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Beginner’s Guide on How to Implement a New Dry Cleaner Software

Employees hate change. No two ways about it. The reason: Our brains are hard-wired to do the same thing over and over again and again—whether that activity is right for you or not. So, we resist change until we have no other option.

Change, however, is useful—especially if you’re running a dry-cleaning storefront. It can, for example, help you grow as a person. That’s never a bad thing. Below are some additional reasons why change is right for you:

  • Pushes you out of your comfort zone
  • Generates more experience
  • Tells you exactly who you are
  • Increases flexibility and adaptability
  • Opens you up to saying YES more often

We could add more reasons to why change is right for you. But we think you get the idea. In the case of running a dry-cleaning business, change is often useful because it can take your storefront to another level and boost profitability dramatically.

Despite these advantages, owners and managers of dry cleaners often hesitate to make changes to their dry cleaners point of sale (POS) software. Dry cleaners will often go 15 or 20 years using the same software without changing it.

If that sounds like you, don’t be discouraged. Many owners and managers do the same thing. Some will even wait until the software is no longer working before doing anything about it. That’s often counter-productive, especially when it comes to customer service.

When Changing POS Software Makes Sense

Changing POS software makes sense when it’s hurting the company. Using an older POS software solution, for example, can slow customer service and undermines customer experience. That, in turn, can hurt customer loyalty, hamper productivity and shrinking profitability.

But how do you know when it’s time to change Your POS solution? Ask the six questions below. The answers will tell you if it’s time for a change or not:

Is the software having technical problems?

Older software often creates challenging technical problems. If you’re spending time and money resolving these technical glitches, it’s time for a change.

Is there a compelling reason to do it?

If making a change provides a tangible benefit for the company, like boosting customer service or increasing productivity, a different direction is in order.

Are customers complaining?

The last thing you need is to have customers complaining. If the software solution is impacting customer service or customer experience significantly, you can’t afford to keep using the platform.

Are employees complaining about the platform?

Employees complain about things. That’s nothing new. But if employee complaints about the software solution are coming fast and furious, consider a change.

Is it providing a competitive advantage?

If the software isn’t differentiating you from your competitors, it’s no longer an asset. Find a solution that does.

Do you have the resources to do it?

The key to upgrading software solutions like a POS platform is having the staff, time, money, and focus on doing it. If you do and you’ve got the right answers to the other questions, then it’s time to make a change.

The last question is the most critical of all.

If you don’t have the resources to make a change, however, it’s probably not in your best interest.

But replacing your legacy solution with one that’s easy to install and use, like Enlite’s, can offset the lack of resources.

Choosing a POS Software Solution

More dry cleaners are replacing their POS software with one of today’s solutions. Installing a POS software platform, like Enlite’s, simplifies and streamlines operations. It also frees you and your employees to other more important activities, like helping customers and increasing profitability.

The key to enjoying these benefits, however, is picking a POS solution that fits your specific needs. That means you want a solution that’s customizable, cost-effective, and cloud-based, which eliminates the need for you to upgrading by yourself. The software company does that for you.

Here are six must-have features to look for in a POS software solution:

  • Powerful point of sale functionality
  • Robust billing/invoicing capabilities
  • Dynamic CRM features
  • Mobile mobile capabilities
  • Easy-to-use management functionality
  • Online routing and delivery capabilities

This list isn’t intended to be exhaustive. But it’s a good start.

Installing a new POS solution with these capabilities can take your business to the next level.

Migrating to a New Dry-Cleaning Software  

Purchasing a new software solution, however, is only half the battle.

The other half is implementing it. That activity can stress out you and your employees big time.

Below are ten additional tips that can help you implement a new software solution at your dry-cleaning storefront and reap the rewards new technology brings:

Express the Benefits of the New Software

One critical step in migrating to a new software platform is communicating the benefits of making the change.

If your employees aren’t clear on how the software benefits the company and themselves, they might not fully commit to the change.

Identify Early Adopters

Keep in mind also that adoption rates vary. Adoption depends on how open your employees are to new technology and a willingness to learn. If you can build momentum with any early adopters on staff, you’re chances of succeeding improve dramatically.

Name a champion

Similar to an early adopter, if you can find a champion on your staff, you can leverage his or her enthusiasm to build momentum for the change.

Champions need to know the software well and understand the learning needs of everyone.

Explain why you chose this solution

Make sure your staff knows why you chose this software and how it makes their jobs easier. Also, make sure your people know what the software is, how it works, and what it does.

Schedule training sessions

Use training events to train your staff on using the new software. You should also encourage dialogue, answer questions, and reinforce the solution’s benefits at these meetings.

Move critical content to the new software

This step increases adoption by moving important functions and contact to the new system. This will require employees to use your new tool to complete their responsibilities.

But be careful with this step. It could backfire on you and frustrate employees if you do make this move too soon.

Use rewards and gamification

The carrot and stick approach to teaching something doesn’t work for everybody—especially creative thinkers.

Rewards and gamification are other ways of encouraging behavior changes. A lot depends on your work culture and core philosophy.

Involve your IT person

If you have an IT person, get them involved in the adoption process. He or she can help you make sure your new software doesn’t have any security holes that could cause trouble.

Investigate the challenges

Find out what problems exist in every area of the business impacted by the software’s introduction. Are your employees getting everything they need from the solution? You can then make adjustments based on these needs.

Communicate with transparency

If employees think they’re being kept in the dark, they may resist the change. To maximize buy-in, try to make employees feel like they’re involved in the process. If you don’t, they may resist using the solution.

Develop an engagement strategy

Creating an engagement strategy after you’ve installed the software encourages adoption. Also, appoint a “super user” in each department. They can serve as “go to” people for questions or concerns.

Monitor performance

You could have some “teething” issues as your staff migrates to a new way or working. Expect them and allow for them. Monitor how your team is using the software and the performance of the solution.

Conclusion

These tips will make migrating to a new POS solution easier and faster. Having migrated, you may want to revisit the entire existing business process if you’re adding a POS solution. You may see other opportunities to simplify and streamline the process, boosting customer service and customer experience.

Change is hard. But it’s a fact of life—, especially with dry cleaning businesses. So, if your old POS software solution is failing, it’s time for a change. But do your homework to find the right POS solution for your business—one that’s easy to use, customizable, and cloud-based.

In addition, you want an easy to use POS solution that includes the key features mentioned above and provides a good ROI. Then use the tips above to migrate to the software successfully. A new POS solution can help boost productivity and profitability, and take your business to the next level.

Dry Cleaner’s Practical Guide to Managing Multiple Locations

Thinking of opening another dry cleaning location?

Or, you’ve opened a second location and things are getting crazy?

Whatever the case, don’t be discouraged.

The fact that you’re so busy is a positive sign. It means your storefronts are thriving.

But managing several locations can be overwhelming. It’s a critical challenge you’ll face when growing your business and decide to expand.

But with more than one location, you can quickly lose control of your locations and run your locations into the ground.

Below we discuss seven tips on how to manage multiple dry-cleaning locations successfully.

These tips will help you get your house in order and regain control of your business.

But first, we’ll review six challenges you’ll face as a manager of multiple locations—challenges that can make it hard to run your site’s profitability.

Challenges of Managing Multiple Location Dry Cleaner

The secret to managing multiple locations is to establish clear responsibilities, boundaries, and authority at each location. That can be hard to do if you fail to overcome the five challenges described below:

1. Failing to give employees time

With so much going on, it’s easy to fail to give employees at each location the time they really need to learn and grow as workers. Out of sight out of mind is not good for your business.

2. No spontaneous communication

Having more than one storefront means there’s less chance you’ll run into employees and have natural, unplanned communication with members of your staff.

3. Weakened logistics

Logistics can be a problem when you have more than one location—especially if the locations are widespread. What you can’t send over the Internet, you’ll have to mail, causing delays and additional effort.

4. Us-versus-them mentality

Lack of cohesiveness can pit one storefront against another storefront—especially if some team members don’t know each other well.

5. Concerns with general supervision

It can be hard with multiple locations to track everything your staff is doing. Are they arriving on time, working appropriate hours, or dressing appropriately?

Overcoming these challenges is the key to building a sound organizational structure —one where all employees thrive, everyone is accountable for this or her work, and you can measure employee performance accurately.

Managing Multiple Locations Effectively

You need to focus on three areas to manage multiple locations effectively—systems, technology, and communications. Doing that generates team cohesion and a team attitude. Both are necessary for your dry-cleaning business to thrive.

Below are seven tips on how you can create cohesion and a team attitude among staff at different locations:

1. Standardize operations

Organizing and standardizing operating systems is critical. From responding to angry customers to handling employee breaks, you want everyone to know what you expect and how they can meet them. The best way to do that is by standardizing operations.

2. Hire/promote talented managers

Good employees can be hard to find. So, when you find one, you need to do everything you can to keep them. You also want to promote them if they have the right capabilities. The know your system and can help others learn it. Hopefully, you’ll have a strong bench full of competent, trustworthy employees, and managers.

3. Establish ways of communicating

Communicating with employees is paramount. Visit each store at least once during the week. Spend enough time at each location and talk with employees. Also, make yourself available to staff by email, chat, or phone. And hold meetings every two weeks or so, and get regular reports on how each location is doing.

4. Make communications a priority

Once you’ve created standard ways of communicating, use them. Experts say you need to spend between 15 and 17 hours repeating and clarifying communications with your team. Set up group email or chat eliminates redundancy or even an internal website. Then have employees check it consistently.

5. Create camaraderie between team members

It’s not easy maintaining a cohesive brand once you start growing. But it’s important to do so or at least try. Your employees are a critical part of your brand. So, work on building camaraderie. Bring staff together regularly for meetings. Have off-site outings for fun. Pit store versus store in competitions. These things can motivate staff and create team spirit.

6. Simplify operations with technology

Use technology as much as possible to streamline and simplify processes. Enlite’s software solution integrates with standard accounting software packages and typical payment processors. It also enables you to see activities at all your stores from one computer screen. Technology can help boost productivity dramatically.

7. Hold quarterly training sessions

Have quarterly training sessions to make sure everyone is on the same page. These sessions can also eliminate the feeling by an employee that he or she is getting left behind.

Employees also can ask questions at these meetings. You can even use them to hand out awards at these meetings and thank your employees for a job well done. That can help you boost worker motivation.

Conclusion

Use the seven tips to create efficient business processes, motivate employees, and simplify and streamline activities, saving time and money.

Managing multiple locations can be overwhelming. That’s especially true if you’re new to managing people. But by focusing on three critical areas of your business—systems, technology,  and communications—you can regain control of your locations and build a thriving business.

What Are Your Merchant Account Rates?

Our dry cleaning software customers ask about merchant account rates all the time.

Questions like;

What is a good rate?

Do you know how much I should be paying?

Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as just posting rates for merchant accounts on a website. The answer is a bit more complex than you may expect.

In this article, we will prepare you to get the best merchant account rates for your dry cleaning business.

Shopping only by rate can be a mistake

For many merchants, the merchant account rates can amount to only a small portion of their overall cost.

If you only consider merchant account rates, you are excluding a long list of potentially costly factors such as:

  • credit card equipment
  • start‐up or termination fees
  • annual fees
  • contracts
  • monthly minimums
  • statement fees
  • and many other expensive pitfalls.

Contrary to what some companies would like you to think when they boldly advertise seemingly low rates, there is no “standard” rate for merchant accounts for pricing comparison.

Visa® and MasterCard® each have hundreds of different merchant account rate categories based on the type of card, the environment in which the card is accepted, and whether all the cardholder information collected properly and accurately.

These categories are then consolidated by each processor into groupings with averaged rates called:

  • qualified
  • mid‐qualified
  • non‐qualified

The less “qualified” the transaction, the more you are charged.

Be prepared to ask the right questions

So, when you are evaluating processors remember to avoid them, “What are your rates?” question.

Instead, try to focus on the overall expected cost of processing and factor in all potential fees.

If a company guarantees the lowest rates, ask to see it in writing.

If they have the guarantee in writing, you will quickly realize that these low merchant account rates only apply to a very small fraction of your credit card transactions.

What will the process be when you are ready to start accepting payments?

The first step is to set up a merchant account.

A merchant account is a special bank account that enables you to accept credit cards.

As a Dark POS customer, you can set up a merchant account with TSYS and link it directly to your existing POS software solution.

Once you have decided to set up a merchant account, you will need to reach out to whatever processor you chose.

They will likely ask you for some information that will help move your business through the underwriting process. The time and complexity will vary depending on your business and your processor.

In general, though, you may be asked for things like:

  • Social Security number
  • Employer Identification Number
  • Business license
  • Other things that will help the payment processor learn more about your business.

If you have additional questions about merchant processing, please reach out to our payment partner TSYS.

How to Go Paperless with your Dry Cleaning Business

Have you thought about going paperless?

If you have, join the crowd.

Many dry cleaner owners and managers have done the same thing. But they haven’t followed through on it.

If that sounds like you, you’re missing a golden opportunity to generate a competitive advantage and take your business to the next level. All you have to do is install a POS software solution.

Benefits of a Paperless Business:

Businesses converting to paperless can reap the rewards.

Going paperless generates numerous benefits for today’s companies—not the least of which is boosting profitability.

These benefits include:

  • Cutting operations costs
  • Reducing office clutter
  • Getting customer payments faster
  • Decreasing the influx of mail
  • Having instant access to data at your fingertips
  • Transferring knowledge among employees

Interested in learning more about paperless benefits? Read this article by Mike Kappel on Forbes.com

What’s more, going paperless pumps up customer service—the lifeblood of dry-cleaning businesses. That builds customer loyalty and engages word-of-mouth advertising. According to Neilson, 92 percent of consumers believe friends and family over other forms of advertising.

Many businesses owners and managers refuse to go paperless because it changes things.

That’s only human.

How do you handle change?

People hate change—even if it’s a game changer.

They also dislike many of the other demands it puts on business, like re-training counter people and administrators.

Create a Change Management Plan First

The first step in going paperless is to create a change management plan.

Taking this first step can make all difference. Here’s what implementing a change management plan can do for you in your when going paperless:

  • Align existing resources and capabilities
  • Help address employees’ concerns
  • Reduce risk and inefficiency
    Increasing team motivation
  • Enhance your team’s morale
  • Cut training and re-training costs
  • Boosting growth an innovation for the future

Put simply, creating a change management plan simplifies and streamlines the effort to go paperless.

Plus, it increases the chances you’ll see a healthy return on investment. That’s never a bad thing.

The Easiest Way for Going Paperless
The simplest and easiest way of going paperless is by installing a point of sale (POS) software solution, like Enlite POS.

It’s also the most cost-effective way.

Installing a POS solution not only streamlines the transition but also helps you better manage your paperless business. Those things can make a dramatic impact on your business.

But with so many moving parts in your dry-cleaning business, you may not see all the advantages going paperless provides with a POS solution.

3 Going Paperless Benefits

Below we outline four opportunities in your dry-cleaning operations where businesses going paperless can reap big rewards:

Paperless Billing

Billing is a critical function where going paperless help.

But many dry cleaners set themselves up for failure with this business process. They still use handwritten tickets and manually send out invoices to billing customers.

Handwriting tickets work, but it has its downsides—not the least of which is encouraging mistakes, especially when things get busy. Several downsides of using handwritten tickets include:

  • Got lost or thrown away
  • Mixed-up with wrong orders
  • Clutter up the office
  • Slows down operations
  • Can create discrepancies in billing

But the biggest downside to handwritten bills is accountability.

Using handwritten bills prevents you from tracking what’s happening with the process. So, there’s no accountability with this process.

What about holding employees accountable?
Employees may be under-charging or overcharging customers or siphoning money from the till and you’d never know it.

A POS will give you insight into all of your employee’s actions as it relates to billing.

Are you losing money because of inaccurate tickets?
If your employees do not detail invoices properly, you can be losing money or over-charging customers.

If you are using Enlite, from one screen (no bouncing around) you can:

  • Accurately detail invoices
  • Easily change pricing and items
  • Quickly apply upcharges or discounts
  • Categorize your services for exact reporting
  • Manage different pricing levels based on the customer
  • Take pictures of damaged or stained garments
  • Access your entire price list (no matter how big) without scrolling

By utilizing a POS for creating tickets, you can minimize and even eliminate inaccurate billing before you are negatively affected.

What’s more, your customers are getting non-itemized bills. Lack of transparency here can hurt customer service.

What about the time lost for billing customers each?

Calculate how much time is lost billing your customers. You have to organize all the customer’s invoices. Verify the billed amount is correct. Then you have to print a statement and either hand it to the client in person or send it in the mail.

If you have 5 customers, billing might take you 20 minutes. But what happens when you have 50, 100, or even 300 customers you need to bill each month?

Moving from a paper-based system to a POS solution provides paperless billing eliminates these downsides.

Having more control over billing allows customers to know what they’re getting billed for, and you’re gaining more control over this critical business process.

A POS solution lets you:

  • View customer balances
  • Track payments
  • Track employee actions
  • Generate itemized statements—all at a push of a button

More importantly, paperless billing:

  • Cuts Costs
  • Saves you time
  • Boosts customer service
  • Increases on-time payments

Tagging Garments

Tagging garments, like billing, is a critical business process—one you can’t afford to ruin.

The tag you place on your garments is the only link you have to that customer.

What is the impact of a lost garment?

  • Lost revenue and time
  • Poor customer experience
  • Negative impact on your business reputation

Processing garments manually using a paper-based system is costly, inefficient, and labor-intensive. It’s also error-prone.

Unless you have the right tools

Converting to paperless eliminates many of these disadvantages. Using a POS solution to tag garments can help you automate your tagging system using heat-sealed tags (multi-use) to track orders.

This process adds barcodes directly to a customer’s garments.

Going paperless with tagging:

  • Increases productivity
  • Boosts customer service
  • Reduces mistakes
  • Reduces lost garments

One caveat, though: A few customers may dislike having barcodes applied directly to their clothes.

So, check with your customers before doing it.

What other options are there?

Two other options are using preprinted barcodes rolls (single use) or a tag printer (single use) to identify garments.

If you have not gone paperless, it is most likely that you are using preprinted barcodes.

A sophisticated POS can help you manage all three options.

Tracking orders

Tracking orders is a third critical business process, like billing and tagging.

Some dry cleaners still use a paper-based system (like a notebook) to track orders.

Like many paper-based systems, this approach is error-prone, inefficient, and froth with danger.

What happens if you lose the notebook or it gets thrown away?

If you want to take your business to the next level, you’ll need to start tracking your orders in a different way.

A proper POS solution, let’s you track orders from when you receive the garments till they are ready to be picked up.

Do you have a process you need to track?

Using a proprietary feature in Enlite, you can model a custom process, create your own statuses and scan garments or invoices as they move through it.

With each scan, know exactly where the garment is, who scanned it and at what time throughout your custom workflow.

Excellent for tracking garments between drop stores and plants, tracking presser productivity, defining automatic statuses from your conveyor process.

Tracking orders electronically eliminate the downsides associated with manual tracking and provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Speeding garment intake
  • Eliminating tagging errors
  • Boosting worker productivity
  • Cutting assembly time
  • Increasing employee efficiency
  • Streamlining operations significantly
  • Facilitating employee training time

What’s not to like?

Conclusion

Businesses are going paperless in these four critical areas—billing, tagging, and garment tracking—can increase productivity, boost profitability, and create operational efficiencies that can dramatically impact your business. It can also help you boost customers service and customer loyalty. Together, these benefits can help you take your business to the next level.

So, if you’ve been thinking about going paperless and have put it off, again and again, it’s time you did something about it. You can go paperless quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively with a change management plan and Enlite’s POS software solution.

Remember, If you’re not going paperless, your competitors probably are.

Simplify the way you accept and manage credit cards payments

Have you heard? Dark POS has partnered with CardConnect to provide our customers with a fully integrated payment solution that will allow you to streamline the way you do business. This new offering brings simple, secure, and affordable processing so that you can run your business more efficiently and ensure a seamless payment experience for your customers.

By integrating CardConnect’s innovative payment technology with Enlite software, clients will benefit from a single source solution. Single payment entry means easy transaction management and reconciliation, simplifying your day-to-day business management. Even better, this solution includes all payment channels so you can process transactions anytime, anywhere. Keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of this solution!

Features to love

Seamless Customer Experience

Easily manage your business and securely accept payments, all within one platform. With CardConnect, you can easily accept transactions that can be easily reconciled inside your Enlite software, making this the perfect solution to streamline the way you do business.

Best-in-Class Security

Protect your business and customers with CardConnect’s payment security technology. Powerful features like point-to-point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization secure sensitive cardholder data for the ultimate data breach protection. Even better, these features will allow you to reduce the time and costs associated with maintaining PCI compliance.

Transaction Management + Reporting

CardConnect’s powerful CardPointe platform serves as a one-stop shop for managing your credit card transactions, drilling into transaction details, performing actions like voids and refunds, and pulling real-time reports. It’s even accessible from both a desktop app and mobile app, so transactions can be managed from anywhere. Have multiple locations? You can easily manage all of them from one login!

Accept All Payment Types

You can accept all of the major payment methods with this solution. Whether you want to accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Debit, ACH, EBT, gift cards, or even NFC (Apple Pay), we have you covered.

Interchange Optimization

An interchange rate is the base fee that credit card companies charge per transaction. CardConnect aggressively manages interchange rates and have built their technology to automatically include Level 2 and Level 3 data with a transaction, all so that you qualify for the lowest rate possible every time.

Get started today!

Dark POS is excited to offer unparalleled payment technology through our partnership with CardConnect. Together, we will help you continue to grow your business. To get started, visit here.

How to use a Garment Tracking System to Save on Assembly Time

Providing superior customer service generates repeat business. But losing a customer’s clothes is hardly great customer service. It’s just about the worst service you can give a customer. Lose his or her clothing even once, and you’ll probably lose the customer for good. But investing in a POS software solution with garment tracking system can help you cut down on lost clothing dramatically. When combined with an efficient garment tagging system, this combination also cuts assembly times and eliminates human error.

More importantly, this approach boosts customer service. It also boosts productivity, efficiency, and profitability. If the POS solution includes the right marketing tools, it can even help you increase customer engagement.

 

Tracking Garments: The Challenge.

Tracking garments are among a dry cleaner’s biggest challenges. Garments go through many hands and processes while in your care. When tracked manually, it’s easy for you or your staff to lose track of them or mislabel them.

The problem with manual tracking is it’s haphazard. It also lacks order and accountability. So, it’s easy for you or your employees to confuse things or make mistakes.  That’s bad news for you—especially if you charge customers a processing fee.

Paying for lost (or damaged) clothing far exceeds any processing fees you may charge customers. Plus, you’ll also have to deal with an angry customer. With the price of clothes on the rise, losing clothes is the last thing you want to do.

 

Eliminating Tracking Issues

But you can eliminate tracking issues with the right tools. Using a POS software solution with garment tracking system provides a systematic approach to tracking. With the right system, pinpoint tracking continues right up until you return garments customers.

Plus, you can determine a garment’s status on-demand. You can find out exactly where a piece of clothing is at a moment’s notice just by clicking on a key. You can even tell where the garment is physical.

 

Tracking Garments with a POS Solution

Tracking garments with a POS software solution are easy and straightforward. Below is the general process many dry cleaners go through to identify and track garments with a POS solution:

  1. Garment tagging — When the customer drops off clothing, you or an employee generate a barcoded tag that’s fixed to the garment. The tag includes a unique barcode number plus vital information like:
  • Key customer details
  • Delivery date and time
  • Unique order sequence number
  • Customer remarks
  • Cleaning details
  • Garment description

The tag also includes any special instructions for staff to address while processing the garment.

  1. Order processing — Using the clothing’s barcoding, you or your staff update the garment’s status through order’s processing. You or your staff also generate a delivery note that includes the garments current lot and its delivery date and time. Then, you send the clothing to the workshop for processing.
  2. Garment verification — Having received the garment at the workshop, its manager verifies the count, condition, and garment’s acceptance in the lot. He or she then update the system using the barcode.
  3. Collection center — After the manager or staff member verifies the garment’s processing details, he or she forwards for cleaning. After cleaning, the manager sends the clothing back to the collection center. Staff at the collection center update the garment’s status using the barcode once again.
  4. Pickup/Delivery — The garment is now ready to be picked up by or delivered to the customer. Before giving the garment to the customer, a staff member or the delivery driver scans the bar code one last time. That helps verify that the clothing you’re delivering is going to the right person. If there’s a problem, the barcode system activates a warning signal and rejects the order

As you can see, the clothing is tracked carefully and systematically while in your care. That almost guarantees customers get the right garment back.

 

Innovations in Garment Tracking

The latest innovation in garment tracking is the LED-Assisted Rapid Assembly (LARA) system. It’s ideal for busy dry-cleaning assembly operations. The term “assembly” refers to the identifying, tagging, ordering, and returning of garments.

When combined with a full-featured POS system, LARA minimizes human error, cuts assembly time significantly, and boosts productivity and efficiency. That, in turn, helps increases profitability by delivering exceptional customer service

LARA uses hangers with centrally-located, LED-colored lights. These lights, which indicate where you need to place the garments for processing, stay visible even when the hook holds clothing. The lights also tell you when an order is complete.

The hangers used in this process are made from lightweight, durable material and can withstand years of use. They’re also flexible, so you can adapt them to nearly any space or hold almost any type of garment.

 

Easy to Understand and Implement

LARA is easy to understand and implement. That makes it quicker and easier to train staff on how to use the system correctly and makes for a faster transition from manual operation. That also makes it faster and easier to bring new hires up to speed on the system when the first join, saving you time and money.

Today’s customers expect excellent customer service every time they visit you. And they won’t accept anything less. If you don’t provide it, they won’t hesitate to bolt. Losing a customer’s clothing is hardly the way to deliver epic customer service or deliver exceptional customer experiences.

But investing in a POS software solution with garment tracking takes customer service to the next level. Add in the right marketing tools and a mobile app for scheduling and managing deliveries, and you’ll have everything you need to create an exceptional customer experience—all while cutting costs and boosting profitability.

What is the Best POS Hardware for Your Dry Cleaner

Dry cleaning is a demanding business. To succeed in this business, you must not only put in long hours at a storefront and deal with all kinds of people but also provide quality services and maintain profit margins.

To turn a profit as a dry-cleaner, however, you need to differentiate yourself from competitors, establish a good reputation as a brand, and achieve a competitive advantage. In short, you need to carve out a place in your marketplace.

The key to doing this is by providing exceptional customer service—the kind of customer service that builds trust in local buyers promotes word of mouth advertising and boosts customer loyalty by meeting patrons’ needs and expectations.

Point-of-sale software solutions, like Enlite’s POS, can help you provide that kind of customer service by boosting storefront efficiency and productivity—all while minimizing operating expenses. But POS solutions work best when supported by the right pos hardware.

Must-Have Dry-Cleaning POS Hardware

Below we discuss some of supporting hardware you’ll need to unlock your POS system’s full potential. This equipment can also help you streamline your assembly system and deliver epic customer service—the kind that keeps people coming back again and again.

Personal Computer

Your storefront’s computer is your operations hub. It does the heavy lifting in your storefront by integrating all your software and hardware systems—whether it’s an Apple (OS 10.0 and above) or PC (Windows 10).

PCs come with either mouse- or touchscreen-based input devices. Touch screens offer several advantages over other input devices. The most significant are ease of use and speed.

Touch-screens boost staff productivity and efficiency and help you provide exceptional customer experiences. Plus, they have a smaller footprint than mouse-based personal computers.

Enlite POS on Desktop and Tablet

Tablets and Mobile Devices

These devices boost productivity and efficiency and enhance customer service and account management. They can also help increase profitability when combined with the right POS software solution.

If you choose software like Enlite POS, using a tablet gives you an array of versatility. Use a tablet with a cash drawer and printers instead of a personal computer. You can also combine tablets with personal computers. Using tablets in other parts of your operation is possible. For instance, you could provide tablets to employees assisting in assembly while your front counter is using a personal computer.

Also, you can help you boost customer service by adding a driver mobile app for routing and delivery or a customer mobile app.  Together, they can help you create and add a smooth, seamless routing and delivery process that can boost customer retention.

Enlite Point of Sale

Thermal Printers & Tag Printers

These printers are essential for identifying garments. If you need to print invoices and receipts, a thermal printer will help you accomplish this.

Tag printers use a special ink to print on wet strength paper. Types of tag printers include thermal transfer, direct thermal, and laser. The tags these printers produce help with garment tracking and processing.

Every garment that comes into a storefront gets tagged with critical identification information, like a scheduled delivery date and time, customer remarks, and special instructions.

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Heats-seal machines

Not every dry-cleaner use these machines. Those that do use them for tagging and tracking garments through the dry-cleaning process. Heat sealing is a process of sealing one thermoplastic to another using heat and pressure.

Heat seal machines print iron-on labels with colored tabs, symbols, and barcodes to garments. When combined with POS solution, tagging speeds up invoicing and boosts productivity and efficiency.

Not everyone, however, likes having these labels attached to their clothes. So when deciding to use heat seal, please keep this in mind.

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Hand scanners

These devices help dry-cleaners boost productivity at the retail point of sale and in the storage room. When combined with a POS software solution, scanners help you get customers through the POS faster and more efficiently.

They also help you manage and control inventory and track garments cost-effectively using the barcode label attached to the clothes.

Creating an Affordable Assembly System

One area where this combination of hardware and POS software proves especially useful is during assembly—the identifying, ordering, and returning of customer garments. Executing this process quickly and correctly is among a dry cleaner’s biggest challenges.

If done manually using a tag printer, the assembly process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. Adding an automated conveyor system helps, but that can cost you $30,000 or more. So that solution might not be an option you.

Combining a POS software with the right supporting hardware and garment tracking system, however, can create an affordable assembly solution. This approach boosts productivity and efficiency and takes customer service to the next level and minimizes operating costs.

Dry cleaning can be profitable. Combining the right POS system with the right hardware and a garment tracking solution streamlines assembly, boosts productivity and efficiency and enhances customer service—all while minimizes operating expenses.

 

 

A Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Dry Cleaning Equipment

Learn How to Choose Your Dry Cleaners’ Equipment with this Quick Guide

Want to blow the doors off other dry-cleaners? Then buy the right dry cleaning equipment. It’s the key to providing epic customer service. That, plus a friendly, helpful attitude, generates repeat business that enhances customer service and boosts profitability.

Providing epic customer also generates word of mouth advertising. That’s the best advertising you can get—bar none. Word of mouth is also the top driver of business growth, according to most experts. All that leads to increasing profits.

But buying the right equipment can be a challenge. To do it right, you first need to know what you need. Then you need to make some tough decisions—decisions based on sound judgment and detailed planning.

Below we list the key equipment you’ll need create a topflight dry-cleaning business:

The Right Equipment Pays for Itself

Buying dry-cleaning equipment that’s fast, efficient, and easy to use pays for itself in short order. Among other things, it slashes maintenance costs and equipment downtime—both of which cost you dearly.

Here’s a list the major pieces of dry-cleaning equipment you’ll want:

  • Front-loading commercial washers with advanced features
  • Heavy duty commercial dryers with moisture sensors
  • Commercial steamers with detachable brushes
  • Electric or gas-driven commercial steam boilers
  • Presses for pressing dress materials (gowns, jeans, uniforms)

Other equipment you’ll need includes

If you’re concerned about hurting the environment with dry cleaning chemicals, you can go green. That can not only protect the environment but also cuts costs and boosts profits.

Boost Efficiency and Productivity with POS Software

Another way to boost profits and customer and service is with a point-of-sale software solution. Today’s customers want what they want it when they want it, and how they want it. If you don’t give it to them, they’ll bolt.

POS software helps you compete in today’s hotly contested business environment.  POS software boosts customer service, streamlines operations, and cuts costs.

Key features in a POS system include:

  • Point of sale functionality (heart and soul of POS system)
  • Billing/Invoicing capabilities (makes or breaks POS solution)
  • Customer relationship management tools (brings you closer to customers)
  • Mobility marketing capabilities (critical for reaching today’s customers)
  • Management features (must integrate with other apps)
  • Routing/Delivery capabilities (helps boost profitability)

This short list isn’t exhaustive. Nor was it meant to be. But the features listed above will help you navigate an uncertain environment.

More important, the right feature in a POS system can help you maintain control of your business. Plus, it lets you spend more time helping customers—where your time is best spent.

Leasing or Buying: Which Works Best for You

Once you’ve developed a list of equipment you need, you must decide whether to buy or lease the items. Both leasing and buying equipment have their pros and cons.

Leasing equipment is cost-effective. It works well when starting a business since most startups lack working capital.

But leasing doesn’t work in every case. So, sit down with your accountant or financial person to determine which option works best for you.

Having the right equipment as a dry-cleaner is critical to success. It lets you deliver quality dry-cleaning and epic customer service every time.

Doing those things can help you blow the doors off of your competitors, boost profits, and enjoy business growth.

Reach Local Customers by Using Instagram for Your Dry Cleaners Business

Know what the secret is to using Instagram effectively? It’s not generating followers.  Nor is it sharing tons of photos and videos daily.

The secret to using Instagram to promote your business is engagement. Plain and simple. You need to add content to your site that engages followers. That generates business for your storefront.

It’s also what drives conversions and sales. And it boosts profitability.

But adding content that engages is easier said than done—especially now that Instagram has broadened its horizons as a platform to make it a more “immersive shopping experience.”

Despite its changes, Instagram is still a site that can help you promote your dry cleaners if you engage your followers with the right content.

Not Just Another Social Website

Instagram isn’t just another social media website. It’s a powerful way to build your brand’s reputation and promote more business for your storefront.

Here are some eye-opening Instagram stats:

  • 1+ billion users
  • 500 million daily users
  • Instagram users “like” over 4.2 billion posts daily
  • Instagrammers share 95 posts per day
  • 25 billion business profiles on Instagram
  • 80% percent of users follow a business on Instagram
  • Top brands post 4.9 times per week

Clearly, Instagram users engage with the social media website. Plus, people are spending more and more time on Instagram—thanks in large part to Instagram stories.

Many of these users are young (59% in the U.S. are under 30) and many have deep pockets with a willingness to spend their money.

But what separates Instagram from other social media sites as a business tool are its emphasis on feeding our appetites for images and video, fits our mobile lifestyles, and posting is fast.

More importantly, Instagram keeps things simple and is fast and fun to explore, research, follow, and connect with people, topics, and businesses that peak your interest.

Participate, Participate, Participate

Instagram is a community. So posting images and videos is only the first step in taking advantage of the platform. To engage Instagram users you need to participate in the online community.

In other words, you need to follow influencers and other brands, actively join in conversations with other members, and respond to questions, praises, and concerns in the comment section of your posts.

In short, you need to show you’re a reputable member of the community. Put simply, you need to engage your community.

Create a Plan and Follow It

The other key to using Instagram to reach local customers is to have a plan and follow it. Once you put your strategy in place, it doesn’t take much to keep it going.

That’s great news for you. Instagram’s ease of use leaves you time to focus on other critical activities at your dry cleaners, like customer service.

Below are some ways you can use Instagram to generate more customers for your business:

  • Repost local content routinely to strengthen reputation. Key on local followers, local events, and other local followers
  • Maintain a consistent brand identity across Instagram and all your other social media platforms you may be using
  • Avoid blanket postings unless it’s a new service or local event. In other words, don’t post the same message across platforms.
  • Show your organization’s local lifestyle. In other words, show the lifestyle customers lead after using your services.
  • Follow the latest trends especially holidays, but also use other topics whose popularity you can leverage.
  • Key on local hashtags, which are like keywords in Instagram. This effort lets people in your area find your posts through area-specific content.
  • Include a link to your Instagram bio. In fact, your bio is the only space on the platform that lets you do that. Capitalize on it.
  • Offer professional, creative content. Invest in a high-quality camera and uses it. Or, if necessary, use a professional photographer
  • Geotag individual posts with a location but not your exact business location. It gives the sense that your business is an active community participant.
  • Track and measure your efforts constantly. That way you can stay on top of consumer trends and changes in behavior in an area.

Use the trends discussed above to help build engagement with your Instagram profile. Creating engagement is the secret to succeeding with this social media platform. That, in turn, will boost business at your dry cleaners.

Green Dry Cleaning Protects Environment and Boosts Profits

Taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility. But if you’re using the traditional dry-cleaning method in your business, you could be harming the environment. That’s because the method uses a harsh, carcinogenic chemical that harms the environment. Going green at your business, however, helps protect the environment while still serving your customers well.

Going green is a sound investment. It can result in huge savings for your business, which you can re-invest in it or take as profits. What’s more, going green differentiates you from other dry-cleaners, providing you with a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. In other words, going green can help you achieve your organization’s marketing goals.

Going Green Still Maintains Quality

Going green doesn’t mean, however, that you have to sacrifice quality for profits. Your customer’s clothes will still come out looking clean and beautiful. Nor does it mean you have to change the level of service you provide. You can still offer top notch service, with the ability to clean delicate fabrics such as silks, leather, suede, dainty trims, and heirloom fabrics.

But going green is a big decision. It requires a full commitment to the strategy if you’re going to adopt it. It also requires you make changes at your storefront that can transform how you do business. Going green can be just what the doctor ordered if you’re looking to take your business to the next level.

What is Green Dry-Cleaning?

Green dry cleaning refers to any process that doesn’t use perchloroethylene or “perc” to clean clothes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers this chemical both a health hazard and an environmental danger.

The EPA regulates perc closely and encourages businesses to use more environmentally friendly dry-cleaning methods. The most popular methods of green dry-cleaning include:

Wet cleaning

A gentler version of home laundering, this dry-cleaning method is the only one that doesn’t use perc in its process. Instead, it uses water and specialized detergents milder than home products to clean clothes.

In addition to not using harsh chemicals, this dry-cleaning method doesn’t contaminate water or soils, generate hazardous waste, or pollute the air. Dry cleaners using this method take extra care to treat stains before and after cleaning.

Liquid Carbon Dioxide Cleaning

This dry-cleaning method combines detergent with liquid carbon dioxide (C02) as the cleaning solvent. Manufacturers place the nonflammable gas under pressure to produce a solvent to lean clothes. After the clothes are cleaned, the liquid C02 is pumped back into a holding tank for reuse.

This method is extremely environmentally friendly. That’s because the C02 is captured as a by-product of an existing industrial process. Plus, only three percent of the CO2 used is lost to the air with each load of clothing, minimizing its environmental impact. The process also uses less energy than traditional methods, but machines using this process can be expensive.

Silicon-based solvent

Also known as the Green Earth cleaning method, this process replaces perc with liquified sand (Si02), which functions as a silicon-based solvent siloxane or D-5. T When discarded it breaks down into and, water, and carbon dioxide.

No chemicals touch your clothes with this process, but the manufacturing of the solvent uses chlorine. That produces the carcinogen dioxin during the production process. Otherwise, the method is very environmentally friendly.

The green dry-cleaning movement using the processes described above is picking up steam and will continue to do so for the immediate future.

Low Operating Costs, High-Profit Margins

Green dry-cleaners generally have low operating costs but high-profit margins. That makes green dry cleaning a good investment for established dry-cleaners, small business owners, and savvy entrepreneurs looking to invest in a new opportunity.

Plus, dry-cleaning storefronts have fixed hours. That minimizes operating costs, which includes the extra cost—and headache— of hiring employees. If you’re starting from scratch and have to buy equipment, you might not see a profit right away.

What’s more, you can offer auxiliary services, like tailoring, clothing repair, clothing preservation, and pick-up and drop-off service, to attract customers. Combine these services with rewards for a loyalty program, and you have the tools you need to build a solid—and profitable—customer base.

Taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility. So, If you’re an established dry-cleaner concerned about the impact you’re making on the environment, or you’re looking for a way to differentiate yourself from competitors, green dry-cleaning could be just what the doctor ordered. It’s also a great opportunity if you’re an entrepreneur looking for a profitable investment.