By Wally Makowsky | Aug 13, 2012
I have a coin laundry and am interested in adding a drop-off drycleaning business. Can you give me any suggestions regarding things I might need to know and/or do before adding this to my current operation?
First of all, you have to determine whether or not you’re in a drycleaning area. In general, most really good coin laundry areas are typically not very good drycleaning areas, because the two businesses cater to two very different types of customers. For example, your successful drycleaning areas are generally white collar with mainly middle class to upper middle class residents; whereas your typical coin laundry customers are most likely to be blue collar workers in a lower income range with a few children.
So that determination must be made first. Are you in a thriving drycleaning area? Will you be able to attract enough business to make it worth your while?
If your answer is yes, the next step is to find a nearby drycleaner who will do wholesale work for you. Clearly, you need to find a reliable drycleaner who will pick up the clothes, do a good job cleaning them, and then deliver them in a timely manner. This drycleaner will do the work for you. Obviously, the closer this drycleaner is to your coin laundry the better service you will receive.
Above all, you must be certain that the drycleaner you choose does top-quality work, won't lose customers' garments and, in general, won’t create additional problems for you and your business. After all, it's not unheard of to lose coin laundry customers due to drycleaning issues.
Another thing to consider when choosing your drycleaner is to be sure that he guarantees his work and will handle any claims that may arise due to lost or damaged articles. If something is lost, either you or your drycleaner are going to have to settle the score with the customer. As a result, you must be sure that you're covered in this area; work this out before jumping into a business relationship with whoever you choose to do your drycleaning work.
The third crucial item to consider is whether or not your coin laundry has ample -- and proper -- room for hanging facilities to handle the type of drycleaning business you hope to attract. Also, do you have the right amount of properly trained labor to tackle that amount of business? If you lack the necessary room or labor at your coin laundry business, it's probably wise to not get involved.
However, if you can answer a resounding yes to the three areas listed above, the other requirements for running a drop-off drycleaning service are relatively simple. For example, your tagging and marking system will no doubt be similar to that of a wash-dry-fold service. What's more, your drycleaner will more than likely tell you what type of tags and tagging system he would like you to use so that you can separate his items from your garments. The drycleaner will go through all of that with you.
Again, the three important questions are:
1. Can you attract enough business to make it worthwhile?
2. Can you find a reliable drycleaner to handle this end of your business?
3. Do you have enough room for such an operation in your coin laundry?
Is there a way of determining whether a stain is oil-based or water-based before I launder the garment?
The only way you can determine that is by laundering both types of stains year after year. Visually, there is no way to tell the difference. Some water-based stains look like they're oil-based, and vice versa. This is especially true when it comes to rust stains. Rust stains can have four or five different colors. They can be dark gray. Some are black. Some are yellow. Some are orange. All I can tell you is that experience will teach you.