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The author says a customer took this photo of his drop-off order and posted it on Yelp years ago in appreciation for how the items were packaged. (Photo courtesy Paul Russo)

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Fine-Tuning Drop-Off Laundry Service (Conclusion)

First pickup is all-important to customer judging performance

GLENDALE, Ariz. — A healthy drop-off laundry service can pay for your employees’ salaries, really boost your bottom line, and more. Some localities that have a lot of working professionals can be fertile grounds for a well-run drop-off service, but you’ll have to work much harder to get a good flow of drop-offs in other areas.

It’s all about trust.

Trust is the biggest factor that convinces a customer to leave their laundry (actually, their property) with you at your establishment.

Drop-off service is not for everyone. You will never capture more than a fraction of your local population. Many people do not have the extra money. They see it as a luxury they can’t afford.

Others simply don’t want any “strangers” handling their personal clothing. They may also see it as something that they can do better.

That said, we all know that there are lots of people who want and need a quality drop-off service, and there’s a nice market out there!

So how can you convince the doubters that your place can do their laundry better than they can? Simple. Just do it better.

Here’s how:


The first time a customer picks up their laundry from your store, they will be in high “judgment mode,” so make sure that first pickup is perfect!

Not only is the folding perfect, the smiling attendants call the customer by name, the stains have been removed, the socks and undies are wrapped, packaging is perfect, and the plastic bag is holding the laundry and its fragrance in place. But how about a nice little first-time surprise on top of all that? 

For first-time customers, we also placed a “Welcome” envelope inside the plastic bag on the top of the laundry. Inside was some wrapped candy, a business card thanking them for their business, and a dollar lottery scratch-off ticket.

The customer is pleasantly surprised, and may think they’ll get another “Welcome” kit if they come back again. For a more personal touch, your crew member can sign the envelope, welcoming them personally.


Quality and great service are extremely important, but even people who have the extra money to drop off their laundry enjoy getting a deal from time to time.

We found success by raising our drop-off prices and simultaneously creating a 10% drop-off discount Monday through Friday (the Saturday-Sunday service remained full price).

This accomplished a couple of things. First, it gave the customer the ability to choose the deal or not. If they wanted to save a couple of bucks, they could drop off during the week to get a deal. If the weekend is still more important to them, then they could continue to come then.

For us, it took some pressure off the busy weekends and gave us more work during the week when it’s easier to call in extra help. This helped to level out the peaks and valleys in our drop-off business.

It was so successful that we ended up doing a series of base price increases and went to 20% off Monday through Thursday. Our base price eventually grew to triple what our competitors were charging, yet we were doing three to four times the volume of our closest competitor.

Use your imagination to create your own promotions. How about Wacky Wednesdays? Offer a free lotto scratch-off ticket with every drop-off on Tuesday? How about a free nylon laundry bag with any drop-off over 20 pounds?

Here’s wishing you all the best in fine-tuning your drop-off business!

If you missed earlier parts of this article, you can read them here: Part 1Part 2


Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].