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Survey: Plenty of Stressors for Drycleaners; Many Involve Employees

CHICAGO — There are plenty of things that cause a drycleaner’s blood pressure to rise, and many of them—based on the results of July’s unscientific Wire survey—have to do with employees.

Of the specific stress inducers we asked about, respondents find the failure of a drycleaning machine during a busy time most stressful. More than 76% said such an event causes their blood pressure to “soar” (27.5%) or “rise a bit” (48.8%).

Fifty percent become stressed when a new drycleaner opens nearby, and 41.3% feel the pressure when they have to negotiate with their landlord.

Least stressful among the scenarios we presented is the front-counter attendant who starts showing up late or missing shifts. More than 50% said this is rarely or never a concern.

But when drycleaners were asked to name the single drycleaning-management issue that causes them the most stress, nearly half of their wide-ranging responses were related to their employees.

Having a bad attitude, stealing, poor customer relations, absenteeism, job performance and quitting without notice are just some of the actions that contribute to an owner’s stress.

“Trying to hire a good employee, and employee absences, are a big concern,” wrote one respondent. “Any time we’re not able to finish garments as promised, due to employee absences or equipment breakdowns, that adds additional stress to running and maintaining a drycleaning business.”

Unreasonable customer expectations, poor sales/cash flow, landlord relations and equipment issues were also mentioned among the top stressors.

Subscribers to Wire e-mails—distributed twice weekly—are invited to take a brief industry survey anonymously online each month. All drycleaners are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and industry trends.

To sign up for the Wire, click the “Subscriptions” button at the top of this page and follow the instructions.

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