National Clothesline
The stats on route drivers, updated
I recently rode with by 1,500th driver (unofficially) and decided that it is time to share with
the drycleaning industry some numbers that may or may not be of good use to you.
We are in an industry that is all
about numbers that reflect
productivity and efficiency.
Sure, these various pieces of data
are very important in your
calculations of profits and losses as
well as measuring growth.
But do you really know what
numbers you need to monitor your
drivers, their performance and your
true understanding of the delivery
Well, it is time for an article that equates to the TV show, “Magic’s Biggest Secrets Revealed.”
However, you don’t need someone in a mask to expose the truth. Let me handle this
First of all, a disclaimer. The numbers are not intended to be used against any driver,
salesperson, manager, or any other employee involved in the route process. However, it is time
for the truth to be known.
If you are any of the aforementioned parties, you will laugh, cry, hide or lie about what you
are about to read, but deep down you will find yourself being included in one of the stats below.
If you are an owner, you will finally be able to measure your overall route operations and
either accept what is in front of you, or do something about it.
OK, with that being said, on with the stats that may end up costing someone a job, or me,
further clients.
Five out of 100 people will say that they love going door-to-door. However, out of the five,
four are lying.
Seven out of 10 drivers say that they never see the customers. The funny thing is that they
know everything about them.
Eight out of 10 drivers do not dress anywhere near as nice as they did when they applied and
interviewed for the job. Why is that? Shouldn’t they represent drycleaning on the route?
One out of three cleaners have or once had a route driver named Bob. Special thanks to
Roger’s Cleaners in St. Petersburg, FL; all of their drivers are named Bob.
19 out of 20 salespeople fail because of lack of training. Other industries send their sales staff
through weeks of training.
Nine out of 10 customers spend 20 to 25 percent more on the route than at the store. Yet six
out of 10 operators do not believe in converting at the store.
One out of four route drivers think that they are about to get fired when I ride with them on a
project. Many times they are nervous, a couple of times they have cried and one guy actually
threw up.
Two out of seven drivers have a bladder the size of a bowling ball.
One out of 500 have actually hit a house. (You know who you are!)
One out of five drivers need to take medication for road rage.
Nine out of 10 drivers talk to themselves. I never know if they are talking to me.
Eight out of 10 owners love their drivers. Yet, eight out of 10 want them fired for not being
able to sell.
Three out of 10 vans have cracked windshields.
One out of 10 drivers are semi-retired. Most of them do not want the route to grow.
Five out of 10 drivers keep dog bones in their van. Two out of 10 actually eat them for lunch.
One out of 50 drivers actually smoke in the van. All of them are convinced that smoke doesn’t
get on the clothes.
One out of four drivers flirt with their customers. One-hundred percent of the customers flirt
back only because they are hoping to get a discount.
One-hundred percent of commissioned drivers love “will calls”.
Eight out of 10 owners are discouraged by direct mail marketing. Six out of 10 still do it.
Four hundred and ninety nine out of 500 drivers have misdelivered clothes.
One out of 10 drivers have hit a mailbox while doing the route. Half of the time they tell
Eight out of 10 drivers get done at least one hour earlier when I ride with them on the route.
Six out of 10 drivers know the names of the dogs they service on the route. One out of 100
drivers have actually hit a dog on the route and only one individual has put the road-kill in a
competitor’s bag (we all know who that is!).
One out 10 cleaner’s best customer is about to serve jail time for embezzlement.
Three out of five drivers use the manifest correctly. One out of five does not know what a
manifest is.
Two out of five drivers pick their nose on the route. No data on where they put it.
Eight out of 10 customers who call and say the driver missed the bag actually missed the
driver. See, I am protective of the driver.
Seven out of 10 operators do not have a back-up driver. Sad, but ever so true.
Finally, nine out of 10 routes do not see growth because drivers are not held accountable.
The most important stat is probably the last one. I continue to be amazed with projects in
which the driver is in control of the system. Routes done without a manifest, without
accountability and without a strategic marketing plan cause limited to no growth. I preach about
this article after article, and it rings so true.
With all the negativity going around in this industry and people who are admitting defeat,
make an effort to prove the cynical people wrong and build your business. Do it now and let the
weak disappear. I truly believe that the more effort you put into marketing your routes, the
better off you will be.

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
James Peuster