“Today we have four self-service laundries running and continue to look for more commercial properties in Madrid to start new ones.”
We talked to Jorge Quesada, the owner of four self-service laundries located across the region of Madrid, with one in the town of Pozuelo de Alarcón, and the other three in metropolitan Madrid, with one in the Cuatro Caminos neighborhood, one in the Chamberí neighborhood, and one in a mall in the Vallecas neighborhood, all equipped with DOMUS machines.
¿How did you start in the world of self-service laundry?
We had a commercial property in Madrid that we were not renting, and after not receiving any offers for a year we started to contemplate the option of using it ourselves to set up a business. This was in 2013. What stood out to us at the time was that both in and out of Madrid self-service laundries were becoming increasingly common, and we became intrigued and learned about what was needed to set up one. The features of the property were suited to this type of business, so I mentioned it to my siblings and together we decided to invest in our first self-service laundry, which we started in February 2014.
- And then you decided to start more?
We did. We noticed how our revenue was rising and that encouraged us to start another one. That is how we picked up another commercial property in 2016, and then another in 2017. Today we have four self-service laundries running and continue to look for more commercial properties in Madrid to start new ones.
What helped you decide to set up more self-service laundries?
What encouraged me most personally was how easy it was to operate and use DOMUS machines. This goes for both customers, in terms of using them, and for the owner, in terms of managing and servicing them. In addition, this type of business lets you decide how involved you want to be. In other words, you can operate another business with the laundry as extra income, or look it as your main business where you hunt new customers, offer pick-up, reach out to companies with laundry needs such as gyms or hair salons, etc.
- What do you think the key to success for self-service laundries to stay in business is?
In my eyes there are four central points: it needs to be clean, well-lit, well-located, and above all, not set up shop across the street from another self-service laundry.
The cost of the property is also very important. For the business to be successful we cannot be paying €3,000 in rent a month and only install a few machines. There would be no profit margin. What I recommend is calculating the maximum amount of rent I could take on assuming €100 per machine. In other words, if the property has room for seven machines, then I should pay around €700 in rent.
Plus, we need to consider the time of the year. The population of Madrid decreases considerably in August, along with the yield of the laundry service, which means I need to make all my revenue for the year during the other eleven months to compensate for that month. This will vary of course from location to location, but we must always be aware of this. In terms of statistics, this trend is stable without large changes year to year.
Lastly, I would definitely recommend having a Google Business Profile so customers, both in the actual city and tourists, can find the laundry service. It is free, easy to set up, and honestly worth it.
In terms of DOMUS machines, what features would you highlight and what features help make your business more profitable?
I switched to DOMUS for two very important technical reasons. One, the TOUCH II control. This development changed my life. The amount of information you can access through the machine’s screen is amazing, and it is incredibly easy to operate. Additionally, there is the fact that you can include all the programs you want and update it yourself. I used to have machines from a different brand, and if I wanted to modify the length or dosing of a program I had to call a technician to do it for me, and pay for their service. With DOMUS, washing machines come with a simple instruction manual so you can do it yourself and, although it might take you a quarter of an hour the first day, on the second day you will be doing it in five minutes and on the third in just one minute. This means I can really customize how I wash at my laundry service, and do so quickly.
The second reason that made me pick DOMUS were the coin boxes used on the machines, which can be accessed from the front of the washing machine.
I find that 99% of the problems on my machines are coin boxes becoming jammed. This happens when people insert coins in the exit slot, which should not be happening, or they insert them too quickly causing it to jam. This problem is significantly easier to solve with the tilting front panel system. When I had the other brand, I had to go to the back of the machine and remove specific parts, making things much more complicated. It used to take me half an hour to do it, but now with the tilting front panel and DOMUS coin box keys I can do it in under 30 seconds.
Another key feature for us is the moisture sensor on the dryers, which lets us save on power. This also means we can provide our customers with the guarantee that our dryers will not damage their clothing, and will dry them in less time and for less money, which the customer appreciates.
- How many people work with you on a daily basis to run these four laundry services?
I have one person part-time for cleaning, and I personally take care of the more technical side. Although if something needs to be updated or there is a bit of maintenance, such as adding softener, the cleaner can also do it no problem using the TOUCH II touchscreen since it is user-friendly.
- Do you have automatic opening and closing systems for your laundry services?
We do have automatic opening and closing doors for opening and closing our store. Plus, with the TOUCH II we can set our machines to shut off by themselves after a specific time. This saves me from checking the cameras on a daily basis to see if there are still customers inside when closing, and it stops stores from remaining open and people from slipping in at night.
On top of all this we have the IoT, which is even easier since we can control machines remotely if any problems come up, thus saving us the trip to the laundry service. These two pieces of technology really save time and make for better quality of life.
- Lastly, how do you see the future of self-service laundries?
I think it will continue to grow. The first self-service laundries around years ago were tiny, and as the years have gone by they have become bigger and bigger and attractive looking. And now laundry services take off much quicker than before. It took two years for the first one we set up in 2014 to take off, and now, a new laundry service can bring in normal levels of revenue in one year. It is clear that society is much more used to self-service laundries, and we are glad of course.
Thank you so much Jorge for sharing your time and knowledge with us. It has been a real pleasure talking to you.