National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Get acclimated to the 21st century
As you may know, the 21st century customers’ needs have changed drastically in the past 10 years but many cleaners haven’t made the proper adjustments to ensure growth.
Some need a complete business model change while others may only need small changes, but those changes will produce big results.
James Peuster
The sad thing is that many drycleaners are holding on to the false hope that things will go back to the way they were. How is that working for them?
Customers’ habits, needs, choices, requests and overall spending have changed. Have you?
One adjustment that many haven’t made is accepting American Express credit cards on routes.
Sure, the fees are a bit higher, but most professionals are switching to AMEX for the benefits and perks.
Most cleaners require customers to use credit cards for payment — yet don’t accept American Express. That really needs to be added as an option. One good thing is a lot of AMEX users don’t have a spending limit, so declines are less frequent.
Another adjustment is utilizing social media as a way to reach out to customers and prospects to show that you are a 21st century drycleaner. With Pinterest becoming as popular as Twitter, if not more, many only dabble with Facebook.
Of course your original social media tool is your website, which many still don’t update, polish or make searchable.
The sad thing is that most drycleaners are not prepared for the next generation of users. That equates to a bleak future.
The way that routes are sold has changed in the last four years as well. Our company has had to adjust our training style to what the 21st century consumer looks for in trying a new service or product. You must stay in control more, wow them more, but talk less.
The biggest problem that drivers and salespeople need to focus on is benefits more than the features.
However, most people do not know how to separate the two. It is so critical to wow the prospect right away since you only have a few seconds to win them over.
One major change is in personnel. The problem many cleaners face is having a good driver who only drives. Gas prices, increased competition, increased customer needs, etc., equate to needing to raise the standard of your delivery personnel.
I used to believe and recommend that drivers only drive, but now we have no choice. Your drivers must be adding customers to the route. It makes it more personal and more efficient to have your delivery drivers sell on the route. It just takes motivation, accountability and a good pay structure.
Technology is making life easier in some regards. Clothes look nicer, routes can become more efficient and communication can be improved through various means. However, if we don’t adjust to the needs and wants of the 21st century consumer, we fall behind in this rat race of surviving and thriving in our industry.
Failure to recognize where you need to be will only lead to losing customers and losing marketshare.

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
He can be contacted at (816) 739-2066 or