleaning services have been in decline for some years. Significant increases in the cost of water and electricity and unreliable electricity supply have affected the industry. Commercial operations that provide services for industries such as healthcare have been affected by an increased number of on-premises laundries. The industry employs more than 50,000 people and services clients across many sectors.
Opportunities for SMEs
The laundry sector offers opportunities for SMEs as startup costs for commercial laundromats can be low, with second-hand equipment being readily available. Entrepreneurs can also start businesses from their homes with a single washing machine and very little capital. No formal training is required and very few employees in the industry have tertiary qualifications. However, competition is intense, and small laundry businesses are increasingly offering value-added services such as pick-up and delivery, and improving customer service to ensure that they can succeed.
The high costs associated with running a laundry and dry cleaning operation make this a low margin business. The industry is dependent on disposable income and a large number of South African households employ domestic workers who do household laundry. New residential developments are providing communal laundry facilities. Industrial laundries are reliant on large contracts from the hospitality and healthcare sectors, where some companies are taking laundry in-house.