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Survey: Majority of Dry Cleaners Hands-On with ‘Most’ Maintenance

CHICAGO — To ensure their drycleaning operation is running like a well-oiled machine, the majority of dry cleaners (47.3%) say they do “most” of their plant’s basic maintenance tasks themselves, according to results in this month’s American Drycleaner Your Views survey.

Almost 15% of respondents say they do “all” basic maintenance themselves, while roughly a quarter say they do “little,” and 12.2% say they do “none” of the basic maintenance tasks on their own.

Some dry cleaners perform minimal upkeep, like changing filters on a machine, while some are more hands-on.

“I have a degree in manufacturing maintenance [so] I do 95% of all my own work,” says one dry cleaner.

“I do all routine maintenance on all equipment, plus I do all emergency maintenance … except when it involves refrigeration or new wiring,” says another.

While some dry cleaners perform all maintenance tasks at their operation, others turn to a professional, factory or distributor repair technician for help, with the majority (45.8%) rating their experience as “good,” in that the technician “gets things working most of the time.”

Close to 35% say they usually have a “fair” experience working with a professional technician, while 19.4% say they’ve had “great” experiences. No respondents reported having a “poor” experience with a professional technician.

An even 63% of respondents say they have no formal, written maintenance schedule for their plant, while 37% say they have one in place.

“Routine maintenance and required maintenance logs are crucial to a successful drycleaning operation,” one dry cleaner says, with the majority stressing the importance of self-reliance when it comes to performing basic maintenance tasks.

“A new plant owner would be well served by creating a detailed inventory of his/her equipment … and create a maintenance schedule to ensure you get around to servicing each piece of equipment on a regular basis,” one dry cleaner advises. “When you perform maintenance, log it in some way so you have some track record of service and work performed.”

“Get your hands dirty, take notes and get to know the factory technicians,” says another. “Many times, they can talk you through a problem without paying for a service call.”

Another dry cleaner agreed, saying, “Learn to do much of [maintenance] yourself as possible, but seek professional advice/help often. You should build relationships with other cleaners so you have a group of operators to draw knowledge from.”

While American Drycleaner’s Your Views survey presents a snapshot of the trade audience’s viewpoints, 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.

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