What do you value?

What do you value? Now there’s a question! I expect you value your family, your home, your friends, your health and to some extent…even your job! But do you value your time? Do you value the services you use to help run your business, services that give you extra time with your family and friends? I am sure you do, but how often do you remember you run one of such services too?

I own a commercial and domestic laundry and I am also an active member within the laundry industry, and the lament I often hear is, that as a service, we are just not valued by our customers. Of course, to be valued, one must offer an efficient, reliable service but in order to do this well it takes a lot of investment in expensive, up to date equipment and most importantly, well trained and well paid staff. 

According to the TSA (Textile Services Association) laundries employ 31,700 people in the U.K. and is worth over £1 billion per year. So, what would happen, if we all went on strike? The hospitals would run out of clean linen, so no new admissions. Hotels would not be able to service their rooms, so horror of horrors, no holidays. Businesses that use workwear would not be able to continue working. Restaurants may manage with no tablecloths but what about the uniforms for kitchen staff? Any other laundry?

I heard someone once say, it’s only a case of shoving it in the machine and a bit of detergent, how hard can it be? Ok, off you go then, organise the linen supply, the staff, the equipment, the chemicals, health and safety, HR, regulations and logistics yourself, it's not magic, it's jolly hard work. Some hotels and hospitals have on premises laundries (OPL’s), well, what would happen if the staff there down tooled too? I think we would all be, shall we say, a tad put out! 

Laundry is a huge industry and has a hand in almost everything in society. We should be proud of what we do, the things we enable. It is not just customers that should value our service, we should too. In these days of Brexit, austerity and worldwide strife the prices that people are willing to pay for a laundry service are being continually squeezed. It seems we are all trying to get the best possible service for the least possible price and it is just not sustainable. The consumer's hunt for any small saving can force providers to lower their prices and, god forbid, their standards too. And there you have it, the vicious cycle where in turn, everyone else lower their prices too to remain competitive…and we all end up in a fast race to the bottom. Let’s remember, sometimes the service provider with the higher price means a higher standard and quality. You do generally get what you pay for.

So, here is my call to action for both my colleagues and customers, value the service you are providing or paying for, whatever it may be.

If you are paying for someone else to do the work you can’t or won’t do, be prepared to pay a bit extra. You are paying for expertise that has been gained over many years, which will ultimately save you precious time, stress and more than likely, money. 

And to my peers, you too value the service you offer. You have worked very hard to get where you are now, so charge for your worth and your added value and don’t chase the pennies.

Let’s all learn to value the service we give and the services we receive and just think how much better business (and life) would be.

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