As we mentioned in Part I, the dry-cleaning business has been struggling since the pandemic started. That’s why we’re sharing with you 6 ways to thrive during these tough times. We already gave you 3 of them in our last article. You don’t want to miss these remaining 3.
Rugs, Curtains, and Household Items
Clothes aren’t the only thing people need cleaned. What about their rugs, curtains, lampshades, and other household items? Since people are lingering around the house more than before, it’s easier for them to notice the dirt on these items and want them cleaned.
Why should these people go to separate stores for each item when they could just go to your dry cleaner?
A word of caution: before you start advertising that you clean all these items, make sure you have the right equipment and staff knowledge to handle these services. Some of these items need special care. In some cases you might be doing a better service by saying you don’t clean oriental rugs, for example, to avoid losing a customer when they receive their discolored heirloom Persian rug.
These services are often independent businesses in their own right, but consider them like those cousins you used to only see in family reunions until you realized you have a lot in common and became buddies.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers for a moment. You take a special garment to a dry cleaner to get it cleaned, but you’ve also lost some pounds since you started taking those virtual at-home exercise classes—so that garment is a little too flowy now. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get that fixed at your dry cleaner while you’re there instead of wasting time going to a separate store just for a little mend?
Speaking of putting yourself in your customers’ shoes—why not offer shoe repair? Again, it’s added value for your customers and it could make complete sense for your business.
To start offering these services, ask your existing staff what knowledge they have of hemming pants, replacing a zipper, or mending shirt cuffs and collars. If your staff doesn’t have much knowledge, they might be eager to accept training in these services to spruce up your business.
On-location Cleaning & Disinfection
Of all the ideas we’ve shared so far, this one is probably the most left-field, but we’ve seen several dry cleaners successfully offer this added service—we are in the cleaning business after all.
What makes this service most compelling is the fact that many businesses are looking to regularly clean and disinfect their workspaces in order to make their customers feel at ease during the pandemic.
To start offering this service, research your public health policies in your country or state to see if there is anything you need to consider before claiming your expertise in the subject. There might not be much of an initial investment since you can start with basic cleaning materials such as sponges, rags, towels, brooms, mops, brushes, and cleaning agents. You can always scale up and purchase professional equipment such as industrial vacuums and carpet cleaners and hire additional staff if necessary.
We hope that this list of 6 strategies of how to pivot and adapt your dry-cleaning business starts tickling your brain with ideas.
For some dry cleaners, it’s sufficient to implement just one of these strategies, while for others it might be more fruitful to make a multi-strategy blend.
You might find these strategies suitable to get through the pandemic, or some of you might end up permanently implementing them into your business model. Either way, we want to end this article with a hopeful note from a February 2021 study on the dry-cleaning industry:
“It is expected that the dry-cleaning and laundry services market will recover from the shock across the forecast period as it is a ’black swan’ event and not related to ongoing or fundamental weaknesses in the market or the global economy.”
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