National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Build a route sales presentation
Do April showers bring May flowers? April was always the start of my busiest quarter. The first quarter was my slowest and then the second quarter made up for it.
Are your sales ahead of last year? Are your profits up from last year? If not, you are not
operating your business correctly.
William Feather was an author and publisher who is no longer with us. He made the following statement, “No man who is enjoying life is a failure.”
If your business is not growing, and you are not making money, the only excuse you have is you are enjoying your life. If you are not enjoying your life, you need help.
I received a telephone call from a business owner who wants to expand his route business by contacting companies and picking up and delivering employees’ clothing. He asked me how to go about doing this. He has hired an outside salesperson to approach the various businesses and wanted to know how to approach the companies.
That is a lot of free information, so I told him I would write an article about this process. It would explain how to handle the whole thing.
Before I commence with the information, I want you to know that I feel dealing with a consumer at their home is a much better way of increasing route sales. The reason for this is the average person will not want to carry all of their cleaning and laundry to their workplace.
Step number-one is to purchase business cards for the outside sales representative. I also suggest a cell phone for this person.
Depending on the size of the company, I recommend the salesperson approach the human resources department to determine if the company has an employee newsletter. I did this with Sony Studios in Culver City. I offered a 20 percent discount to all Sony employees; however, they would have to present their company identification if they came into one of my brick-and-mortar locations.
What needs to be arranged with a company is a storage area for the employees to put their clothing into and for the driver to deliver the clothing. You will need a customer information card requesting the employee’s credit card number to pay for the work that you perform. Finally, you will need a sales presentation for the person calling on the businesses.
To make a good impression, create a presentation that will be used on an iPad. In years gone by a loose leaf binder would be used. Stay ahead of the majority of drycleaning companies and use an iPad or tablet to do presentations, whether they are at residential or business locations.
When the sales representative walks into a company, the first impression is everything. Well dressed, well groomed and personable describes this representative. If you would not use this person at your counter, do not have this person calling on potential clients.
The theme of this meeting is how the company and its employees will benefit by having you pick up and deliver clothing. Some of the employees may already be customers so they will now get a 20 percent discount, or whatever amount you determine to be appropriate.
A sample presentation
What goes into the presentation on the iPad is the following information.
You want to blow your horn on the first page — who you are and how long you have been in business.
The next page or two will tell what you do to differ from other cleaners. The following is part of the presentation I created for my company. The title was, “We Have a Nine Point Program that Features Eight Careful Inspections.”
Careful examination prior to the cleaning of your garments includes checking the fabric type, weave, dye and the special instruction label. We look for spots or any unusual condition of your clothing (first inspection).
Stain removal using water vapor and special agents to treat the spots prior to cleaning (second inspection).
Sorting garments in appropriate groups before cleaning so they are treated per the label’s instructions (third inspection).
Drycleaning with a non-toxic environmentally friendly solution. We  added Sanitone detergent in our cleaning process because it left garments odor-free and also because it is endorsed by garment designers, manufacturers and retailers.
Restoring sizing (sizing is the product that gives your clothes the new feel and finish) and waterproofing if needed (fourth inspection).
Inspection after dry-cleaning to be certain no stain remains prior to finishing (fifth inspection).
Finishing by hand-pressing to insure a quality look and feel. Your garments will be crisp and fresh, just like new (sixth inspection).
Quality checking! Finally we examine your clothes under special lighting to make sure they are perfect. When you take your garment out of the bag you know you can put it on with the confidence that the stains are gone, an open seam has been sewn or a missing button replaced (seventh inspection).
Packaging for protection to make sure your garment arrives home ready to wear (eighth and final inspection).
The next section will tell about the services that you perform. Be certain to include all your services no matter how small a percentage of sales they are. Remember, you want to be a do-it-all drycleaning business.
The last section of the presentation will answer the 10 most common questions by a consumer who has never had route service. I used the following questions in my route presentation.
Q. Do you charge extra for pick up and delivery service?
No, pick up and delivery is free.
Q. Where do you pick up and drop off my clothing?
A. We will pick up or deliver to your home or office. You can designate a special place or area if you aren’t at home.
Q. What do I put my clothing and household items in?
A. XYZ Cleaners will give you as many bags as you need for your drycleaning, laundry, blankets or bedspreads.
Q. What time and day will your representative visit me?
A. Our representative will visit you at an agreed upon time that is convenient for you. We usually come to the home or office two days each week.
Q. How about special requests?
A. Simply let our representative know whether you like starch, shirts on hangers or in a box. No request is too small for us to accommodate.
Q. Do you do alterations or small repairs?
A. Of course we do. In fact, we will bring a tailor or seamstress to your home or office for a private fitting.
Q. Does your representative leave a receipt?
A. No, if you need a record of what you put into your garment bag, please request an inventory form from our representative.
Q. How do I pay for your door to door service?
A. Credit cards are the easiest way to pay. We will charge your card twice each month. As a bonus, XYZ Cleaners will award one American Airlines air mile for every dollar you spend in a calendar year. Of course checks or cash is acceptable.
Q. Do you recycle?
A. We will provide you with a XYZ Cleaners hanger caddy at no charge. Fill it up and give it to your route representative and a new one will be provided. All other products are recycled to meet or exceed industry standards.
Q. What do I do if I have a problem?
A. If your representative cannot solve your problem, you can call our sales manager at our toll free number, 1-800-555-5555. If you wish, you can use our web site, and send an email and we will respond within 24 hours.
With this ammunition at your disposal, you should be able to create a sales presentation that will knock the socks off anyone your representative approaches. When I managed the routes for my company, the routes grew at an annual rate of 20+ percent — more than $150,000 per year. Have fun creating your own presentation. You will get a lot of satisfaction from it.

Harvey Gershenson operates Sterling Drycleaning Consulting and is a former owner of Sterling Dry Cleaners. A second-generation drycleaner, he has been in the industry since he was in high school. He has served as president of the Cleaners and Dyers Guild of Los Angeles and has served on the boards of directors of the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute and the California Cleaners Association. He is also a guest lecturer for the California Department of Corrections. He can be reached by e-mail at or phone at (310) 261-2623. His web site is