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New urban services become trendy in Ho Chi Minh City

New urban services become trendy in Ho Chi Minh City

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 16:58 GMT+7

In the past two years or so, several new handy services have been offered in major cities in Vietnam, including Ho Chi Minh City, bringing convenience to local residents. Such services as having laundry done at the cleaners or having one’s bikes washed automatically have quickly gained appeal not only for their novelty but also for their handiness, user-friendliness and benefits. On a recent weekend, the Cong Cong cleaner's on Le Quang Dinh Street in Binh Thanh District was packed with clients. More than 10 neatly arranged washing machines and dryers were seen operating at full capacity. Waiting clients were sitting nearby, surfing the Internet on their digital devices or reading books provided by the cleaner’s owner over cups of coffee. Lam, one of the patrons, brings his dirty laundry to the cleaner’s every weekend and works on his laptop while waiting for his laundry to be washed. The vision of his dirty wash muddled with others at a conventional cleaning shop had put him off. “Most stains on my shirt collars stayed just as they were before the wash. My clothing items often went missing,” Lam said. Such “chartered” cleaners as Cong Cong have put an end to such nuisances. Clients have a washing machine of their own for around one hour. They sort out their laundry by themselves and choose their own detergents and fabric softeners that suit their own needs. According to Minh Hien, a representative of the Cong Cong shop, the model, which is not new in other countries, has been heartily embraced in Vietnam. Compared to conventional shops, the fledgling model offers competitive prices at VND24,000 (US$1.1) for seven kilograms of laundry, plus another VND34,000 ($1.6) for drying.   That means clients pay less than VND10,000 ($0.4) to get one kilogram of laundry washed and dried. “Above all, the greatest conveniences are clients’ absolute control over their wash and their short waiting time instead of waiting for a whole day to pick up their clean clothes at conventional cleaners,” Hien stressed. In the past two years or so, a clutch of such laundry shops have cropped up in Ho Chi Minh City. They include Your Wash in District 10; My Wash and Mr. Wash in Binh Thanh District; Giat Xanh in District 3; and the Cosmo and Smart chains in several districts, to name a few. District 10 alone boasts over 10 such shops, while streets including Hoang Hoa Tham, C1 and Binh Gia in Tan Binh District are also lined with around six stores. The Your Wash shop, located in Hoa Hung Street in District 10, is equipped with almost 20 washing and drying machines which operate non-stop. Three staffers are tasked with helping customers sort out their laundry and providing counseling on how to do a proper wash. “Doing separate washes helps prevent loss of and damage to clothes, and eliminates risks of contracting contagious illnesses from other clients’ dirty laundry,” Dung, owner of the Your Wash shop, pointed out. The My Wash shop, on Nguyen Huu Canh Street in Binh Thanh District, also offers home delivery of clean laundry so that clothes come back looking fresh and spotless on their clients’ doorsteps. The additional service has helped expand the shop’s clientele, as customers of conventional laundry stores are typically limited to those in their neighborhood. Automatic vehicle washing services Automatic and “smart” vehicle washing shops have also mushroomed in recent years. The shops not only make their customers’ bikes and cars immaculate but also offer other conveniences to their delight. On an afternoon in late May, Long had his dust-covered bike washed at Viet Wash shop on Le Van Sy Street in District 3.  He was shown to an air-conditioned room to wait for his bike to be rinsed, where he was treated to a free foot massage service. Long could see through a glass door how his bike was being cleaned. He then returned home with his dirt-free bike and contentment that a wash worth a mere VND20,000 ($0.9) has that much to offer. Phan Bao Lam, general director of the Viet Wash chain, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that his company has launched 12 such shops across Ho Chi Minh City after becoming operational seven months ago. Two or three shops are expected to be opened every month from now to the end of the year. Apart from free Wi-Fi, the shops take down records of their clients’ bikes and cars. Staffers will provide their clients with such details as covered mileage and when to give their vehicles an oil change and maintenance services, Lam added.   Such automated vehicle washing shops pride themselves on prompt service, with a wash taking merely five minutes. Each shop, with only one or two attendants and armed with locally-designed automated washing systems, can offer services to around 100 bikes and cars each day. Start-up businesses An expert in store chains and franchises affirmed that such models as “chartered” cleaning and automated vehicle washing services are a “breeding ground” for start-up businesses which do not need large capital. General director Lam said that around 200 clients across the country now want to be a franchise of his chain. His company is expected to ink deals with its first franchise partners next month. Franchise costs are estimated to vary between VND700 million ($32,066) and VND1 billion ($45,809), including machinery, software, installation and personnel training fees. “Franchising requires thorough surveys and close consideration, as poor performance of a franchise will mar our company’s reputation,” Lam noted. Likewise, Nguyen Truong Tuyen, owner of GO & GO, an automated bike washing shop chain, is currently on the lookout for franchise partners, with a commitment that such franchises will recoup investment within seven months. Meanwhile, a “chartered” laundry store can be launched with only VND150-200 million ($6,871-9,161) in capital. Ngoc My, owner of the My Wash “chartered” laundry shop, said that she is willing to provide free counseling to youths who plan to start up following the model. She advised that young people should start their businesses with only two washing machines and one dryer which cost less than VND100 million ($4,580), before expanding their scale. Advertising on websites, newspapers or Facebook will help widen and diversify their clientele, which is typically restricted to a radius of a few kilometers, My urged.





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