Domestic Household Chores is becoming a challenge for the Working Class in Urban Modernised India, where People are under pressures of dynamically changing Business and Workplace Environments and the Stressed Professional Lives leaves no space or time to them for spending considerable time in non-productive chores. Washing, Cleaning of Cloths and Ironing on one end is the representation of their personality, personal hygiene or creates the notable impression for them, on other hand its time consuming and toiled activity which one can’t skip or avoid. Dealing with local laundry shops and individuals handling washing or ironing services again to them is a process with manual involvement of time, wherein at times they need to pursue them for delivery, compromise at times on the quality service with very few available hassle free substitute service providers from organised sector handling the process from A to Z for them. Recent trends shows many companies started exploring this opportunity into Online Laundry from some of the Corporate and Commercial Hubs like Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Coimbatore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Bangalore with the Mixed Approach and Different Models of Operations. But High Operating costs for Laundry Startup mostly hikes the Service Costs as they have to cope up with Inconsistency, Low Average Per Unit Cost which again to be matched with Operating Costs, Logistics, Packaging etc as a core challenge; and this higher service cost for a customer at times is not a good value for money unless they have limited choices.
“Washing and Ironing as an unorganised sector is quite unexplored by startups due to its high operating costs, manual involvement of physical workforce to carry out washing or ironing and inconsistency of volumes to be matched with fixed recurring costs once the setup is established, which may remain a challenge for any entrepreneur making it less profitable with quite unpredictable nature of projections”, quoted by Mr. Nitin Bansal, Mentor and Adviser to an upcoming Ironing startup in Gurgaon.
Still what fascinates the entrepreneur towards this sector is changing customer behaviour or lack of organised players in this segment and tremendous scope. Many startups for last few years are operating and creating the difference with their innovative approach right from subscription based model to vendor based models. But that’s not enough, somewhere all these models operating in the ironing and washing service segment are company and profit centric models and unless the approach becomes customer-centric where they (end customer) eventually get the Quality, Service and pricing benefit, there still lays a scope of innovation and refinement of business model. So stil the Question in 2017-18 remains – “Are Online Laundry, Dry-Cleaning, Washing, Ironing Startups Spinning the Right Business Model ?“
The Estimated Size of the Laundry Market is Rs. 2,20,000 Crore, with the Unorganised market (which includes Dhobis, Maid Servants, and Mom-and-Pop Stores) valued at Rs. 5,000 crores. The sector is fragmented with 7,67,000 Establishments, 98 per cent of which are Micro-Sized Laundries with fewer than 10 workers, says a report by Euromonitor International. So taking this into consideration, organised sector still in this segment not more than 2-3 %.
While most of Men and Women as a behaviour research say that of all the household chores something they hate most is ironing and washing clothes in itself, on other hand they don’t want to give their expensive designer and loved collections to a unprofessional with a risk of degrading its overall shine, life and quality due to improper temperatures while ironing or not maintaining the fabric instructions for its wash. But practically it’s not possible to identify as whether startups engage Vendor Model or Manpower Model, they are eventually relying on the Unskilled and Untrained workforce who may deliver productivity but quality is somewhere always compromised – Except for the focus always restricted to Delivery and Nice Packaging. With some of recent startups in this sector like Wassup handling 700++ Orders per day with presence in six Cities; or Aap Ka Dhobhi which deals about 1500 customers each day, still the players in this segment are taking the challenge of filling the gap by offering comprehensive solution at affordable price.
So while 2016 was year for most Innovative Tech Startups, Ecommerce, Retail, Service Sector Focused Startups;, One can definitely hope for entrepreneurs coming to the segment of Ironing and Washing (Laundry Startup) in 2017-18, with a piece of innovation which makes a perfect blend of High on Quality Low on Costs.