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Ironing: how to make money by running an ironing service
So you want to spend your spare time ironing? Better you than us – and because that’s what most people think, there’s an extremely high demand for efficient and quality ironing services. If you can get your hands on some coat hangers and know your way round an ironing board then this may well be the money-maker you’ve been looking for.
First things first – you need to be able to iron to a high standard and have the essentials: a good iron and ironing board. It’s likely there will already be an ironing service near you with plenty of customers – so it’s of the utmost importance that you deliver the best possible results to everyone that chooses to use you instead.
You have two options: to sign on with an agency, or to start up your own ironing business.
With the first option, things should be pretty simple. It’s simply a case of finding the closest agency to you and convincing them that you’re a worthy ironer. Different agencies will provide various services such as collection, delivery, alterations and repairs and laundry so it’s up to you to find the one that best suits your skills.
When you sign up to an agency, it is their responsibility to deal with aspects such as insurance, although if you must be registered as self-employed (the agency should tell you this) then you will have to consider some income tax issues which you can read about in this article.
Some agencies will simply put you in touch with a local customer and leave you to arrange the payments between you. Mrs Hunt’s Staffing, for example, has clients in the posh parts of London and the Home Counties who need housekeeping, cleaning and ironing work. They’ll match an ironer to their client’s needs and allow the two parties to decide on a price.
If you decide to work for an agency, the work is normally part time and often flexible. Payment can be offered in a range of ways such as an hourly rate, a fee per item or a fee per pound. You can expect to earn between £8 and £12 per hour, 50p and £1 per item or between 50p and £1 per pound of clothes, depending on where you work.
Although some agencies won’t require you to drive, having wheels will definitely make your job easier. If you don’t already have a vehicle, then read our article on car leasing.
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Have a look in your local paper and in shop windows. Are there already a hundred ironing services advertised? If so, there probably won’t be room for any more. If, however, you don’t notice any then there may be demand for your services. Before you begin planning your service, start small at home and build your business.
You’ll have to register as self-employed within three months of working for yourself, and it’s worth contacting your local Business Link to discuss insurance aspects.
At first, it’s advisable to start small with a simple ironing service and take things from there. However, if you’re a well-practised seamstress then your extra talents will be welcomed with open arms. Be aware that you’ll be expected to have the ironing prepared in either plastic bags or on hangers so you’ll have to get to grips with the art of folding without making creases.
A major service that’s attractive to most customers is collection and delivery, which you can only offer if you drive. It’s acceptable to charge a small fee for this, and you should work the fee out by taking into account the cost of driving and the cost for your time. 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 receipts for petrol!
Speed up your ironing with this handy heated ironing board cover from Lakeland. The thick padding gives clothes a crisp professional look and will really impress your clients.
Drawing up a budget shouldn’t take too long and it’s essential if you want to make any real money. All you have to do is draw up a list of how much it’ll cost you for supplies such as coat hangers, plastic wrappers, receipts and labels; then a list of expenses such as fuel and the cost of your time.
You can advertise in whichever way you choose, although the best form of advertising is always word of mouth. Let all your friends, family and work colleagues know that you do this and you’ll be sure to have your first few customers. Once you’ve got used to the pace of things you could advertise in shop windows, your local paper, the Yellow Pages and maybe even run your own website.
- Get some business cards printed for free with Vistaprint, and hand them out at every opportunity.
- Smokers need not apply. If your customers get a whiff of smoke on their clothes you won’t be expecting any repeat business.
- Ironing in the summer can be hot work so pick up a cheap fan to keep you cool while you’re working.
- Good business insurance is a must in case you iron a hole in anyone’s designer suit. Find the best deal on our insurance comparison pages.
- Advertise your services on a site like Gumtree.