News and a look at Rinse behind the scenes
The Coronavirus has had a devastating effect on small businesses everywhere. As a small business ourselves, we have felt these effects firsthand. We also work very closely with smaller businesses (our Cleaning Partners are local dry cleaners and laundromats) who are hurting during these challenging times and are less well-equipped to navigate.
Our Cleaning Partners tend to look like many of the small businesses that are struggling across the country today - sole proprietors, often immigrant-run, and very dependent on day-to-day sales to make payroll and pay rent.
Since early March, we have been working very closely with our Cleaning Partners to help them navigate the current environment. Through this process, we have had to learn quickly how to operate in the “new normal” that COVID-19 has created. To that end, we wanted to share some thoughts on our approach in case it helps you (or a small business owner you know) today or as you prepare to re-open in the coming months.
Our approach to helping our Cleaning Partners can be broken down into three main categories:
- Prevention - taking steps to put in preventive measures and reduce the risk of transmission.
- Relief - making sure our partners understand relief programs available and the steps needed to apply and benefit from them, where applicable.
- Support - doing whatever we can to help navigate the business challenges related to COVID-19.
At Rinse, our approach to managing the operational complexity in our business is to “always be paranoid; never be complacent.” Never have those words been more important than right now. We’ve worked very closely with our Cleaning Partners to ensure they are well positioned to prevent transmission and keep their teams, our teams, and our customers safe. Here are a few key steps we have taken to maximize safety and optimize prevention:
- Making sure our partners have the necessary supplies - The first step was to make sure our partners had all the necessary supplies to implement key preventive measures. Given the significant demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) today, purchasing items such as masks, gloves, soap, and disinfectants is very challenging. Rinse has spent considerable time and effort in finding and procuring key supplies, often sourcing from multiple suppliers in various geographies, and at times shipping supplies from well-stocked Rinse offices to areas where we had less available supply. We are covering the cost of these supplies for our Cleaning Partners as needed, and have focused on providing core items such as disinfectant, soap, gloves, and face masks for all staff to wear throughout their shifts.
- Making sure our partners understand how to implement key preventive measures - We gave our Cleaning Partners clear procedures to follow and train their staff on, mirroring what we were already doing at Rinse. These efforts included:
- Sharing our internal processes with Cleaning Partners on how frequently we take certain measures such as hand washing and wiping down surfaces.
- Sharing any real-time updates we learn from CDC, OSHA, or local government guidance on how to ensure a safe workplace.
- Creating signs in both English and Spanish for our Cleaning Partners to post in their facilities so their staff had clear instructions and reminders for proper handwashing techniques, social distancing, and to send people home if sick.
- Working with our Cleaning Partners to help them adjust their processes and stagger shifts so they could maximize social distance and limit in-building occupancy.
Over the coming weeks as our various markets look to relax shelter-in-place restrictions, we will continuously monitor local and state ordinances to make sure that each of our Cleaning Partners remains compliant and ahead of the curve.
- Making sure our Cleaning Partners are executing on these key preventive measures daily - Our Cleaning Partners are a core part of our team, so they were asked to follow the same daily protocol that each of our local operations teams follow. In addition to frequent hand washing, regular disinfecting of all surfaces, and strict social distancing, we asked all of our teams and Cleaning Partners to take daily pictures of these measures in action. Not only did this serve to hold everyone accountable and reinforce behavior, but the daily pictures also made it very clear across all of Rinse’s markets that we were all working together to keep our team and customers safe.
In addition to practicing strong preventive measures, we needed to act quickly to help our Cleaning Partners weather the financial challenges of this period. The first step was to help our Partners understand the various relief programs available.
When COVID-19 hit, there was a massive wave of relief efforts undertaken by the government at the federal, state, and local levels. The amount of information that emerged was significant, as was the level of complexity. Some of our Cleaning Partners did not have issues understanding and navigating the complexity of these programs, while others didn’t know where to start. We spent time proactively reaching out to our partners with information we had on programs such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), and various other relief efforts available to them.
In addition, we helped some of our Cleaning Partners with their immediate cash management needs by letting them know when local governments had suspended or delayed collection of water, sewer, and utility bills. We also made sure they understood what opportunities for rent relief or protection were available to them.
(Note: there are many articles out there with links to various relief programs available, so we won’t include them here, but if you are interested in a more detailed list, please email us at [email protected] and we’ll share it with you).
Once preventive measures were in place and our Cleaning Partners understood the relief options available, our main focus was and has been to continue to support our Cleaning Partners in this new environment.
To be clear, these have been challenging times for our Cleaning Partners. Despite being essential services and remaining open, Dry Cleaners have experienced dramatic revenue reduction with the halt in business travel and the rise in work-from-home behavior. For many of our Dry Cleaning Partners, Rinse is now their only source of revenue since most customers have stopped visiting stores in person. Business has also declined for our Wash & Fold Partners as customers choose to stay at home or are hesitant to use public, in-store, washers and dryers. As a result, we have worked to support our Cleaning Partners in a few key ways:
- Reducing overall costs and simplifying operations - Rinse worked closely with our Cleaning Partners to share revenue forecasts based on early metrics we were seeing in our own business. Sharing this information helped our Cleaning Partners make proactive staffing changes and operating adjustments to weather the storm. We removed constraints such as 2-Day Rush Dry Cleaning so our Cleaning Partners can work flexible hours and operate on alternate days to reduce overall costs. In addition, we have supported our partners who have chosen to pause operations at the moment and are ready to pick up where we left off with them whenever they decide they are ready to work again.
- Helping improve working capital - In an environment like this, cash on hand is critical, so we have worked closely with our Cleaning Partners to help with cash management where we can. For some Cleaning Partners, we have shortened our payment terms to ensure they have access to working capital sooner to cover costs such as payroll and rent. In some instances, we have seen an increase in volume for certain Partners because their counterparts have closed down for the time being. To help them accept and service that volume, we have purchased additional supplies and equipment for them, such as folding boards. In addition, we have shouldered the cost of COVID-19 related supplies to make sure our Cleaning Partners don’t have to trade off safety with being able to pay the bills.
- Creating new revenue streams - Rinse is working with our Cleaning Partners to produce reusable cloth masks. We initially asked our Cleaning Partners to make them for our internal team, and then we decided to ramp up production to sell masks to our customers. These masks are not only providing a great service for our team, our customers, and the public at large, but they are creating a new income stream for our Cleaning Partners and helps them keep their staff working.
Rinse has had a close relationship with its Cleaning Partners since we launched in 2013. We are very proud of the way each of our Cleaning Partners has responded during a challenging time, and we’re proud of how closely our local teams have worked with them to make sure they have the support they need. COVID-19 is presenting unprecedented challenges and the only way we will all get through this is to work together.
If you are a business working to navigate COVID-19, or if you are contemplating how to re-open in a COVID-19 world, we hope the information above is helpful. If we can be of assistance, or if you have feedback based on what you’ve learned, please email [email protected] and let us know.
Ever wondered why dry cleaners aren't open Sunday? Below we discuss why traditional dry cleaners aren't open Sunday and why Rinse is.
If you’ve ever tried to take care of your dry cleaning and laundry after work or on the weekends, you’re probably familiar with the fact that most cleaners only operate Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm -- a point of major frustration for anyone trying to check dry cleaning off their to-do list.
You’ve probably wondered why dry cleaners aren’t open on Sundays -- the one day of the week most of us actually have time to pick up and drop off our clothes? There is actually some history behind how we got to this point (which we describe below).
At Rinse, we’ve created a customer experience that addresses all of the points of friction in traditional dry cleaning and have been serving customers on Sundays since we launched in 2013. This focus on the customer has made us the most convenient solution in the clothing care industry and a large reason our customers keep coming back.
Why Aren’t Dry Cleaners Open Sunday?
It seems counterintuitive that a business would be closed on a day when their customers most need their service, but there is actually a long history behind why dry cleaners are closed on Sundays.
Get your dry cleaning done any day of the week, including Sundays! Schedule a pickup with Rinse.
Sundays Off: The Legacy of Blue Laws
It’s long been a tradition for businesses to have reduced hours or close entirely on Sundays. The tradition is most prevalent in Western nations owing to their cultural roots in Christianity which holds Sunday as the Sabbath - a day of rest. Laws preventing work on Sundays in Western countries go as far back as the rule of Emperor Constantine.
In America, this tradition dates back to the 17th century when the Puritans implemented blue laws, which regulated the sale of alcohol and certain activities on Sundays. Puritan blue laws dictated the closure of stores and limited recreational activities so the community would observe Sunday as a religious day of rest and reflection.
Other than a handful of locations in the US, blue laws are essentially nonexistent today. Bergen, NJ is the only place in America that still legally requires retail shops to remain closed on Sunday.
Nevertheless, the spirit of the laws remain and many businesses and proprietors view Sunday as a day to relax at home and take a break from work. This leads to many customer-facing stores having reduced hours or no service on Sunday altogether.
Traditional Dry Cleaners tend to follow this approach as well. Many are very hard working during the week, like the majority of us, and during the weekend they want to take a break as well. Oftentimes for traditional dry cleaners, the people working in the shop are also the owners of the store, so they don’t always have the luxury of being able to hire and staff over the weekend, and there are opportunities to reduce overhead costs by operating on fewer days. Given all that, the vast majority of dry cleaners are closed on Sunday.
Why Rinse Is Open Sundays
At Rinse, our mission since the beginning has been to remove the friction from clothing care to give you time back in your day to take care of the things that really matter. For us, that means operating on a schedule that works best for our customers, providing high-quality cleaning you can always trust, and coming straight to your door to pick up and deliver your clothes.
Rinse offers both quality and convenience through our smart scheduling. We’ll pick up and deliver 7 days per week (yes, we’re a dry cleaner open on Sundays!) and always between 8pm and 10pm. With this schedule, our customers are able to fit laundry and dry cleaning into their daily routine.
Our predictable schedule allows us to devote the time needed to properly clean each of the garments we pick up. We offer Standard 3-Day turnaround, as well as optional Rush service so your clothes are quickly cleaned and delivered, ready for the next time you wear them.
The next time you’re looking for a dry cleaner that is open on Sunday, schedule a pickup with us and one of our friendly Valets will arrive at your door between 8pm and 10pm to pick up your dry cleaning!
In these exceptional times, we are taking exceptional measures to protect the health and well-being of our team and our customers. We have made significant investments to ensure our Warehouse Operators, Valets, and Cleaning Partners have a continuous supply of critical items such as soap, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and cloth masks. We have done everything we can to maintain employee hours during a time of lower demand. We have worked tirelessly to help our Cleaning Partners navigate the current environment and understand various relief programs available to small businesses.
We are committed to continue to make investments like these for as long as we need to while providing an essential service.
To help ensure we can do that, we are introducing a temporary “Health & Safety Fee” effective on all orders picked up on or after April 16, 2020.
Here’s how it works:
- We will add a $5 Health & Safety Fee to every order picked up on or after April 16, 2020. You will see this charge on your receipt as a separate line item.
- As a small thank you for your help and understanding, we will refund you the Health & Safety Fee in the form of a $5 Rinse credit three months from the date of delivery. For example, if the delivery date of your order is April 20, 2020, we will issue you a $5 Rinse credit on July 20, 2020. All credits will be valid for twelve months after the date of issue.
This new fee is temporary and we plan to end it once things start going back to normal.
Other COVID-19 Related Updates
We are making a few other minor service-related updates to help support our Valets and Cleaning Partners, including:
- Updating Valet tipping – Starting tonight (April 15, 2020), you will receive a text message about tipping individual Valets after every stop (historically, we’ve only sent the SMS upon delivery and split the tip between all your Valets for that order). We’ve received requests from customers to allow tipping individual Valets given the circumstances they are facing when they pick up and deliver. Please note that tipping is 100% optional and tips will never be tied back to a specific order (our Valets are W-2 employees who receive tips in lump sum with their normal paycheck).
- Temporarily pausing Rush Dry Cleaning – We are temporarily pausing our 2-Day Rush Service to allow our Cleaning Partners to reduce their operating costs. This very minor change is critical to them during a time of very low Dry Cleaning demand. If you have an urgent need for Rush Dry Cleaning, we will do everything we can to accommodate. Just email [email protected] and let us know. Please note that Next-Day Rush Wash & Fold will continue to be available.
- Reusable Cloth Masks - We have worked closely with our Cleaning Partners to produce reusable cloth masks for all of our team members across all of our markets. We are now scaling up that production process to provide masks to our customers for $10 per mask. Each mask is reusable and washable, and each purchase will provide a source of additional income for our Cleaning Partners. Learn more here.
We take our role as an essential service very seriously and will continue to do everything we can to ensure the health and safety of our team and our customers.
If you have questions or feedback, don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected]
Thanks for your continued support. Please stay safe, stay healthy, and if you can, stay home.
6/9/20 Update - Kid’s size masks are now available in the Bay Area.
The CDC recommends the use of cloth masks (or face coverings) for all individuals in public settings to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus. On Friday, April 10, the city of Los Angeles issued a mandate making non-medical grade face masks a requirement in order to visit or work at an essential business. We applaud that decision and hope others will follow suit.
At Rinse, we have worked closely with our Cleaning Partners to produce reusable cloth masks for all of our team members across all of our markets. We are now scaling up that production process to provide masks to our customers, while also creating an opportunity to support our Cleaning Partners, who have been hit hard in recent months.
The price of our masks are $10. Each mask we are producing is reusable and washable, and each purchase will provide a source of additional income for our Cleaning Partners during this challenging time.
Masks are now available to Rinse customers in all of our markets. Below are examples of some of the style of the masks we have available, but the specific mask we are able to provide you will depend on materials available in your location at the time of your order.
In response to customer feedback, we’re happy to announce that Rinse now offers Reusable Cloth Masks for Kids in the Bay Area. Each mask is reusable and washable. Kid size masks are made with adjustable ear loops so the mask can be custom-fitted to the child.
Cloth masks available in Los Angeles:
Cloth masks available in the Bay Area:
Kid-size cloth masks available in the Bay Area:
How To Purchase A Mask
Due to limited supply and operational complexity, we are only providing masks to Rinse customers on existing orders. If you choose to order a mask on its own, it will be subject to our standard Minimum Order Value, Service Fee, and Health & Safety Fee.
You can add masks to your Rinse order by texting MASK along with the quantity and type / size you’d like to 746-73 (“RINSE”) or emailing [email protected] (Example: MASK - 2 Adults, 2 Kids)
We will confirm mask availability with you before your delivery, and you will be charged $10 per mask upon delivery.
If you are interested in purchasing masks in bulk and/or donating masks to organizations who need them, please email [email protected] with more details.
Thanks for your support and for doing whatever you can to keep yourself and all of us safe and healthy.
Important disclaimer: this product is not intended for medical use (such as preventing any disease), and is not certified to comply with any regulatory standards, and is not a substitute for any medical device or treatment. Since we only intend to produce and provide masks temporarily, there will be no returns or refunds available.
April 1, 2020
Effective on all pickups on or after April 1, 2020, Rinse has made a few adjustments to pricing on certain Dry Cleaning and Hang Dry items. Depending on where you live and what item we are cleaning, you will see some prices have increased, some have decreased, and some have stayed the same. You can view our full pricing list here to see what’s changed.
Although we have been planning this price adjustment for a couple months now, we recognize the timing of the update is less than ideal given the challenges and uncertainty we are all facing with COVID-19. Prior to the outbreak, we determined that we needed to make these changes to provide the same level of service and high-quality clothing care that you to come to expect from Rinse, and to continue to invest behind our principles of only working with local, environmentally-friendly cleaning partners who never use PERC and employing all of our Valets as W-2 employees rather than contractors, so they get benefits like paid sick leave. Despite the business challenges we face at the moment, we have maintained a modest price adjustment in line with our original plans.
At Rinse, our mission has always been to make your life a little easier by removing the friction of clothing care, while giving you time for the things that really matter to you. We have also always believed in transparency and honesty with everything we do.
If any of the minor price adjustments we have made create undue stress during an already stressful time, please email [email protected] and we will gladly provide a credit or refund for the difference on your most recent order.
We thank you for your continued support and we hope you all stay safe and healthy during these challenging times.
Your friends at Rinse
Starting March 24 Rinse will be running a medical supply drive to support healthcare workers on the front lines of the Coronavirus crisis. Rinse will collect donations and deliver them to local hospitals in need. Learn how you can donate any extra PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) you may have.
April, 1 2020
Last week we launched a medical supply drive to help healthcare workers on the front lines. A heartfelt thank you to our customers and community who have contributed by donating various PPE (personal protective equipment) and medical supplies.
In the past week, you have donated:
- 750+ N95 and Surgical Masks
- 600+ Disinfecting Wipes
- 1,500+ Gloves
- 250+ Ounces of Hand Sanitizer
In addition to other assorted PPE.
In an effort to continue to support our healthcare workers during this time, we are extending our medical supply donation drive for as long as our healthcare workers need the help.
Read below for a full list of items we can collect and how to schedule a donation pickup.
Thank you for anything you can donate, and for everything you are doing to help keep us all safe and healthy during this challenging time.
Some of the medical supplies donated by Rinse customers
March, 24 2020
In the wake of COVID-19, we are seeing a shortage of medical supplies across hospitals across the country, leaving healthcare workers underprepared and undersupplied as they contend with rapidly increasing numbers of Coronavirus patients.
To that end, Rinse is launching a medical supply donation drive this week. If you have extra medical supplies (see the list below) that you can donate to support those on the front lines, Rinse will collect them and deliver them to local hospitals in need.
Below is a list of items we are collecting:
The following items may be collected as long as they have not been used:
- N95 respirators
- Surgical masks
- Disposable gloves
- Protective goggles
- Face shields
- Surgical gowns, surgical booties, disposable head covers/caps
- Hand sanitizer
- Containers of disinfectants and disinfectant wipes
We will be collecting these medical supply donations using a similar process to how we collect clothing donations.
Here’s how to donate supplies:
- Place your donated items in an enclosed, non-Rinse, bag labeled “medical supplies.”
- Schedule a Rinse like normal via rinse.com, our mobile app, or by texting “Y” to 746-73. We will pick up your normal laundry and dry cleaning orders along with any donations during this time.
- Reminder to please follow our “no-contact” pickup and delivery protocol. We are instructing all of our Valets to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between themselves and customers. Please place your items outside your door and maintain distance while your Valet picks them up to help ensure the safety of yourself as well as your Valet.
IMPORTANT: If you do not have any laundry or dry cleaning at this time, but would like to ONLY donate supplies, please schedule a normal Rinse pickup and also email [email protected] or text 746-73 with the words “DONATE ONLY.”
If you are NOT yet a Rinse customer:
If you have not used Rinse before but would like to donate medical supplies, please take the following steps:
- Create your free account here: https://www.rinse.com/customers/start/
- Follow the instructions to schedule a pickup and create your account. If you would like to ONLY donate supplies and do not plan to use Rinse’s clothing care services, that’s okay. The signup process will ask you to select the type of service you are looking for (just go ahead and select any option) and enter your credit card information, but you will not be charged anything.
- Once you have created your account, simply email [email protected] or text 746-73 with the words “DONATE ONLY.”
Thanks for anything you can donate, and thanks for everything you are doing to help keep us all safe and healthy during this challenging time.
Since our founding, one of our core values has been to “Make Mom proud.” During this unprecedented global crisis, we know that both the Rinse team and our customers are looking for ways they can help. We are grateful to be able to leverage our established infrastructure for collecting clothing donations in order to collect medical supplies to support the heroic healthcare workers on the front lines of this crisis.
Want high quality laundry service? Try Rinse
Award-winning dry cleaning and laundry service delivered straight to your door.
Leave your clothes to the people who know best. You’ll receive your clothes pressed on hangers, or neatly folded (depending on the service).
Schedule via SMS, web, or app. We pick up and deliver everyday, even if you are not home.
Fast turnaroundOur standard turnaround time is 3–4 days