A laundry service with pickup and delivery is a unique representation of a production and distribution company combined into one. Since laundry service facilities are often located near residential areas, full utilization of the footprint is a necessity due to smaller facility sizes. When labor is a constraint in this environment, everyone is acutely aware of its impact on operations.
The Folde, a laundry delivery service in Austin, TX, had been operating for five years and wanted to continue growing, but consistently had to turn down orders due to labor constraints.
In fact, it had to turn off successful marketing campaigns because it couldn’t fulfill any additional orders. The owners and managers were already folding clothes until 3am some nights to keep up. This led to burnout and retention issues among employees and management.
Despite their best efforts, labor constraints kept the team from retaining customers because customer support issues began piling up.
Because of the wide reach the store has, utilization of all its machines and square footage was key for The Folde. Its machines were running 22 to 24 hours per day, and having workers continuously folding clothes to keep up was critical to fulfilling its promise to customers.
Seasonality was also a challenge for The Folde, because when the school year starts, parents need more help with their laundry. Then when summer comes around, demand typically slows unless the business can land high-volume clients like hotels. This start and stop nature of the work combined with the need for full utilization meant that the laundry service was burning out managers and other key employees.
The Folde needed a way to maintain full utilization while addressing seasonality in a cost-efficient way (i.e. without working insane overtime hours). The owners were thankful when they found a solution that would get them back in bed before 3am without sacrificing customer satisfaction.
Not a minute too soon, The Folde discovered Veryable’s on-demand labor marketplace. They decided to try inviting workers to do support work for its laundry folders so the company could maximize throughput of this critical task.
“On a typical day for us, at around 8am we know how many orders are coming. But we won't know the magnitude of those orders until around 3pm,” says Vlaskamp. “Veryable gave us the ability to wait until the last minute to choose how much labor is needed.”
In just two months, the company impacted the following metrics using on-demand labor:
Within those two months, The Folde’s managers began inviting Veryable operators to fold laundry when demand spiked. It was important to the owners and managers that anyone who came into the building would fit its high performance culture.
“Everyone at our company is evaluated on a performance basis,” says Mark Vlaskamp, managing partner and CEO of The Folde. “How many bags can you fold? How many bags can you load? How much output can you contribute?”
On-demand workers were a great fit for the company’s culture and learned quickly, enabling the company to confidently flex its labor capacity as needed.
Using its labor pool, The Folde gained daily flexibility by inviting Veryable Operators to meet demand fluctuations as it grew order volume.
At first, employees retained the specialized laundry folding tasks, while Veryable Operators handled the work that took less training.
As time went on, The Folde added its favorite workers to its labor pool. This meant they could invite these high performers back and be certain that they would keep up with the company’s fast-paced culture while they learned new skills.
With a large labor pool and newly established flexible labor practices, The Folde became instantly scalable and maintained full utilization without burning out managers and employees.
In the company’s first six months using Veryable to find on-demand labor, it achieved huge milestones:
“Veryable allowed us to take the governor off our marketing because we knew we could fill demand as it came in,” says Vlaskamp.