What Permits Do I Need to Open a Laundromat?

What Permits Do I Need to Open a Laundromat?

6 min read

Opening a laundromat requires various permits, crucial for different aspects of the business. These include a Business license, Fire department permit, Health permit, Water pollution control permit, Sign permit, and Sales tax permit. Additionally, the laws and requirements vary across cities like Buffalo, Hartford, and New York City. This article simplifies these complex requirements to guide you in launching your laundry business.

Starting a laundromat can be a promising and profitable endeavor. But before you begin loading up the washing machines, there are legal requirements and permits that need to be addressed, including specific city regulations and definitions.

The permits you need depend on where you live. Your local government sets the rules. Let us look at some of these permits.

The Key Permits You Will Need

Business License (Including Specific City Licenses)

This general permit allows you to operate in your chosen jurisdiction. In cities like Buffalo, specific regulations define clothes cleaning establishments and the need for licenses, bonds, and inspection processes, including application requirements (City of Buffalo, n.d.). In New York City, new rules are in place for Retail Laundry, Industrial Laundry, and Industrial Laundry Delivery licenses (New York City Department of Consumer Affairs, 2017).

Fire Department Permit

Compliance with fire safety standards is crucial. This permit ensures that your equipment and premises meet the necessary codes.

Health Permit

Laundromats must adhere to specific sanitation standards. This permit ensures that your establishment complies with health regulations, including cleanliness and sanitary conditions, as outlined in city-specific guidelines (City of Buffalo, n.d.; Hartford, CT Government, n.d.).

Water Pollution Control Permit

If your laundromat discharges wastewater, this permit ensures that you adhere to regulations governing sewer connections.

Sign Permit

Planning to install a sign to attract customers? You will need a sign permit in compliance with local zoning laws.

Sales Tax Permit

Offering additional services or products means you’ll need to collect sales tax. This permit is essential for legal compliance.

Other Considerations

  • Zoning Permits: It’s essential to confirm your location complies with local zoning laws, much like making sure your home is built on the right plot of land. Navigating the zoning maze ensures your laundromat operates in the appropriate area, whether it’s a bustling commercial district or a cozy neighborhood spot.
  • Federal and State Tax Identification Numbers: These are the building blocks for your business’s fiscal responsibilities, akin to personal social security numbers but for your business. They are required for tax purposes and help the government keep track of your financial activities, making tax season a smoother process.
  • Sewer Connection Fees: Running a laundromat involves more than just washing and drying clothes; you need to consider the water flowing in and out. Sewer connection fees may apply depending on local regulations, much like needing a ticket to board a train, to ensure proper wastewater management.
  • Commercial Laundry Requirements: Specific to laundromat operations, these requirements are like the unique set of rules you’d find in a specialty cooking recipe. They govern everything from the type of washers and dryers you use to safety standards, ensuring your customers’ garments are treated with care and your equipment is up to par.
  • Trademark Registration: Imagine your business’s unique identity as a one-of-a-kind garment that you’ve designed. Trademark registration protects this distinctiveness, making sure no one else can wear your special outfit. It safeguards your brand name, logo, and other unique identifiers from potential infringement.
  • Employee Regulations: Treating employees well isn’t just about ethics; it’s about legal responsibility too. Think of your employees as cherished garments in your wardrobe; each one is unique and requires specific care. Employee regulations ensure that they are treated fairly, receive proper wages, and work in safe conditions, weaving a fabric of trust and integrity in your laundromat business.

Finding Permit Information for Your Specific City or State

When looking to establish or maintain a self-service laundry or clothes-cleaning establishment, the licensing and permit requirements can vary widely depending on your specific city or state. Here’s how to find the necessary information for your location:

  1. Local Government Websites: Most cities and municipalities have dedicated sections on their websites for business permits and licensing. Searching for “laundry licensing” along with your city’s name in a search engine should direct you to the right page. Examples include the licensing pages for Buffalo, NY and Hartford, CT.
  2. State Regulatory Agencies: Many states have regulatory bodies that oversee various business operations, including laundry services. You can find information on state-level requirements by visiting the official website of your state’s Department of Consumer Affairs or equivalent.
  3. Industry Associations: Associations related to the laundry and cleaning industry often provide resources and guides on licensing requirements.
  4. Contact Local Authorities Directly: If online resources are unclear or unavailable, contacting your local permit and inspection services department, or the city clerk’s office, can provide direct assistance tailored to your location.
  5. Legal and Professional Assistance: Consulting with a local attorney or professional who specializes in business licensing can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific situation, ensuring that all local laws and regulations are met.

Laundromat Permit Checklist

Click here to download

Feel free to download and print this table as a handy checklist as you navigate the process of starting your laundromat business. Make sure to consult with local authorities or professionals in your area to ensure that you meet all the necessary requirements specific to your location. Remember, complying with all licensing and permit requirements is essential to operating a lawful laundry business in your city or state. Always verify the information with official government sources, as regulations may change over time.

Wrapping Up

Opening a laundromat is an exciting venture, filled with opportunities and challenges. From obtaining the necessary permits to aligning with local regulations, this guide aims to equip you with the knowledge to embark on this journey with confidence. Stay informed, comply with all legal requirements, and watch your laundry business thrive.


Do I need a special permit to use commercial dryers in my laundromat?
Yes, commercial dryers must meet specific regulations, and you may need special permits depending on local laws.
Do you need a dry cleaning or laundromat license for your business?
Yes, if you are planning to open a dry cleaning or laundromat business, obtaining the necessary licenses and permits is a crucial step.

What permits do I need to open a coin laundry?
The permits needed to open a coin laundry are the same as those mentioned above; please refer to the content above for detailed information.

What type of general liability insurance is best for a laundromat?
It varies; consult an insurance agent experienced in the laundromat business to find the right coverage for you.

Can I operate a laundromat from a residential zone?
Generally, no. You must check zoning laws to ensure you can legally operate a laundromat in your chosen location.

How do I obtain an identification number for my laundromat?
You can apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) through the IRS website.

Do I need to renew my laundromat license and permits regularly?
Yes, some licenses and permits require regular renewal. Stay up-to-date with local regulations to ensure compliance.


  • City of Buffalo. (n.d.). License applications & code requirements. Retrieved from buffalony.gov
  • Hartford, CT Government. (n.d.). Apply for laundromat license. Retrieved from hartfordct.gov
  • New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. (2017). New rules for New York City laundry operators. Retrieved from easternfunding.com
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