Times are tough for a lot of people at the moment and you might be looking for extra income opportunities. Have you thought about setting up an ironing business? You can make money from home by doing ironing for people who really hate ironing, or who don’t have time to do their own.
The start-up costs for an ironing business are quite low, so this can potentially be a profitable side hustle which is easy to set up. Read on to find out more about how to start up your own ironing business.
Getting Started with Your Ironing Business
The first decision you need to make is whether to join an agency or strike out on your own. There are pros and cons of both options. It’s easier to go with an agency, as they will sort out insurance and manage all the administration. But if you work for yourself, you’ll get a bigger share of the profits!
If you’re applying to agencies, you’ll need to make sure your skillset is a good match, as some offer additional services such as repairs and alterations. The work is normally part-time and flexible, but if you work for yourself you will have even more control over your workload and hours. However, you’ll have to manage payments, customer relationships, advertising and insurance yourself.
Either way, you must register as self-employed. Don’t forget to keep track of how much tax you’ll need to pay on your earnings.
Investing in the Right Gear
Good quality equipment will help you to provide a high-quality, efficient service for your customers. Obviously, you’ll want to invest in a top-level iron (xxx link to top 10 steam irons article). You might also want to consider an extra-large ironing board.
A heavy-duty hanging rail is another useful purchase, along with a good supply of coat hangers. You’ll want to make sure that your perfectly ironed garments stay pristine before being returned to your customers. You can ask your customers to provide hangers with their items, but it’s a good idea to have plenty of spare ones available too.
Other useful items include a water spray to dampen stubborn creases and a fan – ironing can be warm work, especially in hot weather.
It’s also advisable to take out professional indemnity insurance, to protect yourself against any damages to expensive items.
How Much Should I Charge?
Before thinking about pricing, you need to define your service offering. Will you offer collection and delivery services? If so, you need to factor in travel time, fuel costs and wear and tear on your vehicle. You may also need to inform your insurance provider that you’re using your vehicle for business purposes.
It’s probably best to start small, with a basic ironing service, then consider expanding into repairs, laundry or other housekeeping services as your business grows.
You can charge per item, per bag load or by weight. But it’s often easiest to charge per hour. It makes sense to check out if there are any similar services operating locally and research their pricing model. If you charge too much, you won’t attract any customers, but if you undercharge you can end up working for hours for little recompense.
Before deciding on your prices, you should add up all your expenses, including fuel, advertising and supplies, then work out what margin you want to make, over and above your costs. Remember that it’s hard to increase your prices once you have an established customer base, so your pricing model needs careful thought.
Advertising your ironing business
Ironing services usually operate over quite small geographical areas, so it’s best to focus your advertising attentions locally. Make sure all your friends and family know about your new venture and ask them to help spread the word.
It’s a good idea to get some business cards printed which you can display on community noticeboards, at the local library and in shops. You could also get leaflets printed and deliver them locally.
Setting up a Facebook page is another good advertising option. You can set up an online booking function once you’re confident in your processes. You could also advertise in local community Facebook groups. You may want to set up a website once your business is well-established.
Some Final Thoughts
It goes without saying that you should make sure you know what you’re doing before setting up an ironing business! You should have some knowledge of what heat settings to use for different kinds of fabric and how to starch shirt collars and cuffs.
You should also think carefully about your working environment. If you’re a smoker, it’s going to be a challenge to run an ironing service successfully, as you will always struggle to keep the smell away from clothes. Pet owners will need to take extra care, and you should be mindful of strong cooking smells too. Your customers will expect fresh, clean garments after paying for your services, so you must ensure that you can deliver this.
Anyone setting up a business should think about what problem they’re trying to solve for their customers. Some people hate ironing and can afford to outsource it, some may be elderly and can’t manage it for themselves any more, or others just simply don’t have time to keep on top of it. You should tailor your offerings towards meeting these needs. Your purpose is to provide solutions. And when you exceed expectations, customers will recommend you to their friends, and your business will grow.