How to Start a Dry Cleaners Business

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By Jacob Maslow

  • Low initial investment – one of the lowest in the industry
  • Predictable and steady cash flow – a dry cleaner’s business is like clockwork, with customers coming in at consistent times throughout the week
  • Excellent returns on investment – with a small amount of space required, you can start making money quickly
  • Huge market potential – this industry is worth billions of dollars and continues to grow

One of the safest and most profitable businesses is laundry and dry cleaning. That’s because the hospitality and residential sectors always need these services. But how to start a dry cleaners business?

SWOT Analysis of a Dry Cleaning Business

Before starting a dry cleaning business, you need to conduct an in-depth assessment of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). This should include information on the existing competition, the availability of equipment and supplies, potential customers, and other relevant considerations.


  • Experienced staff
  • Access to the latest equipment
  • Quality products and services
  • Good customer service
  • Competitive Pricing


  • Lack of experience in the industry
  • High capital requirements


  • Strategic alliances with other businesses or franchises
  • Entering new markets through a mobile dry cleaning service


  • Stringent regulations and legal compliance issues can disrupt operations.

What You are Going to Need

When you decide to start a dry cleaners business, here’s what you need:

  • Select an area where you need to start your dry cleaning facility.
  • Purchase equipment like dryers, washers, cleaning chemicals, hangers, and more.
  • License and insurance for your business.
  • Get finance for your business.
  • Open a business bank account.
  • Register your business.
  • Get state and federal tax ID.
  • Choose a business structure.

Know About the Initial and Ongoing Costs

The first rule of starting a dry cleaners business is knowing the initial and ongoing costs. Separate the expenses because some are one-time and ongoing equipment and space rental expenses.

Once you have understood the costs of starting a dry cleaning business, you can know the immediate amount needed for seed money.

Building Leasing Costs

The primary cost of starting a dry cleaning business is renting a space for machinery and clothing. On average, you will need 1000 to 1500 square feet of space to start your business.

Be mindful of the area where you lease the space. For example, picking a busy area might cost around $5 to $10 per square foot a month. That means your monthly rent would be around $5000 to $15000 month.

But you can decrease the space renting cost by choosing a franchise model for your dry cleaning business. The company you choose to run your business with has certain requirements that you need to follow.

You can consider the cost factor when starting your dry cleaning business.

Sometimes, people open tiny retail storefronts in busy locations as collection points to save the leasing cost. In this model, a delivery driver picks up clothes from each location and takes them to the main dry-cleaning facility.

Ideally, the main facility is in an area with lower rental and leasing costs. The idea here is to get maximum orders from busy areas and save money by having a dry cleaning facility at an affordable location.

This dry cleaning business model is advantageous as it helps in serving multiple neighborhoods. But you need an accurate system so your business runs smoothly. You can hire the right people and provide the best training to make your business successful.

Equipment Costs

A dry cleaning business also requires the right equipment for the job. On average, the machinery costs around $50,000 and more. If you want to use machines with greener technology, they are more expensive.

Besides the outright machinery cost, you need sufficient funds for repair and maintenance work. But if you lease or rent the machinery, you have a service contract. So, you don’t have to worry about these costs.

Supply Costs

Lastly, your dry cleaning business has an ongoing cost for supplies needing regular replacement.

Ideally, the setup cost of a dry cleaning business can be around a couple of thousand dollars per month. This amount is directly related to your dry cleaning business’s work.

Study the Market

You must study the market before starting your business to understand the demand. For example, certain areas might already have dry cleaning facilities. So, there would be less demand for a new dry cleaning center in those areas.

You can select locations with less or no dry cleaning facilities, so your business becomes a welcome addition. The right location can help your business succeed. Dry cleaning is a business where customers mainly work or live around the facility. Repeat customers are necessary for this business.

If the residential area already has multiple dry cleaning facilities, you can start your facility near office buildings. It’s a profitable location as people going to the office will drop their formal attire at your dry cleaning center and pick it up on their way home.

Taking on the Competition

The market research also helps you get an idea of your competitors nearby. If your area has fewer of these facilities, you can decide to create a niche to attract more customers.

Here’s how you can make your facility stand out:

  • Pickup and Drop-off Services: You can introduce your dry cleaning business as a company that offers at-home and in-office delivery services. Your customers will appreciate this type of service. But it can be an expensive service to offer for which you could add a threshold price after which the deliveries would be of no cost..
  • Eco-friendly Services: You can promote your dry cleaning company as eco-friendly by avoiding harsh chemicals. Use environmentally friendly cleaners to capture the market differently.
  • Avoid Allergens: There is a high chance that some of your customers might be allergic to certain types of chemicals. So, you can use a device to avoid allergens in your facilities to eliminate allergic reactions.
  • More Convenient Hours: You can make your dry cleaning facility friendly by offering more convenient hours. For instance, you can open early and up to late. Or you can continue to provide your services on weekends.

Studying a particular area before opening your dry cleaning facility can help you succeed. In addition, it will allow you to get creative to set yourself apart from competitors.

Create a Legal Name

Your dry cleaning business needs a name that your customers can easily remember. But your business name should also be different and suit your business structure.

While choosing a business name, look for the already registered name to avoid confusion. It’s better to choose a name with no trademark conflict. In addition, you should also check whether or not social media handles and domain names are available for your decided name.

But if you choose the franchise dry cleaning business model, the franchise already has a name. So, you can skip this step.

After you have decided on the name, you need the best business structure for your dry cleaning facility. Your standard options include LLC, sole proprietorship, and corporation.

Among these business structures, LLC is popularly used by small businesses. But if you are a single business owner, you can choose sole proprietorship. However, a corporate business structure should be your choice if your dry cleaning business is large.

If your dry cleaning business runs under a franchise model, the franchise owner has already selected a business structure. So, you can skip this step.

Dry Cleaners Business Names

1. Spotless Dry Cleaning: Providing top-notch dry cleaning services, Spotless Dry Cleaning makes sure that your clothes remain spotless and pristine regardless of the fabric type.

2. Urban Suits: At Urban Suits, we aim to provide fast, efficient, and reliable dry cleaning services for all kinds of formal wear. From suits to dresses, our team is here to keep you looking sharp on any occasion.

3. Express Fresh: With a commitment to quality service, Express Fresh offers quick turnaround times on all orders so you can have your clothes ready when you need them most. Whether you’re going out for a night on the town or getting ready for an important meeting, Express Fresh has you covered.

4. SpotSmart Dry Cleaners: Specializing in spot removal like no other, SpotSmart Dry Cleaners is your go-to source for all your dry cleaning needs. From getting rid of stubborn stains to freshening up delicate fabrics, we do it all with expert care and attention to detail.

5. EcoClean Dry Cleaning: Dedicated to providing a safe and eco-friendly experience for our customers, EcoClean Dry Cleaning uses green chemicals that are both effective and gentle on your garments. We also offer pickup and delivery services so you can get the convenience you need without leaving your home or office.

6. Happy Hangers: At Happy Hangers, we’re all about making our customers happy. From speedy delivery to courteous customer service, you can trust us to take care of your clothes with the utmost care and respect every time.

7. Miracle Cleaners: Need a miracle? Look no further than Miracle Cleaners! Our experienced team takes pride in providing quality dry cleaning services that deliver long-lasting results for your clothes.

8. Fabulous Dry Cleaning: Get ready to look fabulous! We are dedicated to giving your clothes the perfect clean they deserve every time so you can always look and feel amazing. No job is too big or small for us – let us show you what we can do!

9. Bright Cleaners: Leave your clothes looking bright and beautiful with Bright Cleaners! We make sure to use the best cleaning methods for each fabric type so you can trust that your garments will look fresh and renewed every time.

10. Gold Star Dry Cleaning: When quality matters, turn to Gold Star Dry Cleaning for all of your dry cleaning needs. Our experienced team is dedicated to giving you the best results possible so you can always look and feel your absolute best.

11. Flawless Services: Get ready for flawless results with Flawless Services! We specialize in everything from stain removal to fabric preservation so you can have total peace of mind when caring for your garments.

12. Perfect Cleaners: For the perfect clean every time, trust Perfect Cleaners to get the job done right. Our team of experts has years of experience and use only the best cleaning methods so you can count on us for top-notch results every time.

13. Top Dry Cleaners: Get ready to look your best with help from Top Dry Cleaners! Our professional team is dedicated to providing quality service at a price that won’t break the bank – see why we’re one of the most trusted names in dry cleaning today!

14. Miracle Spot Removers: Miracle Spot Removers provides our customers with fast and reliable spot removal services so you can have your garments looking their best in no time. With years of experience and a commitment to excellence, you can trust us to do the job every time.

15. Master Dry Cleaners: For impeccable results, look no further than Master Dry Cleaners! Our experienced team uses the most advanced cleaning methods available, so you can always trust that your clothes will come out looking amazing. See why we’re one of the top dry cleaning providers in town!

Complete Final Pre-Opening Tasks

Before you open the business, you need to obtain a license and insurance. Depending on the location of your facility, the requirement for obtaining licenses and permits will differ.

If your dry cleaning center uses chemicals and processes, it might need special permits to operate legally.

Also, your business will need a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) to show that it is safe for customers and employees. Your business needs to meet building codes and zoning laws to get a CO.

Similarly, your dry cleaning business also needs insurance. Having liability insurance protects you if a customer sues you for financial loss. In addition, your facility needs worker’s compensation insurance as per state law. Before getting worker’s compensation, you can check with your state to get insurance legally.

Marketing and Advertising

After establishing your dry cleaning facility, you also need to promote it. Marketing and advertising will increase your center’s productivity and profitability.

But marketing can come as a challenge for new business owners. So, the best thing to do is hire professionals to help you with marketing and advertising.

Don’t forget to advertise your dry cleaning business through social media to stay in touch with your potential customers.

You can create a dry cleaning website for your business so customers can know about your services and charges. A website also acts as the first point of interaction between your business and customers, so it needs to be flawless and responsive.

Becoming part of a dry cleaning franchise means you don’t have to worry about marketing and advertising. That’s because your parent brand has already nailed advertising through different forms.

Tip: Repetitive customers are essential in the dry cleaning business. The best way to ensure customer repetitiveness is by rewarding your loyal customers. Use a tool to create your customer database and then reward customers.

Software and tools also help you stay in touch with customers and track incentives.

If you don’t feel that starting a dry cleaning business is the right choice for you, there are several other businesses in the laundry and specialty cleaning industry that may be more suitable.

Alternative Business To Consider

Laundromats: Laundromats provide customers with access to washing machines and dryers so they can do their laundry. Starting a laundromat requires significant capital investment and ongoing expenses such as utility bills and maintenance costs.

Alterations & Tailoring Services: Alteration services allow customers to have their clothing altered or tailored to fit their size and style preferences. This type of business typically requires less start-up capital than a full-fledged dry cleaning service, but it also tends to generate lower profits.

Carpet Cleaning Services: Carpet cleaning is an excellent business for those with experience in this area. The equipment required to clean carpets is expensive, so it’s best to start with a few clients and build your reputation before expanding.

Upholstery Cleaning Services: Upholstery cleaning requires specialized equipment and knowledge of fabrics and materials, but it can be very profitable if done correctly. It’s essential to understand the different types of fabrics and how they should be cleaned to avoid damage or discoloration.


Starting a dry cleaning business seems tricky, but with the proper planning, you can do it. The first and most crucial step is figuring out the finance for the smooth running of your business.

Once you have started the business, regularly advertise it and offer promotions to attract more customers.


What is the best way to start a dry cleaners business?

The best way to start a dry cleaners business is to develop a comprehensive plan and secure the necessary funding.

What are the initial costs of starting a dry cleaners business?

The initial costs of starting a dry cleaners business may include property rental, cleaning equipment and materials, insurance, licensing fees, and employees.

What are the ongoing costs of running a dry cleaners business?

The ongoing costs of running a dry cleaners business may include rent or mortgage payments, utilities, employee wages, taxes, marketing expenses, and supplies.

What are the steps involved in starting a dry cleaners business?

The steps involved in starting a dry cleaners business include researching the industry, creating a business plan, securing funding, acquiring licenses and permits, locating an appropriate space for the shop and obtaining any necessary equipment or supplies.

What are the legal requirements for starting a dry cleaners business?

The legal requirements for starting a dry cleaners business depend on the location. Generally, they involve registering with the proper governing body and acquiring required licenses or permits to operate legally.

What are the risks of starting a dry cleaners business?

Risks of starting a dry cleaners business include inadequate capital, competition with established businesses, and rising operating expenses.

What are the potential rewards of starting a dry cleaners business?

Potential rewards of starting a dry cleaners business include financial independence, job satisfaction, and the potential to become a successful business owner.

Is starting a dry cleaners business a good investment?

Starting a dry cleaners business can be an excellent investment if properly planned and managed.

What marketing strategies should be used to promote a dry cleaners business?

Marketing strategies used to promote a dry cleaning business could include advertising in local publications, creating social media accounts, distributing flyers or brochures, offering coupons or discounts for regular customers, and participating in community events.

How can customer loyalty be maintained in a dry cleaners business?

Rewarding customers can maintain loyalty for repeat visits through incentives such as discounts or free services.

What role can technology play in managing a dry cleaners business?

Technology can be essential in managing a dry cleaners business by providing efficient systems for scheduling appointments, ordering supplies and tracking customers.

How should pricing be structured for a dry cleaners business?

Pricing for a dry cleaners business should be structured to cover operational costs and leave room for profit while remaining competitive in the market.

How can customer feedback be used to improve a dry cleaners’ business?

Customer feedback can be used to improve a dry cleaners business by understanding customer needs and preferences, identifying areas of improvement, and addressing any complaints or issues quickly.

What safety protocols need to be followed when running a dry cleaners business?

Safety protocols must be followed when running a dry cleaners business by properly training employees on cleaning products and equipment, following OSHA guidelines, performing regular maintenance checks, and ensuring that the work environment is safe and secure.

What strategies can be used to differentiate a dry cleaners business from competitors?

Strategies to differentiate a dry cleaners business from competitors include offering superior customer service, providing additional services such as alterations or laundry , utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, and staying up to date on current dry cleaning trends.

What types of partnerships could help grow a dry cleaning business?

Partnerships could help grow a dry cleaning business by expanding services, offering additional discounts or promotions, developing new products/services, or leveraging each other’s customer base.

Are government subsidies or grants available for starting a dry cleaning business?

Government subsidies or grants may be available for starting a dry cleaning business, depending on the location and type of business.

Are there any best practices for operating an environmentally friendly and sustainable dry cleaning business?

Best practices for operating an environmentally friendly and sustainable dry cleaning business include using eco-friendly detergents and solvents, reducing water consumption through efficient methods of operation, conserving energy whenever possible, recycling hangers and plastic bags, utilizing biodegradable packing materials, and following safety guidelines related to chemical use.

What processes must be established to ensure quality control in the dry cleaning business?

To ensure quality control in the dry cleaning business, processes should be established to provide consistent results. This includes proper training for staff on how to use equipment and chemicals safely and effectively, regularly testing products to evaluate the quality of results, setting up a system for tracking customer orders, creating standard procedures for cleaning different types of garments and performing regular inspections of the machines and workspace. Additionally, customers should be asked for feedback so that any potential issues or concerns can quickly be addressed. Establishing these processes will help guarantee consistently high-quality results for every order.

What potential challenges a dry cleaning business may face and how can they be addressed?

A dry cleaning business may face potential challenges, including competition from other local businesses, high overhead costs, and customer service issues. To address these challenges, the business should focus on providing exceptional customer service by going above and beyond to meet their needs. Additionally, strategic marketing initiatives such as creating social media accounts or offering discounts for loyal customers can help bring in new business and maintain loyalty among existing customers. Finally, it is important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and use energy-efficient methods of operation to reduce operational costs. A successful dry cleaning business can be achieved by addressing these challenges proactively.

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