A Profitable Partnership

By Jeff Gardner, CLA Member posted 03-30-2017 13:20

Teaming Up with Your Local Drycleaner May Be the Ideal Way to Grow Your Laundry Business. Find Out How at Clean 2017!

drycleaner.jpgThe Clean Show is just around the corner. And the 2017 event – which will be held June 5-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center – marks the first time the Coin Laundry Association and the Drycleaning & Laundry Institute will team up for an educational session during the show.

This presentation will outline how to build a synergistic relationship between a self-service laundry and a drycleaning operation.

In general, the piece counts for the drycleaning industry have been decreasing. Fewer people are bringing in their garments and other items to be professionally cared for. What’s more, fewer people are buying clothes that even require the services of a drycleaner. As a result, many of today’s drycleaners are looking for additional ways to expand their businesses and move more items through their plants.

Therefore, at Clean 2017, we’ll examine some of the opportunities that laundry owners and drycleaning operators have to work together.

Of course, one of the most common ways in which the two businesses can team up is with the laundromat providing the drycleaner with a prime location for a “dry store” – or, in other words, a drop-off and pickup location for drycleaning within the vended laundry itself.

Throughout the country, many of today’s laundries – especially those in higher-end markets – with established, thriving wash-dry-fold businesses could easily incorporate a drop-off drycleaning service that would be a win-win for the both the laundry and drycleaning operations.

After all, those wash-dry-fold customers are typically the types of individuals who very likely would have a few pieces they may want drycleaned or professionally cared for on a regular basis. And they’re also the customers who have proven that they’re willing for pay a premium for the convenience of laundry and garment care.

In addition, developing a relationship with a local drycleaner so that your wash-dry-fold customers have one less trip to make can be an extremely beneficial way for you to build your full-service laundry business.

Obviously, there are several different ways to partner with a drycleaner and many questions that need to be answers prior to entering into such a business relationship. Many of issues will be discussed during the Clean Show presentation – “Drycleaners & Laundromat Owners: Partnering for Future Profits” – which will be held on June 6, from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m.

As an example, what percentage of the drop-off drycleaning revenue will each party receive? What will that financial relationship look like? Who will collect the money? Who will do the invoicing and processing?

For instance, the drycleaning business may actually place its own cash register in your laundromat. The drycleaner may even have an employee who works in your store – checking in and checking out drycleaning items. Perhaps the drycleaner leases a small space within your laundry from you.

When it comes to partnering with a drycleaner, there are many variations and creative opportunities.

Another less-common (but intriguing) opportunity is for laundry owners to provide drycleaning operators with a place to process their own wash-dry-fold orders. Most drycleaners can process a certain amount of wash-dry-fold laundry; however, many drycleaning plants feature only large shirt washing machines, with the smallest capacity being 50 or 60 pounds. And the standard drycleaning plant may have only one or two of these machines.

Clearly, that’s not an ideal equipment setup for processing wash-dry-fold orders. So, in general, most drycleaners – looking to grow their businesses – don’t have the capacity to process more than a few loads of wash-dry-fold laundry per day. Typically, drycleaners’ machines are busy processing other laundered items, such as shirts and comforters, so there is little opportunity to process actual wash-dry-fold orders, at least during business hours.

As wash-dry-fold operators, we know that it’s a lot easier to keep your loads organized and to process them efficiently if you have multiple washers and dryers so that you don’t have to combine loads or process them in ways that are less than efficient.

Therefore, this provides an opportunity for self-service laundry owners to become the processors of wash-dry-fold orders for their local drycleaning business. Of course, if this type of business partnership is a route you decide to take, consider the wholesale price you will offer the drycleaner, which they can then mark up to make an acceptable profit.

In essence, wash-dry-fold – one of the growing segments of the vended laundry industry – is a service that many within the drycleaning industry are looking at very closely. However, many of today’s drycleaning plants simply aren’t designed with the capacity to take on a great deal of added wash-dry-fold laundry.

Once again, this presents an ideal opportunity for a profitable partnership between a laundromat that offers wash-dry-fold and a drycleaning plant that doesn’t have the space or the ability to process a lot of wash-dry-fold – but that does have the customer base that desires this type of laundry service.

Some of the factors to consider with regard to a laundry/drycleaner partnership are:

•    What types of space do both the laundromat and drycleaning plant have to dedicate to this mutual business?

•    How will the financial relationship work?

•    Who will handle the accounting and processing?

•    For drop-off drycleaning orders, how much of the prep work and the pre-processing of the drycleaning will be done at your laundromat? How much of it will be done at the drycleaning plant?

•    How much of the assembly of the drycleaning and the final presentation of the orders will be done at the drycleaners? How much of that work will be done at your laundry?

•    Do you have delivery and pickup routes? Does the drycleaner have delivery and pickup routes? Who will handle the delivering and picking up?

•    How will you co-market and co-brand this service? Do you want to have the drycleaner’s name on the finished product, or do you want to have your name on it?

•    How reputable is the drycleaner? Will you want to utilize its brand? Will the drycleaner want to utilize your brand?

More and more, today’s savvy drycleaners and laundry owners are using each other’s expertise to increase their respective market shares. Don’t miss the upcoming Clean Show educational session – where you will learn from successful industry members exactly how they’ve made this partnership work for them – and how you can make it work for you and your laundry business as well.

See you in Las Vegas!


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