With 600+ stores in 198 cities, Tumbledry is changing India’s laundry market
Started in 2019, bootstrapped startup Tumbledry aims to establish a pan-India laundry services network, particularly in Tier II and III towns. The company has 600+ franchise-owned stores and plans to go international soon.
Gaurav Nigam—while travelling for work that included long stays—often required reliable laundry service. However, a major inconvenience for him was a lack of consistency and standardisation across different Indian cities.
While this was the case back home, he noticed this issue was less prevalent abroad. He tells YourStory, “I couldn't find any player in India who provided a consistent service nationwide. Either premium players were catering to a specific market or affordable options lacked a presence in multiple cities.”
This gap presented a significant opportunity, prompting Nigam and co-founder Navin Chawla to conduct thorough research and establishin 2019.
According to RedSeer Consulting, the Indian laundry service market has experienced substantial growth over the past decade, projected to reach $15 billion by 2025.
Tumbledry's journey started with the co-founders leveraging their savings and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) of around Rs 2.5 crore, which they had accumulated during their tenure in the consumer durables and technology sector.
Since 2019, Noida-headquartered Tumbledry has made a mark in the laundry services sector by opening 604 stores across 198 cities in three years. It aims to establish a robust network throughout India, particularly in Tier II and III towns, and build a hyper-local network.
The company operates a franchise model, where it only owns one store in Noida. According to Nigam, this model has enabled Tumbledry to expand its reach to areas where the demand for quality laundry and dry cleaning services is on the rise.
“In India, "dhobis" (washermen) are a common sight who collect and deliver laundry to homes,” says Nigam. However, this unorganised service often presents challenges, including longer turnaround times and a lack of reliability for non-locals. Nigam believes Tumbledry effectively addresses these challenges.
While it faces stiff competition from players like Fabrico and Fabricspa, Tumbledry’s extensive reach into remote parts of India sets it apart.
Besides metros and Tier I cities, Tumbledry has established a foothold in smaller towns like Kashipur, Barpeta, Sonari, Silvassa, Shimla, Giridih, Bokaro, Gulbarga, Hubli, Kozhikode, Kollam, Barmati, Erode, Jaunpur, and Sodepur.
The company is opening 35 to 40 new stores each month, and this number is expected to rise to 50 stores per month, the co-founder says.
Operating on a franchise-based model, Tumbledry offers aspiring entrepreneurs turnkey solutions for a fee of Rs 25 lakh, including location search for the store, interior, furniture, etc., along with subsequent royalty fees amounting to 7.5% of the store's revenue.
Nigam says that every Tumbledry franchise operationally breaks even within three to four months of operations. Having reached a company-wide breakeven in January 2022, the company generated a revenue of more than Rs 16 crore in FY22 as per RoC fillings.
Although the co-founders acknowledge the challenge of maintaining uniformity in the laundry and dry cleaning sector, the company has set up state-of-the-art machines, standardised chemicals, packing materials, and other equipment to reduce manual intervention. Nonetheless, certain tasks, including stain removal and ironing, still require manual handling,
The company has also implemented standard operating procedures (SOPs), comprehensive training, and regular assessments to ensure consistent quality.
Meanwhile, it has established a free-of-cost programme—Tumbledry Technical Training Academy—which provides a 15-day training course covering various aspects of laundry and dry cleaning operations.
“Here, we train professionals and make them undergo practical assessments on machine operations, stain and spot cleaning, handwashing techniques, steam ironing, and garment packaging to ensure their competency before they are hired in franchise stores,” the co-founder says.
To enhance the customer experience, Nigam says the company launched a customer app that allows individuals to check bills, delivery dates, and order statuses.
Additionally, it introduced a fully automated WhatsApp chatbot into its daily business communication—which seamlessly integrates with the company’s store CRM, call centre modules, runner apps, and customer apps.
With this, customers can access price lists, schedule pickups, track orders, make online payments, contact stores, and even reschedule or cancel orders with ease—resulting in uniform quality and service levels across all its stores.
Moreover, the company has implemented a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) programme for its franchises, incentivising stores with higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS). According to Nigam, stores with consistently low NPS scores face penalties and even termination.
The road ahead
Tumbledry wants to launch 2,000 stores by 2026 to address the laundry and dry cleaning needs of half a billion urban Indians. It aims to have one Tumbledry store within every 3 km radius, covering Tier II, II, and III cities.
Furthermore, it is considering venturing into the home and car cleaning services. It is also planning to explore international markets like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, etc.
Edited by Suman Singh