Photo from the official Hampr Facebook page.
After Laurel Hess returned from her business trip, she was completely exhausted.
She was struggling to juggle the immense pressure of working as the president of Rally Marketing, as well as taking care of two children. On top of everything else, she was drowning in laundry.
“It was a Saturday. We had opening day tee-ball, we had three birthday parties and I just sat on the floor thinking, ‘There’s no way I can get this done,’” Hess said.
It was then she came up with the idea for Hampr, an on-demand laundry service, similar to Waitr or Postmates.
After only two short months, Hampr now has over 200 members and has recently expanded out of its hometown of Lafayette to Baton Rouge said Hess, the current CEO of Hampr
“I knew I hated laundry, but I had no idea that everybody else hated laundry too,” Hess said.
Hess hopes to see Hampr operating across the United States, and that dream might come true.
“The beauty of our system and our platform is that we can launch in a new city very quickly because there are no assets,” she said. “Ours is just washr to consumer so it’s very easy for us to scale.”
This is unlike Waitr which must first meticulously build relationships with local restaurants before it can start operating in a new city, Hess said.
To use Hampr, one must first pay a $39 membership fee. Then Hampr will then send you four hampers to use for the service. One places the laundry one wants to be washed in the Hampr and a washr will take the laundry, wash it and return it within 24 hours. Each hamper the washr takes costs the user $10.
To become a washr, one must apply on the website. Washr applicants must provide information about what kind of laundry equipment they have. After a background check, the washr must participate in a video interview with Hampr staff. The prospective washr must show their equipment on video. The Hampr Staff then decides whether to hire the applicant.
Hess said she initially intended Hampr to be for busy moms. Kristen Gary fits that description, and she’s had nothing but glowing compliments for Hampr and its washrs.
“They’ve all been great. Some of them are crazy amazing and will actually sort your clothes based on if it’s my little boy’s, or if it’s my husband’s or it’s mine,” Gary said.
While Hampr provides their own detergent, some members of Gary’s family have sensitive skin, so she needs to provide their own detergent, she said. When she forgot to include her detergent with her load, she was surprised to find out the washr was understanding and willing to drive back to Gary’s home to pick up the detergent.
“She was super awesome about that,” she said.
While Hess said she created Hampr for moms, Gary said she thinks it’s a good fit for anyone with an overwhelming schedule.
“I think it’s really for anybody. Laundry is just time consuming,” she said.
Jeremy Dotson was Hampr’s first washr, and, so far, he’s found it fulfilling.
“I’m doing this just for fun really,” Dotson said with excitement in his voice. “Laundy has always been a passion of mine, which is weird, but I’ve always loved it.”
While Dotson said it’s unlikely someone could make a living off being a washr alone, it’s profitable as a side-hustle.
Washrs make $7 for every load of laundry they pick up, but there’s not enough time in the day for a washr to sustain themselves on Hampr alone, as one load typically takes about two hours, he said.
Dotson said he was surprised by how well many of his customers tip him.
“People tip pretty well which is nice,” he said.
Dotson said working as a washr is extraordinarily convenient, even more so than services like Waitr.
“They’re like, ‘Why don’t you do Waitr or Lyft or any of the other delivery things?’ The thing is I’m already at my house, so it doesn’t take a ton of time because I’m already here,” he said.
Work as a washr is best for stay at home moms, Dotson said. This is because they are already home and presumably another member of the household has a steady income.
“I think that’s what a lot of the other washrs are, stay at home moms and those kinds of things,” he said. “So, what they do is just additional income to help with things.”