Laundry Pickup & Delivery 101

So you want to make more money.

You’ve made the investment in equipment. You’re writing the rent checks. You’re paying the utilities. And if your store is attended, you’re covering payroll. And yet despite the free wifi, the free popcorn, the free you-name-it… Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Tumbleweeds. Crickets. And machines that aren’t turning are machines that aren’t earning.

It takes money to make money (except when it doesn’t*)

Here’s the good news: all of that idle capacity is an opportunity not a liability. By starting a pickup and delivery operation you can turn those Mondays into Saturdays and Sundays and maximize the revenue generating potential of the equipment you already own. With a well-managed, mature pickup and delivery operation leveraging your existing infrastructure you can conservatively increase your store’s revenue by 50K, 75K, 100K (or more) per year.

What’s the catch?

It’s true that there’s no magic bullet but we can offer a proven recipe. You have to commit to providing not just excellent customer service but a great customer experience (which means more than doing laundry well). You have to go to the customers. You have to promote. You have to execute efficiently.

Presentation is everything.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten. Ten seconds. That’s about how long you have to convince a potential customer that you can be trusted with their favorite pair of jeans. So the web site that your college-aged nephew made for you when he was in Middle School is probably not going to help your cause. The first “touch” with a customer is critical. Your site needs to project professionalism and inspire confidence. At a bare minimum it needs to be “responsive”, meaning it works equally well on any device (but most critically on a phone).

Don’t get Yelped.

You’ve gotten them in the “door.” Great. You’ve passed the first test but your work is far from done. To paraphrase The Carpenters, “it’s only just begun.” From here on your goal is to keep your customers happy. But don’t worry; it’s easier than you think. Because the only thing that can make happy customers unhappy is you. And an unhappy customer – especially one with a social media hair trigger – is your worst nightmare. It takes ten great reviews to undo the damage of a bad one. And human nature being what it is, a frustrated customer is far more likely to take to the airwaves to vent than one who’s satisfied to praise. You will make mistakes. We all do. The trick is to have the tools and policies in place to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. Some damage can never be undone but nine times out of ten with a good faith effort – and amends – forgiveness follows.

If you’re relying on Excel, you’ll never excel. 

Yes, Springboard is a software company but it was born in a Laundromat – a Laundromat like so many others suffering from the curse of idle capacity. Picking up and delivering laundry was not part of our original plan. But after a few too many “peaceful” Monday/Tuesday/Wednesdays we realized that if we wanted more customers we were going to have to go to them. And so we fired up Excel, got out the Post-its and our free Chamber of Commerce wall calendar and started building an empire. Our low tech solution was good enough to serve as a “proof of concept” – the need for the service was there but the margins weren’t. We alienated customers as fast as we added them because, as it turns out, you can’t build an empire with stickie notes and a spreadsheet. You can barely keep your heads above water. So we went all in and started building the tools that today we call Springboard. Five years and many hard lessons learned the Laundromat’s doing great, but the revenue generated by HappyNest, our pickup and delivery business, eclipses that realized by the store.

Cast the net wider and fish where the fish are.

What we’ve discovered is that very few of our customers use HappyNest because, strictly speaking, they have to. They use it because they choose to. They prioritized their lives and America’s second most hated chore did not make the cut. They’re not customers who under any circumstances – no matter how fresh the popcorn! – would be walking into our store. But when presented with the opportunity to entrust their clothes to a company that promised unparalleled quality and a confidence inspiring user experience, they gladly did so. And they continue to because having the right tools, the right processes, and the right philosophy helps us earn their allegiance every day.

What’s the takeaway? 

In short, a pickup and delivery operation – one with or without dry cleaning – represents a tremendous opportunity to solve your biggest problem while significantly adding to your bottom line – but an opportunity that can be quickly squandered or never fully realized without the right tools in place.

We’re not the only game in town but we think we’re the best. If you’re interested in a demo just fill out this very short form or shoot us an email. We’d be more than happy to walk you through it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed.