National Clothesline
National Clothesline
Goals for the second half of 2013
The year 2013 is halfway over and many cleaners are looking at their numbers for 2013 and scratching their heads as they look at budgets, forecasting, pro formas, goal-setting, etc.
So are you satisfied with the results, numbers and the overall picture of your P & L?
Well, the thousands of contacts made this year in New Orleans doesn’t paint a pretty picture
James Peuster
for some. So what are you going to differently to ensure growth, or at least stability?
Well, I have an oldie but a goody for you to chew on for the rest of the year.
Is what you are doing now drawing you closer to or further away from your goals?
Goals can look like unreachable targets if you don’t know how to get there. Many have diversified into routes for the first time and get stuck. Some stick to one-day-a-week routes, thinking that it saves money when it actually limits growth.
In many places, I see the delivery van sitting in the parking lot during the day not making anyone money. My favorite saying has always been, “Do routes right or not at all.”
Many are still not converting while living on the hope that a competitor won’t knock on their customer’s door. We know a bag drop won’t hurt you too much, but it might.
It’s still not too late to reach your goals for 2013. Let me try and re-kickstart you with a task list for you to do the remainder of the year. This is like an exercise program — don’t just start it and stop midstream.
Look at your marketing budget as an investment, not a cost.
This is a biggie, but it is all about market share. The days of riding out the storm are over. Take back control of your future and grow. Otherwise, you will go. Don’t ask me how much your sales effort will cost; ask me how much growth can I see.
Hold your drivers, your sales staff, and yourself more accountable.
This is one I bring up every year. We quite often fall in the trap of putting our staff on auto-pilot. A plane on auto-pilot has no communication with the control tower and eventually runs out of gas. Take back control of your routes, your businesses and your customers!
Be proactive, less reactive in hiring.
From pre-employment screenings, background checks and systems development, your
business may be decreasing due to so many interruptions, speed bumps and those brutal surprises you are not prepared for.
I have three specific examples of how a driver has been arrested for various charges or warrants, completely embarrassed and trapped by a skeleton in their driver’s closet, and became demons to the drycleaners.
Analyze your routes and make them more efficient.
This doesn’t mean cut back. Too many operators have looked at their bottom line and looked for ways to save money.
Here’s an idea: If you want to eliminate costs, eliminate routes, stores and your plant. Seriously enough, being focused on profit and sales is the way to go. Sure, you must look at your bottom line, but focus on your top line as well.
Seek out more advice from consultants.
Too many of us have seen things that represent the best practices of other cleaners. However, what someone does in New York City may and probably won’t work in Dodge City.
My role is to determine what is best for you. We don’t succeed if you don’t succeed. There are plenty of us who are mere messengers to the best practices that are out there.
Don’t go at this alone. You may make costly decisions that not only affect profit, but stability also.
You are going to grow.
This cannot be a hopeful statement; this must be your mission. The competition is heating up once again and the Clean Show verified that. Routes are now a necessity for cleaners, not an option.
The bottom line is that no matter what the future has in store, focus on growth. Many feel trapped or even hopeless and are just basing their future on hope. Take control of your business. Run it like a business or you may find yourself out of business.

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