November 25, 2022

The local startup will do your laundry, cleaning and meal prep, just click a button

Life would be hell without outsourcing. Modern society only works because we specialize in things we love while other people take care of things we can’t bear to do.

I know that if I had to grow my own food, I would have starved to death a long time ago. So, I deal with eye strain from sitting in front of a computer screen every day without much hassle.

I am equally grateful to the builders, some policemen, doctors and all those who do for me what I could not do myself.

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That’s great, but somehow it’s not quite enough. I still have to take care of household chores. The absolute worst is the laundry and I think we can all agree that is the worst.

No wonder in Shona slang, if you say ‘ndawachiswa’ which translates to ‘they made me do the laundry’, that means they messed me/cheated me.

What if someone did that for me too? Well, Softlife says “we’ll do it for you”. Are you too cheap/broken to get into a washing machine or too lazy to mess with a machine like me? Softlife is here to help.

soft life

Softlife exists to make your life easier. They want to take the laundry, cleaning, and meal prep out of your hands (pun intended). Currently only laundry services are available, the other two are expected to arrive late this year or early next year.

So if you too would rather not spend your Saturday afternoon measuring washing powder, here’s how Softlife might get by.

You just need to visit their website/web app: softlife.co.zw, choose a laundry plan and they will come and collect your dirty laundry and clean it for you. Alternatively, you can contact via WhatsApp (0773442101).

You choose the number of times you want the service, either weekly, fortnightly or monthly. You then choose the day you want them to pick up the laundry and that’s it.

For starters, they will only be doing collections on Saturdays between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. in Harare. And they will deliver the clean laundry within 24 hours. You can even iron the laundry if you wish.

A single laundry bag contains 20 items and Softlife will charge you $10 to clean it. Note that a sheet counts as 4 items and a blanket/curtain counts as 10 items. But don’t try to fit your underwear in there, they don’t do underwear except for socks.

If you add a five, they will replay those 20 items for you. Collection and delivery are free.

At the moment, the only payment option available is cash on delivery. Note that their plans are monthly plans. So if you choose the weekly package for example, you pay for the full month and they will pick up the laundry every week until the end of the month when you will need to renew if you still want the service.

Don’t worry though, you’re not tied to a plan beyond a month. If you want a one-time service, just choose the monthly plan and you won’t have to renew.

Will this all work?

I have no doubt that there are customers for the service provided by Softlife. In fact, many laundry service providers have already been in business for years.

Where Softlife may have the edge is in their offer to pick up anywhere in Harare at no extra cost. You will find the contest offering free collection and delivery only to neighborhoods near their premises.

The question then becomes, how much will this transport cost eat into Softlife’s margins?

The Softlife website is a nice idea, but with most people living in the backyards of WhatsApp and Facebook, that won’t be so bad. Softlife allows WhatsApp communications and so should be good there.

As a new startup, Softlife will have to get creative to convince people to use the service. It’s kind of asking to expect someone to share their money and clothes with a startup they’ve never worked with before.

However, as is the case with all other startups, each successfully completed job increases the chances of going mainstream. Word of mouth is the name of the game. In time, even the most suspicious people will use Softlife or its competitors.

Softlife would like to provide an authorized insurance service to ease the worries of potential customers. However, there is no date for when that will happen.

What about confusion and missing clothes?

Softlife takes photos of the garments as they are packed for shipment and an album is created on behalf of the customer. These photos will be used to confirm that anything collected has been returned.

Softlife has professional laundry labelers on the way. These should help keep track of the laundry.

What do you think of Softlife? Are you as likely to use the service as I am? If not, what would need to change for you to be able to use this or a similar service? Let us know in the comments section below.

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