If you're looking to start a recession-proof business that will be in demand continually, a laundry and dry cleaning business is one option. People will always need to be able to clean their clothes, linens, and other textiles — but not everybody has the space to accommodate a washer and dryer in their home. Plus, some fabrics can't be safely cleaned using a traditional washer and dryer.

As of 2021, dry cleaners in the United States had a total revenue of $7.8 billion. Franchises make up a significant portion of the market. If you want to claim your piece of the pie, you can open your own cleaners franchise. This guide explains your options.

Why Open a Cleaners Franchise Business?

There is an ongoing need for cleaning businesses. Individual consumers who don't have their own washer or dryer may rely on a cleaner. They may also turn to a professional cleaner to handle delicate fabrics or larger goods that can't be accommodated by a small residential washer and dryer, like blankets.

Most cleaners offer three types of services:

  • Dry cleaning: Dry cleaning involves cleaning clothing without using water — although other fluids (like the special cleaning solvent perchloroethylene, or "perc,") may be used. Dry cleaning is, thus, not totally "dry."
  • Full-service laundry: The cleaner washes, dries, and folds or hangs the customer's laundry. In some cases, the customer drops off their laundry. In other cases, the cleaner will offer a pick-up service.
  • Specialty cleaning: Specialty cleaning caters specifically to delicate fabrics (silks, handmade items, etc.), bulky goods (comforters, robes, etc.), and otherwise special items requiring unique care (e.g., school uniforms).

Further, cleaners don't just cater to private households. Some also offer commercial cleaning services, cleaning textiles for restaurants and hotels, like tablecloths, napkins, bedding, and towels. These types of large-scale contracts can offer consistent business, creating a steady revenue stream.

Benefits of Franchising

It's clear that there's a demand for professional cleaners — but why open a franchise? Technically, you could start your own business without franchise backing. However, franchising offers important benefits, including:

  • Education and training: The parent company of a franchise is invested in each franchisor's success. New business owners generally go through a training program covering both cleaning-specific information (especially useful if you don't have cleaning experience) and general business management points.
  • Branding and marketing: Most parent companies of cleaning franchises are established brands that are recognized and respected by consumers. This saves new business owners significant time, effort, and money in attracting new customers. The parent company also usually provides the franchisor with marketing rights and materials, like signage, logos, etc.
  • Start-up support and ongoing guidance: New business owners also get ongoing support on everything from pricing to implementing new techniques, like green cleaning (which has become increasingly in demand). The parent company handles the market research to stay ahead of trends like this and provides franchisors with this information to help them thrive.

In exchange for all of this, you pay the parent company an initial franchise fee, as well as an ongoing royalty fee, which is usually calculated as a percentage of your profits. In addition to an initial investment, the parent company may also ask would-be franchise owners to meet certain financial requirements in terms of liquid capital or net worth.

10 Cleaners Franchise Businesses

There are many dry cleaning franchise opportunities available in the cleaning industry. Here are some of your options.

1. OXXO Care Cleaners

OXXO Care Cleaners is a leader in the eco-friendly dry cleaning business. They have been ranked among the top 500 U.S. franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine on multiple occasions. They are notable for the variety of business models they offer franchisees, with investments starting as low as $119,000. Find out more.

2. ZIPS Franchising LLC

ZIPS Franchising, LLC, claims to be the No. 1 dry cleaner in the industry, offering franchise owners a net margin profit of 31.7%, on average. The initial investment required ranges from $729,700 to $1.3 million, according to their estimates. Veterans get 20% off the initial franchise fee of $30,000. You can view available markets where they are seeking to expand online. Find out more.

3. Comet Cleaners

Comet Cleaners provides franchisees with significant training and support, helping with everything from location scouting to equipment installation. Franchising fees range from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on the business model you opt for. It's also an SBA-approved franchise, meaning you may be able to get a Small Business Administration loan to fund your business. Find out more.

4. Martinizing

The Martinizing Dry Cleaning name carries significant brand recognition, making it a safe bet for a dry cleaning franchise. Their business model includes counter service, on-demand, and pick-up and delivery options. They offer opportunities for both brick-and-mortar locations and mobile dry cleaning businesses, with first-time franchise fees starting at $69,500. Find out more.

5. Speed Queen Laundry

Speed Queen Laundry is a laundromat franchise that prides itself on its family-friendly reputation. Their locations include free high-speed internet and kids' play areas. Their services for business owners include a business plan consultation and laundry-focused financing with down payments with as little as 10% equity. Find out more.

6. Tide Cleaners

Tide Cleaners is directly connected to the well-known Tide brand of laundry detergents — a name you're surely familiar with even if you aren't in the cleaning business (yet). Tide Cleaners franchising offers many services, including dry cleaning, wash-and-fold laundry, and specialty laundry. They even offer alterations and shoe services. The franchise fee for a single unit starts at $10,000. Find out more.

7. Lapels

Lapels Dry Cleaning offers franchisors extensive training, covering garment care, POS, marketing, operating procedures, and more. Founded in 2000, the company boasts over 20 years in the business and is a market leader as the first environmentally friendly dry cleaner franchise. Various business models are available to suit diverse needs, with franchise fees starting at $25,000. Find out more.

8. The Eco Laundry Company

This company launched in Buenos Aires in 2010 and came to the USA two years later. As you can guess from the name, The Eco Laundry Company focuses its brand on eco-friendly cleaning. This environmentally conscious slant runs through everything they do, from their recyclable dry cleaning bags to their energy-efficient laundry machines. They are a Certified B Corporation, verifying their high level of environmental and social commitment. Find out more.

9. OneClick Cleaners

OneClick Cleaners is committed to fast franchising, with start-up time taking as little as 21 days. They provide you with technology, training, and systems — all you need is a vehicle that holds hanging clothing. Their business model likewise emphasizes convenience, thanks to technologies like smartphone laundry scheduling. Initial franchise fees start at $9,500. Find out more.

10. CD One Price Cleaners

CD One Price Cleaners promises fast laundry services with a commitment to getting laundry that's in by 10 a.m. out by 5 p.m. They provide comprehensive support for franchisors, helping with site selection, equipment purchasing, and store layout. They also provide a complete pre-opening training program and ongoing training and workshops. Find out more.

Which Cleaning Business Opportunity Is Right for You?

As you can see from the list above, you have many business opportunities to choose from if you want to enter the dry cleaning industry. How can you decide on the right business model for you? Consider these points:

  • Total investment required: Can you meet the financial requirements of the cleaning franchise? Are you comfortable with the royalty fee?
  • Laundry services offering: Do you personally want to offer the types of services provided (e.g., a full-service laundry with pick-up versus a brick-and-mortar dry cleaners where customers drop off their own goods)?
  • Franchisee support: Are you comfortable with the level of support, training, and guidance provided by the parent company? This is critical if you have no cleaning experience.

Franchising is a significant commitment financially and practically, so do your research. Also, thoroughly read through any contracts, franchise disclosure documents (FDD), and other paperwork provided by the parent company before entering into any formal business relationship.

Manage Your Cleaning Business With Skynova

When running a cleaning franchise, it's essential to maintain strict oversight of your small business finances. Since you will likely have to pay the parent company a royalty fee, accurate and clear financial reporting is critical. Skynova's accounting software can help, making it easy to track invoices, expenses, and more on one simple platform. Find out more.

Notice to the Reader

This content is meant as general information and may not apply to your specific situation. Cleaners franchise business opportunities change and the above information regarding terms, rates, etc. may not remain relevant. Further, before implementing any business bookkeeping or accounting tools, consult with an accounting professional to ensure that you are maintaining best practices.