how to make money by running an ironing service
So, you want to spend your spare time ironing?
Let’s just say, better you than us!
Since that’s what most people think, there’s an extremely high demand for efficient ironing services that do quality work. People will rather pay extra to outsource their laundry than iron it themselves and that’s where you come in.
If you can get your hands on some coat hangers and know your way round an ironing board, this may well be the money-maker you’ve been looking for.
Read MoneyMagpie’s quick guide to starting your own ironing business below:
What’s involved in an ironing business?
In order to offer a high quality ironing service, you will need the essentials: a good iron and ironing board. It’s worth investing in good quality tools – it’ll make the labor easier and there’ll be less of a chance they’ll damage your customers’ clothes. You should also have ironing experience, even if it’s just your own garments, and know the basics, for example, different heat settings for different types of fabrics. You’ll probably want to offer your clients higher ironing standards than you do for your own clothes.
There may already be an ironing service in your vicinity with a plenty of customers, so delivering the best possible results is of utmost importance. Do some market research to check what others offer in terms of pricing, services and delivery options. Then have a think about how you can top their offer.
Starting out ironing for cash
You basically have two options:
- Sign up with an agency,
- Or start your own ironing business.
With the first option, it’s as simple as finding the closest agency and convincing them that you’re good at ironing. You can find it online through a quick search for iron agency and the name of your area.
Different agencies provide different services – some include alterations and repairs – so find one that best suits your skills.
When you sign up with an agency, they deal with administrative aspects such as insurance, however, if you must be registered as self-employed (and the agency should tell you this), you will have to consider some income tax issues which you can read about in this article on paying tax on your extra income.
Some agencies simply put you in touch with a local customer and leave you to arrange payments yourself.
Others have clients who typically need housekeeping, cleaning and ironing work. So, they match an ironer to their client’s needs and allow the two parties to agree on a price.
If you decide to collaborate with an agency, the work is normally part-time and often flexible.
Payment ranges from hourly rates to a fee per item or a fee per pound.
In general, you can expect to earn between:
- £ 8 and £ 12 per hour
- 50p and £ 1 per item
- 50p and £ 1 per pound
Although some agencies won’t require you to drive, having wheels definitely makes your job easier. If you don’t already have a vehicle, read our article on car leasing.
starting your own business
The big advantage of running your own operation is that you get to keep all of the money! You also get to work whenever you want and pick your clients.
The downside is that you have to do all the work of advertising, invoicing, dealing with customers and so on.
However, if this doesn’t put you off, read on to see how you can get all of this going.
How do I start my own ironing service?
Start by scouring your local paper and in-shop windows to find out how stiff the competition is. Have a quick search online too and check any local Facebook sites – people often advertise on community or neighborhood pages.
If there’re lots of ironing services available already, there probably won’t be room for any more.
If, however, you don’t notice any, great start. There may actually be demand for your services. A good way to get your business off the ground is to start small and gradually build it as you gain more clients.
For tax purposes, it’s important that you register as self-employed within three months of working for yourself. Visit Gov.uk to find out more.
Start by offering a simple ironing service and then take things from there. You can also offer seasonal services, such as special offers for school uniforms in September or polishing up people’s outfits for the wedding season.
And you can branch out. If you’re a confident sewer, for instance, your talents will definitely come in handy. You can offer mending and even washing services too.
But it’s not just about getting stuff ironed. Remember – presentation is everything. It’s common practice to return a customer’s ironing in a clear plastic bag or on hangers, so be sure to have a constant supply of these. You can ask your clients to include their own hangers when you pick up their order but make sure you have some extras on hand.
A major service that most customers appreciate, is collection and delivery. It’s acceptable to charge a small fee for this, based on the cost of fuel and time spent driving.
On the plus side, when you register as self-employed, you can claim the tax back for the costs incurred when driving to and from the customer – so keep all your petrol receipts.
The starting-out cost of an ironing gig is low but setting up a budget is an essential part of any business – and it shouldn’t take too long.
All you have to do is draw up a list of expenses – including supplies, fuel, advertising, rent etc – and work out their total. When you quote customers, ensure that you cover all these bases and also add an amount for labor. It’s a good idea to compare your prices with other businesses offering ironing services. Many people in the ironing business admit they started out charging way too little and found it hard to increase their prices later as it posed the risk of losing good clients. Make sure you’re confident your fees reflect the work you put into your business.
There’s lots of different ways in which you can advertise your ironing business but word of mouth remains the best. So, let all your friends, family and work colleagues know that you do this and ask them to help you spread the word.
It will also help to set up a Facebook page for your business. You can use it to post regular updates and it’s a place where your customers can share their reviews. If they’re positive, it’ll encourage others to use your services.
You can also consider advertising in shop windows, libraries, your local paper, the Yellow Pages and, eventually, even setting up your own website.
Top tips for making money with ironing
Running an ironing business doesn’t have to be complicated but there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Get some business cards printed cheaply with Vistaprint and hand them out at every opportunity. You could also design some simple leaflets and deliver them to houses in your neighborhood.
- Smokers need not apply. If your customers get a whiff of cigarette smoke on their clothes you won’t be expecting any repeat business. It’s also a good idea to work away from strong cooking smells and pets (allergies).
- Ironing in the summer can be hot work so pick up a cheap fan to keep you cool while you’re working.
- Good professional indemnity insurance is a must in case you iron a hole in anyone’s designer suit. Accidents happen!
- Advertise your services on free local sites like Facebook groups, local supermarket notice boards and cheaper places like Gumtree.
- Websites such as Indeed or Totaljobs also post ironing jobs every so often so make sure you set up job alerts. Freelance sites like PeoplePerHour could also be a good way to find new clients.
Hopefully you now know everything you need to start ironing to ramp up your income. The beauty of this money making strategy is how easy and flexible it is to set up. Your ironing gig can be as small as only doing a few shirts for someone you know or it could be a proper full-time job. You can iron when kids are in bed or while watching TV. Happy ironing!