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Survey: Dry Cleaners Go Commercial for Hotel/Motel Accounts

CHICAGO — More and more dry cleaners are deciding to process commercial accounts, with the majority of operators (77.1%) saying they handle hotel/motel guest dry cleaning at their plant, according to results in this month’s American Drycleaner Your Views survey.

Roughly 37% say they provide uniform/workwear services; 25.7% process restaurant/foodservice linens; equal shares of 17.1% handle catering service linens or healthcare linens; 14.3% process hotel/motel linens and napery; and roughly 23% process “other” commercial accounts, like government contracts and bulk dry cleaning.

The majority of dry cleaners surveyed (71.2%) say they do not plan on adding any commercial services and/or expanding existing commercial capacity in the next year, while roughly 15% say they have such plans; 13.6% are “not sure.”

One dry cleaner says 100% of his/her operation’s profits and gross sales come from processing commercial accounts.

Others reported a range of as low as 1%, to as high as 25%, of their operation’s profits coming from processing commercial accounts.

Dry cleaners surveyed say as little as 1% of their gross sales, to as much as 35%, come from processing commercial accounts.

Many dry cleaners say the biggest challenge in handling commercial accounts is meeting the fast turnaround requirements set by customers.

“[Customers] want very fast turnaround, meaning they only have so much inventory to work with, and haven’t bought any more stock,” one says.

“Turnaround needs to be fast [and there is] lack of capacity to handle the volume,” says another.

While others say they are most challenged by the inconsistent workload, another says “differing equipment and processing needs” are another difficult aspect of handling commercial services.

While American Drycleaner’s Your Views survey presents a snapshot of the trade audience’s viewpoints, it should not be considered scientific. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.

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.

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