Starting Residential Pickup and Delivery (Part 2)

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Laundry Magician vans act as traveling billboards while traversing routes in and around Cincinnati. Owner Dave Menz (inset) chose to organize his pickup and delivery service separately from his Queen City Coin Laundry: “They’re two separate businesses. And they’re marketed toward two different clienteles.” (Photos courtesy Dave Menz)

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Omar Kasi (inset, center), owner of four Bubbles & Suds Laundromat locations in Brooklyn, New York, poses with store employees during a recent event. The larger photo depicts his company’s dedicated Pickup and Delivery Center, which just opened in May. (Photos courtesy Omar Kasi)

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Daniel Sofranko owns Perfect Wash Express Laundry Center in Huntington Beach, California. Running fluff and fold service properly was needed before he could add pickup and delivery, he says. (Photo courtesy Daniel Sofranko)

Bruce Beggs |

App-based systems come in handy for these business owners

CHICAGO — In our “app-powered” economy, adding a residential pickup and delivery service expands a store’s reach, boosts turns per day and increases revenue. But just what does it take to get such a service up and running?

American Coin-Op spoke with a trio of store owners who offer pickup and delivery service. Each has a slightly different approach but all agree that our society’s affection for all things convenient makes now a perfect time to offer pickup and delivery.

GETTING ORGANIZED

In the Cincinnati area, where Dave Menz owns four Queen City Coin Laundry stores and his pickup and delivery business called Laundry Magician, Menz’s staff processes all pickup and delivery orders in his largest store, which is equipped with 36 Huebsch washers and 32 dryer pockets. His goal was to grow to the point that there would be a third-shift production crew that would start work just as the store was closing each night to self-service. The store, he envisioned, would basically become a factory overnight.

“One of my stores is a little more centrally located in Cincinnati than the other ones. It’s my biggest store, about 5,000 square feet. I was like, ‘I can run this business out of this store and grow it to a pretty good size business before I need to think about anything else. That’s kind of how the thought process went and the due diligence went.”

He initially planned to launch the service simply, managing it on his personal cell phone and utilizing a website with a contact form. But conversations with software providers changed his mind and he ultimately chose to utilize a software suite from Springboard.

“There was a time where I considered launching our pickup and delivery business without the software,” Menz says. “Then once I grew it to the point where I physically couldn’t manage it anymore through a manual process, I would then add a software package to it. I ultimately determined that the tools that were in the software package would not only help me manage the process but it would help me impress my customers.

“We were going to have a new name, a new brand, and everything. I wanted to appear a little bit bigger and more legitimate. The other side of it was I knew the tools they had would help me gain new customers. I ultimately determined that having a software package like this would help me grow the business a lot faster. That’s why I launched with it from day one. Everything has worked out perfectly.”

When Omar Kasi’s Bubbles & Suds Laundromat business first started with pickup and delivery in Brooklyn, New York, he admits it was “pretty old-school.”

“Customer would call in. We have a POS system in the store. Put the customer’s information in there, print up a little tag and go pick up a bag, do it that way. About a year into it, we set up something through the website where somebody can actually enter their information in and schedule the pickup, which would then come to the store. I’m not sure of the exact date I started with Starchup. They build our branded app and then we launched it to our customers.

“I think for anybody that’s gonna want to grow their business on that side of it, you would need some type of app business,” Kasi says. “In this day and age, most people do not want to call, do not want to speak to people on the phone. They want to be able to pay for something seamlessly on their card. A lot of our customers, we don’t even see them. They schedule on their app, their bag is left outside their door or with their doorman, it’s paid for when we drop it off. And that’s it.”

“My store has a POS system that’s good for in-store drop-off,” says Daniel Sofranko of Perfect Wash Express Laundry Center in Huntington Beach, California. “The pickup and delivery, we facilitate them the same, only there’s different tagging procedures.”

He has purchased an app-based platform but has not yet implemented it. It’s the solution he’ll need once Perfect Wash has its second van in full service and/or has a second facility up and running (Sofranko says his next facility will be a mixed hybrid, with a dedicated commercial processing area separated from the self-service equipment).

In Tuesday’s conclusion: Branding and expansion, and being on the right track

Miss Part 1? You can read it HERE.

About the author

Bruce Beggs

American Trade Magazines LLC

Editorial Director, American Trade Magazines LLC

Bruce Beggs is editorial director of American Trade Magazines LLC, including American Coin-Op, American Drycleaner and American Laundry News. He was the editor of American Laundry News from November 1999 to May 2011. Beggs has worked as a newspaper reporter/editor and magazine editor since graduating from Kansas State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications. He and his wife, Sandy, have two children.

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