Big city laundromats are about as ubiquitous as overpriced drugstores––and equally annoying to night owls who would rather run errands well after dark. That’s what makes rare finds like New York City’s DashLocker so appealing. The 24-hour laundry service (dubbed the “Automat” by its founder) has developed a card-swipe access plan that lets city-dwellers drop off their laundry for cleaning any time of the day.
It’s the same simple mechanism 24-hour ATMs use to give consumers after-hours access.
The company was launched in June by former SAC Capital banker Robert Hennessy, who told the Huffington Post his choice to ditch finance for the laundry business was simple: “You make money in your sleep.”
Here’s how it works:
DashLocker offers a full range of services––from basic wash-and-fold to dry cleaning and shoe shines–– but don’t expect to see any washing machines or dry cleaning tools on-site.
When customers drop off their goods, they use a special bag supplied by the company. It has a unique bar code that is eventually scanned and used to match the laundry up with its owner later. Each night at 10 p.m., the day’s drop-offs are collected by trucks that cart them out to cleaning sites around the city, returning them by 10 p.m. the following evening. Customers can opt to be alerted by text message when their bag arrives.
Using special software created by San Francisco-based LaundryLocker, DashLocker photographs and catalogues every dry cleaning item, ensuring customers get exactly what they drop off. The company plans to let customers track their clothes online soon, where they can also make notes about stains or tears.
Just be prepared to pay a bit extra for the convenience. Basic wash-and-fold sets back customers $1.25 per pound, with a 12-pound minimum ($15). A press-and-clean for shirts goes for $2.25 and dry cleaning starts around $6 for blouses (see a full list of prices here). Though it’s worth noting the service uses eco-friendly cleaning products at all its laundry sites.
DashLocker’s newest location is open at 1733 First Ave., at East 90th Street.