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How to start your own ironing business from home

Updated on March 19, 2012

Yes you can make money by providing a home ironing service.

This lens is based on real life experience on how to make extra money working from home by starting your own ironing service.

It's not a complete guide, but rather a starting point that you can use to begin making money as quickly as possible so you can start paying your utilities and begin to get ahead.

Interested?

Read on.

Ironing at home and getting paid for it.
Ironing at home and getting paid for it.

Our story.

A little about how we began our own ironing service.

My wife and I started our own home ironing business in August 2010 when my wife was unable to find employment and my current job was not going to be enough to make ends meet. Like all small home business start ups it began small. Just $50 per week was our first earning, however this did gradually increase and it is now commonplace for us to earn a minimum of $750 per week and have easily passed the $1000 mark on several occasions. Not too shabby for something that we began on a relatively small budget.

As our earnings have increased we have gradually upgraded our equipment, sought advice and learned from our mistakes to the point that we now have a reliable source of income that will continue as long as people need ironing.

Your Ironing Business List.

Getting started ironing in a small ironing business requires a few items.

  1. A steam iron (and one as a spare). If you intend doing more than just a couple of baskets per day choose an ironing station as shown further down the page.
  2. Your ironing board (solid construction).
  3. Spray bottle to help iron out stubborn creases and to starch if required by the customer.
  4. Clothes racks and hangers
  5. Business cards and flyers to hand out.
  6. Permission from your neighbors
  7. A business number or similar (ask your tax department or accountant).
  8. tax invoice book (receipt book).
  9. A reliable vehicle (if you intend doing deliveries and pickups).
  10. A presence on the internet (online classifieds, a website etc).

Helpful ironing equipment on Amazon. - The basics.

A collection of recommended tools that will make your ironing business run more smoothly.

For basic start up you can begin with a basic home iron and board. If you are just doing a basket or two a day then this is a good way to start.

If you plan on doing more then it is a good idea to go for something a little more upmarket which will pay off in the long run.

Panasonic NI-S300TR 1200-Watt Steam Iron with Curved Titanium-Coated Soleplate, White/Green
Panasonic NI-S300TR 1200-Watt Steam Iron with Curved Titanium-Coated Soleplate, White/Green

Panasonic is a good brand and this unit would be a good step up from a basic iron.

 
Polder Deluxe Tabletop Ironing Board, Natural
Polder Deluxe Tabletop Ironing Board, Natural

If you have limited space a tabletop board will make things easier as it simply sits on your kitchen table and allows you to work from there.

 
Reliable The Board 100IB Ironing Board
Reliable The Board 100IB Ironing Board

If you intend doing a lot of ironing then get the best board you can as a good ironing board is just as important as a good iron.

 

When to open and what services to offer.

People love convenience

Consider what times you will be open since it is very likely many of your customers will be working the 9 to 5 or even longer. We found that being open in evenings for collection or drop off by customers was a big plus for many of them.

I also offered a delivery and collection service for a fee. If you are clever enough you can work out a route on specific days that can cut down travel time and also vehicle running costs.

Sometimes I arrange with regular customers to leave their items in a safe place such as their garage so we don't have to wait for each other.

How to iron with professional results.

Serious about ironing? Then you need one of these. - The steam generator or steam station

A steam generator or ironing station is essentially a heavy duty iron with a constant supply of pressurized steam at your fingertips.

The advantage is less stops to fill up with water, easier ironing out wrinkles and more speed. I know a professional ironing business owner (20 years experience) who uses one and she swears by it. We have just upgraded to this system and it certainly cuts ironing time which means more items ironed per hour and more profit.

Using a steamer.

Steamers are an invaluable tool for your ironing business. They expand your capabilities allowing you to deal with delicate and intricate items as well as suits and jackets. We have even used them successfully to iron sheets.

Clothes steamers

A clothing steamer is invaluable for working on delicate fabrics. We use one to take the wrinkles out of suits, ball gowns, synthetic material dresses and other delicate items.

There are times when we get a lot of tee shirts and a steamer works very well on these.

Other useful items for your ironing business.

Spray bottles, clothing racks and pressing pads will make life easier and you will be able to do a better job with the right tools.

Protective Ironing Scorch-Saving Mesh Pressing Pad 2-Pack #128-2
Protective Ironing Scorch-Saving Mesh Pressing Pad 2-Pack #128-2

A protective mesh is such as this one will allow you to iron over the top of printed shirts without the iron sticking and damaging the print.

 
Singer ESP-2 Electronic Steam Press
Singer ESP-2 Electronic Steam Press

If you plan on doing a lot of small items that need a single press (such as a child's Tee shirt) this will do a great job. They are also handy for pressing jeans.

 
Need A Rack Collapsible Clothing Rack-Commercial Grade
Need A Rack Collapsible Clothing Rack-Commercial Grade

We have several clothes racks to keep our customers items all in order and crease free while they are waiting for collection.

Consider purchasing at least 2 racks to begin with.

 
Honey-Can-Do GAR-01124 Expandable Bar Garment Rack, Chrome/Black
Honey-Can-Do GAR-01124 Expandable Bar Garment Rack, Chrome/Black

If you are on a budget this clothes rack will do the job at a reasonable price.

 

How to build your business.

(What we did).

We first began advertising our business by dropping business cards in letterboxes. We found that cards were reasonably successful since most people tended to hang on to them and call us at a later date. We also found that it was important to be selective in which suburbs we did our card drop since the wealthier areas had a higher response rate. The types of people that use ironing services varies from singles to working professional couples and families (these have the income but usually are time poor or simply hate ironing).

Later we used local online classifieds and also created our own website and these continue to give us a steady stream of customers as well as our repeat buyers.

The Number 1 Rule How To Make Your Ironing Business Successful

Deliver a great service at a fair price and not only will you maintain your existing customers, they will tell others and your business will grow over time.

Have a helpful comment or a suggestion? Add your thoughts!

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    • mymusic1234 lm profile image
      Author

      Mark Spivey 5 years ago from Australia

      @Virginia Allain: We did look at pricing originally per basket but we found this did not always work well since some customers would cram in a huge number of items. We worked on the per item charge based on what others were charging and also noted the price of professional laundering companies.

      It is something of a juggling act to find a balance between profit and what people are willing to pay.

      One thing I can say is being the cheapest is not the best thing to do since those customers who want the lowest price are often the most demanding. It is far better to let them walk than work for the cheapest price and make almost nothing for your time and effort.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Nicely explained. I'm wondering how you determined what a fair price was per item or by type of item. Did you check what other people charged?