by Speed Queen Laundry Systems
last updated 22/06/2022
by Speed Queen Laundry Systems
last updated 22/06/2022
Speed Queen laundromat is big success in small town
With their wedding photography business reduced to a trickle by Covid, Maungaturoto residents Greg and Catherine Campbell were beginning to feel the pinch. ‘Our income was increasingly vulnerable due to Covid, and we needed to take action,’ Greg says. ‘We had made a previous investment in a small commercial property in our Northland town but, by 2021, it was going nowhere. But it’s central on the high street and highly visible, so we started looking for a hands-off business we could own ourselves – and there’s no laundromat in town so we started looking at options.’
Greg and Catherine contacted Speed Queen, which has been the world’s leading supplier of commercial laundry equipment for over 100 years. ‘We called Royce Little, Speed Queen’s head of laundromat sales, and he could not have been more helpful.
‘Initially he was sceptical about our location, which was actually reassuring – he told us they’ve never opened a site in New Zealand that has failed, so he didn’t just want to sell us machines. But as we ran through the figures, it seemed more and more feasible. Maungaturoto’s population is only around 1,400 people, but if you include the area it services, then that pushes the population to around 4,000, which Royce reckoned was viable. He was right – seven months after we opened, the business is standing on its own feet, paying its bills, servicing its debt, and making a profit!’
Solid and secure
‘Speed Queen machines are built to last,’ says Royce. ‘We use the best and most robust machines in the business and we don’t expect to replace any of them inside 15 years. They offer cashless payment, increasing both convenience and security, and remote operation, meaning that an owner can manage their business from home, another town or even another country. From the investors’ perspective, cashless payments are simply the way forward – no cash handling and banking, and no security problems.
‘A new water recycling unit will mean owners can recycle 70 percent of the water they use, reducing ongoing costs, and we can also offer remote-controlled monitors. This means that, instead of fixed signage, the pricing menu can be adjusted for different days or at different times.’
The technology offers another advantage, too – machines can be earning a return at any hour of the day or night, as Greg has found out. ‘I was amused to see that this morning, when I woke at 06.45, we had already made money overnight. I’d certainly do this again!’
Running at capacity
Speed Queen is not actually a franchise, as Greg explains. ‘You operate under your own name, own all the equipment, and really are your own boss, but you get all the help you need to get up and running. Royce provided real world data from Speed Queen’s operations to back up our research. We also visited as many laundromats as we could and talked to all the owners. They were all very generous with their time and information.’
Finance was also made easy. ‘Speed Queen has a scheme whereby owners can borrow 80 percent of the cost of their machines which they pay off over five years. It certainly suited us because with no weddings we needed to act fast to generate income. Speed Queen also have specialised staff for machine installation, but with lockdown we were delighted to use locals and that helped get our name out, too.
‘When we were setting up, Speed Queen supplied us with 3D drawings with several permutations, which made it easy to design the best possible layout of the premises. There is only one variable they didn’t predict accurately and that was how many machines we’d need. Now winter is here, there is increasing demand, and we need to look at obtaining a couple of extra machines as the place is frequently running at capacity. In only seven months, that’s pretty good!’
Room for more
Royce says that opening a medium-sized laundromat of your own requires an investment between $250,000 and $300,000, with a deposit required of $75-100,000. ‘If you are interested in opening your own cashless, 24/7 money-maker, we have several areas with considerable potential, so give me a call to discuss.
‘And we’re open to your suggestions, too. Greg and Catherine’s new business is definitely in a small town, but they have proved that success is possible if the demographics work. We are convinced there is room around New Zealand for a lot more laundromats in similar areas.’
Greg is still amazed by how quick and simple the whole process was. ‘With Speed Queen’s help, I actually found it quite easy and a lot of fun. If you have a few organisational skills and can sort out things like water pressure, pumps and gas supply in advance, it’s very straightforward. And I’ve been very impressed with the reliability of the machines – you can tell they are well made, and they are good-looking and easy to use.’
But it’s something else that really amazes Greg. ‘To think that our machines earn money while we are photographing weddings – or even asleep. As a passive investment, I can’t think of anything better!’
See this advertorial on page 21 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 31 Issue 2
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