If you hire people to mow your lawn, change your oil, and clean your soil, James Chandler has a question: why do you keep doing three loads of laundry and end up with white shirts that turned pink?
“Laundry is stupid,” Chandler says. “No one should have to. That’s why he launched the on-demand, mobile-app-powered laundry, which he calls “a kind of laundry Uber.”
The peer-to-peer service connects users with licensed and trained “washing and folding experts” who will pick up their laundry and return it the same day clean, stacked and ready for the drawer. The service is currently available throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with more than 40 washing and folding experts serving more than 1,000 customers.
Chandler plans to expand in the next quarter to Houston, San Antonio and Austin.
A new concert for the concert economy
“Our laundry professionals are trained and verified laundry scammers,” Chandler told Dallas Innovates. “These are people who thrive in the gig economy, but driving people or food doesn’t work.”
For example, mothers with young children at home can’t always chase airport trips for Uber or run to Sprouts for a food delivery. But they can drive their children to an on-demand laundry user’s home, pick up a bag of laundry, and bring it home to do the load on their own.
“With Laundry On Demand, they only leave the house twice per order,” Chandler said. “The rest of the time is at home doing the laundry and making a lot of money doing it.”
Scaling with SMBX Small Business Bonds
To expand beyond DFW, Chandler needed funding. He looked into bank loans and other crowdfunding options before deciding to use SMBX, a bond market for small businesses based in San Francisco.
“They were very responsive, made me feel like they would be there to help guide me through the raise, and I love the idea of issuing bonds,” Chandler told us. . “Plus, the bank loan process is a beating. It’s more fun.
SMBX also helped Chandler put his marketing plan in place, “which took my shoulder off a lot.”
the Laundry announcement on demand at SMBX shows, $ 10,120 has been raised to date to reach a goal of $ 75,000. The bonds have a term of 48 months at a yield of 7%.
The announcement says most of the funds will go to advertising, with 10% helping buy supplies and 3.5% paying SMBX fundraising fees.
Chandler aims to grow up to 60 orders per day by the end of the year, aim for a gross income of around $ 1.5 million, he told an SMBX interviewer.
From the war in Iraq to a laundromat and beyond
Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Chandler got tired of working for this man a long time ago. When he read the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” he was inspired to start a business. He tried to set up passive income streams involving forklifts, 18-wheeled vehicles, and even importing iron.
Then he saw an ad for a laundromat – all cash business, high cash flow, no convenient management needed. It seemed like the perfect cash cow.
So in 2017, he and his wife Laura bought a laundromat 10 minutes from his home. But instead of sitting down and watching the money pour in, they ended up with quarters that got lost in the drying racks. The business was much less profitable and more convenient than they had thought.
On a failed collision course. Chandler leaned on something he had learned while serving in the military in Iraq.
“The military has taught me that there is no obstacle too big to overcome and that sometimes jumping and getting your hands dirty is the best way to start,” he said. “Being an entrepreneur is a roller coaster, and the gut courage instilled in me during my time in the service has been invaluable. “
So he and Laura pivoted, focusing the laundromat’s offerings on a laundry service based on weekly pickups and deliveries, quick turnaround times, and flat rate prices. He quickly became the profit engine of their business. Laura wondered why this wasn’t used more widely and what if they expanded the service with a peer-to-peer service like Uber?
At first, James didn’t take his idea seriously. But after a few years of fine-tuning their laundry service, the idea of a “Laundry Uber” grabbed him as well.
Sell the laundromat, launch the application
Last year, Chandler sold the laundromat and used the profits to fund the new business. He had hired contractors to develop two other mobile apps in the past, including a car wash subscription, so he came back to them to create the Laundry On Demand app, launching it last January.
One key to making the service work was to find more laundry professionals. Chandler says finding them through word of mouth and social media advertising has been “a huge success.”
“Our platform is designed to ensure that we have the best pros and that they are paid as such, which leads to strong organic growth,” he said. “LOD is as successful as these laundry professionals. “
Pro Laundry Academy
Chandler says he has an extensive system in place to screen laundry professionals, check background checks, and even provide training through what he calls the Laundry Pro Academy. Individual coaching is also available.
Laundry professionals who sign up for Laundry On Demand use their own vehicles to pick up and deliver laundry, as do Uber drivers. They are linked to customers by proximity, “but they can also create their own portfolio of activities,” says Chandler. “Their customers can ask for them and only get this supplier when they order. “
At the service of the attendants
One thing that can help the business grow even further is to move from consumers to business customers.
“Laundromats have a staffing problem,” he told the SBMX interviewer. “Most of them are mom and pop, it’s a very rambling industry. So someone quits, they get laid off, they get sick, they get pregnant, whatever the case, so either the service is down or the owner is there to do the job.
The on-demand laundry is hoping to be a backstop for this, with Chandler’s laundry professionals picking up and delivering laundry to laundromats as needed. The service would be invisible and back-end, with the third-party company keeping it under its own brand.
Coming soon to a panel near you
To drive sales and cultivate referrals, Chandler plans to install an “exciting” billboard in the Dallas-Fort Worth area soon. His other channels for driving growth include pay-per-click marketing and social media outreach.
We tell you more about this startup, but our washer just rang to tell us it’s time to put our load of socks and towels in the dryer.
You know what? Laundry is really stupid.
Subscribe to the list.
Dallas innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep tabs on what’s new and what’s next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.