Five Dry Cleaning Trends for 2011
Trends are changing in many important industries today, including the dry cleaning industry.
Dry cleaners have held a niche market for years, and that market has seen very little real change, at least from the public's perspective. But that trend has been changing, as many new ideas are being put to use. Developments are around energy efficiencies, environmental opportunities, and dry cleaning and computer technology. Learn more about them below!
There is a green frenzy sweeping the nation, and it has leaked into the dry cleaning business. Some dry cleaners will try new dry cleaning solvents that are claimed to be greener to the environment and safe to use. The only problem is that it takes a while to really know if the cleaning ability is high enough to meet the consumer’s expectations. And it can take years or decades to learn if it really is better for the environment. In the meantime, the dry cleaners must handle the waste generated in the dry cleaning process carefully, most likely using licensed hazardous waste handling companies just like the dry cleaning chemicals widely used today. Being a green dry cleaner today should include handling dry cleaning solvents responsibly.
Energy Savings Devices
With energy costs rising every day, dry cleaners are constantly exploring ways to reduce energy use and their carbon footprint. For example, commercial laundries use a lot of hot water. On demand water heating systems allows a laundry operator to have an adequate supply of water when filling its commercial washing machines but to not keep the water hot 24 hours a day. This change has reduced my natural gas usage for heating water by 15% to 20%.
Other efficiencies and environmental improvements include more efficient boilers used by dry cleaners for producing steam for pressing clothes and heating dry cleaning solvents. Boiler operation typically accounts for the largest energy consumption in a dry cleaner. I estimate that a more efficient boiler has reduced my natural gas consumption for boiler operations by 20%.
There are also new electrical devices available that redirect and preserve electrical current at the business. This is a relatively new development and has reduced overall electricity requirements in my business almost 20%.
At Champion Cleaners in Birmingham, Alabama, we have implemented each of these energy savings devices in recent months. More dry cleaners will make these operational and environmental improvements as these improvements are publicized.
Dry Cleaning Pickup and Delivery
Making a trek to the dry cleaners, trunk full of laundry, used to be a common part of life. More and more, however, dry cleaners are offering pick-up and delivery services, sometimes as a free service, sometimes not free. Dry cleaning pickup and delivery service makes for quicker, and more convenient, services to the dry cleaning consumer.
We are in a highly technical phase of development, with most households containing multiple computers, as well as a variety of web-capable mobile devices. Dry cleaners have noticed this change in the way orders are being made, and more businesses are offering customers the opportunity to communicate on line. This is an easy way to order on-demand home pickup & delivery, pay a dry cleaning bill or to learn more about dry cleaning services such as weekly or daily specials.
Some dry cleaners have taken the Internet idea a step further, even offering customers text message notification when their laundry is finished. Imagine knowing exactly when your dress is ready to take home, and you can imagine the future of dry cleaners.
Every year brings new industry trends, and the dry cleaning market is not immune. This industry will always been known for one thing, however; making those soiled clothes look almost brand new again!
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