Starting a Laundry and Dry Cleaning Service

  • Price: £5.99
  • Published: February 2017
  • Type: Business Opportunity Profile
  • Format: PDF
  • Qualifications and skills
  • Key market issues and trends
  • Trading, commercial and legal issues
  • Legislation
  • Further information

Laundry and dry cleaning services launder and dry clean clothing, bedding, table linen and other items for individual and commercial customers, including hotels, restaurants, health clubs, residential health and social care providers, and linen and clothing hire services. Commercial customers usually require large quantities of items to be cleaned and to tight deadlines. Many laundry and dry cleaning services provide collection and delivery and offer express cleaning at a premium; some also provide specialist stain removal and ironing services.

Ironing services are covered separately in BOP434, Ironing Service.

As well as trading from traditional retail premises, laundry and dry cleaning services dealing mainly with large quantities of laundry from commercial customers operate from light industrial units in out-of-town locations and include collection and delivery of laundry as a standard part of their service. There are also opportunities for laundry services to trade online, receiving and returning laundry by courier. Laundry services providing self-service laundry facilities, usually from high-street premises or other convenient location, are often referred to as 'launderettes', which are not covered in this profile.

Activities that can potentially damage the environment, including dry cleaning, are strictly regulated in the UK. The proprietor of a laundry that carries out dry cleaning services requires an environmental permit before starting to trade. Permits are granted by local authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland.

This profile provides information about starting up and running a laundry and dry cleaning service. It describes the skills required, the training available, the current market trends and the key trading issues. It also explains the legislation that must be complied with and provides sources of further information and support.

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