I’ve worked closely with dry cleaners during my 10-years with EnviroForensics, and during this time the well-being of the industry has become somewhat of a passion of mine. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a decline in dry cleaning operations across the country and it seems that this is a trend that may continue.
It is no secret that people do not wear clothes that require dry cleaning as they did years ago – workplaces don’t require day-to-day business professional attire, society has become lax in what is “acceptable” dress for public outings, articles of clothing no longer have tags recommending dry cleaning as the cleaning method of choice, etc.
This is why it is important for dry cleaners to adapt their businesses to remain successful, and so therefore, it is important to me to share resources for drycleaners to do just that.
The Drycleaning & Laundry Institute (DLI) has been the premier trade association and voice for this industry since 1883, and since their inception, DLI has worked hard to provide its member base all the tools necessary to aid in running a successful, professional operation.
It’s not just the educational opportunities and professional trainings they provide that help business owners give their clients top-of-the-line garment care and the best practices available for the industry, but it’s also the benefits DLI offers it’s members.
Both Budget and Silver membership levels come with industry news, discounts, and experts available on-demand to answer technical questions. Additionally, with a DLI membership, you automatically get a membership with your local regional association for free. These alone are great benefits, but it’s the additional benefits of the Silver level membership that can really set a drycleaner apart from their competition.
Here are five reasons why dry cleaners should join DLI:
Have you ever wondered why a certain item can’t get clean? Now you can take a picture of the item and get feedback through DLI’s Garment Analysis App. There’s no need to send it out for analysis anymore, which will cut down on wait times.
Learning from others’ experiences can solve your challenges faster than trying to forge ahead alone. With over a century of experience helping dry cleaners, DLI has a wealth of resources available with guides and articles to support dry cleaning businesses.
Have you ever wondered how to clean a stain you’re unfamiliar with? DLI has an app that can help you identify the best way to get that item clean. For example, if you have a rayon blouse with an ink stain, through the app, you will be able to select the material and type of stain and it will provide you with step-by-step instructions to remove stain
4. Digital Marketing and Customer Outreach
DLI will set up a website on your behalf, manage social media posts, and email marketing to your customer base.
5. DLI Experts on Demand
DLI experts can provide support you may not be able to find elsewhere for your questions or technical problems. Instead of waiting for answer, you’ll receive a prompt answer via phone, email or online chat.
The addition of the website and customer outreach services alone are worth the upgrade to a Silver Membership as these services offer invaluable hands-off marketing that are designed to give an online presence for the cleaner who doesn’t have the time (for less than $1,000 annually, I might add). Website design can be expensive and social media maintenance can easily fall by the wayside when you’re already tied-up with running your business. We live in a digital world and prospective clients look for businesses online – if you don’t have an online presence you can easily be overlooked and miss out on new business.
It’s important for dry cleaners to periodically ask themselves what they are doing to help their business. It’s easy to get sidetracked by employee retention issues and day-to-day operations (which of course, are very important), but having a tool such as a DLI membership as a resource to help improve your operations, your practices and to take a load off your shoulders is an easy item to prioritize to ensure future success.
If you want to become a member of the Drycleaning and Laundry Institute, visit dlionline.org. To stay up to date with the latest industry news, you can also follow DLI on social media.
Dru Shields has over ten years of account management experience in the environmental consulting industry and serves on the Midwest Drycleaning and Laundry Institute Advisory Council and was recently appointed as a District Committee Member on the DLI Board. Among her many responsibilities, she assists clients in securing funding for their environmental cleanups through historical insurance policies and walking them through the environmental remediation process.