Looking to earn some extra cash but not sure which side hustle is for you? Perhaps a home based ironing business could be the perfect idea.
If you are trying to earn a bit of additional pocket money around your 9-5, or even hoping to build a business from the comfort of your own home, then this hustle might tick your boxes!
Why start an ironing business?
There are several reasons why ironing could be a good choice for a home based business:
- The start up costs are extremely low (or perhaps zero, depending on whether you already have the equipment)
- The work can be completed from home, which means it can fit around your home life and responsibilities
- Ironing can be completed at any hour of the day, as it’s not a customer facing task. This could be the ideal work for stay at home parents or those on maternity leave, who spend a lot of time at home. Your client’s ironing could be done at 5am if needs be, making zero difference to your customers!
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How to start an ironing business from home? A step by step guide
If you feel unsure about how to get going, follow these steps and you will be up and running in no time:
Upping your skill and speed
Firstly, make sure to practice, practice, and practice some more. You want to be able to iron quickly, so that you can complete more items per hour, and can charge a higher fee.
Get comfortable ironing shirts and suit trousers, along with any items that are slightly trickier and take more skill. There are plenty of YouTube videos and tutorials teaching ironing tips and tricks – make use of this free source of information and expertise!
Do a run through with friends and family
Offer to do the ironing for a friend or family member, and treat this as your dress rehearsal. It’s a good idea to do a trial run or two to identify any issues or ways you can improve before you begin charging your customers. This will help you to estimate realistic turnaround times too.
Your paying customers might not be so forgiving of errors. Make sure you have resolved any issues before you approach potential clients!
Source your equipment
Make sure you have the required equipment! You may already have the necessities, but if not, make sure you have a reliable iron, ironing board and ironing board cover as a minimum. Expensive isn’t always better, so keep this in mind and always read reviews to make sure you are buying good quality, good value items that will last.
Some example equipment you may be interested in investing in could include:
- Ironing storage bags
- Ironing board
- A back up iron
- Lint rollers
- Hand held steamer
- Clothes rail
- Garment bags
It would be wise to avoid rushing out and buying all new equipment before you have committed to your new business. You could try using your current equipment whilst you build up your first few clients, gradually building up your inventory as you gain experience – you don’t want to waste money.
Find your first client
Your first client is the most important! Don’t give up; it might take some time, but if you provide a great service, then interest in your business will snowball over time. Once you have a couple of good reviews, you’ll be on a roll.
Build your customer list
You have managed to acquire one happy customer – congratulations! Now it’s time to grow. Work out how many customers you can realistically manage per week; you don’t want to take on too many, as it’s important to be reliable and stick to your agreed deadlines.
If you reach capacity by yourself, you could perhaps look into taking on an assistant to grow your business. Another option is to try reaching out to local commercial clients for ongoing contracts.
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5 tips for finding clients for your ironing business
- Share your business on social media. Join any local community pages on Facebook (which can be a fab tool for connecting with those in your neighbourhood) and post about your ironing service.
- Try flyering or pinning leaflets to any local pinboards. They can usually be found in supermarkets, churches or social clubs, and coffee shops (Costa Coffee and The Co-op usually have community notice boards with local groups and clubs). The more eye-catching the better! You can use a free site such as Canva to design your flyers for free.
- Let your friends and family know about your new venture. You might know people that are interested in your services within your existing circle
- Try ordering business cards with your details to hand out, or if you want to stick to minimal start up costs, print out some thank you slips to send along with your clients ironing, along with a couple of spares for your customers to share.
- Word of mouth is extremely important in building a service business such as ironing; excellent customer service is vital!
Ironing Business Pricing & Rates
Ironing rates can range, depending on how quickly a person can work, the type of items being ironed, and whether rates are being calculated by weight or by item.
According to Checkatrade.com, on average you can expect to charge between £12 – £18 an hour for ironing services.
You could try charging slightly more for shirts (either raising your price per item, or hourly rate for shirts). If you are ironing larger items or those that require a significant amount of care, you may be able to charge even more, such as suits, dresses for special occasions, or even bed linen.
If you decide to charge per kilo (the average rate per kilo is £5.50), then hanging scales might be a worthwhile investment.
Make sure to set an agreed minimum order charge, too (e.g. minimum order £20, for example) to ensure your time is being compensated fairly.
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Practicalities to consider before starting your Ironing Business
Think about your chosen form of communication; will you be texting your clients, or would you prefer to email? It may be worth setting up a separate email account for your business.
Before you start, consider your storage space. Do you have a spare room, or utility room? Is there space for a clothes rail, or perhaps any wardrobe space you could clear out to hang the freshly ironed garments? Ensure you have enough hangers too! You can buy them, or ask around at local stores as they may have some spares.
Agree on realistic turnaround times that will suit both you and your clients, and that you can stick to. Don’t promise a 24 hour turnaround if it’s not doable – stick to a reasonable time frames.
Will you be delivering the ironing, or will your service be collection only? You could charge an additional fee to deliver if you have the means and the time to do so.
If you are hoping to run a business as opposed to ironing for friends and family, it’s worth looking into business insurance too. The peace of mind you will have knowing you are covered if there are any mishaps or mistakes will be invaluable.
Build up your clients one at a time, as this will make it easier to know when you are approaching your capacity. Taking on 10 clients in your first week sounds amazing until you realise the workload is unmanageable!
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Final Thoughts: How to start an Ironing Business from Home
Hopefully this guide helps you to take the plunge and get started with your ironing business!
It will be a learning curve, but if you enjoy ironing, and like work you can crack on with at home while listening to a podcast, or with the TV on in the background, perhaps this side hustle is for you.
If you have any further tips for those looking to start their own home based ironing services, drop them in the comments!