by Speed Queen Laundry Systems
last updated 17/12/2020
Hitting Pay Dirt
by Speed Queen Laundry Systems
last updated 17/12/2020
Speed Queen operator watches the money come in 18 hours a day from remote business
Matt Fogarty was more than impressed with the roll-out of his new laundromat business. ‘From signing the lease to getting running would have taken just four months – in normal times,’ he says. ‘Covid-19 turned our April opening into July, but I’m fully confident my next outlet will be done super quick because I know it can!’
Note that Matt’s talking about a ‘next outlet’ already – that’s a measure of how well his new business has done in just five months. ‘It was paying for itself in the first month!’ he says.
Matt’s a sales manager for a large car leasing company, but had often thought about owning his own business. ‘Over the years I looked at options from rental properties to big brand franchises, but it wasn’t until I came across Speed Queen that I found what I thought looked promising. It looked fun, it looked like a great opportunity, and it could provide exactly the kind of passive income I wanted.’
Laundromats are back in fashion. ‘As apartments have shrunk, and the cost of domestic machines has grown, self-serve laundromats have become more and more popular,’ says Royce Little, Speed Queen’s head of laundromat sales. ‘This trend has created the perfect business opportunity: Speed Queen-equipped laundromats are cashless and capable of being run remotely. You don’t need staff or an expensive location – provided there’s plenty of parking, a practical and much cheaper site is ideal.’
Founded in 1908, Speed Queen has been operating in New Zealand for 25 years. The company is the oldest and largest manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment in the world, and it also leads the market with technology. Laundromat owners like Matt operate under their own brand using Speed Queen equipment, and have access to the company’s massive experience when it comes to site selection, fit-out and support.
‘We’ve equipped hundreds of outlets around New Zealand over the last 25 years, and we’ve never built an outlet that has failed,’ Royce says proudly. ‘We’ve no desire to spoil that record, so when Matt came to us, we gave him all the help he needed.’
The remote operation option meant that the Auckland-based Matt was able to consider opportunities anywhere in the country for his new business. He found an ideal location in Tauranga, three hours away from home. ‘I wasn’t worried by that, as it is quite clear the Speed Queen model is specifically set up for this,’ he says.
‘Speed Queen approved the location, but then I was out of my depth as I’d never signed a lease in my life,’ Matt laughs. ‘Fortunately, Speed Queen held my hand throughout that and the council approval process, and also through store fit-out. Speed Queen can arrange contractors, but I decided to do that bit myself as part of learning the business. Again, the support was excellent – Royce provided an absolute slam-dunk in terms of design and layout, and that and his other suggestions have helped set me apart from the competition.’
Remote operation really does work
So how does Matt find remote operation? ‘I had to train myself not to rush down every other day to make sure all was well at first, but now I know it really does work! I employ a security company to open the store early and close late; I have a cleaner who goes in once a day, and I’m connected to each machine via an app on my phone so I can tell exactly what it is doing at all times. The machines are so robust that there have been no problems, but if there were an issue I have access to a repair network that can be whistled up anytime.
‘The best part is that customers just love it. We use standard eftpos machines familiar to all from service stations and shops, and every machine is connected to them so I can watch as people transfer funds into my bank account 18 hours a day. And cashless operation means no temptation for thieves, of course.
‘I’ve done a lot of advertising on social media, but I can do that from anywhere. When I do go to Tauranga, though, I like to spend a day or so as I enjoy talking to customers and getting to know what they want from the business.
‘Would I do it again? You bet I would. Everything was up front, there have been no surprises, and the business really does run itself.’
Attractive for investors
With interest rates at record lows, Royce says that investing in a SpeedQueen laundromat offers a hugely attractive proposition for investors.
‘A medium-sized investment will be between $250,000 and $300,000, with a deposit required of $75-100,000. The return on the total investment is in the region of 20-30 percent, and we’ve had some owners do much better than that.
‘If you are interested in opening your own remote-controlled, cashless, money-making investment, we have several areas with considerable potential. Call me and find out more.
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