Working from home may have smoothed the lives of professionals amid the pandemic, but it has frowned the eyebrows of those offering laundry services.
Many of those in the laundry business in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad say their earnings have plummeted due to the home office culture that has been in vogue since March last year. They say that many people no longer have to go out to go to work and they don’t need to wear formal or ironed clothes.
Some laundry service providers say they used to iron almost 200 items of clothing a day, but now it is 40-50.
Shirkant Borude, of Chikalthana, led the downturn in his business not only to work from home but also to smaller wedding celebrations made necessary by pandemic restrictions.
“Markets have opened fully twice since the pandemic started, but the work from home policy has resulted in employees using less ironed clothing. I used to iron around 200 items of clothing a day. Now the number has dropped to 40-50 a day, ”he said.
Roller pressing and dry cleaning of saris have almost come to a standstill as only a small number of people are allowed to attend weddings, Borude added.
Sainath Hajare, who runs a laundry in Shivajinagar, said that “people are unwilling to pay if we raise fees”.
“In the past people would give us clothes to wash and we would give them ironed clothes back. For example, if a man used to need at least five ironed clothes a week to go to the office, he now only needs a few clothes because he works from home. The number of customers who would give us clothes in bulk has decreased by almost 75 percent, ”he said.
Now people wash and iron clothes at home as they are less strong, Hajare said. In addition, the schools are closed, so there is no question of ironed uniforms, added Hajare.
Shriram Hajare, a laundry owner in Samarthnagar, said: “The number of customers dropping off clothes in large quantities and walk-in customers have decreased. I used to earn 2,000 rupees a day, now it’s 400-500 rupees. “