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Summer Slowdown

Dry cleaners tell how they overcome the summer slump

CHICAGO — When asked in this August 2019 American Drycleaner Your Views survey to tell us: “Does your drycleaning business have a summer slowdown?” Here is how respondents answered:

Thirty-four percent say, “Yes, painfully so!”

Twenty percent answer, “Yes, but not significantly.” Twenty-four percent relate, “Slight dip but we’re used to it.”

Seven percent indicate, “Not really at all.” And 15% exclaim: “We do fine in summertime!” See graphic.

The survey then asks: “How do you overcome the annual ‘summer slump’ in sales at your dry cleaner?” Respondents reveal:

• “Wedding gown and new business development.”

• “Keep extra cash flow in the separate account.”

• “We do not lay anyone off, but we have to cut back.”

• “We all need time away from our four walls. With people on vacation, we keep busy.”

• “Our summer mix of clothes varies greatly with our winter mix. During summer we have greater amounts of cotton, linen, silk, and other lightweight fabrics to process. Household items also increase in volume.”

• “We let our employees have vacations during the summer months.”

• “Try to find cleaning projects during summer for fill in. Examples: Choir robes from churches; school organizations; uniform cleaning.”

• “We do wash ‘n’ fold for a local campground that rents furnished cabins by a local lake. It gives us an additional $500-$1,000 per week in extra sales. It’s more profitable than our regular drycleaning business.”

• “Store acorns for the summer, and hotel accounts.”

• “I shoot skeet.”

The survey also asks: “On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 strongest), how do you rate your summer sales and revenue?” Many respondents indicated a “5” but several put “8” or even “10.” One saying: “I stay aggressive.”

The survey then asks: “Many drycleaning owners use summer’s slow time for vacations. What do you and your team do during summer?”

Respondents relate:

• “Work harder!!!”

• “I take a week to host my adult children at a condo in Myrtle Beach.”

• “Vacations and catch our breath before fall.”

Lastly, the survey asks: “Do you throw an annual summer employee party?”

• “At the end of the summer season we throw a party.”

• “Yes. BBQ. Ice cream truck. Weekly lunches.”

• “We always have a summer outing for everyone and their families. Usually 75-100 people.”

• “We have an annual employee picnic in September and are planning our first annual family bowling party.”

The Your Views survey offers a current snapshot of the trade audience’s views. Qualified subscribers to American Drycleaner e-mails are invited to participate anonymously in the unscientific poll.