Self-service laundries are on the rise and have become an essential service for users with such a basic demand as to be able to wash and dry their clothes comfortably in specially prepared installations. In some cases, this is because they do not have a washing machine or dryer in their own home and in other cases, because the expense of money and time (only 45 minutes) is much more accessible than doing it at home.
Open wash emerges from this background and with more than 25 years of experience in the laundries sector. After just over a year, Open Wash is a self-service laundry project with more than 30 centres, and 15 more on their way in different places all over Spain.
We share an interesting conversation with you now that we had a few weeks ago with Juan Miguel Ordóñez, Sales Manager at Open Wash. We spoke with him about the boom in the sector, the choice of Fagor Professional as strategic collaborator and the future projects of Open Wash.
– How do you assess and to what do you attribute the growth in the self-service laundry sector, which has meant that it has become one of the best business options lately?
At Open Wash, we make a very positive assessment of how this business concept is taking root more and more every day in our society. We are reaching a wide portfolio of customers which broadens every day, with more and more different types and ages of customers. We are covering a latent necessity and the day-to-day need of washing and drying all kinds of clothing. The presence of this need combined with a line of business in which no staff are hired and which is therefore exempt from all kinds of social obligations, means high profit with minimum investment. Add to this the fact that our centres are fully controlled from a smart phone, and we have the possibility of a highly profitable business which we can have as a self-employment option, as an investment or as a source of income on the side of our main activity.
– After 25 years in the laundries sector, can you tell us what you are trying to cover with this initiative and what the new OPEN WASH formula consists of?
With this initiative, not only do we try to meet a need which is becoming more and more necessary by the day with the new trends and habits of our society, but we have also created an alternative for those customers who were not able to use the traditional Dry Cleaners because they lacked the economic capacity, among other reasons. For example, at a dry cleaners, a blanket or duvet costs an average of €20 to wash and a return time of one week. In our centres, we are able to wash the same duvet for only 6€ and thanks to the high-technology of Fagor Professionals washing equipment, we can have it ready in only 30 minutes. For this reason, our customer base is consolidated every day, as they get their clothing back with a high-quality wash and dry in record time.
– What services does OPEN WASH offer their clients once established on the market?
We offer all the know-how we have accumulated over the last 25 years. We offer all this for free, since OPEN WASH does not charge either a franchise fee or royalty payments on sales, freeing up cash flow for our franchisees enormously, and allowing them their exclusive zone, use of the brand and all the daily support from our different departments. We also keep them up-to-date at all times on new concepts or trends so that our centres are always at the forefront of everything that can be offered to a clientele which is becoming more and more identified with the use of this type of business by the day.
– How many centres make up the company and how are they distributed around Spain?
Even though the OPEN WASH self-service laundry project is only a year old, we now have around twenty centres, with another five new ones underway and due to open their doors shortly. We cover the whole of Spain, with centres in Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, León, Madrid, Granada, Barcelona and Valencia, as well as other places.
– What assessment does your decision to work with Fagor Professional for top level machinery – quality, robustness and saving – in the OPEN WASH installations deserve?
Our experience tells us that our faith in the Self-service Laundry sector would not have enjoyed the success, and impending success, that it does today if we had not had a top-level supplier at our disposal.
This was a tough decision, as the users in our establishment may quite often misuse the equipment, and it can suffer all kinds of acts and abuse. This, coupled with the fact of often having to work for long periods continuously, meant that we needed a product of the highest level and quality, and of course the best technical support available.
After analysing the different manufacturers, we discovered that Fagor Professional was the best option and thanks to them this project is now not only a reality, but also a success.
– What are the main points of the agreement reached by both companies?
The main points are the great capacity for understanding between the two companies, both from Fagor Professional and from Open Wash. This project has been taken up with great enthusiasm and this has meant a great effort made by Fagor Professional to adapt their products to our needs and our impetus to make our centres the market leader. This has led to close collaboration and exclusivity by both companies for this sector.
– What would you say stands out about Fagor Professionals machinery for the laundry sector?
Rather than one specific aspect which stands out, the whole of the old LA and LR Laundry range models and Sr dryers range was very impressive, but what has really surprised us are the great steps forward that Fagor Professional has made with the new 2016 range. With this range, Fagor Professional fulfills all our expectations and those of any laundry professional, providing latest generation products which offer high energy savings, robustness and functional reliability. All this means we can assure any laundry professional that Fagor Professional is a great ally to have.
– What type of washing machines do the OPEN WASH centres require? What sort of economic investment is needed for each centre?
Out of the wide range offered by Fagor Professional, at Open Wash we have opted for the washing machines of the LA and LR ranges, as well as the Sr range for drying.
Thanks to this combination, investment in machinery for our centres fluctuates between €18,000 for the Access centre model, up to 46,000 for the Business model. We cover all types of investment with this offer, from the self-employment option where you can set up your own business with a mere €25,000, up to the requirements of an investment which generates high income and an extremely rapid return on investment.
– From your point of view, what characteristics does a self-service washing machine have to have in order to be the most efficient and easiest to handle on the market?
Above all, a Self-service machine must be robust and economical, and lastly intuitive for any user. Fagor Professionals washing machine range meets this objective perfectly, as is shown on a daily basis by the over 150 machines that wash and dry clothes for our customers.
– What is the secret of achieving great results while offering a service at competitive prices for the customer?
The secret of obtaining great results at a time in which we are still being affected by the after-effects of the economic crisis is none other than meeting the daily need within the service sector which is washing and drying. To do this, you can only be successful if you have a partner capable of offering you a good business focus with good daily back up, and for that you need great brands like Fagor Professional and Open Wash.
The daily flow of our centres shows us that the consumer base of this type of establishment reflects an ever-wider range of customer profiles. This includes all ethnicities, students, retired people and of course families with a couple of children who have realised that dedicating a whole day to washing the weeks laundry is rather outdated. With Open Wash you can wash the whole weeks laundry in only 30 minutes for 4€, which means you will have time to spend with your family rather than be washing at home for hours…
– And to finish with, what are the most important present and future prospects and projects for the development of OPEN WASH?
The short-term prospects for Open Wash are to double the number of existing centres over the coming year, so as to start to have a presence in all cities of the country in the medium term and to continue until any citizen in any neighbourhood can have an Open Wash laundry near to their home.
We are also working on the development of a Master Franchise with the primary objective of implantation in Portugal, where negotiations are already underway, so that once developed, we can export the concept and brand to other countries.