Getting route customers can seem deceptively simple… How hard can it be right? You are offering a FREE pick-up and delivery service… Well I have news for you this may be the hardest part of the whole business, as it is with almost any business.
If you can’t get customers you have NO chance at success.
In this business there are 3 ways to rapidly add customers to your route business. Each way has it’s pro’s and con’s. Let’s take a look at all 3 ways.
Option 1 – The Bag Drop Method
Bag dropping is a method of marketing where you leave a dry cleaning bag on a customers door with a sales letter (yes one of the $3.00 bags). The sales letter explains the service and what the customer should do with the bag if they use dry cleaning and what the customer should do with the bag if they do not use dry cleaning.
- This method is fairly easy way to market.
- Very little skill is required to put bags and sales letters on doors.
- If you have deep enough pockets you can hit a very large area very fast.
- You cost per customer will be between $30.00 – $65.00 Assuming you can get the customer for only $30.00 you are doing pretty well… Unfortunately this will have to also go on the con list since $65.00 per customer using this method is very high.
- High loss of very expensive bags… Each bag costs about $3.00 and you can expect to lose between 20 – 30% of the bags you put out. That can really add up.
- Low response rate 0 – 8% I personally have never gotten an 8% response rate using this method and I have only talked to someone who got an 8% response rate using this method, once… Unfortunately he only got that high of a response rate in one neighborhood. But it has been done so it is only fair to mention that it is possible. Typically I have gotten 3 – 4% response rate using this type of marketing, which is low… Very low! And a response rate that low can do more damage to your business than good… I will explain that statement a bit more in a future article or video. Side Note — I spoke with 1-800-DryClean a few months back and they told me there average response rate nationwide is 3.2% and they have the recourses of 100+ franchises behind them.
- Higher customer turnover rate than normal. The bag drop method of marketing causes you to have a higher customer turnover rate than normal because many times the people who use the service because you left a bag on there door are NOT regular use customers. — I define a regular use customer as someone who uses at least once per month and spends $40 or more per month. — You just happen to catch that person at the right time when they need their “once every 6 month” pick-up. Ultimately it means the response rate issue we talked about in the previous paragraph is worse than we thought.
- You are leaving money on the table. There are many people who will simply NOT respond to this form of marketing which means you will literally drive by some great customers homes who could be your customers if you had just taken a moment to introduce yourself.
- You are leaving yourself open for competition to enter your market. With a low response rate and leaving so many customer on the table, because they simply won’t respond to this kind of marketing, you have left a door open for your competitors to come in behind you. They can use a marketing strategy that gets a higher response rate and is easier for customers to say yes to, and all of the sudden you are now competing with another company all because you left the back door open.
From reading my con’s list you may get the impression I HATE this form of marketing… That couldn’t be further from the truth. I do believe bag drops have a place in your marketing arsenal… Unfortunately it is not as a primary method of growing a route business like it is being taught by a few individuals and even 1-800-DryClean.
This best way to use this marketing method for your dry cleaning business is as a fill in technique after you have gone through the area with one of the two other marketing techniques I’m going to show you… You can follow-up 6 – 12 months later with this technique to help fill in your route.
The Universal Con – I want to share with a universal con in all 3 of the primary marketing techniques that i’m going to show you and con is that you must be able to write good sales copy… If you can’t write good sales copy or copy someone else’s PROVEN copy — I put proven in all caps because, just because a competitor is using sales copy doesn’t mean it is any good. — You are going to struggle.
In the next article I’ll go over a technique I call straight door knocking.