The Laundromat culture is one that has a distorted presence in the Indian market. However, with the hassles of living a metropolitan life, consumers are now exploring quick options to get their laundry done on time, preferably from places that offer pick-up and drop as well. This is where a firm like UClean can gain momentum.
Launched in 2016 by Arunabh Sinha, this chain of technology-enabled laundry helps in making laundry convenient, non-cumbersome and time saving. The main focus of UClean is to foster the DIY (Do It Yourself) culture across India.
With technology at the heart of the brand, UClean also enables the time crunched customer to avail pick-n- drop service from the comforts of his home or office. To make it more convenient for their customers, UClean has several options from scheduled bookings at app, website, store or call centre to anytime walk-ins at the store.
“A quick analysis of the South East Asian laundry industry will show that the boom in the Laundromat culture has taken place only in the last seven years. There was always the demand but unsatisfactory quality supply. This is the situation in India as well, where there is a tremendous amount of demand which is lying in a dormant state and there is an inertia which needs to be overcome. With ‘quality supply’, there is this huge opportunity to quickly win over the audience and build the early adopters,” told Founder UClean, Arunabh Sinha said.
Built around the concept of Laundromats, the company offers services like laundry, dry-cleaning, ironing, carpet cleaning, sofa cleaning and shoe cleaning.
It also gives its customers an option to visit the stores and do their laundry, or avail the full-fledged ‘pick-n-drop’ services.
For other services like carpet and sofa cleaning, the team goes to the premise of the customer and executes the service directly at his home. These services can be directly booked through the website or by dialing the call-centre number.
“The initial couple of months were tough from business perspective as we had to try and win the confidence of customers who had previously burnt their fingers while availing the services from local mom-n-pop operators. These customers also happened to be the lowest hanging fruits since they understood the concept well but were unsure of trying out ‘yet another’ operator,” added Arunabh.
Adding to this he said that he had to dole out a lot of ‘free trial services’ initially to convince customers and get them to use our services.
“Fortunately for us, every customer without exception, decided to continue with our services which has helped us tide over the initial couple of tough months,” he added.
On the financial front, the company raised an initial round of funding of USD one million from Franchise India, using which the first couple of stores were set up in Delhi NCR around mid-January this year.
Subsequently, over the next five months, the company has over nine stores spread across six cities and as many as 6,000 customers.
To further build the brand equity, UClean has partnered with Alliance Laundry System, USA and Franchise India to develop “Customer Service Manuals” to guide each Franchisee on delivering 100 percent customer satisfaction.
UClean has plans to develop about 300 to 350 stores on a pan India basis over the next three years, with Alliance Laundry Systems supplying equipment worth about Rs. 35 crores to UClean during this time frame.