Meet ‘IIT Laundrywala’ Arunabh Sinha, Who Made Rs 100 Crore Laundry Business
Dobbys have been doing this for generations and usually make just enough to support them.
Looking at this outlook, it is almost impossible to think of the possibility of turning laundry into a multi-crore business.
This is what Arunabh Sinha, founder of UClean, did.
he meets Arunabh Sinha
Sinha, an alumnus of IIT Bombay, started UClean in Delhi in October 2016 and today it is India’s largest laundromat chain with a presence in more than 100 cities.
Sinha was born in Jamshedpur into an average lower-middle-class family to a teacher father and a housewife mother. He obtained his master’s degree in Metallurgy and Materials Science from IIT Bombay.
He started his career working in the office of a US based company in Pune as an Analytical Partner in the year 2008.
He later joined a non-profit organization that was working with farmers at a grassroots level and associating them with various brands.
From IIT Bombay to startup
It was during these days that Sinha took his first start-up lessons and in 2011 founded Franglobal, a business consulting firm dedicated to helping foreign brands in India.
After selling his business to Franchise India, Sinha ventured into the hospitality sector in 2015 and was appointed by Treebo Hotels as Director, North India.
While working there, Sinha noticed that one of the biggest complaints from the guests was about their dirty clothes, stains on their bedding, and other issues with their laundry.
When he looked deeply into the problems, Sinha realized that the large sector was disorganized and that there were no professional players in the industry.
“Almost 60 per cent of the complaints we were getting were about laundry. Since we were expanding, I was looking for vendors who could provide the service for us all over India and I couldn’t find any. That’s when I realized there was an opportunity in the market and I quit my job” Indiatimes.
How UClean has grown
After doing some market and product research, Sinha started UClean in Delhi NCR in January 2017.
“In the beginning, we were focused on building the business, understanding the challenges, and finding solutions. We also created our own platform and back-end software. By mid-2017, I was convinced that this was a business that could be scaled through a franchise model,” Sinha said.
By the end of 2017, UClean had started operating franchises in Hyderabad and Pune, which has now grown to over 350 stores in 104 cities across the country. UClean has already expanded to Bangladesh and Nepal and is set to make its presence in a few other countries in Africa and the Middle East.
“We have been working with small entrepreneurs and helping them start up their UClean stores. We hire, train and supply the workforce for these franchises. The machinery and detergents used are also purchased through us so that there is a uniform standard and practice in every UClean franchise,” Sinha said.
The pandemic helped us grow
UClean earns its revenue from monthly franchise and royalty fees, which are 7 percent of what franchisees earn.
The pandemic years have been a difficult time for many startups and a large number of them have gone out of business, and they have been a blessing in disguise for UClean.
“Despite these challenging times, and because of the nature of our business, we have added more perks during COVID-19 than we lost. A world that has become more health and hygiene conscious has also helped us grow,” he said.
According to him, one of the biggest features that differentiates UClean is laundry by the kilo.
“Our core offering is laundry by the kilo – where if you place an order through our website, app or call center, our representative from our nearest franchise branch will arrive at your doorstep, weigh the clothes on a digital scale and charge per kilogram. The washed clothes will be delivered,” he added. to the customer within 24 hours.
Addressing water waste and pollution
Commercial washing has always been a water-intensive business and has been accused of dumping large amounts of chemicals into water bodies and polluting the environment.
Sinha said that by using the best industrial washing machines in the world, UClean has been able to reduce water consumption and by using enzyme-based detergents they cause no environmental harm.
“A household washing machine uses an average of 14 liters of water to clean a kilogram of clothes, and in our case we use about 6 liters for the same amount. We use an internally developed enzyme-based detergent that hydrolyzes and dissolves in the water inside. Three hours.. The water or the environment is not polluted. “.
In addition, UClean said all stores will go plastic-free by the end of March 2023. Packaging has moved to corn-based packaging, and plastic baskets have been replaced with metal baskets.
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