How Much Are You Willing To Pay For A Route Customer? Counter Customer?

Have you ever figured out how long a route customer stays with you on average? And how much an average route customer spends with you per year? Do you know these same numbers for your counter customers?

If you don’t know how much a route/counter customer spends and how long they stay with you, how can you determine how much you’d be willing to invest to get one.

One of my members, Dave Sabo, just analyzed his customer base to get the answers to these questions. You should do the same thing ASAP.

Here are Dave’s findings:

His counter customers generate on average $125 per year in revenue and stay with him 3 years. 

His route customers spend $700 per year on average and stay with him 7 years. So a lifetime counter customer is worth $375 in revenue.

A route customer is worth $4,900.

Wow! What a difference.

I guess that’s why it’s so hard to get route customers—because they’re roughly worth 13 times as much as a counter customer—everybody is after them.

BUT, and it’s a big but…if you know how much they’re worth, you should be able to outspend your competitors to get the elusive route customer.

One thing you can do right away is to convert those high spending counter customers to your route. Just doing that will get you 4 more years of servicing them, which means $2800 more in revenue.

I’m guessing most of your new counter traffic comes in because of your location—am I right? So what can you do to get more counter customers? The only thing I can think of is getting more of those new customers to stick with you.

If you’re like most dry cleaners (99%), you don’t send out a snail mail “Thank You” note or even a thank you to their email. You probably don’t even collect their email addresses.

If this is what you do, you can only expect a maximum of 50% of your customers sticking with you. That is the industry average.

If you send a hand-written thank you note through the post office and you give them a good reason to come back in—like 20% off your next order—you can expect to get upwards of 75% of them to stick with you.

Member David Whitehurst in Birmingham, Alabama consistently gets 75% instead of 50% of his new counter customers to spend 3 years with him and even more because he has a few more retention ideas he puts into action like email and his monthly newsletters.

If you convert at the counter and send out hand-written thank you notes to your new counter customers, you’ve immensely improved your retention and revenue without spending hardly anything.

Getting route customers is another story. The most consistent way to get route customers is by door knocking and bag dropping.

I’m not going to get into the details in this article, you can go the door knocking route or I can handle the bag dropping through my “NO Door Knocking” Route Magic System.

So…the BIG question…how much are you willing to INVEST to get one route customer?

You now have some ammunition. You know that a route customer will generate $4900. Mine generate $4788 over 7 years. Your numbers may be lower or higher depending on a number of things, but this should give you a starting point to get you thinking about this.

You’ll pay $150-$200 on average in commissions for every route customer a salesperson generates for you.

Is that a good deal?

I think so.

You’re gonna get $4900 from a route customer and $200 is only 4% of sales. That’s pretty darn good.

There’s bag dropping and there’s bag dropping my way. My way does NOT include any door knocking.

You drop off one of your printed garment bags and then follow up 3 days in a row and it’ll cost you anywhere from $40-$150 for a new route customer. Why the difference? Some markets and neighborhoods generate more customers than others.

There are a number of other ways to generate route customers besides door knocking and bag dropping. They are not as consistent, predictable and might not be in the neighborhoods you’re looking for.

Now you’ve got a good idea of how much you’d be willing to invest in getting new route and counter customers. I hope this helped.

Take one of these ideas this week and put it into use. Your dry cleaner deserves it!

About Greg Colosi

Greg Colosi helps dry cleaners get route customers WITHOUT knocking on doors (even though door knocking is a great way to get customers). All of Greg’s marketing ideas are tested by him or several of his 400+ members, so you won’t get theory, you’ll only get ideas that produce new customers and revenue. To find out more quirky ideas on how to raise your revenue, go to my blog: or call (888) 661-7992.