Diaper Service from home? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 7 Old 05-24-2010, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey mamas,

DH and I are looking at starting a diaper service and I am wondering if any of you out there have any experience with running one or any thoughts. I'm thinking we'll be starting out running it from our home (our laundry is upstairs, but there are old hookups in our basement where we could put new HE machines) and would maybe move it if/when it grows big enough. There isn't one at all in our area, so it seems like a really good opportunity, and since we CD and love it we love the idea of being able to bring it to other people who might not otherwise use them.

We're working on a business plan and I think have the "business" side of things under control (financing, accounting, etc., still need to look into insurance) but I'm at a loss with a lot of the other aspects. I've emailed a couple of other services in other parts of the country to see if they'd mind me asking them a few questions (figuring since we wouldn't be competition they might not mind) but haven't heard anything back. I've also looked at the RDIA website and have gotten some information there, but not a ton.

So, I'll throw some of my questions up here, maybe someone here will have some input

- Should we also be a store (at least to some extent)? Most services that I've seen online are, but we plan to offer covers, etc. as part of our service, so our customers wouldn't need to purchase them necessarily. I guess I am concerned that they all have stores because that's really where they make their money, so we would be hurting ourselves by not having one.

- Is there a reason not to use our current washing system for the service (Charlie's and Oxyclean over 3 cycles)? We plan to return the same diapers to each client so that there is no cross contamination and we don't have to use harsh chemicals

- Where should we buy our diapers wholesale? I am having a very hard time finding organic prefolds wholesale online. We use GMD at home and LOVE them, but Karen said that she doesn't sell wholesale Also, any suggestions on covers that would weather extra washing especially well? We use Blueberry and Swaddlebees at home, but I am thinking they might be a little expensive to use for the service.

- If anyone out there has a service, how long did it take you to break even?

I am sure I have more, but off the top of my head those are the ones worrying me most right now...any other ideas anyone has would be great too

TIA for your help!!

Judy treehugger.gif wife to Brandon 7.15.06 -- Mama to Micah Rowan 12.08.08 -- EBF, babywearing, selective/delayed vax (none so far) -- expecting baby #2 in March 2012 and planning a homebirth!

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#2 of 7 Old 05-28-2010, 03:40 PM
 
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I totally think you should offer products in a "store" format. I would choose a diaper service if I felt committed to CD'ing, but felt pressed for time. I would definitely find the "one-stop shoping" convenient! Good luck!
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#3 of 7 Old 05-29-2010, 07:37 AM
 
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I've thought long & hard about the same thing. I would love to provide a diaper service, but we're moving (our new place already have a service.) I would check RDIA's website again, because I'm pretty sure they have a list of wholesellers and manufacturers. It might be cheaper to go straight to the manufacturer. You could wash at home with one or two washers, but think of the time factor. How long would it take to wash & dry a load, and how many loads would you have to do at a time? Something like that may work better to space your pickups apart so you do a few everyday, instead of all your customer's diapers on one day.

As far as the store front, I have mixed feelings. It would be awesome to supply CD to the community (you could sell everything for mamas who wanted to wash at home as well.) I also picture cloth mama pads, family cloth, and unpaper towels at my store. I think having a store would really bring in the awareness of a new business. However, commercial space is generally not cheep. You'd also have to have some one be there for business hours (employees?) My idea as an alternative to a store was to become a CD advocate/teacher. Hold workshops/classes, free meetings, or demonstrations. You could also sell your services, get people comfortable using CD, and maybe send the nonbelievers home with a trail week of diapers. You could then retail everything out of your home, and maybe set up a website for customers to place orders (or call.) You'd just have to have a place in your home to store inventory.

Jaime ~ married to Chad, mommie to Elaine shamrocksmile.gif 03/17/08, 3rdtri.gif due 02/14/11 joy.gifHappy Valentines Day!

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#4 of 7 Old 05-30-2010, 08:33 PM
 
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#5 of 7 Old 05-30-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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FYI, i don't know of any diaper services that also wash covers. the ones in my area are all industrial style ones though, so that may make a difference. they supply a few covers as part of the deal (along with a diaper pail and large wet bag) but they are not washed with the diapers, that is left up to the customers to do themselves at home.

have you tested out your current washing routine on diapers that have been sitting for a week? that would be my one concern. the reason most services can get week old dirty diapers clean is that they use chemicals and/or super hot water, special detergents, and industrial strength washers and dryers.

as far as getting organic prefolds at wholesale goes, check out bummis. their covers are also pretty workhorse.

*mama to c 2/2000, v 2/2004, p 9/2006, and h 12/2012*

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#6 of 7 Old 06-01-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Have you really looked into the liability/insurance issue? That part of it would worry me.


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#7 of 7 Old 06-02-2010, 01:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galatea View Post
Have you really looked into the liability/insurance issue? That part of it would worry me.
You'll also need to check into local (city and county) business licensing laws. My county has some really strict requirements for at home businesses.

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