How this mobile laundry service grew tenfold over the past two years
At a glance
With the funds from a Prospa line of credit, Susan was able to:
- Pay contractors on time when cash flow dipped
- Place bigger supply orders to service more business clients
- Invest in marketing to grow the business
Ten years ago Susan Toft had just left a busy government job and the thought of trying to juggle motherhood with full-time office work was too daunting. “I wanted to start something where I could work from home and have flexibility around my son,” she says. “I also knew from being a working mum that there were clothes piled on the bed every day that would never be washed, ironed or put away. So I knew there would be other mums or busy people out there like me who could do with a mobile laundry service.”
Enter The Laundry Lady.
Originally kicking off on the Gold Coast in Queensland as a solopreneur, Susan had lofty ambitions for the business. “I started out servicing my local area. I’d collect laundry and ironing, do it at home then deliver it back to the client,” she says. “But I always had the vision that it could scale and offer the same kind of opportunity to other people like me who are looking for flexible work from home.”
Susan grew the business to eight contractors and ran it as a side hustle while continuing to work full time.
But when the pandemic hit, Susan lost her job and this gave her the motivation to go full time with The Laundry Lady. “It was a great opportunity for us because we are an essential service,” she explains.
In the past two years The Laundry Lady has grown from eight to 80 contractors and now services six states/territories.
Challenges getting a business credit card
One of the main challenges Susan faced was not being able to get a credit card for the business. Although the business had been operating since 2012, it had only been restructured into a company entity a year ago. So banks – even her own – refused to give her a company credit card.
That’s when Susan turned to Prospa after doing a Google search and was thrilled with the fast online application for a line of credit. “Within about three days, we were approved and had money in our account,” she says. “The ease of access was why we wanted a line of credit over a loan so we can access funds when we need them.”
While the banks were “not friendly” to her, Susan was impressed with Prospa’s phone support. “When you’re running a business and trying to get access to money quickly, that’s what you need,” she says.
The quick access to funds helped Susan with cash flow issues. Last December the company’s revenue dipped when it lost some contractors, but the access to funds from the line of credit helped carry the business into the new year. It also ensures that contractors can be paid on time each week even if the business has had a big expenditure and may be a little short. “I can draw on the line of credit, pay my contractors, then put the money back the following week if I need to,” says Susan.
Prospa’s line of credit has also been instrumental in helping The Laundry Lady to continue to grow and scale. As the company adds contractors and takes on more work from small businesses, such as beauty salons, it needs to place larger orders to China for its supplies and branded laundry bags. “Our order keeps getting bigger,” says Susan. “Finding tens of thousands of dollars upfront when you’re a week-to-week business is complicated, so the line of credit helps with that and has opened the door for us to expand.”
To continue growing the business, Susan needs to invest in a customised digital marketing system at a cost of around $80,000. While the government is giving her a grant of $15,000, she won’t receive it until the project is complete. “The line of credit is helping us to manage our cash flow and spread out payments,” she says.
“Prospa’s helped us through tough times as well as the exciting times ahead for our business as we scale.”
A focus on work life balance
One of the main drivers for Susan is that she loves providing income and flexibility to her contractors, who hail from all walks of life. The majority are stay-at-home mums, some husband-and-wife teams, and former corporate employees. “We’re very family-focused,” she says.
With such fast growth in just two years, Susan is hungry for The Laundry Lady to become a household name. She’s aiming for a national business with 500 contractors within the next couple of years and eventually to expand internationally.
She’s thrilled to have Prospa as a reliable partner in her journey. “Prospa’s helped us through tough times as well as the exciting times ahead for our business as we scale,” says Susan.
The Laundry Lady’s success is proof that it’s never too late to start doing something you love or to revive a business. “Have faith in yourself,” says Susan. “Do the research, ask the questions and take the leap.”
Need funds to take advantage of a growth opportunity? Ask Prospa about a funding solution that keeps your small business moving.
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