By Michelle Anzaya
Entrepreneurs eyeing the fast-growing on-demand laundry market can now access financing of up to KSH 1.5 million to set up their first laundromat.
This follows a new partnership between Consumer appliances manufacturer LG Electronics, Avana Laundromats and Home appliances distributors Hotpoint.
The partnership seeks to create jobs for more Kenyans while offering laundry solutions to an increasingly affluent middle-income market with limited time to do laundry but with a desire to have their laundry done professionally and at an affordable rate.
Besides financing, Avana Laundromat will also offer franchising opportunities for interested entrepreneurs under the Avana Laundromat brand. The aim is to open at least 1000 laundromats across the country in the next 5 years, and 50 laundromats by the end of 2022.
“Our commitment is to ensure that our customers live the better life that they deserve. Therefore, our role in this partnership is to offer the latest state of the art LG washing machines with top technology and innovative features to deliver clean, gentle clothing care. Each washing machine incorporates effective hygiene technology,” said LG Electronics East Africa Managing Director Sa Nyoung Kim, commenting on the partnership.
The commercial dryer, for instance, uses high-temperature air to sanitize clothes of germs and bacteria. This is not only energy saving but also cost and time-saving.
LG’s laundromat technology also comes with a digital app that allows customers to monitor progress with their laundry remotely and make a pick or drop call. The shop operators can also manage their business off-site in real-time and promptly track and resolve technical issues.
“The aim is to enable entrepreneurs to establish businesses, so we have partnered with key financial institutions to offer the funds. The financing is aimed to support them to acquire at least 2 to 3 sets of the latest washing machines in the market. For a long time, the cost of washing machines has been a key challenge for many people who desire to venture into the laundry market,” said Avana Laundromat Director Natasha Njee.
Natasha noted that the financing is designed to attract a 1.5% interest rate and is to be paid within 2-3 years from the date of offer as agreed between the entrepreneur and the lender. There is however room to negotiate the payment period to upto four years.
In his remarks, Hotpoint Appliances Ltd B2B Regional Head, Ravi Kanani said that as distributors working closely with LG Electronics and Avana, they shall offer technical support in terms of equipment installation and servicing, and training the entrepreneurs on the right detergents to use.
“Besides, Hotpoint is set to play a key role in advising the entrepreneurs on the best location to set up the laundromats, and how to use and leverage the high-level LG washing machines to attain maximum value,” said Ravi.
From experience, Hotpoint has proved that Laundromats are a viable and profitable business in Kenya having opened and operated one in Buruburu about 2 years ago and a smart laundry one in Thika Road Mall (TRM) last year.
With less than 20 per cent of Kenyan homes owning a washing machine or dryer, commercial laundromats, popularly known as dry cleaners, are set to offer investors and clients a smarter, safer way of doing laundry while serving both single individuals and working couples with families.