THIRD QUARTER 2018 27 WDF 101: Back To Basics Here’s What To Consider Before Launching Your Wash-Dry-Fold Service I’ve been receiving a lot of phone calls lately from new operators just getting into the industry – many with ques- tions about offering a wash-dry-fold service. As a result, I thought now would be a perfect time to revisit this segment of the business and dust off some of the main principles of getting started and running a profitable wash-dry-fold operation. For drycleaners, the path toward getting into the wash-dry- fold business is simple and straightforward. Just put up a sign and open your doors to this type of business – making sure, of course, that your staff is trained in processing laundry and that you have ample space dedicated to these accounts; up- dating your website to reflect this additional service; and per- haps even running some Google ads. Basically, market your new offering online and in your store. A more simple first step could be finding a few light-duty commercial accounts. Unlike with traditional residential wash-dry-fold laundry, you can count commercial accounts to be there every week – you can plan your labor around them and grow your full-service business that way. With adding a full-service product, you’re either going to need to go out and sell it to commercial customers, or wait for it to grow based on your quality and marketplace factors. It’s important to understand that residential wash-dry-fold isn’t a service that people need; it’s one that they want. So, you’re going to build that business based on being available with a quality service when a customer has a desire for it. By contrast, a commercial laundry [or drycleaning] account is something people need, so it’s something you can actively sell to them. In other words, wash-dry-fold is a product for those who either greatly value their time or simply don’t have enough of it to do their own laundry. Looking at it from this point of view may help you to best market your new service. The next step to starting a thriving wash-dry-fold business is developing some clear-cut standards of what to do and how to do it. For instance, you need to come up with a pricing sched- ule. Clearly, your costs will factor into what you charge. I recommend keeping your wash-dry-fold costs in the 30 percent to 35 percent range. And, yes, that figure does include labor, which is something many business owners fail to consider – especially when they’re using employees who are already on the payroll. Another key factor is the need to have definitive systems in place. Let’s say you have a system where you take in wash- dry-fold orders all day, and then the next morning your em- ployees gets it all done during the early part of the day, when your store isn’t as busy. This way, your evening em- ployees aren’t bothered with wash-dry-fold orders; they’re focused on taking care of your regular customers. That seems like a sensible system. However, to make it work, you have to develop a way to track those various wash-dry-fold orders. Just like in drycleaning, orders must BULLE TIN NO. 2 By Jeff Gardner, President of The Laundry Doctor LaundryLogic