MakovskyThursday, July 10, 2014
My mother didn’t get to use a calculator when she went to school. My grandfather didn’t have air conditioning most of his life. My great grandmother didn’t see a car until she was twenty years old.
Today, I just pressed a button on my iPhone and someone picked up my laundry.
It’s pretty much the best thing ever and it’s made possible by a new startup called FlyCleaners.
You set up an account, plug in your address and phone number, push a button and someone comes and picks up your dirty clothes. When it’s done, the app lets you know, then you push the button again and the app gives you a time (usually drop-off within an hour.) All you need to do is confirm and it shows up at your door. They even give you a cool compartmented bag on the first order to separate laundry from dry cleaning and even stuff you want drip dried on a hanger.
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Currently, FlyCleaners is only available in a handful of New York zip codes. If you live in Williamsburg, you’ve probably seen their funny blue trucks. It seems like business is really picking up, because they’re zipping around the hood all day. After all, this company is a huge convenience to people like me.
Like most people in NYC, my apartment does not have a washer. My choices are either schlep my laundry somewhere to do it myself, which takes hours of my time, detergent and quarters. Or, I can pay a little more to have someone else to do it for me. When I consider my laundry in an economic sense, I see the chore as an opportunity cost. I valuable my spare time and I like to spend it doing things other than folding and worrying about if some stranger is going to take my stuff out of the machine if I leave it in there for five minutes too long. Hence this app/service is something I’m pretty excited about.
This recent article points out the idea of on-demand laundry isn’t entirely new and several other startups are trying or have tried the same thing. However, there is clear leader in this space yet. I believe the success of a business like this hinges on operations and scaling up while maintaining a great customer experience. Furthermore, a steady stream of new customers acquired with clever growth hacks and partnerships will be crucial.
So, first came food delivery with Seamless, then came taxis with Uber. I predict the next industry to be shaken by disruption will be laundry/dry cleaning. Like the companies that came before them, FlyCleaners doesn’t provide a new service, they just make it more convenient and at our finger tips. People seem to like that.