CHICAGO — Laundry operations around the country are poised to grow, according to respondents to the latest American Laundry News Your Views survey.
When asked if they “actively seek out new business,” more than three-quarters of respondents say that they are looking for such business.
The majority of those who said “yes” (68.2%) say that acquiring new business is vital to the growth of their companies. The remainder of respondents who answered in the affirmative say their operations have additional processing capability that can be utilized.
Some of the respondents who said their laundries couldn’t take on more business indicate that their facilities are operating at maximum capacity. Approximately 21% of those who answered “no” say that the laundry only serves the need of the institution it provides for.
“We are a nursing home,” writes a respondent. “Our laundry plant only handles our own residents’ clothing and our own housekeeping mops and rags. Our linen laundry is contracted out.”
When it comes to marketing in order to attract new business, 73.1% of respondents say that they target particular areas of the industry for growth, such as industrial and healthcare laundry. In fact, when asked which market segments they target, the top answer was healthcare at 71.4%. Other popular targeted market segments were hospitality and industrial.
However, some who took the survey just want to get more business.
“I market anywhere and everywhere,” one respondent writes.
Respondents found a variety of methods to be highly effective when reaching out to new markets. Phone calls and e-mails were most effective for equal shares of 16% of survey respondents. In terms of being most effective, no one who took the survey found letters to be so, and printed material was selected by only 4%. Digital marketing was most effective for 12% of respondents.
Among respondents who market online—the most popular method, at close to 50%—is to have a website. Almost 30% use e-mail, and 18.5% are utilizing social media to spread the word about their companies.
But when all is said and done, most respondents prefer the personal touch. When they answered the question about the types of marketing they use, “other” was indicated by 52% of those who took the survey. When asked to specify what marketing tactic they use, most indicated a preference for in-person contact.
“We use person-to-person direct contact,” writes one respondent. Another writes, “We have a salesperson actively seeking new business.”
Current customers are also a source of marketing for some respondents.
“Referrals from current customers works for us,” writes a respondent. Adds another, “We use referrals and then direct contact.”
Regular contact with customers is important to gaining those referrals, since more than three-quarters of respondents survey end-users and clients about their service experiences. Of those who survey customers, nearly 45% do so “regularly,” while 33.3% do so occasionally.
Of the remaining respondents, 14.8% “rarely” survey customers, and 7.4% “never” do.
While the Your Views survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.
Subscribers to American Laundry News e-mails are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each month. All managers and administrators of institutional/OPL, cooperative, commercial and industrial laundries are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and identify industry trends.