Fine-Tuning Laundry Pickup & Delivery (Conclusion)
CHICAGO – Consumer interest in Wash-Dry-Fold (WDF) services has been on the rise for quite some time as the coronavirus pandemic created an environment where staying clean was about staying healthy. But what if a customer, aware of the risk of contracting the virus around others, didn’t visit their local laundromat, but still wants someone else to do their laundry?
Hello, pick up and delivery.
This aspect of laundry service is not new. Self-service laundries, especially in densely populated urban areas, have been picked up and delivered for years. But if there was ever time to think about adding the option, this could be the case. And even if your business takes to the streets routinely, the growth in the WDF market could indicate that you need to fine-tune things to stay current in your area.
The Coin Laundry Association (CLA) recently hosted a webinar that focused on launching a pickup and delivery service. President Brian Wallace hosted a group of operators with experience ranging from approximately a year to more than three decades.
In Part 1, the panel discussed the preparations for the start of collection and delivery as well as the differences between offering and operating a self-service washer. In today’s conclusion, looks, marketing, and dedication are the order of the day.
LOOK GOOD AND SPREAD THE WORD
Panellists agreed that customers who pay to have someone else do their laundry have certain expectations for appearance and presentation. Pulling up in front of someone’s house and driving a battered Honda isn’t easy to translate into high quality.
“I think having a brand van is very important,” says Chris Balestracci, owner of Super Wash in East Haven, Connecticut. He has been in business since 1988. “If you want to start cheaply, which I did, you can go to U-Haul and buy a 1 year old van with 10 or 12,000 miles for half the price of a new one. Or you can buy a used van that doesn’t look good, but when you wrap it up it will look brand new. You don’t have to spend $ 40,000 on a brand new van. “
“We have high-profile Nissan vans that are 9 feet tall,” says Dave Menz, who owns four Queen City Laundry locations in the Cincinnati area and started a delivery service in 2016, according to their website. We three have about 12 hours a day on the road. Let me tell you, this is hard to beat because you are where your customers are. “
If you equip your drivers with branded clothing, you can also rely on your service.
In terms of marketing, the discussion ranged from website development and online advertising to search engines and social media to print advertising and promotional materials.
“We won customers for customers through our Facebook and Google ads. In the end, they work together, ”says Jonathan Babcock, who opened a WaveMAX laundry franchise in Knoxville, Tennessee in late 2019, from the commercial side, door signs and flyers. The only funny thing about laundromats is that the traditional stuff still works very well. “
“One of the things I highly recommend is having a great brochure with pictures, prices and why it’s so valuable,” says Balestracci. “We pack these in small plastic bags and on door handles and mailboxes (in private houses) in high-income areas.”
“No channel on its own really works,” adds Babcock. “It’s all channels working together, where the customer sees you everywhere, what’s really starting to work.”
“If we had this webinar five years ago, we wouldn’t be talking about search and social networking,” said Wallace. “We’d only talk about postcards and door tags.”
OBLIGATION TO CAUSE
If you’ve never offered a pick-up and delivery service, the panelists don’t recommend taking it with less than full commitment.
“We’ve all talked about this being a different business. Even if you’ve been in the laundromat business for 10, 15, 20 years, step into a new business, don’t make a mistake, ”says Menz. “You probably wouldn’t open a coffee shop if you had never done it before and show up once or twice a week and expect it to work smoothly.”
“If you want to let off steam, drive your own vehicle and pick up your friends’ laundry,” adds Babcock. “If you want to dominate, you really have to do everything. You can’t dominate and still drive your own car. You can’t dominate or use great software. You can’t dominate and you can’t do marketing well. “
Miss part 1? You can read it HERE.
The Coin Laundry Association often runs webinars covering topics such as marketing, business operations and management, training new investors, and more. Visit www.coinlaundry.org/events/webinars to learn more.
(Photo: © chrisbrignell / Depositphotos)