Dry cleaners don't care. Really. You might think that they do but they don't.

I'll go out on a limb here: Value (discount), ordinary (middle market) and most wannabe (illusion) dry cleaners don't care about your fine garments, household textiles and accessories.

They say they care.

But you probably already know that they don't.

You know they don't care because you know they're too busy dumbing everything down, averaging everything out and trying to please everyone and anyone.

Fact is, no dry cleaners really care about your fine garments and household textiles. But that's only because organizations aren't capable of caring.

People, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of caring.

However, their innate ability to care quickly vaporizes when they realize that, when it comes to producing true quality cleaning, they lack the technical skills and management won't provide them with the time and won't provide them with the tools (equipment and facilities) to do the job right.

If you want to build a true quality dry cleaning operation, the first requirement is to fill it with people who care and who have the required technical skills. The second requirement is to provide those caring, skilled individuals with the necessary time and tools to do the job right. And then to get out of their way.

In a dry cleaner where everyone cares about the hundreds of details that collectively constitutes true quality cleaning, each person reinforces that caring horizontally across the entire team.

Those who don't care (even if they have the technical skills) are weeded out by those who do care (and who have the technical skills).

How do you really know they don't care?

Notwithstanding their protestations to the contrary, value, ordinary and most wannabe dry cleaners focus solely on three issues:

  • how quickly can they get your garments and household textiles "ready" for pick up or delivery (this typically means compromising and short cutting their cleaning, pressing, inspection and packaging procedures)
  • how low can they drive their cost per piece (this typically means extracting every last penny out of their "production process")
  • how high can they set their prices relative to the prices charged by the competition and relative to the quality delivered the competition (this typically means settling on a fairly low price structure).

Accordingly, they offer:

  • same and next day service
  • 2 or 3 day pick up and delivery service
  • a one price price price structure (primarily offered by value or discount cleaners)
  • a relatively low price structure (primarily offered by ordinary or middle market cleaners)
  • a three tier pricing structure (primarily offered by wannabe or illusion cleaners).

Everything else they do -- the broad smiles, the morning coffee, the logo-printed polo shirts, the dive through, the 24/7 drop off/pick up, the 2 or 3 day pick up/delivery and the like -- is window dressing and glitz designed to redirect your focus away from the quality of their work.

Caring is time consuming and expensive

Here's the problem that value, ordinary and most wannabe dry cleaners can never overcome: Caring is both time consuming and expensive.

Caring requires

  • taking the time to treat every individual garment or household textile with care
  • investing in skilled craftspeople
  • providing those craftsman with the right equipment and facilities necessary to produce true quality cleaning.

On the other hand, extraordinary dry cleaners recognize that, in the long run, caring pays for itself.

A dry cleaner who infuses his operation with the care required to deliver true quality cleaning gets ultimately rewarded by loyalty and word of mouth.

Like most things that are worth doing, caring is not easy.

Yes, caring takes money. But, more importantly, caring takes extraordinary effort.

In an industry riddled with dry cleaners who fake quality ("we deliver top quality at an affordable price" and other such gobbledygook), caring is rare.

Which is precisely what makes caring so valuable.