This Travel Startup Will Launder Your Clothes and Pack Your Bag
Imagine having an assistant who, at the touch of a button, will launder and press your business clothing, fold everything neatly, pack it in your suitcase, and then arrange to have it delivered to your hotel before you arrive and picked up when you leave. No time wasted packing, no waiting in lines at the airport to check bags, no hotel laundry fees. That’s essentially how DUFL works.
From its management facility in Tempe, Ariz., DUFL’s small staff of 25 will photograph, inventory, and professionally clean your clothes, then pack them alongside your shoes and full-size toiletries before shipping everything to your destination. When you open the DUFL app to begin a new trip, you tap on the items in your DUFL “closet” to choose what you want delivered. The online clothing and luggage handler says it has served nearly 10,000 registered users since it launched in May 2015.
DUFL caters mostly to business travelers, executives, and celebrities, and each trip costs $99, in addition to a $10 monthly storage fee for each personal closet. The per-trip fee includes three-day domestic shipping via FedEx (FDX) and all laundry service. International trips and overnight service incur extra fees, and a 24/7 concierge service handles any unusual problems, such as a late arrival or redirected flights.
“Our users say it saves them money. They don’t have to pay baggage fees, and they don’t have to pay for dry cleaning,” says CEO and founder Bill Rinehart.
Users are also treated to surprises in every suitcase. DUFL Bits are samples of consumer products, such as Kind Bars, Alford & Hoff fragrances, and haircare and skincare items from Kevin.Murphy and Sunology. If they like the freebies, travelers also have the option to purchase more via DUFL’s website.
Since the majority of its users are traveling for business, the company has also partnered with Concur to help users file work-related expenses more easily. And earlier this year it began handling sports gear, such as golf clubs, fishing poles, and skis, since many users said they are looking to extend work trips to include leisure activities. DUFL also plans to open a second facility on the East Coast later this year to accommodate its large number of users who fly in and out of New York City.
The real value of DUFL, says the company, is the time saved. “Per roundtrip, at least three hours is spent packing and unpacking. If you travel twice a month, that’s three days a year,” explains the company’s chief marketing officer, Andrea Graziani, who says 89% of users report that DUFL is life changing.
“I don’t have to gate-check anything. It gives me a lot of freedom that I didn’t have before,” says health care consultant Debbe McCall, who travels twice a month and began using the app a year ago and says she will never travel again without using DUFL. “As a heart patient, I don’t need any more stress while traveling. Between this and TSA PreCheck, flying is fun again.”
A version of this article appears in the July 1, 2016 issue of Fortune with the headline “Never Pack Your Bags Again.”