New app disrupts laundromat model with independent contractors

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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The Happy Hamper app provides on-demand “home-to-home” laundry services.

The recently launched app applies the Uber model to laundry. It connects consumers needing laundry services to a team of washers consisting of independent contractors. Customers can request wash-dry-fold services on-demand, and then choose to drop off or pick up laundry items themselves, or can have items picked up and delivered to them for an extra fee.

CPG detergent brand Tide has been offering out-of-home dry cleaning and wash and fold services for about a decade. Tide introduced Tide Cleaners, an omnichannel, on-demand laundry and dry cleaning service, at more than 1,000 locations in hundreds of cities nationwide in 2019. While Tide Cleaners customers can place orders via an app and drop off and pick up their laundry at 24/7 urban drop-boxes, cleaning services are mostly provided via a network of standalone 24/7 stores.

[Read More: If it’s got to be clean, it’s got to be Tide–on demand and across channels]

Happy Hamper allows contractors to select the days and hours they are able to work, and how many loads of laundry per day they are able to complete. According to Happy Hamper, over 200 people applied for the washer position in the first 10 days after the position was announced.

Happy Hamper does not charge a membership fee, or a minimum. The app is designed to allow anyone to have access to affordable laundry services, at any time. The basic charge for a load of laundry is $8.99. In addition to pickup and delivery, same-day service is available for an extra charge, if desired. The company estimates the average cost for washing a load of laundry at a laundromat as $20, or $2 per pound for a typical 10-pound load.

The app allows users to customize their laundry preferences, including selecting a default hypo-allergenic scent-free detergent, providing their own detergent, or han- dry services if there are items the customer does not want to be put through the dryer.

Currently, the washer side of the app tracks all orders, coming and going, and delivers push notifications to customers to let them know the status of their laundry. Happy Hamper is continuing to invest funds into improving the app and adding an array of customization options.

"When my mom (Happy Hamper co-creator Kim Marinoff) was a new mother she had nothing. She was selling her used furniture and baseball card collections to get by," said Jackson Marinoff, co-creator of Happy Hamper. "Happy Hamper can empower so many new moms who aren't sure if they are going to make ends meet and allow them to stay at home with their children as an alternative to day care."