Cash Free, and Loving It (Conclusion)

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(Photo: Freddie Collins/Unsplash)

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Brian Butler (right), president/CEO of Columbus, Ohio-based Dublin Cleaners, with his parents. (Photo: Dublin Cleaners)

Tim Burke |

Opening and closing far less stressful, business exec says

CHICAGO — “Cash is king!”

Or so the saying goes. But perhaps the saying itself is the one that has to go. Cash-free businesses are a reality and growing. And the cashless system of doing business has now arrived in our drycleaning world.

“We took the first two pilot stores cash-free in November of 2017. The rest followed after New Year’s Day 2018. Our cash, as a type of tender, businesswide, was 1.8% of sales.”

Meet Brian Butler, president and CEO of Dublin Cleaners, located in the greater Columbus, Ohio, area.

Some drycleaning businesses may have much higher cash sales percentages, he points out, saying, “I’ve heard as much as 25%. If that were my case, I’d never have done this because clearly cash is important to that customer base.

“My personal feeling is that anything under 10% is within range of making this change, and anything under 5% for sure.”

Butler runs the three-generation company that recently turned 84 years old and relates that it has “a great bridal and specialty business along with our six stores and 14 routes throughout the area.”

He relates that his drycleaning business had such a low percentage of cash sales that if the cash-only customers left, it’d hardly feel it. “We wanted to retain them, so we were careful to only stop keeping change in just a couple stores for six weeks,” Butler notes.

He and his team learned the right ways to express why they were doing this, so that when they rolled it out to every store, the others could be prepared.

“I put my personal desk phone number on a note on all the store counters so the CSRs could tell them I was happy to hear their feelings if they were upset,” he says. To date, Butler says he’s spoken with about five customers, and the gift card idea was just fine with all of them.

For drycleaning owners and operators who might be thinking of going this cash-free route, Butler has a few tips.

He thinks it’s important to be prepared with a script so your message is clear to customers.

He says to have contact information available if customers want to express their feelings.

“Many simply pulled out a credit card and just got with the program,” he says.

“A few let me know they didn’t like it, but nothing we ever change will please 100%. We have to make the changes that reduce costs and mistakes in our business. A few hold-outs just can’t stand in the way of that.”

So you’re cash-free now. It’s been a few months. Anything to share? If cash is no longer gonna be king, what is?

“The silver lining is that the CSR error and occasional temptation of cash theft is now also eliminated, but the savings of time is the greatest,” Butler says.

“Opening and closing is substantially faster and less stressful from when they had to worry about getting it to balance before they could go home.

“The CSRs love the cash being gone; it was a stress and hassle to them and a labor cost to the business.”

For one drycleaning operation in Ohio, labor cost and stress are much lower today and the savings of time is the greatest thing of all, now that cash-free reigns!

To read Part 1, go HERE.

About the author

Tim Burke

American Drycleaner

Editor

Tim Burke is the editor of American Drycleaner. He can be reached at 312-361-1684 or tburke@atmags.com.

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