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Route Building: Let it Revvvv (Part 2)

Regularly adding new accounts is key to route success: LaCarte

CHARLEROI, Pa. — Drycleaning business owner Dan LaCarte and his four brothers built a going route service within their operation, and its intake is a big-block chunk of revenue. It’s time to talk all things routes. Let’s get your motor revved and runnin’ with a straight-up, both hands on the wheel, supercharged Q&A with the president of Model Cleaners.

Let’s find out how they ramped it up, and plan to keep it cruising, because adding new route clients is the ignition to cranking up a thriving route business. Now, revvv up for Part 2 of our conversation!

Q: When you got into routes, did you know how much volume you needed to be profitable?

LaCarte: “Back in 2004, we just knew we needed to add new route customers each week to help us be successful. I remember then we would be happy to sign up 10 new route customers per week. As you grow, goals tend to change.

“For the past 15 years, we have been successful with routes, having a dedicated route salesperson knocking on doors and talking with prospective customers. We would have a crew of three dedicated sales reps talking to over 450 people per week about our services.

“Lately, we have seen technology enhancements change the way we actively sell our route services. With privacy concerns and an app out there like the Ring app, which lets a person monitor their home from their smartphone, it is becoming harder to just have a crew of route sales reps knocking on doors. We have to be more refined in our approach than ever before. We have to be more strategic and targeted in our sales approach than ever before.”

Model Cleaners doesn’t have as many sales reps as it once did. It does have a focused sales rep to call on new homeowners, new apartments, trendy businesses and wholesale opportunities that exist in its market.

“We spend a tremendous amount on Google AdWords [an advertising system in which buyers bid on certain keywords in order for their clickable ads to appear], and testing and refining our website to get more route customers to sign up via our website,” LaCarte explains. “We also use our social media platforms to enhance our route services as well.”

He says the best thing one can do is to make their trucks look great out on the road, adding that “no better marketing dollar can be spent.”

“In 2004, we were lucky to get three to five customers a month to sign up for route services,” recalls LaCarte. “Today, we get over 50-60 customers per month signing up for our route services, which is good news. We continue to sell route service in our stores and on our website. It is a focus of ours. Our goal is have an operation with 60% of our total revenue being routes.”

LaCarte says his company’s research has shown that a route customer spends, on average, $814 per year with Model Cleaners and remains a customer for 7.51 years. In comparison, a store customer spends, on average, $112 per year and remains a customer for 1.81 years.

“So, which type of customer would you choose to have?” he asks.

Check back Tuesday for the conclusion!

Route Building: Let it Revvvv

An unidentified route driver brings a route order back to the Model Cleaners operation for cleaning. (Photo: Model Cleaners)

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].