CHICAGO — Almost two-thirds (65.7%) of drycleaners are working longer hours than they did five years ago, according to this month's Wire survey, often in spite of declining sales volume. Another 22.4% are working "about the same" amount of hours, and just 11.9% are working less.
Asked to name up to three of their most time-consuming tasks, more than half of survey respondents (55.2%) named "Production/Quality Control," making it the top answer. Next came "Personnel Management," with 46.3%, and "Customer Service," with 40.3%.
Rounding out drycleaners' top time-consuming tasks were "Bookkeeping/Accounting" (37.3%), "Maintenance/Troubleshooting" (32.8%) and Marketing & Promotions (20.9%). One operator listed "All of the above."
Several operators said that a recession is when they have to work the hardest. "As an owner, I have laid off a lot of my employees, and I am now doing more work myself," one operator said.
"The additional workload is the result of reductions in the number of employees," another agreed. "There are no extra employees on the payroll these days."
American Drycleaner's Wire surveys readers every month on a variety of issues facing the industry. While the survey presents a snapshot of readers' viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific.