My father is the facilities manager for a huge industrial laundry facility (tons a day). I was trying to figure out how you'd keep everybody's clothes separate as they went through those gigantic tunnel washers and other equipment.
I never even though to just outsource to existing laundromats / dry cleaners. Ha!
This is the "minimum" of "minimum viable product." A lot of startups like this are started/validated by the founders and their friends doing the equivalent of picking up peoples' laundry, driving it to the laundromat in their hatchbacks, tweeting about the service while the clothes spin, returning the clothes with a smile, and hoping the customers tell their friends!
Indeed. In this case though, I think the small, nimble approach is the only one. The mega-laundry that I was talking about has no capacity to track articles through the process, and is built to handle a set grouping of article types (each with a specific type of automated folding machine, press, etc). It'd break down miserably trying to handle N types of garments from N different people...