National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Where were you in 2012?
This year marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic while many believe that the Mayan calendar will signal the end of the world.
James Peuster
The year 2012 will also be known as the year that many drycleaners got into the pick-up and delivery business for many different reasons. Others bumped up their efforts by focusing more on route development while others became more determined to ensure stability for years to come.
The remaining cleaners who still do not do routes will find themselves in a quandary to either get started or remain in the hope that it will all turnaround, which seriously limits their chance to grow.
Sure, I love promoting routes since it is my business, but The Route Pro’s success is largely due to cleaners’ need to do routes right. As we wind down another year, I want to once again communicate what many of you should consider as the 21st century continues into 2013.
First of all, many of you have been in survival mode the past few years and are simply basing your fate on hope — the hope that the economy returns or your competition fades away. With routes, you can regain your lost customers and attract new ones.
If the economy rebuilds and customers spend more on drycleaning, you’ll win both. However, we are in competition with so many other variables that you should desire to gain business by gaining new customers.
Surviving day-to-day, week-to-week or even year-to-year is not a pattern you want to be in. Just dabbling in the delivery business is not good enough. Customers are not jumping in front of vans asking about the service. You must go after them.
Second, for those who are striving to do routes, it may mean that you have to take it to the next level. If your van is generating $1,500 to $2,500 a week, that’s good for you but great for your competition. They are watching you just barely make a buck and hope you stay there.
You might be comfortable, but not as profitable as you should and could be. 2013 should be the year to grow and, yes, it will take an investment of time and money on your part.
I don’t know how many calls I get asking about advice on how to grow without spending much money. For those cleaners, their best bet is to close up shop and let the 21st century drycleaners move on. With the industry fluctuating up and down, your goal should be to always be moving forward. Striving with just one van, a part-time driver, limited marketing and a lack of vision is where many cleaners are. The time is now to reverse your mindset and get to where you need a second van.
Third, those who are thriving… good for you. It takes a continuous effort in all facets of the route business to ensure success. It is awesome that we get the privilege to work with many successful cleaners.
The sad thing is, I have seen operators in this position before. They grow to three or more vans only to get comfortable and eventually take a few steps back. Some of the best cleaners with successful routes 10 years ago are making less money today. Again, commitment to continual growth is the main ingredient to success. It sounds too simple, but many cleaners look at costs without focusing on growth.
Looking ahead to 2013
Depending on where you are at, I can honestly say that many more routes are coming out of the woodwork and infiltrating our industry. There appears to be a return of non-brick and mortar route drivers taking away market share from many cleaners. Yes, it is competition no matter how big or small you are.
Also, many business brokers prefer to purchase only cleaners with routes. In fact, some have only purchased routes and not stores. Even Tide is looking at doing routes in 2013, and look at the awareness they brought in the past few years.
Your mission, and you should choose to accept it, is to determine where you want to be this time next year.
Sure, every article is somewhat of an infomercial for The Route Pro (www.theroutepro.com or (877) 377-6883), but now is the time to start doing routes right or not at all. This is the motto we adopted four years ago and it still rings true today.
Times have changed, customer spending habits have changed, marketing is changing, but the biggest question is have you?
NavBar
James Peuster offers onsite training and all aspects of routes. Management, marketing and maintenance are all key components in developing a million-dollar route.  You can listen to his radio programs on www.theroutepro.com.
He can be contacted at (816) 739-2066 or james@theroutepro.com.
Hanger