YOU are your best (or worst) marketing

Kevin Marois

When you drive a flashy car, everyone notices you and looks at what you are doing. In the same way, you should have a clean, flashy plant that gets people’s attention and creates some interest. Your plant is the perfect marketing tool to show people what you do. People want to deal with successful people. If you look the part, customers will come to your store.

Show off your equipment

If you’ve bought a new dry cleaning machine or a piece of equipment, invite customers into the back to see it. When you spend that amount of money, you need to leverage the investment in every way you can.

“Come and see my new toy. This cost as much as a new Porsche!” People like to hear that their clothes are being cleaned in state-of-the-art equipment. And when they know that, they don’t mind paying a little more.

You can show off your equipment either at the plant or on social media. If you are in a smaller community, the local news media might even be interested.

Of course this all assumes that you are keeping your equipment clean and up-to-date. But even older equipment that is clean and working well is interesting to see.

Give plant tours

Customers have no idea what happens in the back of your plant. Some plants are deliberately designed to prevent customers from seeing into the back.

We had one plant that went out of business during Covid. I don’t understand how anyone ever felt comfortable leaving their garments there. It looked disorganized. There were clothes and comforters piled everywhere. Not surprisingly, we never saw any designer garments there.

Showing the back of that plant would have been a detriment to their business. Assuming your plant is not like that, why don’t you show it off?

We have another customer that wants her plant to look like a fancy French restaurant. Everything is open. Customers can see how their garments are being cared for. Her attitude is, “That isn’t just a dress. That is Mrs. Wilson’s dress for their wedding anniversary.” It is her image that you are handling. You are helping her to make an impression. When you take that kind of care of customers’ garments, you should brag about it. Show them what you do.

Customers have no idea how hard you work. Show them all the steps that go into processing a laundered shirt. It will help them complain a little less. When I gave plant tours, I even had people say, “How can you do all those things and only charge this much?”

Of course your plant has to be clean. And, yes, that is work. But it pays big dividends. How do people feel when they look at your plant? Is it organized? Do your staff have the tools they need right at hand. Do they know what they are doing?

Just… NO.

You will have to spend some money on paint. But it will get people’s attention. They will think you are successful and will want to deal with you. You have a great plant and great equipment. Show it off and give customers confidence in dealing with you.

Small touches can make a big difference. Small labels and signs show how organized you are. They indicate you have a system and Standard Operating Procedures to take care of their garments. They make customers want to deal with you.

Brag about your people

Do you have the best people around? Then tell someone. You have spent a lot of time and effort training them. They are skilled and capable, so brag about them. Post the certificates in your lobby when they take a course. And celebrate their successes with the other staff.

Training costs money, but it will provide long-term benefits for you. As I’ve said before, yes, they may leave after you train them, but what if you don’t train them and they stay?

Maybe you do fire and flood restoration work. Invite the adjusters in for a tour and introduce them to your key team members. When they can put a face to a person, it helps to establish a relationship and confidence in your team. They choose which company they send their clients to for restorations. Make them choose you.

You’re making an impression

It won’t even take 30 seconds for a customer to make a decision about leaving garments in a plant like this.

For better or worse, your plant makes an impression on every customer who comes in.

Are customers comfortable bringing you their garments? Are they apprehensive when they leave their favourite item with you? If you have good systems, people and equipment, then brag about them. Inspire confidence in your customers.

Does your plant look like a place where even customers might like to work? Friendly people, nice well-operating machinery, good organization. In 30 seconds you have reinforced (or totally destroyed) all of your other marketing efforts. Step One in great marketing is getting your house in order.

Kevin and Paula Marois founded Calgary-based Integrity Mechanical in 2003 to service plants in western Canada. He writes on issues related to equipment, its purchase, maintenance and use. You can reach Kevin at or via his website

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