CHICAGO — Dry cleaners polled by American Drycleaner feel confident about the service they provide, with 62.7% saying their overall service quality is “much better” than that of their competitors, according to the results of this month’s unscientific Your Views survey.
Some 28% say their quality is “somewhat better,” 5.1% say it is “slightly better,” and 4.2% say their service quality is “about the same” as that of their competitors.
No one who took the survey regarded their service quality as being “slightly worse,” “somewhat worse” or “much worse.”
Regarding how professional they believe their service to be, more than half of dry cleaners polled (54.2%) say their business is “very professional.” Approximately 28% called their operation “extremely professional” and another 18.3% say theirs is “moderately professional.” No one who took the survey described their drycleaning business as “slightly professional” or “not at all professional.”
The majority of dry cleaners also feel that their business is “very convenient” for customers (46.7%), while close to 41% of respondents say that they are “extremely convenient.”
In terms of pricing, many dry cleaners say that their prices are about the same as their competitors (29.1%), while 19.7% say they are “somewhat more reasonable,” 9.4% see them as “much more reasonable,” and 8.5% describe them as “slightly more reasonable.”
Others say that they charge more: 15.4% are “slightly less reasonable,” 12% are “somewhat less reasonable,” and 6% are “much less reasonable.”
Regarding the performance of their employees, the majority of dry cleaners polled (44.2%) are “moderately satisfied” (44.2%). Approximately 28% are “extremely satisfied,” and 11.7% are “slightly satisfied.”
Only small percentages say they are “slightly dissatisfied” (7.5%) or “moderately dissatisfied” (2.5%) with their staff.
While some operators say that employee education and training is essential in improving business, some believe that a “better pool of workers” is what is needed. “Our area has a shortage of people looking for work,” says one respondent. “We cannot weed out bad employees because nobody [is] able to replace them.”
Other operators say that upgrading equipment is what they need to improve business, while others believe that knowing the true value of their service is key. “Lack of costs and pricing strategies cause uneducated owners to charge less than the products cost to produce,” says one operator. “This business can’t survive as a ‘lowest cost provider competition.’ Our industry has to adopt a quality and service model to increase prices to a level we can be profitable.”
“Too many dry cleaners think they have to lower their prices to drive revenue,” says another. “This is both counterintuitive and foolhardy. You need to charge a fair price for the service you offer.”
While American Drycleaner’s Your Views survey presents a snapshot of the trade audience’s viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Subscribers to American Drycleaner e-mails are invited each month to participate in a brief industry survey they can complete anonymously.
The entire American Drycleaner audience is encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define owner/operator opinions and industry trends.