MANILA, PHILIPPINES — After successfully securing additional funds from both local and foreign investors in 2021, fully integrated laundry service provider WeClean is ready to take on the challenge of expanding its laundromat business across the Philippines and nearby Southeast Asian countries.
“The funding we secured last year has really fueled us to aggressively expand our operations to open and manage 500 laundromats not just in nearby provinces but across the whole of the Philippines in the next three years. It is a massive goal for us to be able to stay true to our plans and move forward with our plans for the year,” shared Ignacio Phelan, Chief Operating Officer, WeClean.
On Overcoming the Effects of the Pandemic
The team behind WeClean claims that the COVID-19 pandemic, though a challenge, actually also presented them with opportunities. “Sales were greatly affected but we were also able to buy competitors at very low costs. At the beginning of the pandemic, we closed some branches that were losing money and reallocated the machines to better performing ones. However, last year showed us great promise as the demand for laundry businesses grew as it was an essential service most Filipinos need,” added Phelan.
In its mission to expand, WeClean identified strategically located existing brick and mortar businesses whose owners were looking for a change. “The way we secure and close deals to purchase small players in the laundromat industry is by talking to strategically located businesses who want to change their core business or retire from running their operations,” says Alfonso Bigeriego Patiño, Chief Executive Officer, WeClean.
WeClean also prides itself in being efficient and decisive. “At WeClean, we make decisions quickly as making them an offer within 24 hours of receiving their financial reports. This shows them that we mean serious business,” added Patiño.
On Expanding Across the Country and Region
The company manages and operates 63 branches to date and plans to expand outside of Metro Manila with branches in nearby provinces such as Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and even as far as Palawan. “We look at residential areas with a lot of traffic such as those within distance from high-rise condominiums or barangays where people cannot afford to have washing machines at home. These nearby provinces are key to our business growth plan. And in a few months after successfully opening in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Palawan, we are eyeing to open our first branches in other SEA countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia,” Patiño added.
While plans have not been set on stone yet, WeClean is optimistic that their growth plan will take them to places where the laundry business is in demand. The team is also simultaneously working on the launch of the WeClean Mobile App.
Enhancing Customer Experience
On April 1, WeClean will be officially making available its mobile application aiming to make customer experience better, more convenient, and accessible to more Filipinos in Metro Manila. The app is equipped with features such as the ability to book a pickup and delivery service as well as pre-book a laundry branch drop-off with certain customer specifications such as the type of clothing, type of fold, type of wash/dry, how much soap or fabric conditioner to be used, etc.
“This platform will up the notch when it comes to listening to and providing our customers what they really need – time-saving accessible laundry services at the tip of their fingers. We want to offer direct communication at a time when laundry has really become part and parcel of everyday life,” mused Phelan.
Available on the AppStore and Google Play, the WeClean App will surely help more consumers find laundry services convenient even during their busiest days. “With our aim to bring our laundry shops closer to Filipinos, we are hoping that we will be able to help our customers realize the true benefit of trusting a reliable laundromat like ours. And as we launch our mobile app, we are eyeing to be able to have between 25,000 to 30,000 downloads in Metro Manila alone by year-end,” closed Phelan.