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Survey: More Than Half of Dry Cleaners Consider Extra Profit Centers ‘Necessity’

CHICAGO — “Alterations, repairs and tailoring” leads the pack of extra profit centers that dry cleaners turn to for increased sales, according to data from this month’s American Drycleaner Wire survey. Every cleaner who responded to the anonymous, unscientific survey reported offering these services.

Also popular is “specialty care for gowns, leathers, etc.,” offered by 90% of respondents, and “household cleaning services for rugs, drapes or furniture,” offered by 55%.

Half of the respondents offer “restoration services for damaged textiles,” and 45% offer “delivery options such as route service or 24/7 access.” Only a quarter of respondents offer “coin-op or wash-and-fold laundry service,” and 15% offer “other” types of added services (respondents mentioned shoe repair and wholesale services to specific trades, for example).

More than half of dry cleaners believe that adding extra services has become “a necessity to remain profitable” (55%), while 40% believe that it is not. A small share (5%) remains unsure.

And despite the majority of cleaners already offering added services, this popular sentiment has many cleaners still looking to explore other profitable avenues. Roughly 67% are looking to add delivery options, while equal shares of 33% would like to offer specialty care for gowns, leathers, etc.; restoration services; and other services such as “drapery outside services.”

While one dry cleaner pondered the “costs to establish” extra profit centers, many believe that the payoff is well worth the “additional investment and ongoing related costs” (70%). Only 5% believe that extra profit centers are not worth the additional investment, while 25% are unsure.

One respondent believes that not much can be done to resolve the industry's profit problems. “I see the issue of profits to be beyond recovery,” the cleaner says. “Patrons no longer have available monies for luxuries (like dry cleaning)…This industry can no longer increase charges, because the consumer no longer has money available.”

Another cleaner looked to recent fashion trends as to what can save the industry. “Higher-end clothing is the present and the future of dry cleaning,” the person says. “Formals and fancy pieces are what we have seen increases in over the last few years.”

While American Drycleaner’s Wire survey presents a snapshot of the audience’s viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—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] .