Loyola University Chicago

Quinlan School of Business

"Green" clothes-cleaning service

Entrepreneurial goal: Jesse Reed, a U.S. postal worker, would like to start a pick-up and drop-off “green” clothes-cleaning service that doesn’t use harsh dry-cleaning chemicals. He has found a facility that will do the cleaning, but he needs a clear business plan to get started.

Key challenges: Reed has no cleaning service experience and the Chicago area is home to thousands of cleaning services, though few are environmentally friendly.

Quinlan team’s business plan:

  • Differentiation is the key in a crowded market. Emphasize the “green” aspect of the business (call it Green-Collar Cleaners) as well as the convenience of pick-up and delivery service.
  • Target customers in high-density downtown condo buildings and partner with high-end groceries and health clubs to promote the brand.
  • With no storefront, a strong website is important.
  • The financial plan shows the business breaking even after 15 months.

“Our team had to go through the due diligence and gather all the information to put the plan together,” says team leader Renée Burdulis (MBA '12). “We also learned to navigate all the relationships you have to create and maintain as a consultant.”

Client’s response: “Phenomenal,” says Reed. “It was much more than I expected.” And while he appreciated the team’s respect for his vision, he is also grateful that they forced him to “do some reality checks.” 

What’s next: Along with using some personal savings, Reed will work to secure about $80,000 in financing to pay for a van, a computer, and other supplies.

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