Dec 08 2001
Are you considering starting a diaper service business of your own?
Not sure where to begin? If you are in the initial stages of business research, RDIA offers below a basic outline of considerations you should make before starting a diaper service. By answering these questions, you will be better informed as to the feasibility of operating a diaper service in your area.
Basic diaper service start up considerations include:
- Potential Market.
New diaper services can see up to 1% penetration after the first couple years. The longer a diaper service is in business and generating awareness, the better the penetration.• Determine the number of diaper age children (children 0 to 2.5) in the area you will serve. Current population x 4.5% gives you a rough number.• Determine how many children in your area use cloth diapers. Every market varies. We encourage you to contact local retailers or other diaper services to better understand your market and what the potential may be.
• Determine what percentage of cloth diaper users you think will use your service.
For example, if your population is 100,000 then there are approximately 4,500 diaper age children. New diaper services have seen up to 1% market penetration after the first couple of years. The longer a diaper service is in business and generating awareness, the better the penetration.
- Laundering of diapers.
Will you set up a laundry yourself or will you contract it through a professional linen service? It is imperative that the diapers be sanitized so they are safe for reuse. Each soiled diaper handled must be treated as if it were infectious, and you need to confirm your processing adequately addresses this. Those handling the soiled diapers need to be adequately protected as well. If you opt to set up a laundry facility, contact your local industrial soap supplier for more information and for help in determining a professional processing formula.
You will need to determine what type of diaper you will offer in your diaper service. On the RDIA website, manufacturers have noted in the directory whether they supply diaper services.• Go to advanced search in the RDIA member directory
• Choose “Manufacturer supplying diaper services” “Is” “Y” then search
• You will get a list of manufacturers who supply cloth diapers in bulk.Will you offer products beyond diapers, such as hampers/wet bags, diaper covers, liners, wipes? Will you sell these or rent them?
What types of vehicles will you use? Where will you locate your facility? How big of an area will you serve – all these are important considerations to your profitability.
- Location of facility.
Where will you operate? How central is that facility to your proposed service area?
- Advertising & Marketing.
How will customers know you are in business? Diaper services used to be very common but most of the younger generation are unaware of this service – how will you introduce it to them?
What are your costs? How much do you need to live? Is this a side job you will do on the weekends or a full time job?
In 2009 The National Association of Diaper Services (NADS) joined with the Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA). At this point, the RDIA doesn’t have any specific recommendations or standards for those planning to start diaper services, however we hope to develop something in the near future.
Business Mentors & Guides
You might also be interested in contacting SCORE for small business mentors, SBA’s Small Business Development Centers, or any economic development agencies in your area. Many offer free or low cost classes on starting a business. Remember that operating a diaper service involves more that just laundering and delivering diapers.
There are many RDIA member diaper services around the U.S. and Canada. Search for them in the RDIA member listing or on the Diaper Service Locater (formerly at diapernet.org, coming soon to RDIA), and contact them for more information about running a diaper service. Additionally, you might find the RDIA website to be helpful for additional information relevant to starting a diaper service.
How to Start a Diaper Service Kit
The How To Start a Diaper Service Kit is available for purchase by potential diaper service owners. The kit contains valuable information collected by RDIA members, from those who have been in business for several generations in densely populated areas to those who operate small services in rural areas. Through their combined efforts RDIA is pleased to be compiling this how-to guide.
Join the Real Diaper Industry Association
When you do start your diaper service, please join your colleagues as a member of the Real Diaper Industry Association, a cloth diaper industry-wide trade association. Diaper services are actively working on several exciting projects and working to improve business conditions for the whole industry.
When you join RDIA, your diaper service will be listed on the Diaper Service Locater. This alone should more than pay for your dues.